Conversion Rate Optimization for Ecommerce

A keyboard with tiny 3D boxes on top with grocery carts on them

Did you know that conversion rate optimization for ecommerce websites is one of the most effective, though often overlooked, ways to drive more revenue to your bottom line?

The fact of the matter is that people are going to continue to turn to ecommerce for more of their purchases than ever before. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies – big and small – to close completely, limit the number of shoppers in their stores, or turn to alternative shopping methods such as Buy Online, Pick Up in Store. 

“I’m seeing a lot of retailers closing – retailers that haven’t been closed on major holidays in years, like Target. And the stores that are open, are now subject to government regulations – they’re going to have shorter hours and they are going to be limiting the number of shoppers in the store.

This is going to push people online and companies need to adapt”

– Patrick

Ensuring your ecommerce store is ready to handle an influx of traffic and then convert those customers is crucial now. Before higher shopping seasons, like summer, back to school and major yearly holidays. 

What Is Conversion?

In the highly competitive online purchasing world that we now live in, there are many things that impact whether or not your site visitors become paying customers. Loosely stated, turning visitors into buyers is called conversion. 

Conversion rates are one of the key metrics to pay attention to as you build your ecommerce business and work to increase revenue.Increasing conversion rates isn’t something that will happen by chance. It’s important to optimize your site to make it happen. It doesn’t matter if you’re a new, one-person start-up, a corporate ecommerce department head or a Director of Marketing looking to hit aggressive KPIs by year’s end; there’s no better time to become an expert in conversion rate optimization than it is crucial for long-term success. 

Before we go any further, it’s important that you’re able to easily define what a conversion is in your particular business model. In many cases, a conversion will have different definitions for various types of businesses and transactions.

For example, a WordPress site that’s set up with the goal of collecting user email addresses would consider a new email address submission as a conversion.

However, a site whose main purpose is to sell pet supplies, but also collects email addresses to promote a monthly newsletter, would not necessarily consider a new email address submission to be a conversion.

For this pet supply site, a conversion might only happen when a product is purchased by the user.

Examples of Conversions

How do you factor the online conversion rate for your site? Your conversion rate will be defined as the percentage of your users that come to your site and end up completing an action that you desire. As such, it’s important to fully understand what the end goal of your site is. You want your site conversions to align directly with your overall business goals.

Some examples of different ecommerce site conversions are:

  • Making a sale
  • Product added to a user cart
  • Email signup
  • Product added to a user wishlist
  • Social media follows or shares
  • Any other Key Performance Indicator that you or your organization find valuable

The reality is that every one of these bullet points are worthy of a full guide all to their own. You won’t be able to properly track and improve your conversion rates without first nailing down what a conversion is on your site.

After you’ve determined what a conversion is for your site, your business-specific conversion rate will be factored as the percentage of users that completed that action within a specified time period. You may even decide to track multiple types of conversions to further optimize your overall operations

While conversion isn’t the only metric to measure the success of your ecommerce site, it certainly gives you a solid snapshot into the details of how your site content is performing.

To optimize your conversion rates, a big part of the process will be improving each customer’s shopping experience. Keep in mind that conversion rate optimization should be performed on your category pages, landing pages, and all other customer touchpoints throughout your sales funnel.

Don’t know where to start? Signup for our performance audit and we will give you a detailed report of where your site is and where you need to go.

What Is Considered a Good Conversion Rate for Ecommerce?

On average, you should expect conversion rates on ecommerce sites to hover in the 1 – 2% range. When you’re doing you’re optimizing your conversion correctly, you’ll see your rates at or above 2%. That’s a good baseline goal to set as you begin the process.

Once you’re able to hit a 2% conversion rate by implementing the following optimization techniques effectively, you’ll be able to move on to more advanced tactics that can increase conversion rates even further.

How To Calculate the Conversion Rate for Your Ecommerce Site

In order to determine your conversion, you first need to select a time period to pull your data from. So, let’s say 30 days. Over those 30 days, you had x amount of conversions with y amount of visitors. You would simply divide your conversions by your site visitors and then multiply by 100. 

For example: 

Total Conversions divided by: Total Site Visitors x 100 = Conversion Rate
3750000.74%
39817,0002.34%
1,40822, 8006.17%
3,63976,0004.79%

It really is as simple as that.

Most tools you’ll use for analytics will provide the conversion rate within any segmentation of data. Before we move on to the tools and strategies you can use to increase your conversion, it is important to understand exactly what your site users are doing when they land on your site.

  • In what ways do they interact with the site? 
  • Where do customers get stuck? 
  • What pages or posts have the highest bounce rates?

Understanding these key touch points will help set up proper and realistic conversion rate benchmarks for now and in the future.

a brown skinned asian female works on a laptop with a second screen by her

Front-End Conversion Rate Optimization Tools for Ecommerce

The Internet has some highly valuable and useful tools that can help you analyze the issues with your current conversion rates.

