From click to cart to cash — 25 ways to improve ecommerce conversion

You’re an ecommerce leader focused on providing an exceptional customer experience. Maybe you’re focused on maintaining a sleek commerce site or working out a new marketing strategy. And in some ways, your efforts are working. There’s steady traffic coming to your site. Customers are spending time searching for your products — and even putting items in their digital carts. But ultimately, you don’t see the conversion rates you want. Shoppers are leaving items in their carts and leaving your website, costing your business both sales and potential customers.

If this is your experience, you’re far from alone. On average, customers abandon their carts 77.5% of the time, and as an ecommerce leader, it can be easy to feel mystified about why — or what to do about it.

Improving ecommerce conversion might seem tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many ways to invest in new processes and tools to remove friction from the digital shopping experience, create loyal customers, and boost your bottom line. In a digital-first era, where customers expect easy-to-navigate and product-rich customer experiences, it’s vital to put your best foot forward and do everything you can to support the customer through the whole buying journey — from their first click to their final purchase. Some of these fixes will be fast, and others will bring results over time. These 25 tried-and-true tips will help you improve your conversion rates, ensuring that potential buyers who land on your website leave as loyal customers.

25 ways to improve ecommerce conversion

  1. How to optimize your ecommerce site
  1. How to optimize your products
  1. How to optimize the checkout experience

25 ways to improve ecommerce conversion

Improving your conversion rates might seem like a daunting task — but we’ve got you covered. Whether your customers are bouncing because of slow loading speed or dropping off because they didn't find the right product, these tips will help you improve your website, your products, and your checkout process and boost revenue — a true win-win.

How to optimize your ecommerce site

Your website has to do multiple things, but most importantly it has to turn shoppers into customers. The longer someone stays on your site, the more likely it is they’ll purchase something. But if your website isn’t easy to navigate, customers will leave — and that means brands are leaving money on the digital table. Optimizing your site will improve the customer experience and help keep visitors browsing longer, boosting their satisfaction and your bottom line. The following optimization tips will help you deliver an ecommerce site experience that meets their needs and matches them with the best products.

1. Speed up load time  

A slow load time should be one of your first fixes to attract and keep customers. You can’t bring in more customers if they never reach your website — but if your page takes too long to load, that’s what will happen. Even a small delay can cost you customers and revenue, with bounce rates increasing more than a third if load time goes from one to three seconds. Multiply that cost by your potential customers, and you’ll see you’re losing serious revenue — all because your site is slow.

2. Provide a personalized experience

In our digital age, customers don’t want to simply buy a product — they want to be guided toward products personalized for them. Dynamic content keyed to your customers’ demographic data and shopping history helps you offer your customers a personalized experience from the moment they visit your site to the moment of purchase. Use personalization to create tailored offers for first-time buyers, suggest complementary products, and make specific recommendations based on browsing or buying history.

3. Use A/B testing

Creating exceptional customer experiences based on intuition isn’t enough — you need accurate information on your customers’ preferences, behaviors, and needs. A/B testing allows you to put different web pages in front of customers and track which performs best.

You can experiment with everything from site design to navigation and product page details, taking the guesswork out of customer preferences and honing in on what your customers want and need. A/B testing helps boost click-through rates and conversion, creating happy and loyal customers.

4. Optimize for mobile

These days, customers are shopping from wherever they are — from work, the couch, or the train. Mobile purchases account for 73% of global retail ecommerce sales, and users expect the same seamless experience from their phones as they do from a home computer.

Not optimizing for mobile is the surest way to frustrate the majority of your potential customers. People with a negative experience on mobile are 62% less likely to purchase from that brand in the future — a massive source of potential revenue. Upping your mobile game will help you meet customers on any device.

5. Prioritize site security

Customers who buy from your website share private financial information with you. To earn and keep their trust, you need to prioritize security and safety. Customers want to know they are dealing with a credible store with up-to-date security measures. You need a secure checkout process and a clear process to handle your customers’ sensitive information with care.

To boost trust, you can share your security steps with your customers — a transparent move that shows their security is your highest priority. You can start by using an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and moving your website from HTTP to HTTPS, a process that encrypts and protects user data while shopping. You can also display images of credit cards or digital wallets like PayPal and Apple Pay that let customers know they can use their trusted payment options. If you’ve earned a security certificate, displaying the associated trust badge like TrustedSite or Norton Secured has been shown to boost conversion rates.

6. Use high-quality images

You might have great things to say about your products, but the average internet user is visual. High-impact images on your site will draw in customers immediately, providing a more pleasing user experience and showing them that your brand is committed to quality. Using images helps build your reputation in a matter of seconds, and it breaks up large sections of text so customers can find what they want more easily — and in less time.

7. Mix in some video

Don’t stop at photos when it comes to capturing your audience’s attention. A well-made video can be even more engaging. Videos can function as a break for readers who spend most of their time reading on screens — engaging your audience in an entertaining, effective way in a short amount of time. Videos can also be a great way to share your brand’s voice so customers get to know the personality of your company.

