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How to Improve Ecommerce Conversion Rates? 20 Proven Strategies

Dive into proven strategies to enhance your online store's conversion rates. Whether you're just starting out or looking to outperform the competition, discover 20 actionable tips to ensure potential customers don't just browse but buy. Don't miss out on your slice of the $5.7 trillion ecommerce pie!

Ryan Hichens
18.08.2023


Are you putting in the marketing work for an ecommerce store, but your conversion rate won’t budge? Discouraging conversion rates are an age-old problem, and the competitive industry isn’t helping. The good news is that online sales are booming. In 2022, ecommerce sales generated $5.7 trillion. So, there’s plenty of business to go around. But how do you get your slice of the pie?

Every time visitors land on your site or social media accounts and leave, it’s a missed opportunity. Potential clients are skittish. So, you need to carefully coax them in with a fully optimized experience. For example, have you checked your site’s load time? Installed click-to-call widgets? Or simplified the checkout process?

If the answer to any of those questions is no, there’s work to be done.

What Is Conversion Rate in Ecommerce?

The conversion rate in ecommerce shows how good your site is at convincing visitors to take important actions, such as making a purchase or subscribing to a newsletter.

In simple terms, a high conversion rate means your ecommerce (or e-commerce) website is on point, persuading people to buy your products. On the flip side, a low conversion rate suggests there's room for improvement to boost your site's effectiveness in converting visitors.

How to Calculate Ecommerce Conversion Rate?

Calculating your ecommerce conversion rate is easy and really useful. Just follow these steps:

  • Total Number of Conversions: Figure out how many times people did what you wanted them to on your site, like making a purchase.
  • Total Number of Site Visitors: Count how many people visited your site during a certain time.
  • Do the Math: Divide the number of conversions by the number of visitors and then multiply by 100 to get your conversion rate in percentage.
     

Here’s the formula:

Ecommerce conversion rate formula

For example, if you had 100 sales and 5,000 visitors last month, your conversion rate would be 2%. This means for every 100 visitors, 2 of them bought something. Tracking this helps you see how well your site turns visitors into buyers and can guide you in making it even better.

What Is a Good Ecommerce Conversion Rate?

Conversion rates are dependent on industry, target audience, and products. So, a good ecommerce conversion rate may vary for different businesses. However, the average global ecommerce conversion rate is 1.64%. Keep in mind that the average is constantly fluctuating. But it’s a helpful benchmark to compare your performance.

A healthy conversion rate in the ecommerce market is at least 3%. On Shopify, the top 20% of stores have an average conversion rate of 3.3% or higher. So, whether you’re below the global average or under 3.3%, there’s room to improve.

How to Optimize Conversion Rates?

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of tweaking your website and purchase process to increase your conversion rate. It's all about making it as easy as possible for website visitors to flow through your sales funnel.

This includes everything from changing your CTA from grey to red through optimizing prices to completely revamping product pages. Whatever strategies you're using, one thing you'll definitely need is data to work with. Otherwise, how will you know where the bottlenecks are? Make sure to use tools like website heatmaps and Google Analytics to get the insights you need.

Let's look into 20 things you need to know about conversion rate optimization.

1. Create Urgency

Creating a bit of urgency is a highly effective strategy to boost ecommerce conversion optimization. Customers will be inclined to make purchases quicker to avoid FOMO – fear of missing out. Some businesses have seen huge spikes in sales thanks to this method. For example, ConversionXL saw a 332% increase in sales using a limited-time offer.

READ ALSO: 9 Ways to Leverage FOMO Marketing to Boost Your Sales

There are two types of urgency: real and implied. Real urgency refers to things like a 24-hour limited-time offer. Implied urgency refers to things like using now or today to encourage purchases. Real urgency is more effective than implied urgency; however, it’s not always practical to always use it.

Here are some ways to create urgency.

Limited time offers

Create a special offer that’s only available for a limited period of time. For example, make your products 30% off for a week. Make sure to clearly state the start and end dates. The shorter the offer, the more urgency you create.

Low stock displays

Create urgency by showing the remaining quantity of products. Or show a Low Stock display next to items. If customers know a product will soon be out of stock, they’ll be encouraged to buy sooner.

