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If you’ve spent a lot of time and money developing a content marketing strategy and running banner adverts, yet you still aren’t seeing a good return on your investment in terms of sales, it’s time to make a change. Great products don’t sell themselves — and in the online sphere where an alternative purchasing option is just a mouse click or screen tap away, it’s essential to employ ecommerce optimization tips to streamline your storefront.

Understanding Conversion Rates

Before considering what ecommerce conversion rate optimization is and how to achieve it, you first need to understand conversion rates.

Simply put, a conversion rate is a measure of the number of visitors to your site who perform a specific action. Usually, you’ll want that action to be making a purchase, but in some cases you may consider the following events as conversions:

  • Subscribing to your newsletter
  • Adding items to a “wish list
  • Registering an account
  • Adding something to an online cart
  • Downloading free content
  • Contacting you
  • Visiting your store blog
  • Visiting your site multiple times

The conversion rate is important because it measures what happens once someone is on your site. It therefore provides valuable insight regarding the quality of experience those visitors have.

In the fourth quarter of 2017, the global purchase conversion rate across all industries was 3.26 percent. If your conversion rate is around that figure, then you’re already doing well — but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement.

Why Optimization Is Important

Between advertising, content marketing, and search engine optimization, you probably put a lot of effort into getting visitors to your site. But how much effort do you put into making sure they stick around once they get there? Employing ecommerce optimization tips is the key to ensuring that a visitor becomes a customer. Moreover, it promotes customers to make multiple purchases and share details of the positive shopping experience.

If you use ecommerce optimization tips well, the benefits are exponential. For example, consider a visitor who has an enjoyable experience. That visitor might:

  • Join your mailing list (increased sales leads)
  • Convert and make an initial purchase (increased sales)
  • Come back again (repeat trade)
  • Leave a positive customer review (increased trust)
  • Tell other people (increased traffic flow)
  • Link to your site on their blog (improved search engine ranking)

20 Top Ecommerce Optimization Tips

Optimizing your ecommerce site involves analyzing every aspect of its design and the purchasing process. Is your site easy to navigate? Are the options clear? Do visitors have access to all the information they need? Does the site display correctly on mobile phones? Do visitors have a great incentive to click the “buy” button? Consider these top 20 ecommerce optimization tips:

1. Streamline your checkout process

In the first quarter of 2017, 75.6 percent of customers abandoned their online orders. Reduce abandonment rates on your site by removing navigation bars and other distractions once the customer has clicked to checkout, and by allowing new customers to make purchases as guests without registering.

2. Design for mobile

In 2017, 53 percent of retail sessions happened on mobile phones. Make sure your site is functional on a wide range of devices.

3. Use the right tools

There are many programs available to help you analyze your site traffic, including Google Analytics, programs that record visitor actions (such as Inspectlet), and cart abandonment software that helps you send out follow-up emails to let customers know they aren’t finished yet.

4. Include images

Never include one image when you could include three. Don’t stop at photographs, either — consider size comparison images, exploded diagrams, rotating three-dimensional views, and color charts.

5. Provide thorough product details:

Include full technical specifications, and any other information your customer needs to know.

6. Offer value

Sales, promotional codes, price drops, discount vouchers, and free shipping are all good ways of encouraging sales.

7. Use promotions to get contact details

Offer a free download or discount code in exchange for an email address. Even if you don’t make a sale, at least you get some important visitor data to follow up on.

8. Accept returns

Accepting returns means your customers buy with confidence.

9. Promote security

Ensure your payment page is secure.

10. Streamline navigation

Minimize clicks, keep your layout clean, and never hide the “checkout” or cart buttons.

11. Include a “wish list” function

Not every shopper is ready to buy right now. A “wish list” function is a great way to get an understanding of the products people want, and makes it easier for a visitor to flag products for subsequent purchase.

12. Provide contact details

Don’t hide behind your website. Provide visitors with a way to get in touch via phone or email, to show you’re approachable and ready to help with any questions.

13. Introduce live chat

To immediately help visitors with their buying decisions, consider introducing a live chat function.

14. Include user-generated content

When considering an online purchase, 35 percent of consumers are less likely to buy if there aren’t any customer reviews, and another 32 percent would do more research before buying.

15. Use influencer marketing

Online influencers have built trust with large audiences, so when they recommend products, their audiences take note. For example, 6 in 10 YouTube subscribers follow advice about what to buy from their favorite YouTube influencers.

16. Use content marketing

Well-written blogs are a great way to attract people to your site. Once they’re there, offer them a free newsletter subscription or a downloadable discount voucher.

17. Proofread everything

Correct spelling and grammar position you as a professional with an eye for detail and a commitment to excellence. Those qualities build trust with your visitors.

18. Use quality control

Broken links, dead pages, and buttons that don’t do anything decrease your chances of making a sale.

19. Make small changes

An exciting site redesign may sound like the perfect idea to revitalize sales, but if you change everything at once, you have no idea which changes had a positive effect and which ones had a negative effect. Making small changes makes it easier to track performance.

20. Analyze your data

Don’t lose sight of your goals. Keep reviewing your data, and, even when things start to improve, keep testing and changing site elements to squeeze every last sale out of your visitors.

Takeaway: Improve the Online Shopping Experience

Ecommerce is big business, accounting for 10.2 percent of all global retail sales in 2017. Online shoppers now have millions of online shopping destinations to choose from all around the world. If they visit a page and have a poor experience, they’ll simply click away and find what they need elsewhere. It takes a lot of hard work and effort to encourage someone to visit your store, but it only takes a few seconds to lose them. Implementing ecommerce optimization tips improves the shopping experience, making it easier for visitors to complete checkout in a fast and enjoyable manner, and reducing the risk of them finding a better place to spend their money.