June 7, 2019

10 Ways to Optimize Your E-commerce Website for Conversions


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The average ecommerce conversion rate is between 2% and 4%. That means more than 95% of your customers go away without buying anything on your website. It’s a shame because you tried so hard and spent a lot of money on getting those people to your website.

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You may have invested hundreds of hours and paid thousands of dollars for website development, SEO, PPC, or email marketing; but you probably didn’t spend as much on e-commerce conversion rate optimization (CRO).

Or did you?

Statistically speaking, e-commerce companies spend $1 on conversion rate optimization for each $92 they spend on acquiring web visitors. Consequently, the average conversion rates remain depressed.

On the brighter side, the top 10% of Google Ads advertisers have average conversion rates exceeding 10%. So, clearly, it can be done!

How to Optimize Your E-commerce Website for Conversions

It’s safe to say the conversion rate is the most important metric for online retailers. If your conversion rate increases from 1% to 2%, it doubles both your revenues and your profits. You’re selling more products to the traffic already coming to your website, so the additional revenues are coming at no additional cost.

Here are ten simple ways to increase ecommerce conversion rate and get more sales from your existing traffic.

1. Deliver a Great First Impression

The first 30 seconds after people land at your website are the most crucial. If visitors don’t find what they came looking for, they’ll leave. If the site has a bad layout or slow loading speed, they’ll leave. The first impression is the last, they say. Here’s how to deliver a great one:

  1. Develop a clean page layout. Make sure the product is visible. Create a native look and feel. The site mustn’t look dated or outlandish.
  2. Ensure consistency between the source of traffic and the landing page. For example, if your page shows a red shirt, then, the PPC ad or search listing driving traffic to that page must say ‘red shirt,’ and not ‘blue shirt.’
  3. Ensure a super-fast page speed. More than half of mobile users abandon websites that take more than 3 seconds to load. Implement the AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) technology to reduce page loading times and create a mobile-friendly website.
  4. Create an awesome logo and a compelling tagline. Have consistent branding and color scheme across all pages.

2. Highlight the Benefits, not the Features of Your Product

Yes, you should list the specifications and features, especially when they provide a unique competitive edge. But those should come later. Open your page with a short, compelling description of your product’s key benefits.

The following table illustrates the difference between features and benefits of different products.

ProductFeatureBenefitCarAutomatic brakesSafetyHeating systemProgrammabilitySavings & conveniencePrinterReliabilityHassle-free printingCarpetHandmadeBeauty & classGarden chairDurabilityLifestyleSalmon (the fish)Fresh-caughtHealth

Remember that your customers don’t care what the product can do. They want to know what it can do for them!

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3. Speak to People’s Subconscious Mind

Over 90% of all buying decisions are emotional. Looking at the product through your customer’s eyes enables you to speak to them at a subconscious level. The result is more sales and conversions.

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Nike doesn’t sell shoes. It sells aspirations. Read more about Nike’s Marketing Strategy.

4. Follow the Conversion Optimization Best Practices

It’s important to have optimization in mind throughout the development process. High-converting landing pages include the following elements.

  • A bold headline describing the name and key benefits of the product
  • Two to five bullet points listing additional benefits
  • High-quality photos and videos
  • A Reviews section with star-ratings prominently displayed
  • A question-answer section or live chat feature to provide information about the product
  • Trust signals such as guarantee, warranty, security badges, testimonials, an address, and a contact method
  • A prominent call-to-action (CTA) button with compelling CTA copywriting

Most importantly, keep the page simple -- staying simple tends to produce high-converting ecommerce pages.

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Twillory’s simple product page contains all the elements of a high-converting landing page

5. Right Off the Bat, Offer a Discount

Offer a juicy discount as soon as the visitor lands on your site. It gets them in the right frame of mind for shopping before they start browsing your products.

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You can add a pop-up to capture user attention and prompt action. You can use the discount offer as a conversion booster as well as a lead magnet, like in the following example.

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6. Cross Sell, Up-Sell, Resell

Most e-commerce platforms have built-in features to cross-sell and up-sell products. You can set up the backend to show related products that other customers are buying.

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Fewer e-commerce website owners, however, take the time to bundle different products and offer intuitive bulk discounts. Selling to an existing customer is five times less expensive than selling to a new customer. So, once you have a web visitor who’s ready to buy, you should try to sell them more products.

Look at your products from the customer’s angle, bundle together relevant products, and offer a discount. Create a win/win for the customers and yourself, as Google does at its Store.

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Google Store cross-sells products under the special offers tab.

7. Create a Sense of Urgency

Have you heard of FOMO? It’s an acronym for the fear of missing out, and is one of the most powerful action triggers. You’ll make it easier for people to take a purchase decision if you let them know that they don’t have forever to consider.

Some e-commerce websites use time-barred coupons;

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while others display countdown timers.

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A more subtle and effective way to create FOMO is to show that your product is in demand and other people are buying it.

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The idea is to make a good and make it perishable. Let the visitors know that they must act now or they might miss out the deal forever.

8. A/B Test Your Pages (if You Have the Data and the Expertise)

You’re going to need some traffic coming to your page before you can derive valid results from A/B split testing.

For example, if your base conversion rate is 20%, and you want to know when it goes up by 5% (to 21%), you’ll need a sample size of 1,030 per variation to reach statistical significance.

Before you test, you should know what you’re testing. For example, you may test two entirely different versions of the page, or you may test specific elements such as the headline or the CTA button.

You can use one of the testing tools such as Visual Website Optimizer (VWO) or Optimizely.

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Remember that testing can be an expensive proposition. It might also be fruitless if you don’t plan well or don’t know what you’re doing.

On the other hand, testing can deliver a 200% or even 300% percent increase in conversion rate when deployed correctly.

9. Offer Free Shipping Along with a Discount

If you look around, every ecommerce retailer offers free shipping these days. According to research, more than 64% retailers say free shipping is their most effective holiday sales promotion.

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So, should you offer free shipping or a discount if it comes to a choice between the two?

Ideally, you should offer both, but if you can’t, the choice would depend on the demographic you’re targeting. Baby Boomers prefer free shipping. Having to pay for shipping is their number one pet peeve. Millennials, on the other hand, prefer discounts and don’t care that much about shipping cost.

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The best way to go is to offer free shipping with a minimum order value. You can offer discounts on individual products and offer free shipping if the order amount exceeds a preset minimum threshold.

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Target offers free shipping above $35 as well as multiple discounts.

10. Track the Results and Make Improvements

The best thing about digital media is that you can measure the results. In addition to the platform-specific tracking tools such as BigCommerce or Shopify Analytics, you should also use Google Analytics to see where your traffic is coming from and what people are doing on your website.

So, if you see that many people abandon the website at a specific point, such as during the checkout sequence or when they see the price (you can get these insights from advanced tracking tools like Crazy Egg, Kissmetrics, or Quantcast), make changes to that specific page or section and see if the abandonment rate drops.

According to Google, you need to be comfortable editing HTML and coding in JavaScript, or have help from an experienced web developer to set up e-commerce tracking.

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The Best Way to Increase Ecommerce Conversion Rate

As you may have noticed, the best way to increase e-commerce conversion rate is to work with experts.

In e-commerce, a conversion is usually the same as a sale. It brings immediate revenue. And, if you take into account the customer lifetime value and the customers lost to a poorly optimized website, you’ll realize how important it is to invest in e-commerce conversion rate optimization.

Let’s talk business!

Hi! I’m Josh Meah, marketing perfectionist and business-growth consultant. Feel free to buzz me and discuss your growth strategy.

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