Ecommerce optimization is essential for any business owner who wants to stand out and get found amidst the Amazons and eBays of the world. Small ecommerce shops can perform very well, but you have to know how to make your site discoverable and compelling.
That happens via ecommerce optimization. From the product images and explainer videos to product copy and checkout process, every detail can help or hurt your chances of converting a prospect. That’s what we’re going to cover today.
I’m going to describe ecommerce optimization, explain conversion rates, and help you calculate your own conversion rate. Next, we’ll jump into 22 helpful tips to maximize conversions on your site.
What is Optimization in Ecommerce?
The term “ecommerce optimization” refers to the process of preparing your website to not only attract, but also to retain, visitors. In other words, it’s a way to get people to your ecommerce store and convince them to convert.
The ecommerce optimization process can involve lead generation, lead magnets, exit popups, incentives, calls to action, and more. If you make your ecommerce store irresistible, people won’t be able to look away.
More importantly, you have to showcase your unique selling position (USP) so your visitors aren’t tempted to look elsewhere.
What is a Good Ecommerce Conversion Rate?
Ecommerce conversion rates vary by industry, device, and other factors. According to research published by SmartInsights, though, they typically fall between 2 and 3 percent.
That’s a little underwhelming, right?
However, that’s not the end of the story.
Instead of collecting just 10 emails per day, we started collecting 50+ emails per day.
The same strategy can work for ecommerce conversions. You might create an exit popup that offers a discount for the user. Instead of clicking away, they buy.
Looking for hacks like this to boost your conversion rate can take you well above the national and global averages.
Understanding Different Ecommerce Conversion Rate Metrics
Conversions can happen in a number of scenarios. Obviously, the most common metric to measure is sales. How many sales do you do in a day, week, month, or year? During which months do you earn the most revenue?
However, you need to dig a little deeper than that.
For instance, using Google Analytics, you can trace your customers’ buying journeys. Where do they make contact with your brand? How many touch points do they make before they buy?
You also need to know which metrics influence conversions.
For instance, time on page has emerged as one of the strongest KPIs to follow for the ecommerce marketplace. So-called “sticky” websites tend to get more sales because people stick around longer.
What does this mean? You need content on the page. Increase internal links throughout your content to keep people on your site and to lower bounce rates.
Site speed, cart abandonment rate, and referral traffic are also important metrics to track. You want to know how fast your site loads on all devices, why people are abandoning their carts, and where your traffic is coming from.
Why Are Conversion Rates Important for Ecommerce?
When it comes to ecommerce optimization, your goal is to increase sales, right? Web traffic, for instance, is great for vanity, but it doesn’t put food on the table.
Knowing your conversion rate allows you to see what you’re doing right and where you can improve. From there, you can institute ecommerce optimization strategies to bring up those rates and close more sales.
I mentioned metrics above. Let’s look at them in a more holistic fashion.
Let’s say that you have a low conversion rate and a high bounce rate. Those numbers might be related.
For instance, maybe your site doesn’t load fast enough, or perhaps your copy is too confusing. If you reduce bounce rate, you might see your conversion rate increase.
The only way to reach these conclusions is to track your conversions.
How to Calculate Your Ecommerce Conversion Rate
Believe it or not, you don’t need a mathematics degree to calculate your ecommerce conversion rate. It’s a very simple formula:
Divide your total ecommerce transactions by your total site visits, then multiply the resulting number by 100.
For instance, let’s say you have 1,000 site visits and 100 transactions. That gives you a 10 percent conversion rate (100/1,000*100).
List of 22 Ecommerce optimization best practices to increase conversion rates
Now that we’ve covered some of the basics of ecommerce optimization, let’s turn our attention to how it looks in a real-life marketing strategy. What can you do to optimize for conversion rates and increase your sales?
1. Use a good cart abandonment software program
Website optimization often comes down to tracking data and implementing automation. Those two facets come together to help you better get to know your audience.
Cart abandonment software helps reduces cart abandonment rates and bring back people who might have left your site for any reason.
For instance, let’s say a visitor packs a cart full of products at your ecommerce store. He or she then abandons the cart halfway through the checkout process.
That person then receives an email: “You forgot your stuff! It’s still here for you.” Something like that.
Now, the consumer has another opportunity to return to the cart and complete checkout.
People abandon carts for all sorts of reasons, whether they’re suddenly called to an urgent meeting or they get irritated by the number of form fields they have to fill out. Bringing them back can boost conversion rates.
2. Offer free shipping to increase ecommerce conversion rates
One of the top objections to ordering online is paying for shipping. Since shipping costs often amount to half or more of a small purchase price, it makes more sense to drive to a local store.
You can refute that objection by offering free shipping. It’s a simple way to boost conversions and generate more revenue.
