As an online seller, you’re always trying to boost your sales in some way.

If you increase your conversion rate, that equates to a healthier brand and more money in your pocket.

Your ecommerce conversion rate is an important piece of data that represents a lot about the health of your business.

While there are industry standards, it’s crucial that you keep improving your conversion rate regardless of what it is.

Many sellers think that if they simply get the traffic to their store, conversions will come.

That couldn’t be any more wrong.

Rather than have insane amounts of traffic come to your store, focus on converting a higher percentage of a small amount of traffic.

Today you’ll learn:

  • What a conversion rate is and why it’s important to your business
  • How to remove friction for your buyer to increase your conversions
  • Why you need to test, improve and constantly to increase conversion rates

But before you learn all the magical tricks about to ecommerce conversion rate optimization, let’s make sure … you’re clear on what a conversion rate is!

What is a conversion rate?

A conversion rate is the number of people that take a certain action.

In ecommerce, your conversion rate is usually the number of people that buy something from you.

Paid ads, on Facebook and Google for example, usually define a conversion as someone who clicks on your advertisement.

Most often, these rates are displayed as a percentage.

Ecommerce conversion rate optimization is the process of changing things in your ecommerce store to increase your conversion rate.

Now we’re going to look at an easy way to calculate your conversion rate.

The easiest ecommerce conversion rate formula.

Let’s do a little maths.

To find your ecommerce conversion rate, you need 2 things.

  1. Total e-commerce sales
  2. Total visits to your website

Divide your total amount of transactions by the total website visits, and multiply that number by 100.

ecommerce conversion rate calculator

Let’s take a look at a real-life example:

ecommerce conversion rate optimisation conversion rate

Here you can see

  • 147,012 visits
  • 250 transactions

(250 orders / 147012 visits) * 100 = a 0.17% conversion rate.

This store needs some serious help, ASAP!

The example above is a very unfortunate one, as currently in Q1 of 2018, the average ecommerce conversion rate worldwide is 2.48%.

Historically, average ecommerce conversion rates have been between 2% and 3%.

Globally, the average ecommerce conversion rate in 2016 was 2.77%.

And 2017? A Wolfgang digital study into the 2017 ecommerce industry shows that conversion rates were lower than in the year before, sitting at 1.6%.

That means that you have to work even harder to get a decent conversion rate for your ecommerce store!

Advice: Don’t compare yourself to ‘averages’. If you do that, you’ll never be more than average.

What is a good conversion rate for ecommerce?

If you are looking for a specific number, you’re going to be disappointed. There is only one thing to know about a ‘good’ conversion rate.

A good conversion rate is one that’s better than you have now.

If you’re converting at 3.8%-4%, aim for 4.2%.

If you’re converting a 1.1%, aim for 1.3%.

If you use the following conversion rate optimization tips in this article, you should be seeing a conversion rate between 1% and 3%.

What is a low conversion rate?

If you’re just starting your adventure into the world of ecommerce, your initial conversion rate will be low.

That’s perfectly normal, and to be expected.

If your conversion rate is anything less than 1%, it’s worth investing some serious time and resources to change that!

So now you know:

  • What a conversion rate is
  • How to establish your conversion rates
  • And both good and bad conversion rates

Let’s take a look at the most common and not so common ways that you can increase your ecommerce conversion rates!

25 Ways To Increase Conversion Rates Storewide.

1. Quality traffic will boost your ecommerce conversion rate

Quality over quantity, every time.

This phrase rings true many areas of life, especially ecommerce.

Would you rather have 10,000 random people in your store per month, or 2000 active, engaged, ready to buy shoppers?

Obviously, it’s the second option. Don’t waste time and resources getting traffic to your store that isn’t ready to buy.

EXAMPLE: If you use a highly-focussed Facebook Ads campaign, you can make sure that people who are engaged with car fan pages see your advertisement selling your car accessories.

By having customers come to your store that you know are already interested in your products, your conversion rate will increase.

2. How can good design, UI and UX affect your conversion rate?

Your user will struggle to pay for their item if they have to search for a way to do so.