8. Produce high-quality written content

Add more value to the high-quality product images you provide with powerful, well-written copy. You can engage your readers with catchy banners, compelling product descriptions, and clear landing page copy. Start a blog to help your customers get to know you, offer valuable information and advice on the best products, and build a loyal readership that can help connect customers with your products.

Your website should be well-written, clean, and optimized for SEO. Aligning website content with marketing campaign messages will create a consistent brand experience that packs a double punch. If writing is outside your wheelhouse, you can seek out professionals who can help tell your unique brand story.

9. Simplify site structure and navigation

Customers reach your site with varying motivations. Some might be browsing and appreciate suggestions for products and categories that interest them. Others know what they want and want the easiest way to get there. One of the most important things you can do to connect customers with products is to make your site easy to navigate. Start with the search bar, using cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language technology to turn their queries into finds, and their finds into purchases. Use banners and headers to help people find their way to relevant products (so they don’t find themselves in women’s apparel when they’re shopping for some new bedding). Finally, add product filters to help shoppers narrow down large product categories to discover what they need.

10. Be available through chatbots

Ecommerce customers can come from all over the world, which means they’re shopping at all hours of the night and day. These customers expect help when needed, whether at 3pm or 3am. It’s tricky — and expensive — to provide around-the-clock customer service. But thanks to AI chatbots and other customer service technologies, shoppers can get their questions answered anytime.

How to optimize your products

Now that you’ve created a visually compelling, readable, and glitch-free website experience, you can set your sights on what you love doing — connecting customers with the products they want and need. But in a digital world (where customers can’t kick tires or talk to a retail associate), you need to optimize your products so that they sell themselves. Here are some tips to help your customers move from your landing page to checkout without a hitch.

11. Invest in your product description pages

The product description pages (PDPs) are where the shopping rubber meets the road. They’re your best way to show off the features of your top products and match shoppers with what they’re looking for. A good PDP will showcase your products in their best light through photos, descriptions, and specs to help shoppers make the most informed choices.

Make sure your PDPs include high-quality images, a well-written description, and enough product information to allow shoppers to make their ideal purchase. To ensure your PDPs really pop, add video, a testimonial, and reviews.

12. Price your product competitively

Your products might be the best on the market — but if it’s not worth the cost, most people won’t purchase them. First, check your prices against your top competitors and consider adjusting your prices accordingly.

You don’t always need to beat your competitors’ pricing or offer only inexpensive items if you’re focused on demonstrating value, however. Well-written product description pages will help your customers understand what’s special about a product and envision the product in their lives, making them more likely to open their pocketbooks.

13. Include testimonials

In a digital world where customers can’t physically engage with products, they need as many reasons as possible to trust what they’re buying. Your website and product descriptions give them your word for it — but they also want to hear from other real buyers who have tested the products and can speak from experience. Adding a testimonial section to your site shows you trust your products and your customers — and that your customers can trust you. Consider offering incentives for customers to write reviews and display them prominently to build rapport and loyalty with your audience.

14. Create urgency

When people are shopping digitally, it’s easy for them to get distracted and leave the website thinking they’ll come back to it later. But many don’t, which increases your bounce rates and lowers your revenue. One of the most effective ways to get customers’ attention and guide them from the product page to purchase is to create a sense of urgency. Encourage them to buy products by showing how many units of the product remain or who else is viewing the item.

15. Have a clear call to action (CTA)

Often, the difference between an abandoned cart and a completed sale is a successful call to action. CTAs help nudge people through shopping, encouraging them to keep shopping or check out once they’ve selected their products. CTA buttons should be clear, direct, and well-placed. Your shopping cart page should have a "continue shopping" button for people who have selected some products but want to find more, and your search pages should have a "proceed to cart" button to direct people to complete their purchases.

CTAs are powerful and should be used sparingly so they have more impact. Your product pages, for example, should have a simple "add to cart" button. Otherwise, customers will be torn between subscribing to your newsletter, exploring deals, continuing shopping, and purchasing the item.

16. Offer discounts or coupons

One way to create a sense of urgency is to offer limited-time promotions like discounts and coupons. Discounts — especially custom offers tailored to customers’ interests or loyalty-based offers that reward them for their business — make customers feel valued. They also set a purchase clock ticking, encouraging shoppers to complete checkout before the deal is lost. You can also personalize offers or give customers more control over how they redeem them, giving shoppers a greater sense of control while still encouraging them to buy products.

How to optimize the checkout experience

You’ve optimized your website and product experience, allowing your customers to smoothly navigate and add products to their carts. Now, it’s time for the customer to check out. Conversion rates plummet at this moment — research shows the average add-to-cart rate is 6.96%, while the average ecommerce purchase conversion rate is 2.12%. To outperform the competition and increase conversion rates, you’ll want to focus on making the purchasing experience as easy and streamlined as possible.