Just add an exit popup or a top bar that lets your visitors know about your free shipping offer. That way, there’s no doubt they’ll see it.
3. Optimize your ecommerce website for mobile devices
Responsive design proves essential for any website, but particularly for ecommerce stores. You need to be able to serve up attractive, useful information to consumers no matter what device they use.
Additionally, you should make sure your integrated software works on mobile. With Hello Bar, for instance, you can create a special bar just for mobile visitors.
4. Try these ecommerce checkout conversion rate optimization tips
- Use as few form fields as possible to speed up checkout.
- Use two-page checkout to minimize the appearance of effort needed to complete the process.
- Add more payment options, such as PayPal.
- Allow customers to check out as guests instead of forcing signups.
These tips will encourage people to complete the checkout process rather than abandon their carts.
5. Set up your ecommerce site structure for conversion
Site structure matters when it comes to ecommerce optimization. A confusing navigation system, lack of breadcrumbs, and poor categorization are among the most common pitfalls.
Keep it as simple as possible. Set up categories for your products, assign products to those categories, and make sure customers can see their breadcrumb trail.
For instance, you always know where you are in the Amazon hierarchy:
The same should be true on your site. Additionally, make sure you have a robust search feature.
6. Use exit-intent popups to optimize ecommerce conversions
An exit-intent popup gives your prospect one more chance to buy your product. It effectively says, “Wait, are you sure you want to go? Let me sweeten the pot.”
You can create exit popups with Hello Bar to invite your readers to stay. Offer a coupon code or other incentive to make a purchase.
Overstock.com has created an ingenious version of the exit popup. When you try to leave a particular page, you might see this:
It’s a “spin to win.”
When I did my spin, I landed on 15 percent off. Overstock presented me with this screen:
Even if I don’t want to buy something now, I can retain the offer by entering my email address. Notice the unusual and effective CTA: “unlock 15% off.”
7. Make CTA buttons prevalent to increase ecommerce conversions
Speaking of CTAs, you need good ones if you want your ecommerce optimization process to yield results. Your CTA buttons should inspire and delight your audience.
Ideally, you’ll want to use unusual language. The Overstock example illustrates this perfectly: “unlock 15% off.” It’s creative and authoritative.
You don’t want to assume that a CTA button will work, though. Make sure you A/B test your CTAs frequently to see which ones prove more persuasive with your audience.
Hello Bar allows you to automatically A/B test your CTAs. Once the software has gathered sufficient data, it will let you know which version “won.”
8. Let customers check out as guests to reduce abandoned checkouts and improve ecommerce optimization
I touched on this briefly earlier, but it deserves special attention.
When you require customers to sign up as site members before they can buy something, you put extra hurdles in their way. Now they have to confirm their email addresses, fill out more form fields, and spend more time.
Plus, you’re asking for information that isn’t strictly necessary for the transaction. That’s why the GDPR exists. Consumers want more control over how, why, and when their personal information gets collected.
Allow prospects to buy as guests. You’ll improve your conversion rates considerably.
9. Use high-quality product images to increase ecommerce optimization
Images sell the product. So do videos.
Part of ecommerce optimization revolves around giving your prospect every excuse to buy. A detailed description can help, but there’s no substitute for visual evaluation.
You don’t need an expensive setup to take good photos and video. Check out Etsy for great examples of product photography done on the cheap.
10. Ask customers for product reviews to increase ecommerce social proof
Social proof is essential when it comes to ecommerce optimization. If you want people to buy, you need to show them that other people have bought — and loved — your product.
Consider adding a request for an honest review to your confirmation email. Provide a link back to the product page and, if necessary, detailed instructions for posting a review.
Some customers won’t even read the reviews. They’ll simply see that your product has a decent star rating and several reviews to its name.
11. Use simple forms to increase ecommerce conversion rates
Nobody wants to fill out a 100-field form. If you ask for too much information, you take up more of the prospect’s time and request more of his or her personal information.
Ideally, ask for only the minimum information needed to complete the transaction. You’ll want a name and an email address, as well, so you can follow up.
12. Show shopping cart contents at all time
Page design can also help improve ecommerce optimization. If you show the amount of items in the shopping cart at all times, you constantly remind the consumer to check out.
Amazon does this.
It’s a great visual cue for the consumer so they don’t leave the website without carrying out the purchase. Remember that people are easily distracted.
13. Openly show phone number and contact page to shoppers
When people are shopping for specific products, they might have questions. If you don’t provide an easy way for those people to get their questions answered, you might lose the sale.
Include your company’s phone number at the top of every page. Make it big and bold so consumers can’t miss it. In fact, you might want to use a Hello Bar for this. Let your mobile customers call you direct from the top bar.
Additionally, link to your “contact” page in the navigation bar. Your prospects might prefer to get in touch via email or some other communication method instead.