Conversion rate optimization is accompanied by an efficient and visually pleasing User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI).

Bad design, will damage your conversion rate and your profits.

Look at the example below:

ecommerce conversion rate bad design

If you were this customer, would you know what you have in your shopping cart?

So what does a well-designed ecommerce store (with a good conversion rate) look like?

ecommerce conversion rate good design

Many Mornings is a sock that has a well-designed ecommerce store.

But what does ‘well designed’ mean?

  • In the top right, you can see my total cart value
  • In the top left, I can customise my location and currency
  • I can filter the products according to different features
  • Getting around is simple with the centred nav menu
  • I’m reminded of the features of the products I’m browsing.

These little design elements are things that can be A/B tested (something we’ll touch on a little later in this article) to see what works best for you.

If you’re not familiar or experienced with ecommerce design, it may get difficult and frustrating, quite fast. But quality UX-based design is crucial for online conversions.

Consider spending money on professional website design, because it will pay off in the future.

But what do you do if professional website designer isn’t within your budget?

TIP: Search for a cheap, yet professional and effective design and use a pre-existing template. Many can help you create a professionally optimized store in minutes.

This store has been created using an online template:

A simple yet effective free theme from the Shoplo Theme Store

Looking for more ecommerce design inspiration? Find the best free themes for your store in the Shoplo Theme Store (try now)

3. A good returns policy encourages conversions

Most of the traffic in your online store will be first-time buyers. They’ve never heard of you before and they don’t trust you. Yet.

A quality ecommerce returns policy goes a long way in building trust.

If a customer can see that returning a product for whatever reason will not be a problem, they’re more likely to commit to a purchase in your store.

Outdoor Research built trust with an infinite guarantee:

ecommerce conversion rate optimisation gurantee

If you’re planning on creating a return policy to help your conversion rate, downloading a premade template just isn’t enough.

You have to put a little bit of effort into making your return policy your selling point.

Got no idea how to turn a stiff return policy into one that will increase your conversion rate?  Here’s an article that gives you a step by step process of doing exactly that.

“8 Steps to Create A Return Policy Your Customers Will Love” (read now)

4. Quality product photos can boost your conversion by 27%.

Product photos are incredibly important in regards to your ecommerce conversion rate.

People can’t touch, feel or sense what they’re buying online. Photos change that.

Your buyers are visual creatures. The more high-quality and zoomable pictures, taken from multiple angles, the better.

Here, you can see how Gym Glamour uses multiple, high-quality photos on a model.

ecommerce conversion rate optimisation images

Quality product photography ensures that your customer knows exactly what they’re getting and that they can commit to a purchase without hesitation.

No matter how good your current photos are, they can probably be better. Check out our best product photography tips article to see how you can improve yours.

5. How can discount codes create conversions?

Have you ever considered flash sales, discounts and coupons as just a great way to generate a bit of quick cash flow?

They’re great for your online conversion rate as well.

Don’t sell yourself short though. With proper product pricing, you should know how much you can afford to discount a product while still making a profit.

Advice: People obviously look for gifts around gift-giving holidays. Promote a discount code around these holiday periods to see your sales (and online conversions) grow.

6. Specials & sales section

What’s even better than a seemingly random discount code or flash sale?

An entire section dedicated to products on sale.

Your customers will always be looking for value, no matter what they want to buy.

By dedicating an entire category to products that are on sale, or discounted, you encourage them to ‘find a bargain’.

When your customer sees something they like that’s heavily discounted, they find that sense of value.

Now, with their discounted product in their shopping cart, they will complete your checkout process and be extremely satisfied with their ‘bargain’.

Look at the real-life example below:

ecommerce conversion rate sale section

The Odder Side encourages users to add more and convert to a ‘sale’ section.

7. Reconvert your previous customers

Admit it, you’re guilty of having the following thought:

I’ve got the conversion and made the sale, woo. Great. Time to find some more sales.

Wrong.

You’re going to get a better conversion rate by reconverting old customers.

Not to mention, attracting a new customer costs five times more than keeping an old one (source).

