eCommerce conversion rate optimisation helps you turn more of your existing website traffic into customers.
Although conversion rates vary massively between different online stores, the average falls somewhere between 1 and 3%, meaning there are a lot of opportunities to convert even more shoppers.
Endlessly driving new traffic to your site but failing to optimise the customer experience means your efforts will mostly be wasted. This is why you need to adopt a conversion rate optimisation strategy to drive long-term eCommerce growth.
Let’s take look at the basics of eCommerce conversion rate optimisation - what it is, why you need to do it and how to get started.
What is a conversion?
Broadly speaking, a conversion takes place whenever a customer takes a desired action.
This can be any number of things, such as signing up to your newsletter, following you on social media, filling in a form or getting in touch with you.
In eCommerce, a conversion usually refers to a customer making a purchase.
But it can also be useful to track micro-conversions occurring throughout the customer journey.
This could be when a visitor adds an item to their basket, interacts with an Overlay or creates an account.
These micro-conversions offer an insight into which aspects of your site are performing well and where you need to focus more attention.
What is eCommerce conversion rate optimisation and why is it important?
eCommerce conversion rate optimisation is all about increasing the percentage of visitors who make a purchase.
To work out your current conversion rate, divide the total number of orders you received in a particular period by the total number of visitors who visited your site and multiply this figure by 100.
Bear in mind the average eCommerce conversion rate is between 1 and 3%.
Now, how do you go about increasing this percentage?
To do this you'll want to focus on evaluating your site to see what works and what doesn’t.
You don’t need to increase ad spend or grow your marketing team, you’re simply improving what you already have to provide an elevated customer experience.
If your site isn’t optimised from homepage to checkout, you're wasting your PPC and ad spend.
No matter how successful your paid marketing campaigns are at attracting new customers, delivering new traffic to an unoptimised site will never result in the growth you’re looking for.
The margins in conversion rates for eCommerce sites are so small that often simple changes across your site can accumulate into an impressive increase in conversions.
In the long-term, this will reduce cost per acquisition, increase revenue and drive growth.
What are the common causes of a low conversion rate?
There are a whole host of factors that could be contributing to a low conversion rate. Let’s take a look at a few common reasons.
Confusing design, layout and navigation
Users form their first impressions in a matter of milliseconds. If your design and layout are unclear and unappealing, visitors won’t want to continue exploring your site.
With more and more transactions taking place on mobile devices, optimising the mCommerce experience is a no-brainer.
Confusing site navigation and slow, inaccurate site search will make your site difficult to access and provide a poor customer journey. As a result, users will be unengaged and less likely to convert.
No exit intent
If they do decide to leave at this crucial point, without exit intent Overlays and basket abandonment emails they may be lost forever. If you’re not attempting to capture and re-engage users who change their minds at the last minute, you will be missing out on a whole host of conversions.
Absence of off-site communication
If they do decide to leave at this crucial point without basket abandonment emails they may be lost forever.
Abandoned cart emails have an average open rate of 45%, with an average clickthrough rate of 21%, so ensuring your content of these emails works is paramount to successful basket abandonment emails.
Lack of dynamic content
Personalisation is key to converting window shoppers.
Using insights from similar customers to showcase products users might like, or using their browsing history to recommend intelligent upsells will not only prompt a conversion but will also encourage users to build bigger baskets, thereby increasing eCommerce conversion rate optimisation.
When a user reaches your checkout page they are only a few quick clicks away from converting. This means you need to do everything possible to keep them moving toward a purchase.
Make sure your checkout process is as simple as possible and customers are aware of the payment options you accept. Lengthy forms and confusing layouts will turn shoppers away at the very last moment.
Where to start with CRO
Gather insights and data
Analytics is a crucial tool to consult when beginning your conversion rate optimisation journey.
Tracking customer behaviour on your website through Google Analytics exposes patterns and trends which can inform your eCommerce and marketing strategy. By evaluating analytics data, you can discover where customers drop off the user journey.
Perhaps your data shows that a large percentage of visitors don’t even make it further than your landing page. Or maybe your checkout page has a high bounce rate.
A data-driven approach is a sure-fire way to identify the pain points in the customer journey and acts as a starting point for your optimisation efforts.
Evaluate the customer journey
Away from analytics, tracking the customer journey can also be as simple as making your way through your website just as a customer might.
Begin at your homepage and navigate your way through the site, searching for products, browsing product descriptions, adding items to your basket, creating an account and completing checkout forms.
Experiencing this process from start to finish, rather than dropping in and out of individual stages, highlights pain points that could be affecting your conversion rate.
Request feedback from customers
Although you may know your website inside out, the greatest insights into your customer experience will likely come from your visitors.
When dealing with conversion rate optimisation, success comes in the form of a customer-centric approach. You can only improve your customer experience when you know what your visitors like and dislike.
Gathering feedback from converted customers is just as crucial as surveying those who chose not to convert.
Combining this information with data-driven insights allows you to identify pain points and opportunities and then implement changes that will increase the number of conversions.
Perhaps your research has unanimously identified a product page that is not performing well and would benefit from an injection of social proof or personalisation.
Or maybe customer feedback has identified that your customer support system is lacking, so you look to integrate a smart messenger system.
When implementing changes to your site, it's good practice to conduct an A/B or multivariate test to make sure the adjustments you’re making are positively affecting your conversion rate. Learn more about A/B testing.
How to improve your conversion rate
Now you’ve worked out the areas of your site that need addressing, you can start making improvements.
You’ll want to tailor your conversion rate optimisation tools depending on a customer’s position in the sales funnel and their on-site behaviour.
If a user has spent time browsing your products and interacting with your site, you can assume they are interested in what you have to offer.
Showcase your product catalogue and inject dynamic product recommendations to increase product exposure and connect shoppers to the items they’re looking for.
Reduce basket abandonment
Use exit intent Overlays to re-engage users and guide them towards a purchase.
Overlays could promote your free shipping, incorporate social proof in the form of reviews, or display the credit cards you accept and the payment gateways you offer.
Displaying these messages as users attempt to exit reduces basket abandonment and persuades shoppers to remain on your site.
If a visitor has left their email address before abandoning, put it to good use with an email retargeting campaign.
Offer to save their baskets for checkout at a later date and send a discount incentive to encourage them to return.
Or deliver your new launches to inactive users' inboxes and encourage them to return to your site.
Related: For a more detailed approach to generating a higher conversion rate, take a look at these ten strategies you could implement to turn window shoppers into customers.
As conversion rate experts, we know how to get the most out of your website traffic.
But what does the future look like?
With online reigning supreme over the last 18 months, eCommerce is only going to become more competitive.
Using these top tips on CRO will help your site stand out from the rest.
Our intelligently designed products replicate the experience of the in-store sales assistant to increase your website conversion rate, engage customers, prevent basket abandonment and maximise online revenue.