14. Provide detailed product descriptions to increase ecommerce conversion rates
15. Use trust badges to let your customers know your store is safe
Everybody wants to feel safe, right? Even while they’re browsing the web — and especially when they’re paying for products on the Internet.
Trust badges send the message that you not only value your customers’ privacy and security, but that you also actively help provide it.
You don’t have to include every trust badge or safety seal available. However, you want the bare minimum, at least, to show you care about security.
16. Create an impressive about us page to increase website trust
People appreciate authenticity. Yes, that word has become slightly overused in the marketing sector, but it still matters.
Think about your own web browsing activities. When you discover you’re interested in a company or site, what do you look for first? Probably the “about us” page.
You want to know who’s behind the company, what they stand for, where they’re located, and what they do. A non-existent or bare-bones about page sends a negative message. It says the company is hiding from something.
Add plenty of detail, personality, and color to your about page. Provide as many concrete facts as possible, such as your business’s physical location, toll-free phone number, and more.
It’s also a good idea to add social proof, mission statements, and other details that give your company more substance.
17. Test search results to find potential mistakes
Ideally, you want your ecommerce products to show up in search. If they don’t, you’re missing out on traffic — and sales.
If I search for “bluetooth headphones” on Google, I see sponsored results first, then organic results.
Bluetooth headphone sellers want to appear as close to the top of the organic search results as possible. If you’re not appearing there, check out the pages that do.
You can find lots of ways to optimize your own product pages for search. Maybe you need more mentions of the primary keyword or more related keywords.
18. Use product video demonstrations to increase conversion rates
Product videos and explainer videos can cause a massive increase in conversion rates. One of the downfalls of shopping online is that you can’t pick up the product and examine it.
Your prospects, however, can watch you do it.
Demonstrate the most important qualities or features your product offers. Explain why it’s the best value and how your prospect can benefit from it.
Videos are also great for cross-promotion. Embed them in your blog posts, push them live on YouTube, and encourage other people to embed them. Increase website traffic and conversions at the same time.
19. Use social media buttons to increase shoppers’ engagement with your brand
Shoppers might visit your website and decide that your product isn’t for them. However, that doesn’t mean the shopper can’t provide value to your business.
Maybe that person knows someone else who would love your product. He or she can share it with their audience on Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms if you deploy social media buttons.
These buttons take the work out of sharing a page on social media. They automatically fill in the information, so your user simply has to tap or click a couple times to spread the word.
20. Personalize referral traffic: Use different popups for each referrer to increase ecommerce conversion rate
Hello Bar allows you to target your popups and bars to specific people based on how they land on your website. By specifying a rule for referral source, you can customize your message.
This way, you can optimize your ecommerce site for the individual visitor. For instance, maybe you’ve just published a guest post on someone else’s blog. You could create a welcome message for everyone who comes from that domain.
21. Use retargeting ads
You don’t have to advertise if you lack the funds or if your organic marketing efforts are working well. However, retargeting ads can be particularly useful — and profitable — when it comes to ecommerce optimization.
It’s probably happened to you tons of times. You visit a website, look at a few products, and decide you’re not ready to buy. The next day, you hop on Facebook to check up on your pals, and there on your screen is an ad for the very product you considered yesterday.
After giving it some thought, you say to yourself, “Yeah, actually, I do want that product.” Then you go buy.
Retargeting ads can be more efficient than other ad forms because they create a new touch point with consumers who are already brand-aware.
22. Constantly measure your ecommerce optimization results
It sounds labor-intensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Monitoring your ecommerce optimization results will tell you what’s working well and what isn’t so you can adjust accordingly.
For instance, if you run A/B tests through Hello Bar to see how your offers are working, you’ll know quickly what offers and CTAs perform best with your audience. Similarly, you can track your traffic and conversions via Google Analytics, Crazy Egg, and other useful tools.
Even when you have a good conversion rate, don’t stop testing. There are always new strategies, copywriting approaches, and other ways to improve what’s on your website.
Ecommerce optimization should be part of your everyday life as an ecommerce store owner. Conversion optimization helps you sell more products, cultivate brand loyalty, and gain more exposure.
Optimization in ecommerce refers to the steps you take to make your products and website more desirable to consumers. It also involves making your pages more discoverable via search engines.
Conversion rates are important because they tell you how well your products are performing. And no matter how high they get, they can always improve.
You can easily calculate your conversion rate by dividing your total transactions by your total site visits, then multiplying by 100. Calculate each product page individually, too.
Next, put into practice the above 22 ecommerce optimization tips. From deploying cart abandonment software to optimizing the checkout process, you’ll thank yourself for putting in the extra effort.
Don’t forget that tools like Hello Bar can help. Use Hello Bar to keep people on the page, advertise offers, and reach out to people from specific referral sources.
How do you optimize your ecommerce store?