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Benjamin K. Glaser
July 21st, 2020

How to Increase eCommerce Conversion Rates

We’ve highlighted 10 ways your brand can optimize your website to boost your eCommerce conversion rates.

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For many online retailers, eCommerce conversion rates are a major problem. Optimal conversion rates can mean the difference between profitability and failure. Abandoned shopping carts are one of the greatest frustrations of online retailers; even worse is a steady flow of site visitors who don’t even start the checkout process. Site visitors who don’t buy anything are like money left on the table. You’ve done the hard work of attracting visitors, but now you can’t close the deal.

In this article, we’ll discuss average eCommerce conversion rates and share best practices for eCommerce conversion rate optimization.

What is conversion in eCommerce?

A conversion rate is the percentage of total users who take a desired action on a website. A conversion rate could be for clicking a link or signing up for an email newsletter. In eCommerce, the goal is to get visitors to buy something; so the eCommerce conversion rate definition according to Google is “the ratio of transactions to sessions expressed as a percentage.”

Or, in other words, eCommerce conversion rate is the percent of total site visitors that actually buy something.

What is a good eCommerce conversion rate?

It’s difficult to know what a good or even average eCommerce conversion rate is since websites guard that information closely. Also, conversion rates vary by industry: low-cost items like food and apparel have higher conversion rates, since customers have less hesitation to spend less money. High-cost goods and services like travel and home furnishings have lower conversion rates.

Overall, an average eCommerce conversion rate across all industries is between 2 and 4%.

How to calculate eCommerce conversion rates

As stated above, the eCommerce conversion rate definition is the percentage of site visitors who buy something. So it can be found by dividing the number of visitors who buy something by the total number of site visitors, and then multiplying that number by 100.

The eCommerce conversion rate could be expressed by the equation (Visitors who buy something/Total site visitors)x100. If your site has 200,000 unique visitors a month and 4,000 buy something, your conversion rate is 2%.

10 tips for eCommerce conversion rate optimization

If you’re looking for ways to improve the conversion rate on your site, here are some tried-and-true methods.

Reduce load times

According to Google, over half of mobile users will leave a site if it takes more than three seconds to load. Bounce rate is connected to load time across platforms as well.

You can’t be responsible for your site visitors’ internet connection, but you can optimize your own site. That begins with your website hosting and CMS. Additionally, make sure your images are compressed. (High-quality images are important for sales, too, so don’t remove them just to speed up load times.)

Use responsive web design

Responsive web design is coded to automatically adapt to the device that the user is using to access the site. A user on a phone will automatically get the mobile site, and not have to awkwardly scroll around the poorly-sized interface.

Web design still tends to favor desktop, but mobile eCommerce is expected to compose 45% of all eCommerce in 2020. Trouble navigating a site due to lack of mobile optimization, just like the other friction points mentioned above, can increase bounce rate by the second.

Make your site easy to navigate

A high bounce rate or long browsing times could mean your site is difficult to navigate. If users can’t find what they are looking for, they can’t buy it. As we’ve noted before, find a balance between showing all your products and making them easy to find, like with drop-down navigation boxes.

Use user-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) like product reviews can be highly effective in nudging customers toward a purchase. In some industries, UGC can increase conversion rates as much as 200%.

Shoppers find customer reviews and photos to be more trustworthy than copy coming directly from your company. Plus, UGC can be customized, so each visitor will see visual albums tailored to their consumer profile. If you have positive customer reviews for your products, highlight them on your website. (And if you don’t, platforms like Yotpo can help you start collecting reviews.)

UGC on the homepage can reduce bounce rate and quickly establish trust. UGC on category and product pages can increase click through. And UGC in your checkout process can increase the conversion rate.

UGC can increase conversion
rates by 200%
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Use scarcity and limited-time offers

Consumers hate missing out on a deal. It’s basic human psychology to fear loss more than we value gain. For eCommerce, this natural tendency can be seen clearly in the limited-time offer. By providing a temporary coupon code in a pop-up or an email, customers may be nudged to purchase an item they’d previously only considered. The same is true when an item is shown to be low in stock.

Reduce steps in checkout

According to Facebook, “87% of consumers say that a ‘complicated’ checkout process will make them abandon their shopping cart.” One of the easiest ways to correct this is to reduce the number of pages in the checkout process. When possible, make checkout a single page. Ask for only essential customer information.

Add payment options

If you do not accept the payment option your customer prefers, they may abandon the incomplete purchase. Digital wallets are an increasingly popular way to increase eCommerce conversion rates due to their increased speed and convenience. Additionally, digital wallets are preferred by many mobile shoppers. Therefore, accepting payment forms like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay can both reduce friction and help attract mobile shoppers.

Add a security or trust seal to checkout

According to one study, 18% of consumers have abandoned a purchase in checkout because they did not trust the site with their credit card info. The same study found that any symbol indicating security on the checkout page can increase user trust. The most effective was the certification label from Norton, the web security firm. (Getting their seal on your checkout page will require purchasing a protection plan.)

Trust seals from Google and The Better Business Bureau were also effective. These seals don’t denote technical protection; you can earn them through an application process with the organizations.

Provide free shipping

Providing free shipping is one of the most costly ways you can optimize eCommerce conversion rates, but also one of the most important. Baymard shows that a whopping 50% of consumers who abandoned items in an online shopping cart did so due to extra costs at checkout like shipping.

There are additional benefits that may offset the costs. Studies have found that customers will spend more per order with free shipping (sometimes to meet minimums) and will wait longer for an order if shipping is free.

Use abandoned cart emails and texts

Reaching out to customers who have left unpurchased items in their online shopping cart is the most direct tactic to increase eCommerce conversion rates. Abandoned cart emails could be as simple as a reminder, or involve more advanced branding, copy, and behavioral techniques (like the appeals to scarcity and limited time discussed previously). SMS texts for abandoned carts are another great way to engage shoppers.

As an eCommerce small business owner, you have enough trouble getting users to your website; don’t lose them as customers at the last second. With some simple steps, you can increase your conversion rates and make the most of the site visitors you already have. Click here to learn more about how Yotpo can help.

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