Plus, a return buyer creates 5x as much revenue and is 9x more likely to convert again.

So how can you get a previous customer to buy from you again?

It’s a complex system but is truly worth investing in. Not just to improve your conversion rate, but to also generate more cash flow and better revenue.

Bonus tip: It’s worth paying special attention to buyers who spend up big on their first purchase. They obviously convert easier!

8. Don’t upsell

Are you happy with your current conversion rate? Try upselling to increase your average cart value.

Do you want to increase your ecommerce conversion rate? Don’t try and upsell.

Why?

Upselling is offering a complimentary product to the one a user has just put into their shopping cart. It’s a great too tool to increase the average cart spend in your store.

ecommerce conversion rate optimisation upselling

It’s successful for Amazon because they’re Amazon

There’s a big difference between increasing the average cart spend and increasing your conversion rate.

Upselling ultimately distracts your customer from completing the checkout!

If you really want to increase your conversion rate, don’t upsell. Focus on getting your user to complete the checkout immediately.

If you really want to upsell, offer products your customers would be interested in, in their confirmation email!

9. Get an email address ASAP.

Consider the following situation:

Susie wants to buy a pair of your nice socks.

She adds them to her cart, but then the kettle boils. She gets up and makes her cup of tea, but then her mum rings her.  

When she returns to the computer, she sees that Stacey has sent her a cat video on Facebook.

Before long, its 3 am and she’s ready for bed. She hasn’t completed the checkout.

Many of your buyers will have never bought from you in the past. You, therefore, know nothing about them.

Avoid this problem by making it a requirement that people enter their email address in order to complete the checkout.

This means you can email Susie about her socks and her abandoned shopping cart.

If you can’t get their email address on site, then you can still bring them back via email using something like BouncePilot, to give yourself a 2nd shot at closing the deal.

10. How can blogging and content increase conversions rates?

Many ecommerce brands maintain a blog alongside their store, which is absolutely essential.

But the problem arises when a brand’s blog focuses on selling the product, rather than solving problems.

Let’s take a look at an ecommerce brand that’s using blogging for all the right reasons:

ecommerce conversion rate optimisation blog

The Long Hairs are a couple of guys who sell hair ties, wraps, bandanas and other accessories for men with long hair – or anyone with long hair, for that matter.

What they are mostly known for, is their education and informative blogs and videos about long hair life.

They are:

  • entertaining their readers on topics that are interesting and relevant
  • educating their readers about problems they face
  • sharing the growth of the brand with their readers and customers

Their 2 videos about how to wash and condition long hair have reached over 20,000 views in 6 months.

But at no point in any of these videos or blogs, do they actually try and sell their products.  

They use content to attract new visitors at the beginning stage of their buyer journey. Plus, they know their buyer personas.

How does this help their conversion rate and sales?

Because their content helps, entertains and educates, there is trust. Their readers see value in their blog, their videos, and therefore their brand.

How can you implement these tactics?

  • Use a blog to show how your product is made and what makes it different.
  • Create videos that show the history and growth of your brand
  • Regularly use your blog to create articles that solve problems that your customers regularly have.

Plus, blogging is actually quite fun. It’s by far, the most fun way to increase online conversions!

11. Analytics before conversions

Data plays a big roll in your conversion rate. So it’s essential that your data is clear and correct.

Google Analytics is the go-to solution for many ecommerce brands, but it can be overwhelming.

Implementing it correctly, placing the right code in the right spot, setting up goals correctly. Then when it’s set up correctly, you don’t know which data is the most important for you.

Your conversion rate is a must-know statistic if you’re to even consider optimization. But what about other things like:

  • average cart spend
  • revenue per visitor
  • conversion rate by device?

Alternatives like Metrilo are not only easy to implement, they’re designed specifically for ecommerce.

ecommerce tools to increase online sales metrilio ecommerce CRM

This means that all the data you need to know about your conversion rate, revenue and sales are in one place.

Bonus point to Metrilo, as they also act as a CRM and email marketing platform!

12. Cart abandonment

The global cart abandonment rate in Q1 2017 was 75.6% according to Smartinsights. That means that 75 out of your 100 potential customers abandon their purchase.