Seasonal products

Offering seasonal products is similar to limited-time offers. However, in this case, you don’t have to offer a discount. Time sensitivity will act as a motivator for shoppers, knowing the product will become unavailable.

Early bird discounts

Offer a discount or reward to shoppers who purchase an item early. For example, reward the first 100 customers with a 25% discount. Rewards are also a great way to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.

2. Use Social Proof — Customer Reviews & Ratings

Shoppers value what preexisting customers have to say about a product. In one study, displaying five product reviews increased purchase likelihood by 270%. It’s important to note that posting more than five reviews did little to enhance ecommerce conversion optimization.

Reviews are important for a handful of reasons:

  • They provide a deeper understanding of the product.
  • They establish trust and validate a product’s benefits.
  • They often address common concerns.
  • They create a sense of community between customers.
     

Another interesting finding is the effect displayed reviews have on differently priced products. Research uncovered that displaying reviews on lower-priced products increased conversation rates by 190%. But displaying reviews on higher-priced products increased conversion rates by 380%.

Don’t worry about only showing perfect five-star reviews. In fact, showing ratings between 4.0 and 4.7 has a more positive effect than all 5.0 reviews. Customers grow suspicious when products have perfect ratings. So, avoid dishonestly fluffing product scores–it doesn’t do you any good.

3. Add High-Quality Product Images

If you want customers to take your company seriously, then high-quality product photos are a must. In the world of online stores, there’s no physical interaction with products. High-quality photos act as a substitute and help build customers’ trust.

According to a survey by Weebly, 75% of participants said product photos are very influential. The good news is that it doesn’t take much work to upgrade product photos. Most smartphones are sufficient to take high-quality pictures.

Here are some tips to easily upgrade your product imagery:

  • Use proper lighting.
  • Invest in a quality camera (a smartphone or camera will do the trick).
  • Stage an appealing background. It can be as simple as a white canvas.
  • Stick to a template. Similar products should have similar photography aesthetics.
  • Include different angles (close-ups, wide angles, etc.)
  • Include images of packaging and extra.
  • Retouch images using editing software like Lightroom or Photoshop.
  • Analyze competitor’s product imager.

4. Price Products Competitively

Knowing your worth is important, but so is competitive pricing. Price yourself too high, and you may lose sales. Price yourself too low, and you may be unable to stay afloat.

Appropriate price points will attract price-conscious shoppers. It’s also important so that customers perceive they’re getting a good deal. Research has shown that clients will be more satisfied if product value matches or exceeds expectations.

Here are four ecommerce pricing strategies:

Cost-based pricing

Cost-based pricing takes production costs into account to price products. The cost of aspects like materials and freight is added to desired profits per unit to find a price. This approach doesn’t directly focus on market conditions or customer behavior. Instead, it focuses on the price needed to sustain operations.

For example: A company sells sunglasses. The product costs $5, packaging costs $4, and freight costs $3. In total, it costs $12 to produce and ship one pair of glasses. If the company wants to earn $5 per unit, it will have to price the product at $17.

Dynamic pricing

Dynamic pricing takes a flexible approach. Product prices are based on factors like supply and demand, competition, customer behavior, and even the time of the day. Rapidly adjusting prices allows you to take advantage of market fluctuations. It is especially effective in industries with frequent supply and demand changes. Some ecommerce platforms already have dynamic pricing tools.

Competitor-based pricing

Competitor-based pricing is based on your competitors’ prices. You have the option to match, undercut, or exceed their pricing. This approach allows you to strategically position your products based on your goals. Of course, it’s crucial to value the actual costs of your ecommerce business. If matching competitors’ pricing puts you in the red, think twice.

Consumer-based pricing

Consumer-based pricing focuses on client perception. The prices are based on the value your products give customers, which is open to interpretation. For example, including premium packaging may give the impression of a higher-valued product. That allows for higher prices even though the product is the same as your competitors.

You see this all the time in grocery stores. Products like sunscreen with well-known brand names cost more than store-brand products. But the ingredients are the exact same. People are willing to pay more for the pricier products because they believe it has more value. That’s how consumer-based pricing works.

5. Make the “Add-to-Cart” Button Prevalent

You lured in a customer, and they found the right product, but — uh oh! Where’s the "Add-to-Cart/' button? Not giving your customers an easy buying process is a recipe for lost business. So, think of the button as a call-to-action (CTA). You want to make the shopping experience as seamless as possible. A clear add-to-cart button is a necessary way to do that.