HotJar

This is a highly useful tool that helps you understand, from a high level, exactly how site users interact with your site. It can be used as a heat-mapping tool that maps user cursor movements, scroll depth and click functionality.

Depending on the HotJar plan that you choose, every heatmap you run will capture anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 page views. The program then compiles a full aggregate analysis for your review.

HotJar also does session recording, which is an extremely valuable tool for analyzing the behavior of customers in real-time. With page targeting defined, the program records user sessions on an individual basis that you can later watch and learn from on an organic level.

Beyond that, you can also set up filters that are attribute-based for metrics such as:

  • Page views
  • Length of visit
  • Location of user
  • Device used
  • And more

You can view these metrics individually or in combination, while drilling down into specific segments and user groups.

If you’re serious about conversion rate optimization for ecommerce, you should consider using HotJar.

Google Analytics

For any website you manage, and especially for an ecommerce site, it’s important to set up Google Analytics. This is a free tool that gives you great insight into your site data, including:

  • How your visitors find your site (this may be in the form of direct visits, referral sites, or specific keyword searches)
  • How long your users remain on your site
  • Where your users came from before landing on your site
  • If the user is new or a returning visitor
  • The browser and operating system used and if it came from a desktop or mobile device
  • How many conversions you’ve had and the path that lead them to the conversions
  • A link to your Adwords campaign so you can track your paid traffic separately

As you can see, there’s a lot of data that you can pull from your free Google Analytics account. It’s definitely worth the time to set up and dive into.

Quantcast Measure

This is a newer addition to the list of go-to conversion rate optimization tools – it’s proven to be quite valuable in its own regard.

The simplest way to explain how Quantcast operates is that it works to fill a gap between your Google Analytics account and Facebook analytics. The tool measures the site usage of visitors and provides you with advanced demographics on a per-click basis.

The results are deep insights into the personalities of your users, which can translate into higher business intelligence for teams that creatively tailor their imagery and messaging to uniquely resonate with a chosen demographic.

Quantcast also allows you to view metrics in composition view (as a percentage of a whole). Or, you can view indexed metrics to compare how your site ranks with an average site that’s based in your region.

For practical purposes, this means that you gain insights into certain visitor segments that you’re able to reach disproportionately from the public in general.

Conversion Rate Optimization for Ecommerce

“Keep it simple, stupid. ecommerce site owners add so much complexity and a bunch of features for no reason other than they sound cool. But what they’re not doing is thinking about their audience – are your customers going to actually use that feature? Is it required for your site to have a robust affiliate rewards point system that allows your customers to redeem for store credit?

You’re building unnecessary complexity into your site to sell a product. The question I ask our clients is if the functionality is required for your business. If not, simplify your site.” – Patrick

Front-End Strategies

Front-end is simply how your website appears to, and functions for, site visitors. Ensuring your site is accessible, easy to navigate, and has as little delay as possible is paramount to success. 

Optimize Your Landing Page

What is the first thing your site visitors see when they click through to your product landing page or service offer? Does it immediately and effectively drive them further down the sales funnel?

Your landing page is like your superstar salesperson that’s working for you 24 hours per day, every single day of the year. If the sales pitch isn’t completely optimized, your superstar salesperson may be performing more like a disinterested stockperson.

To optimize the performance of your all-important landing page and move the needle on conversions, ask yourself: What major pain point does your product or service solve?

Make that the initial focus of your landing page, then lead your visitors down the funnel of how to solve that pain point. Sounds simple right? The reality is that landing page optimization is a long-term strategy that requires a lot of tweaks and constant performance testing.

Continual A/B Testing

Is it possible to find and stick with the perfect online pitch for your product or service? While it would be irresponsible to say that it’s impossible, the chances are that your conversion rate will continue to improve slowly over time as you constantly test and measure new ideas.

A/B testing is a highly effective conversion rate optimization strategy. It allows you to take two different ideas and measure their effectiveness against each other by studying the resulting analytics data.

A good place to begin your A/B testing is on your landing page. Try different phrases or images than you’ve used in the past and then test how they perform against other strategies during similar timeframes.

Are there more or less click-throughs to the product page? Did the change generate more direct contacts from users? Were those contacts positive or negative?

Optimize Your Mobile Site

63% of all internet traffic in the US comes from phones or tablets. Unfortunately, the bounce rate is higher for mobile users than desktop users – 45% for mobile vs 38% for desktop. If the mobile version of your website isn’t fully optimized for all mobile devices, you’re driving away a huge amount of potential customers before they ever get a chance to know who you are.

The vast majority of mobile users will immediately navigate away from a page that isn’t perfectly optimized for their mobile device. Even small imperfections, like a text formatting issue, can kill your credibility and drive away buyers without you even knowing it.

Optimizing your mobile site isn’t as simple as choosing a WordPress theme that says it works perfect on all mobile devices. In fact, this is one area where making a small investment in expert help will go a long way toward better conversion rates.

