It doesn’t matter how amazing your product is if your ecommerce CRO efforts don’t bring the bacon.
That’s the harsh way to start the article, but it’s the naked truth!
That’s why we compiled this list of great tips on how to build a rock-solid online store and keep it growing.
Going from level one best practice tips to advanced strategies (with examples), by the end, you’ll know how to increase conversion rates for ecommerce and make them stay high.
The chapters cover all bases:
- Level 1: Set yourself up for success with best practices.
Instantly applicable ecommerce CRO tips for improving ecommerce conversion rates. It is excellent for beginners with brand-new stores and a good checklist for experienced marketers who might’ve forgotten some opportunities to boost the conversions:
1. Make shopping easy
2. Upsell whenever possible
3. Create FOMO (ethically)
4. Use popups wisely
5. Send Abandoned cart email to get them back
6. Build trust
- Level 2: Build on it with a customer-centric approach.
Explaining what it really means to be customer-centric:
7. Understanding customers’ needs
8. Excellent customer relationship = more repeated customers
9. A strong market presence with social media channels
- Level 3: Ecommerce CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization): What, When, How?
Everything you need to know about CRO for Ecommerce:
10. What’s a good Ecommerce conversion rate (and how to calculate it)?
11. When’s the right time to start thinking about ecommerce CRO?
12. Tactics for improving Ecommerce conversion rates
Level 1: Set yourself up for success with best practices
So, you’ve set your store up, the stock is filled to the brim, and the sales are going. However, you have that gnawing feeling that you could do much better with your current resources, and it won’t leave you be.
It takes some time until your efforts are noticed, and sales start increasing. In the meantime, you can speed things up with a couple of easy fixes — see them below.
Make shopping easy
So, what amounts to a hassle-free online shopping experience?
Clearing the path to the checkout. The owners of exemplary stores will make sure to achieve that by:
- Localizing shopping experience
- Enabling easy search
- Showing people exactly what they’re buying
- Optimizing the checkout process
Localizing shopping experience
Localization means more than mere store translation. The only apps you need to add a local feel to your store, wherever your customers live, are:
- Geolocation Redirect App — it will instantly redirect the visitors to the stores that cater to their market. It will prevent people from getting disappointed when they realize the desired items cannot be shipped to their location. The URL stays the same, but the store is optimized explicitly for their language and geographical area — great for SEO!
- Currency Converter — a super handy one: instead of leaving the website to calculate, the exact prices are presented right there. The dropdown menu will show multiple currencies so they can compare at the spot, like this:
Example from https://www.krochoi.com/
Enabling instant search
People won’t spell everything correctly each time or remember the exact name of the product they’re looking for. You can help them with Instant Search: it comes with predictive search, highlights the keywords, shows the star rating right away, and lets you choose whether to display the out-of-stock products or hide them from the search results.
Showing people exactly what they’re buying
…or you risk a bad reputation with unfavorable reviews and wasting the resources with unnecessary product returns/ refunds.
Go in great detail when showcasing your products:
- Sizes, colors, materials, and variations
- How it fits/ Use cases/ Context
- Explanation of how your product works/ What they can accomplish with it
Photos are great, videos are even better — but will it all mess up your website speed?
We know a thing or two about website speed — read how to improve your Shopify store load time and learn how we went from 16.1 to 3.1 seconds! 🚅
Optimizing the checkout process
You don’t want to mess it up when they’re on the verge of making a purchase. Streamline the checkout with buttons, shortcuts, and details where they matter the most:
- The Sticky “Add to cart” button brings a one-click solution, displayed at each step for quick decision-making. The one below shows up when you scroll 20% of the page:
Example from: https://innopillows.com/ – Powered by Vitals – Try for Free
- The Animated “Add to cart” button looks even more attractive:
Example from https://psywearstore.com/ – Powered by Vitals – Try for Free
- Accelerated Checkout gets straight to the point while displaying all the necessary info along the way. BlueRove shows how it’s done:
- Showing important info at the checkout helps shoppers decide in your favor if they’re having second thoughts about the pricey item they wish to buy.
This kit from TrySnow.com seems expensive at the first look, but the info above is there to convince people it’s safe and worth it. As products and their purpose vary, use this space to address the specific doubts *your* customers have.
Upsell whenever possible
Nudge an additional item in their cart with the help of these features:
- Announcement bars — offering a discount? BOGO deal? Sale on specific items? Flaunt it with an impactful announcement bar that stays on top of each page without disturbing their activities:
- Related products/ Frequently bought together — the easiest way to upsell is to offer matches made in heaven. For example, if you sell uniquely shaped pillows, bump it up with pillow covers that match. A small discount for items bought in pairs is a good idea too, just like InnoPillows does:
- Loyalty programs — reward your frequent customers with favorable prices! The point system is easy to track and understand, with more expensive purchases bringing more points
Here, you have that announcement bar we’ve mentioned as well 👀
You can also upgrade the point system like this:
Example from https://www.saltandlaceintimates.com/
Create FOMO (ethically)
Fear of missing out is real — and people fight it in hopes of resisting the marketing “hacks” that prey on their money by manipulating their feelings.