17. Improve the shopping cart

Checking out is the final step of the shopping experience — and it’s where many shoppers bounce. To retain customers and increase conversion rates, you need to make purchasing as easy as possible. One of the most effective ways to do this is to help customers visualize their cart, showing them how many items are in their cart and what those items are. It should also be easy to edit items in the cart, add items to the cart at the last minute, and quickly proceed from the shopping cart to checkout.

18. Make guests feel welcome

Customers are guests on your website, so treat them as such. Avoid bogging down the checkout process with unnecessary tasks, whether creating an account or verifying their identity through email. These tasks are tedious and make the customer feel unwelcome — making it more likely that the customer will bounce. Using checkout as an excuse to gather data makes it cumbersome and unappealing. Remedy this by allowing your customers to check out without creating a profile. If they’re satisfied, they’ll return and share their information.

“Customers are guests on your website — so treat them as such.”

19. Remove barriers

The ideal digital shopping experience requires the fewest steps. Your customers want to avoid jumping through hoops by signing up for accounts or confirming their identity to make a purchase. Especially at checkout, removing as many steps as possible from the purchasing process is critical, whether adding items to the cart or entering credit card information. Making buying easier is the best way to help your conversion rates soar.

20. Offer free shipping

In the age of Amazon, customers expect shipping to be fast and free. One reason behind a high customer bounce rate is shipping costs, which can deter even excited buyers from completing their purchases. Small or even medium-sized businesses might struggle to absorb the cost of shipping for their customers — but fortunately, there are workarounds. Offering free shipping on orders above a certain amount is one strategic way to deal with this problem since it defrays some of the shipping costs for the company while increasing a customer’s average order value.

21. Stand behind your product

In ecommerce, your business is only as good as what you’re selling. Customers are buying products sight unseen, and they need to know that they have options if the item is defective or not what they wanted.

To build trust with your customers, offer guaranteed returns on items that don’t work out. To go the extra mile, offer free shipping so the customer doesn’t eat the cost of the return. No matter what, put your return policy front and center. Customers want to know what they’re getting into when they purchase something — and knowing the rules in advance will help them purchase with confidence.

22. Make payment easy

There are many ways to make purchases online these days, and many customers are ditching their credit cards and opting for other payment tools. Make sure your website offers a variety of ways to pay for products — from PayPal to Apple Pay to credit cards — so that no customer is deterred by a lack of options. Analyze customer data to see what payment methods your customers prefer so you can tailor checkout to their needs.

23. Follow up on abandoned carts

Often, a customer will add items to their cart and then abandon it without completing the purchase, lowering your conversation rates and revenue. Abandoned carts are an excellent opportunity to re-engage with potential customers since you’re aware of their interest in your brand and which products they’re interested in.

There are many reasons a customer might fail to complete their purchase. Maybe they ran out of time or were unsure if a product was right for them. Most just need a nudge to continue their shopping experience. Guiding those customers back to their abandoned carts is one of the most effective ways to increase your conversation rates.

“Abandoned carts are an excellent opportunity to re-engage with potential customers since you’re aware of their interest in your brand and which products they’re interested in.”

24. Give thanks and ask for engagement

New customers are great — but a loyal customer is the best. Turn one into the other by showing your new customers how much you appreciate them. Directing a customer to a thank-you page after they purchase from you makes them feel welcome and increases the likelihood that they will return. Thank-you pages simply say "Thanks for your purchase!" or offer links to relevant products, additional content, discounts, and product reviews.

Asking customers to share your brand on social media or write a review is a big request. Acknowledge the favor with meaningful incentives, like a discount on future purchases or early access to exclusive products. A reciprocal investment can cement loyalty between you and the existing customer while driving more customers to your site.

25. Collect data and track success

To sell to your customers, you need to know what they want, and there’s no better way to discover that than through customer data. With the right tools, you can acquire customer data — from emails and phone numbers to shopping preferences and behaviors — and turn that into actionable information.

Customer data will help your team know which sections of your website are working well and where further optimization is needed — and help you tailor the shopping experience to the individual shopper. Knowing that one customer bounced on a specific product page can help you refine your item descriptions, while a customer who bounces in the checkout process might help you see where you need to streamline your shopping cart experience.

Increase your ecommerce conversion today

Shopping is an experiment in persuasion, exploring the balance between what customers need, what they want, and what ultimately convinces them to make a purchase. Throughout the shopping experience, there are many opportunities to endear yourself to your customer — and just as many to deter them from your site.

To increase conversion and create more satisfied shoppers, start with the areas where you’ll see the biggest, most immediate impact. Make sure your current ecommerce platform can handle the tasks you’re trying to accomplish, from mobile optimization and intelligent product recommendations to A/B testing, automation, and customer segmentation. Clunky systems and ad hoc solutions can slow you down — not to mention frustrate customers — so it’s essential to have a platform that can do what you need.

From there, you can focus on areas that refine your site, product pages, and checkout process. Along the way, you’ll build a customer experience that maximizes your chances for conversion — and keeps customers coming back for more.

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