Benjamin K. Glaser
November 8th, 2020

How to Increase eCommerce Conversion Rates

We’ve highlighted 11 ways your brand can optimize your website to boost your eCommerce conversion rates.

Table Of Contents

For many online retailers, eCommerce conversion rates are a major problem. In fact, the average eCommerce conversion rate across all industries is only between 2 and 4%. That number is higher or lower depending on your industry: gifts represent the high end at nearly 5%, while consumer electronics are the lowest, at less than 1.5%. That means for every 100 shoppers that come to your site, only about three will actually make a purchase.

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.

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. Here’s what the formula looks like:

Visitors who buy something

÷ Total site visitors

x 100


= Customer lifetime value

Based on this formula, if your site has 200,000 unique visitors a month and 4,000 buy something, your conversion rate is 2%.

11 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.

1. 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.)

2. Use user-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) like product reviews can be highly effective in nudging customers toward a purchase. According to Yotpo data, UGC can increase conversion rates by as much as 200%. For example, Dakine noticed that customers who interacted with UGC were 152% more likely to convert than those who didn’t.

The reason? Shoppers find customer reviews and photos to be more trustworthy than copy coming directly from your company. UGC on the homepage can reduce bounce rates and quickly establish trust, while UGC on category, product, and checkout pages can increase conversion rates. Vanity Planet, for example, A/B tested visual UGC on their product pages and found that their conversion rate increased from 6.56% to 8.11%.

But it’s not just about adding UGC to your site; you need to also consider strategic use of this content. For example, bridal brand Revelry leveraged Yotpo’s Smart Filters to turn their hundreds of reviews into an asset that customers could sort by factors that were most relevant to them, like fit, quality, and style. As a result, Revelry saw a 7.6% widget conversion rate.

The takeaway is clear: Reviews and visual UGC are essential tools for increasing conversion rates. 

3. 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 53.9% of all eCommerce in 2021. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

Installment options can also help move shoppers through the path to purchase. Tools like Klarna make it easy to allow customers to pay in installments. A $50 dress might seem like too much of a splurge, but if you can spread payments out over months, that customer may be more likely to convert.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. Use chatbots to streamline customer service

The use of shopping bots can help simplify the path to purchase for both customers and brands. With bots, customers can get immediate access to simple information, like order status, shipping information, or where to find a product. This frees up human customer service agents to deal with more complex problems and more quickly meet customer needs. Tools like Kik allow brands to implement conversational chatbots easily.

Many brands think that chatbots depersonalize user experience, but the truth is, most customers don’t mind them. According to Salesforce, 69% of consumers prefer to use chatbots because they deliver quick answers to simple questions.

Key takeaways

There are many strategies you can use to increase your store conversion, including:

  • Reducing load times
  • Using UGC
  • Using responsive web design
  • Making your site easy to navigate
  • Using scarcity and limited-time offers
  • Reducing steps in checkout
  • Adding payment options
  • Adding a security or trust seal to checkout
  • Providing free shipping
  • Using abandoned cart emails and texts
  • Using chatbots to streamline customer service

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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