Add-to-cart strategies:

  • Make the button a color that corresponds with your brand’s color. The best color is the one that stands out the most from the background.
  • Don’t just add the button to products. The CEO of SoftwarePundit also suggests adding it to category pages. It makes the shopping flow smoother for customers who already know what they want. In fact, make the cart available on every page of your online store.
  • Use a big add-to-cart button. In general, the bigger the button, the better. Of course, you don’t want to jeopardize your aesthetics. But make sure the button stands out!
  • Add-to-cart buttons with round edges are more appealing than sharp edges.

6. Recover Abandoned Carts

Don’t get discouraged by abandoned carts. Oftentimes, customers select items, get distracted, and forget what they are doing. In fact, around 81% of all carts are abandoned. However, you have an opportunity to recover those carts.

Sending out reminder emails to clients of an abandoned cart can turn the whole situation around. SaleCycle found that nearly 40% of abandoned cart reminder emails are opened — that’s significant. Discarding these carts is a missed opportunity for ecommerce conversion optimization.

A major benefit of abandoned carts is that you know what the customer wants. In the reminder email, you can offer discounts, incentives, or enticing information related to specific products. So, think of abandoned carts as hot leads ready for the taking!

7. Spellcheck Your Website

Nothing stinks of unprofessionalism like typos. Checking spelling and grammar isn’t a big ask. Failing to do so can be detrimental to your ecommerce business. A survey found that a landing page with errors had 85% more visitors leave without clicking a single page. Take the time to review preexisting content and diligently proofread the new text.

The benefits of error-free content:

  • Prevents misunderstandings.
  • Leads to higher search engine rankings.
  • Contributes to customer trust.
  • Creates a better user experience.

8. Enhance Website Speed

When it comes to website speed, visitors have high expectations. According to Akamai, a 100 ms delay in load time can drop average conversion rates by 7%. Those are huge percentages of potential customers that leave before you have a chance to convert. So, what load time should you aim for?

Shoot for a load time of under two seconds. According to Google, the rate of bounce increases by 32% when load time goes from 1 to 3 seconds. When you’re designing your website, frequently check to see how new features impact load time. It doesn’t matter how nice your site looks if no one sticks around to see it.

Tips to reduce load time:

  • Optimize and resize images.
  • Choose a hosting provider known for speed.
  • Cache your website (including browser caching).
  • Avoid redirects.
  • Simplify your site’s coding.
  • Cut out unnecessary plugins.

9. Add Videos to Product Pages

Like high-quality imagery, product video demonstrations improve online sales. Users will get a better understanding of the item and see it in action. Videos also give you a chance to highlight unique features. Wyzowl found that 89% of respondents said videos convinced them to make a purchase.

Video demonstrations don’t require a huge budget. A smartphone, simple background, and a free video editor are more than enough to get the job done. Of course, if you have a bigger budget, hiring a professional team may be worth it.

10. Install a Click-to-Call Pop-Up

It’s no secret that better communication between company and customer is good for ecommerce conversions. When you add a click-to-call pop-up to your site, it works by giving your visitors a straightforward way to contact you without leaving your webpage.

They just enter their phone number into the pop-up, and within 28 seconds, they're on a call with your team. And that matters. A lot. We've carried out a study, and simply promising to get in touch in 28 seconds (as opposed to saying “shortly”) can almost double the conversion rate of a landing page.

Conversion rate comparison depending on expected contact time

The benefits? First off, it boosts your conversion rates. When customers can get their questions answered instantly, they're more likely to make a purchase. Plus, it improves customer satisfaction. People love getting help when they need it, without the hassle of navigating through your site for contact info.

11. Offer Coupons

Who doesn’t like discounts? Coupons are an excellent way to entice customers to make a purchase quickly. A survey shows that 39% of shoppers will buy a product sooner than planned because of coupons. And another 39% will purchase a brand they normally wouldn’t purchase from. Coupons are easy to make and typically more affordable than other marketing techniques.

Here are some tips for using coupons for ecommerce conversion optimization:

  • Offer limited-time coupon codes to create urgency.
  • Send coupons in abandoned cart reminder emails.
  • Offer coupons in a rewards system.
  • Send birthday coupons.
  • Set minimum purchase prices for coupons to become valid (spend $100 and get 5% off).
  • Offer coupons on social media platforms to engage and attract followers.
     