Free Shipping Goes a Long Ways

Yes, we can blame this one on Amazon. The reality is that online buyers have grown to expect certain standards when they make a purchase. If your ecommerce store isn’t offering free shipping, there’s a good chance that a buyer is going to shop somewhere else.

In today’s online marketplace, offering free shipping is a must. Consider setting a buying threshold of around $50 for free shipping to kick in. Not only will this give you credibility with customers, but it will generate additional buying decisions from customers who want to hit the stated free shipping buying threshold.

If you think you can’t afford free shipping, keep in mind that it’s really more of a psychological game than anything else. Bump your product prices up a couple of dollars if you want to cover the shipping costs without cutting into your bottom line.

Test Your Checkout Process

If you have a checkout process that’s too complex, unconventional, or just plain long, you’re probably losing a lot of sales right at the point when the customer is trying to seal the deal: checkout. This is one of the most critical steps of your sales funnel and is where much of your A/B testing and personalization strategies need to happen.

Of course, you may have restrictions on how much you can personalize your ecommerce checkout. There are some basic industry standards that ecommerce platforms like WooCommerce, Shopify, and Magento all adhere to.

There are still ways you can make tweaks in the process that will make things flow better for your buyers. If you’re not sure where to start, Mindsize can help you create an optimized checkout experience that fits your customers and brand.

A white woman holds a credit card while looking at a laptop

Abandoned Carts

Cart abandonment is when a site visitor adds an item to their cart and then never completes the purchase. Unfortunately, cart abandonment is usually between 60-80% and causes an estimated loss of $18 billion across all ecommerce brands. 

There are many reasons why a cart may be abandoned – some can be chalked up to buying behavior such as window shopping, price comparisons, or saving items for later purchases. However, many of the reasons are directly influenced by how you’ve built and optimized your ecommerce site. 

Common Reasons for Cart Abandonment

  • Additional costs such as shipping, fees, or taxes
  • Forced Account Creation
  • Complicated or Lengthy Checkout Process
  • Website Performance Issues 
  • Security Concerns
  • Lack of Payment Methods
  • Not Mobile-Friendly

While this is obviously not a comprehensive list of site issues that may force your potential customers to abandon their carts, it is a good starting point. By ensuring that you remove as many pain points from the user experience as possible, you can help guarantee that your conversion rate will increase. 

Abandoned Cart Recovery

Once you’ve removed the pain points for your site visitors, you can begin to implement abandoned cart recovery strategies such as email reminders and retargeting. Email recovery and retargeting work well to remind users who abandoned their cart to come back and complete their purchase. Obviously, this would only work for reasons like they couldn’t find a coupon code (you should include a coupon code in your recovery email) or they were simply window shopping. 

For WordPress users, a plugin like Abandoned Cart Lite for WooCommerce works directly with your customers that have added items to their carts, put in their email address, and personal details before then leaving the site without completing the purchase. Basically, the software will send a series of fully-customizable reminder emails to the customer, linking them back to their unfinished cart.

If you use abandonment software to convert even a small percentage of them, you’ll be doing a lot to improve your overall conversion rate.

Live Chat Software

This strategy works well only if you (or a member of your team) are actually available during regular business hours and can immediately respond to a customer chat request. If you set the chat software to unavailable and the user can leave a message, it leaves a poor impression. In fact, it’s better not to use live chat software at all if you plan on leaving it set on unavailable.

What live chat can do, however, is instantly build a line of direct communication between you and your customer. By creating this real connection, you’ll build trust for an initial purchase. You may even create a loyal lifetime customer.

There are many live chat software apps and plugins available. Some of the best include:

  • LiveChat
  • Re:amaze
  • Jivochat
  • Helpscout

Live chat is definitely worth taking a serious look at if you’re willing to put the time and resources into being readily available to chat. We often recommend Helpscout because it combines basic email customer service with a built-in live chat experience. 

Allow Guest Checkout

Make sure that any user can checkout without needing to sign up for an account. If they’re making a purchase, you’ll have their information without making them go through an extra step.

ecommerce stores that force users to register are giving customers an excuse to leave. Don’t scare them away by making unnecessary requirements.

Conversion Rate Optimization for Ecommerce Makes a Difference

“Some of my final tips would be to use plugins for WordPress such as Query Monitor or Debug Bar. They’re free, they work great – install them. They do things like tell you how many database queries you run. You’d be surprised how many hundreds of queries your site is running on every single page. If you have 100 people on your site, each page is running hundreds of queries. If we can reduce those queries below 100, you can exponentially scale your site further. Lastly, if we can reduce the amount of functionality by offloading some of that to other systems – we get a leaner site, a more optimized site, and a faster site.” – Patrick 

Let our expertise fuel your business. Our team of developers are performance and scaling experts for websites of all sizes. Whether your site is on WooCommerce, Shopify, BigCommerce or completely custom, our experienced team will work with you to build a solution tailored to growing your business.

Let us handle the technology, so you can focus on your business. Optimize your site today.