The FOMO we’re talking about has nothing to do with this. You should only display truthful information in a way that makes people make solid purchase decisions. Instead of anxiety, attach positive feelings to shopping at your online store.
You can do so by using:
- Countdown timer — showing how long the discount is active or how long will a flash sale last:
Example from: https://www.lumosnatura.com/
- Cart reserved timer — popular items are quick to run out of stock, so you can enable limited-time reservations to make them feel at ease:
Example from TrySnow.com
- Stock scarcity info — letting people know how many items are left in stock when it’s about to run out.
Use popups wisely
Pop-ups are annoying, and there’s no way around it. Even their creator apologized.
However, people will get over it quickly if your pop-ups are worth something — according to Sumo’s research, the best pop-ups have average conversion rates as high as 9.28%.
If you manage to work around the ad blockers, here’s how to make your pop-ups attractive to the audience:
- Contextualize them — the most important thing to do! Your pop-up has to make sense on the landing page it appears on, or it has a slim chance of doing its job.
- Make them valuable — an offer they can’t refuse, so to speak. Not only should your pop-ups be contextualized, but they should have innate value as well. With extremely useful, otherwise unavailable content, you’re sure to capture the emails with ease.
- Entertain people — sounds bold considering the bad reputation pop-ups have, but it’s not entirely impossible. You can spice things up by being funny, as long as your pop-ups fulfill their purpose.
- Be careful with timing and frequency — just like you’d do in a brick-and-mortar store, let them look around a bit first. Check Google Analytics to see how long they stay on that page on average, and you’ll get the idea.
As for the frequency, don’t be one of those that won’t take “no” for an answer — once a day is enough. Make sure not to pitch the people who completed the action again and again, too.
- Exit-intent pop-ups — these demand special attention. As they’ve already decided to leave, you must capture their attention with something really cool, such as a discount:
Example from https://activ36five.com/ – Powered by Vitals – Try for Free
- A good tactic would be to add Wheel of fortune with discounts and make things amusing; this one from RBX Leather looks good:
Use Abandoned cart email to get them back
Let’s analyze this great Abandoned cart email by DoggyLoot:
What we like about this one:
- FOMO, the good kind we mentioned above — letting people know the items they were interested in will be sold out soon
- Simple layout
- Cart overview
- CTA with a clear message
- It’s cute!
Product reviews and star ratings are the second best thing, right next to the word-of-mouth recommendations. They help with building your social proof and assure the potential customers of your authenticity.
Example from: https://activ36five.com/ – Powered by Vitals – Try for Free
By all means, enable photo reviews. User photos get multiple tasks done:
- Prove that the actual customers left those reviews
- Show what the products look like on different bodies and in various settings
- Provide more details you might have forgotten to add
Trust seals and badges add another layer of trustworthiness. You can use them to highlight important info and emphasize the best about your offer:
Example from https://rbxleather.com/ – Powered by Vitals – Try for Free
Level 2: Build on it with a customer-centric approach
“Customer-centric” is one of those overused phrases that almost lost its meaning. Everything and everyone is “customer-centric” — and what they mean is, they are customers’ money-centric.
Well, those conversions won’t come unless the marketers start thinking of their customers as real people instead of walking, talking, complaining money bags — and start acting accordingly.
Let’s start over and determine what it really means to have a customer-centric approach.
Understanding customers’ needs
There are two primary questions to be answered here:
- Who are you making your product for?
- What kind of product will address their needs better than the others in your niche?
The first question focuses on people who’ll purchase from you — therefore, you need to come up with Buyer personas.
Creating a Buyer Persona
The buyer persona is a fictional profile that represents the people who buy your products. When creating a buyer persona, you should rely on:
- Data about your existing customers — these people already trust you enough to buy from you. Luckily, you’ve already collected the most valuable data in your CRM: demographic info, interests, likes, dislikes, motivation, behavioral patterns, and goals.
- Market and competitor research — see who’s buying from your competitors and investigate what’s lackluster about their products, so you can swoop in and provide something unique on the market.
With this info in front of you, you can combine the data and create several Buyer personas, depending on your brand’s scope. You can start with one or two and develop more as you grow and diversify your offer.
Now that you have the Buyer personas chiseled, you’ll be able to make better use of your resources and focus on people that are likely to love what you have in store. Adjust the content strategy, marketing tactics, allocate the budget — and create the Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
What is a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?
USP is what makes you stand out among the competition. It is your distinctive identifier, much like a person’s fingerprint, the one thing people should remember you for.
“Unique” is not the only thing USP should be, and more than a witty copy sprayed across your channels; a functional USP is also:
- Valuable to your customers
- Specific, as opposed to generic statements such as “we have the highest quality XYZ”
- Somewhat exclusive, not that easy to find at other places
This perfect example below packs a punch just like morning coffee does:
Example from https://www.deathwishcoffee.com/
It’s advertised as the world’s strongest coffee. Language and branding follow perfectly, while claims of smooth, rich taste linger in the background but are present as well.