Provide clear terms and conditions to prevent misunderstandings and upset customers.

12. Write Detailed Product Descriptions

Don’t think spending too much time on your product descriptions is worth it? Think again. Salsify asked buyers how much they valued product content. Their answers? Well, 87% reported that product content was very or extremely important in purchasing decisions.

In the survey, the company looked at three content categories: detailed product description, price, and ratings & reviews. Behind price, detailed product description was the second most common factor.

Additionally, 50% of the shoppers have returned an item because of poor online item descriptions. So, descriptions aren’t something to dismiss. Instead, they’re a crucial factor in increasing ecommerce conversion optimization. So, how do you step up your product content?

Here are some tips to improve your product descriptions:

  • Tailor your language to your target audience.
  • Be descriptive. Describe the product without vague wording.
  • Include key features and benefits. What does the product do or solve?
  • Make the content easily digestible. Consider using bullet points.
  • Include technical specifications.

13. Craft a Compelling Call-to-Action (CTA)

Including CTAs on your product pages and category pages can be the difference between a sale and a lost client. But a dull, generic CTA isn’t going to cut it. The text needs to be enticing, captivating, and motivating.

The more personalized the CTA, the better. In fact, HubSpot discovered that personalized CTAs had a 202% higher conversion rate. Personalizing the CTA requires a full understanding of your audience. If you’re selling products for parents with young children, tailor the CTA to them!

So, play around with the wording to see what works best. Finding the right CTA text takes a bit of tweaking. But, if you can find the right words, it can have a huge impact on ecommerce conversion rate optimization.

14. Entice With Free Shipping Deals

Extra fees are a huge threat to your ecommerce conversion optimization. In one study, 48% of shoppers stated that shipping and taxes caused them to abandon their carts. Taxes are a must, but your shipping policies can be flexible. One highly effective method to please buyers and increase sales is offering free shipping!

Statista looked at the effect of free shipping on buyers’ decisions in 2017; it found that free delivery was a significant factor for 73% of respondents. Free shipping doesn’t always have to be something you offer. Maybe it’s a tactic you use during slower times of the year.

Here are some free shipping strategies to consider.

Bundle deals

Offer free shipping when certain items are purchased together. Bundle deals are a great way to boost conversions and items purchased per customer. Consider products that are high in demand to generate interest.

Free shipping from a certain order value

Offer free shipping if customers spend a certain amount. For example, if a customer spends +$60, shipping fees are removed. This encourages customers to potentially spend more than they otherwise would have. Create more urgency by making it a limited-time offer.

Hide the fees in the product price

Increase the prices by the cost of shipping. You run the risk of losing customers to competitors with lower prices. But the idea of free shipping will still entice customers.

Use free shipping as a seasonal offering

Tying the offering to holidays or special events creates a buzz of excitement. Have fun with it, and create engaging theme-based promotions. For example, on Valentine’s Day, your slogan could be like this: This holiday season, we’re spreading the love by offering free shipping!

15. Implement loyalty programs

Loyalty programs don’t just build a community around your brand; they also increase conversion rates. Don’t believe it? Well, let’s let the numbers do the talking!

Loyalty programs statistics:

  • 79% of shoppers say loyalty programs make them more likely to be repeat customers.
  • 39% of shoppers in loyalty programs pay more for a product, even if there are cheaper options.
  • 73% of shoppers feel more inclined to recommend companies with strong loyalty systems.
  • Loyalty programs could lead to a 319% increase in average order quantity.
     

Creating an effective loyalty program is crucial. Understand your customers, offer rewards that appeal to them, and make it easy to enroll. Once you have the right formula, watch your repeat business and customer engagement skyrocket!

16. Simplify the Checkout Process

The checkout process needs to be as easy as possible for customers. Take a look at your site’s checkout flow. How many steps are there? Are there any steps that can be combined or eliminated? According to Shopify, 18% of shopping carts are abandoned because of a complicated checkout page.

One way to keep it simple is by allowing guest checkouts. Forcing a customer to create an account before checking out is problematic. In fact, 43% of customers prefer a guest checkout. So, why not tailor the purchasing process to their liking?