How to avoid your customers doing the same?

Increase your online conversions by emailing abandoned carts (like Susie and her socks) and reminding them to complete their purchase.

RejoinerCart Stack and Keptify offer some fantastic solutions to help you get back abandoned carts.

Your customers may abandon their carts for a wide range of reasons:

  • The total price is higher than expected

If you’re not offering value for money, you’re ripping people off.

  • You ask for too much data

Only ask for what’s absolutely needed

  • No trust/too much doubt

The person doesn’t trust your payment gateway or your brand

  • Your site is slow and clunky

If someone wants to buy, don’t let a slow site stop them.

  • Shipping is too high

Increase your prices and offer free shipping

But don’t just rely on software. Fix these problems at the source.

Solving these 5 simple cart abandonment problems will help you get back some sales and get your conversion rate increase.

13. Remove friction from the buying process

At its peak, Amazon sells 306 products every second. Amazon conversion rates are mind-blowing.

Why?

Because it’s easy to buy from them – there is 0 friction.

All essential information to complete the purchase is there. Payment, contact and shipping details.  

For your first time buyers, this isn’t the case. So minimize friction by only asking for what is absolutely needed. Do you really need their phone number?

TIP: An absolutely essential feature of your online store is the ‘shipping address same as billing address’ option.

The following is an ideal example of a checkout:

ecommerce conversion rate optimisation checkout

Here we can see the simple checkout for the Guardian Bookshop.

14. Security

Most of your customers are quite savvy and can spot a dodgy store a mile away.

But that doesn’t mean trust is irrelevant. A good online store is able to build a lot of trust in a short amount of time.

Implement these small tweaks and your buyer will feel safe:

  1. Show PayPal and credit card images, as well as other payment options available on your web store.
  2. Show off security badges, like McAfee, Norton or Geotrust. But actually have their security methods in place, don’t just show the images.
  3. Switch to HTTPS and SSL. Most online stores offer this build in feature.

15. Product videos

This cannot be said enough:

People are visual creatures.

In the absence of touching and feeling, we love to look. Photos and videos are the best media to make your customers feel they want your product.

Look at the example of an effective product video:

ecommerce conversion rate optimisationproduct video

Belroy make some incredible product videos

There’s a lot to learn when it comes to making a good product video, but it can make customers love your brand, as well as increase your conversions!

Try these apps to make a product video that sells:

  1. Kizoa is a great online video editor.
  2. Check out VirtualDub to edit videos on your PC.
  3. If you’re a Mac user, iMovie is free and built into OSX.

TIP: Use your current conversion rate as a benchmark, then experiment with some videos to see if it affects your overall sales.

16. Drive engaged traffic with Social Ads

Paid ads or PPC ads (Pay Per Click) allow you to put your brand’s name in front of highly interested, active and engaged users.

Facebook ads let you target people who have interests that orbit around your product.

Engaging this traffic with PPC ads and driving them to your store will have a positive influence on your sales and conversion rate.

Why?

Because targeted traffic is has something in common with your brand’s message. By targeting women who like gardening, you’re more likely to sell your heavy-duty gardening gloves.

By driving traffic from paid social media ads to your store, your sales will increase – as will brand awareness.

Make sure you know how to create a Facebook ad that converts well, too.

17. User-Generated Content

User Generated Content (UGC) is content created by happy customers and shared on social media.

Just like the example below:

ecommerce conversion rate optimisation UGC

This Aultmore Whisky customer creates some UGC for the brand and his cat on Instagram.

Many brands then share these reviews or images on their own social media page, showing off that their products make their customers happy.

A recent study by Yotpo shows that Vanity Planet increased their ecommerce conversion rate by 24% just by having Instagram content on the product page!

Take a look at the bottom of this product page:

ecommerce conversion rate optimisation user generated content

Image from Yotpo

Instagram content is just one way that social media plays a big role in ecommerce and conversion rate optimization for sales.

TIP: Struggling to get that UGC? Consider using Influencer marketing to get the ball rolling.