Excellent customer relationship = high number of repeated customers
The job is not done once you sell them something.
If you want good Ecommerce CRO rates, invest in your returning customers — they make up for 41% of ecommerce stores’ revenue!
Repeat customers are easier to sell to and feel safer spending more with stores that left them satisfied the last time.
This is how you leave a great impression:
- Solicit feedback — once they’ve received the product, kindly ask them to describe their experience, good or bad; good serve as social proof, bad as learning material instructing you how to improve.
- Listen and implement — show that those emails asking for feedback weren’t sent in vain; apply customers’ suggestions whenever possible, and let them know you did.
- Improve customer service — empower your reps: they should be ready to come up with solutions to all the issues that may arise with the product/ service, answer the questions, and do so fast and effectively. Review sites such as g2.com and Shopify app store are precious knowledge bases: take a look at reviews concerning customer support, and you’ll know what irks people the most and what they love.
Build strong market presence with social media channels
It’s where people are and where they discuss, comment, leave pictures and videos of their hauls.
Present, pleasant, and responsive brands leave a remarkable impression and connect with their audience in a genuine, human way. This kind of direct communication is faster than website forms and emails as well and simpler than chatbots. In case they have complaints, you can address them quickly and visibly, so the public sees you don’t leave people stranded once you get their money.
What’s even better, this is the place to gather User-generated content and use it (with their permission) to:
- Build social proof with reviews
- Showcase the products better with various photos and video
- Start building your influencer marketing campaign with notable content creators
- Build ad campaigns with authentic, more convincing content
- Enhance brand advocacy
We spoke to Jenna Shanahan from RedOxx.com — this is what she had to say about customer relationship:
- “Focusing on what the customer wants and being kind and helpful goes a long way, even if it means sending them to a competitor because what you offer doesn’t fit their needs at the time. They remember that and will come back knowing it’s more than a quick sale”
- “We strive to build lasting relationships with our customer base. For us, the customer relationship is important to maintain returning customers and help spread the word about who we are”
- “Social presence and brand awareness can go a long way even though you don’t see direct conversions. Letting customers share their experiences on our Facebook and Instagram has gone a long way for brand recognition and strengthens our core values. Lastly, having brand ambassadors that speak to your target demographic will help in the long run too”
We couldn’t agree more.
Level 3: Ecommerce CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization): What, When, How?
What’s a good ecommerce conversion rate (and how to calculate it)?
The average ecommerce conversion rates go between 1% and 4% — depending on what research you read, what’s measured, and what’s your final goal.
Here’s how to determine the conversion rate for an ecommerce website:
- Pick a period, let’s say a past month, for example
- Count the number of website visits (1.000) and the number of conversions (10) in that period — this comes to a 1% conversion rate for the selected month.
Conversion rate = (number of conversions / number of visitors) * 100
Apply the same for newsletters, landing pages, ads, emails to get the percentage, but don’t beat yourself up too much over it. There’s no such thing as a golden standard to compare your number with.
It’s much better to focus on catering to your customers, and results will follow.
When’s the right time to start thinking about ecommerce CRO?
Jenna thinks that it’s never too early to start a CRO for any ecommerce business. Others think you should wait until you have plenty of data to work with.
We’re somewhere in between on this: start as soon as you gather *enough* data to make reasonable calculations after running the tests.
Tactics for improving Ecommerce conversion rates
Whatever you decide, there are several tactics you should combine for advanced, holistic ecommerce CRO:
- Sales funnel analysis — see what brings people in, what makes them give up, what makes them buy. When you pinpoint the trouble areas, work through and apply the solutions, and double on what makes people convert.
- Power to the data — data never lies, and sales funnel analysis will add the necessary context to paint the complete picture. Bounce rate, click-through rate, CTA success, behavioral targeting, heat maps, eye tracking… The list goes on and on, but it’s essential to make the best use of this info and learn how your customers behave.
- Continuous testing — this is the core step to see what works. With the A/B testing (also called split testing), you run two versions simultaneously and see what works better. Multivariate testing is a bit more complicated: pick a couple of variables to test in a controlled setting, compare the outcomes, and you’ll know the exact combination to use.
Condensing all of the above in a couple of rows — for best ecommerce CRO results:
- Start with basics and best practices, and then expand to more advanced tactics.
- Build trust and listen to your existing customers: the customer-centric approach is a guaranteed win.
- Returning customers are easier to work with and amount to almost half of total ecommerce revenue.
- Start with CRO for ecommerce whenever you feel you’re ready; test, compare, and apply what the data suggests.
With a dedication to customers and great tools, there’s little you cannot achieve.
And, you can get all the tools we mentioned above for the price of one. We packed every feature necessary to run an ecommerce Shopify store in a single, powerful app, and made it lightweight and cost-effective.
Take a look at the must-have Shopify apps we provide and start selling more ASAP.
Vitals guest author