Here’s an example of a complicated checkout process:

  1. Cart summary.
  2. Account creation.
  3. Shipping info.
  4. Billing info.
  5. Shipping method info.
  6. Coupon entry.
  7. Order review.
  8. Payment confirmation.
  9. Account confirmation.
  10. Thank-you page.

Now that's a little long, isn't it? How about we make it shorter? Here’s an example of a simplified checkout process:

Example of a simplified checkout process for e-commerce conversion rate optimization

Knowing which checkout process is more efficient isn’t rocket science. So, get rid of the necessary steps, and combine steps when possible! Your conversion rate optimization will thank you!

READ ALSO: Optimizing Customer Experience — Why It Matters and How to Do It Right

17. Be Strategic on Social Media

We’re living in the digital age. Companies that aren’t utilizing social media are missing out on major benefits. Why? Well, you can build customer trust, promote products, run campaigns, and interact with potential customers. Not to mention, customers value social media posts.

According to Forbes, 78% of survey respondents said that companies’ social media posts influence their purchases. So, what you post matters. Customers want to see professional, compelling social media content. Think of apps like Instagram as a portfolio of catalog. They’re extensions of your ecommerce website, and you should treat them as such.

Tips to improve your Instagram:

  • Write an engaging bio. Keep it clear and concise, and add a link to your ecommerce stores.
  • Post high-quality images and videos (smartphones are sufficient).
  • Maintain a coherent aesthetic.
  • Use hashtags, but don’t overuse them (try 3 to 5 hashtags per Instagram post).
  • Take advantage of Instagram Shopping. It allows visitors to purchase products directly from your profile.
  • Collaborate with influencers.
  • Respond to comments to gain credibility and create brand loyalty.

18. Mobile Optimization

Today, online shoppers use their phones more than computers. Statista uncovered that mobile retail sales made up 72.9% of worldwide ecommerce sales in 2021. That number is up 20% since 2016, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down.

So, it’s crucial to optimize the shopping experience for mobile devices. If your mobile sites are cluttered, slow to load, or difficult to navigate, that’s a problem. Failing to optimize mobile functions will significantly reduce your number of potential buyers.

Tips to optimize the mobile shopping experience:

  • Make the mobile experience the top priority when designing your site.
  • Minimize features that slow loading times.
  • Optimize images to enhance loading times.
  • Make buttons large enough for easy tapping.
  • Implement mobile payment options (Apple Pay, PayPal, Google Pay, etc.).
  • Reduce or eliminate disruptive pop-ups.
  • Frequently check your ecommerce site on a mobile device.

19. Accept Diverse Payment Methods

Offering diver payment methods is a simple way to boost conversion rates. Some of the most popular payment methods are debit/credit, Apple Pay, PayPal, Google Pay, and bank transfers. Failing to accept diverse payment methods increases the risk of abandoned carts.

Mollie surveyed 1,000 customers and discovered that 9 of 10 shoppers had abandoned carts due to a lack of payment options. Part of that is because people are strict about how they pay. Of respondents who preferred PayPal, 38% said they would abandon the cart if it weren’t an option.

Accepting a range of payment methods accommodates a range of customers. You should prioritize the most popular methods used by your target audience. However, don’t ignore other alternative methods that could encourage more conversions.

20. Utilize A/B Tests

The best way to know how different strategies work is to test them against each other. That’s where A/B testing comes into play. A/B testing, also known as split testing, refers to comparing two versions of your ecommerce store. For example, you may try two different call-to-action buttons and see which performs better. The results allow you to make data-based decisions that lead to higher conversion rates.

HubSpot found that doing A/B testing of a landing page led to 20 to 25% more leads for ecommerce businesses. A few small tweaks, such as changing button colors or headlines, can have huge impacts. But you have to test and compare to find out.

Testing two variants should be done at the same time. Traffic and conversion rates are impacted by small factors like the time of the year. Failing to test two versions at the same time could lead to inconclusive results. So, run two variations simultaneously for more refined results.

Final Thoughts on Conversion Rate Optimization

Increasing conversion rates takes time and effort. If you’re unhappy with your current results, fear not! Implementing these 20 conversion rate optimization strategies is a great start to turning things around. Remember that experimenting and testing are key. The more you make adjustments and follow the data, the better the results will be.

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