18. How can live chat help customers convert?

‘What happens if the shoes are too big? Too small?’

Would you send an email and ask that question? Probably not.

But if you could speak to someone directly and get an answer, you probably would.

And then you’d complete the checkout by buying your product.

That’s how live chat increases your conversion rate. Need some numbers?

Forrester found that 44% of customers think that having a life representative to talk to is the most important feature.

Econsultancy found that live chat has the highest rate of customer satisfaction, sitting at 73%.

I think that’s a good enough reason to see how live chat can help you increase your online conversions!

19. Convert with customization

If your customer has the option to make a part of your product just as they want it, they’re more likely to buy it.

People like to express themselves the way they want. Your customers like to make things as they want it.

It’s fun, entertaining and creates a sense of ownership.

For example, Shoes of Prey lets you design your own type of shoe.

Take a look at their interactive website:

ecommerce conversion rate optimisation customisation

In all it’s hideous glory, it’s exactly how I wanted it to be.

But you don’t have to be a huge international company to add a customisable option. Manamana bags offer custom embroidery on their handmade bags.

An option as simple as this will give your customer a more emotional attachment to their purchase.

Tip: Even if it’s something as simple as the colour of a shirt, or certain letters or a logo placed somewhere, this feature will help increase conversion rates.

20. Nail your product descriptions

This is where the creative side of being an online seller come in.

Pictures and videos do a great job at showing a product off, sure. Words play a huge part in converting a customer, too.

But how does a product description improve your conversion rate?

A product description tells a story. The same way that a good TV advertisement makes you want that product, a good product description creates emotion, trust and the image of a better life.

Use your product descriptions to tell a potential buyer:

  • How a surface feels
  • How something smells
  • Is it heavier than it looks?
  • How does it look in a certain light

A good product description does sell or use hype. A good product description adds value and sells benefits, not features.

Your product description doesn’t have to read like a poem, but it is a great opportunity for you to explain how your product solves problems and describe a situation that it thrives in.

Don’t be scared to create a long product description either. A customer that loves what they’re reading will read it all.

Just remember to provide a short but equally as interesting product description for skim-readers.

A great example of a short yet effective product description by SugarPills Clothing:

ecommerce conversion rate optimisation product descriptions

A visual and emotive long description from The Groomed Man Co.

ecommerce conversion rate optimisation long product description

A well-planned product description also does wonders for your SEO.

Want to know how to write a product description that entertains, educates and converts? Have a read of the article:

How to Write a Product Description That Would Make Hemingway Cry (read now)

21. SEO and conversion rate optimization.

SEO Guru Shawn Swaim has the following tips about SEO and your conversion rate:

It’s possible to “accidentally” increase your conversion rate by doing SEO.

Think about it… Creating a better experience for Google means a better experience for your customers. When Google can get through your site better, they’ll send you visitors. When your customers feel your site is great, they are more inclined to buy.

Where do you start?

START WITH PAGE SPEED –

1 second of load time = 20% off of your conversion rate.

Google wants it’s customers to have a fast experience and has declared war on slow sites.

GIVE YOUR CONTENT PERSONALITY – This is kind of Sales 101… When people connect with you, they buy. When Google sees quality content, they rank you higher.

GET GRANULAR WITH YOUR NAVIGATION – When potential customers can easily navigate and find what they’re looking for, they’re more likely to buy. This helps you get more specific with Google as well and they’ll know exactly where to send searchers.

Most importantly, true SEO & Conversion Rate optimization (and success) is about trust. Getting Google to trust your site and getting potential customers to trust you enough to pull out their credit cards to buy.

Looking to see how a good SEO strategy can help increase your conversion rate? Download your free ebook and start boosting your online conversions from today.

SEO Essentials for Ecommerce (Read Now)

22. Checkout as guest

Don’t make your customer sign up for an account just to complete their purchase, as this is just adding more friction to the process.

Requiring a customer to sign up before they pay for their purchase only benefits you, not the customer.

TIP: If you’re certain that you want your customer to make an account, offer it to them after the checkout, and use the details that they’re already entered.

23. Free shipping provides value and boosts your conversion rate.

According to a survey in 2016 by Walker Sands, 88% of consumers said free shipping is the incentive they want most.

Let’s make this clear.

Offer free shipping.

Yes, it will cost you money, but it is one of the most influential things on your ecommerce conversion rate.

ecommerce conversion rate optimisation free shipping

Plus, it’s really not hard to factor in shipping into the price of your product.

24. Reviews & Feedback

People love Amazon and eBay for a lot of reasons. One of those is because of their review and feedback system.

Buyers love to do your research. I mean, who hasn’t done research online before committing to a purchase?

If a customer can go and see the reviews of a product they’re planning on buying, they’re just about to commit to the purchase.

If you can present these reviews, and build that trust on your website, the conversion is more likely to take place on your website rather than somewhere else.

Don’t delete negative reviews, either. The world isn’t perfect, and not every product or transaction is. If someone gives a product a 3 or a 4 out of 5 from time to time, that makes you a little more human to your buyer.

25. A/B testing will keep your conversion rate constantly increasing.

Test, test and test again.

Everything that’s been mentioned on this blog may work wonders for you.

Some of it may take your conversion rate backwards.  

If you haven’t established your ecommerce conversion rate benchmark, you’ll never know what’s working for you and what’s not.

Look at a few other things you can A/B test to see if it helps improve your conversion rate:

  • Not just product images, but also models
  • Search bar location
  • Call To Action (CTA) button shapes and sizes
  • CTA button location and text (Add to cart, buy now)
  • Your pricing ($20 or $19.99)

Hotjar is a great service that uses heat maps and recordings to show what’s working and what’s not on your website.

In the following example, you can see the most popular areas of the Shoplo pricing page.

ecommerce conversion rate optimisation heatmaps

When you think you’ve tested everything, think again. There’s always something else that can be tested!

26. BONUS: Conversion rates on marketplaces

Marketplaces are defined as online stores that sell other people’s products.

For example, eBay, Amazon, Etsy and Bonanza.

Amazon converts customers at a staggering 74%.

Why?

Because the entire website is there to make it as easy for them as possible to buy. Payment and postage details are stored and purchase can be made in just 2 clicks.

Amazon minimizes the friction the buyer feels when completing the checkout – something you can replicate in your store.

eBay, Etsy and other sites are a little different. These marketplaces have a lot of shoppers, but they’re also very competitive. Many people are selling the same, or similar things.

eBay, in particular, sees a lot of duplicate products, where Etsy is focused more toward unique and one-of-a-kind products. The buyers are quite often in ‘research’ mode. Amazon buyers tend to browse Amazon when they’re ready to commit to something then and there.

CONCLUSION

Improving your ecommerce conversion rate it’s not something that will happen overnight. It requires a lot of planning, implementing, testing and analyzing. It is, however, the best thing you can do for your brand.

Some major takeaways and things to remember from this article:

  • Attract already engaged traffic with paid ads, or a blog.
  • Over discounts or add value to a purchase
  • Make the buying experience as smooth and simple as possible
  • Get an email address ASAP
  • Test, test and test again

What works for Target, may not work for your leather-bound journals.

Similarly, what works for your enamel pins probably won’t work for Home Depot.

Finding out what’s best for you is essential, then it’s simply a matter of refining more and more.

If you manage to get your conversion rate above the ecommerce industry average of 2%, you’re doing incredibly well.

As a benchmark, it’s best to aim for a conversion rate of between 1%-2%. 

By implementing these tips and working hard, you’ll be on your way to a better conversion rate, more sales, a healthier brand and a more profitable ecommerce store!

Any tips or tricks that we’ve missed? 

What’s the best way that you’ve managed to increase your average ecommerce conversion rate in your ecommerce store?

Let us know in the comments!

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Phil Forbes

Phil Forbes

Bearded Australian living in Warsaw, Poland. Content writer and marketer for Shoplo, who enjoys helping and watching small ventures start, learn, grow and thrive. I love my dog, Star Wars, heavy metal and my girlfriend – in no particular order.