How to Boost Conversion on Your eCommerce Site

Improving your customers’ journey from arrival to checkout and beyond.

Published Oct 22 2021

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Overview

By 2025, the number of global eCommerce customers is expected to reach 4.9 billion¹. But with so much competition out there, how do you make sure your eCommerce website converts?

The average global conversion rate is around 2%², so every little improvement counts. A small increase from 2% to 3% could boost your revenue by 50%.

In this guide, we'll share tips to boost conversions on your eCommerce site (from your homepage through checkout), and show you the type of software that can put them into action.

¹ Statista, "eCommerce Worldwide"; accessed October 2021
² Statista, "Conversion rate of online shoppers worldwide as of 3rd quarter 2020"; accessed October 2021

Homepage

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The primary goals of your homepage are to introduce visitors to what your brand is about, send clear trust signals, and help visitors navigate to other parts of your website. Your homepage's secondary goals are promoting offers, displaying new products, and capturing email addresses.

The homepage is the virtual front door for your eCommerce store. It forms the first impression for new customers and keeps your returning customers updated.

Laurie McCabe

Cofounder & Partner

SMB Group

First impressions

Painting a clear, simple picture helps first-time buyers understand your store.

Make sure your page loads fast

More than half of customers will leave if a page takes more than three seconds to load. Use website analytics tools to measure and improve your site speed.

Explore web analytics tools on GetApp

You've got 10-20 seconds to grab a customer's attention in an eCommerce store. If they can't be drawn into it within those first few moments then all your hard work is wasted.

John Lawson

Ecommerce expert and CEO

ColderICE Media

Minimize the number of design elements

Too many competing elements on a page makes it harder for customers to understand and use your site. A simpler page design makes it easier to find and buy products.

Display your core products

The products shown on your homepage should reflect your overall product range. Customers rely on this first glance to evaluate your site.

Highlight core features and benefits

Showing key product features and benefits—such as free shipping and your return policy—helps build trust and keep shoppers' attention.

Avoid distracting and annoying ads

Customers don't like banners or pop-ups. If you include ads, make sure they're not intrusive and don't interfere with the shopper's experience.

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Building trust

The right signals and effective messaging are key to earning customer confidence.

Display your contact information

Letting customers know how to get in touch reassures them your site is genuine. Include your address, phone number, and email address at the bottom of the page.

Link to a help or FAQ section

Customers looking for key information or assistance often look for a link on the homepage. Your help or FAQ section should include accepted payment methods, shipping costs, cancellation and return policies, and warranty information.

Tell stories when possible

What’s your company’s unique story? Stories are memorable. Tell customers about who you are and why you sell what you sell. This could be on your homepage, category pages, or on an about us page. 

Communicate key messages with numbers

A genuine data-driven value proposition is more objective, scientific, and trustworthy than just words.

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Finders keepers

Your search engine and products need to be fast and easy to find. Don't play hide and seek with your customers!

Make the search bar stand out

The search bar is one of the quickest ways for customers to find what they're looking for. Make sure it isn't difficult to see because of overcrowding on the page.

The search navigation is the one thing [people] are familiar with across the web, and if they don’t see one, it can cause them to leave the site.

Kevin Miller

Digital Marketing Expert

KevinMiller.com

Ensure your search engine is fast and relevant

The functionality of your search engine is essential for finding products. Make sure it corrects spelling errors, allows for multiple ways of searching (e.g. product names, types, and categories), and is up to speed.

Suggest search terms while customers type

Offering useful suggestions as early as possible helps customers find products faster. If there's no result, make sure your site suggests alternatives.

Let customers sort and filter search results

Empower customers by allowing them to organize their search results. Let them prioritize by price, brand, category, and availability, or whatever filters are most relevant to your business/products.

Offer alternatives for unavailable products

Never leave your customers at a dead end. If someone is looking at a discontinued or out-of-stock product, offer alternatives.

Use product categories as the first level of navigation

Customers are familiar with using main product categories to browse products, so make sure yours are clearly visible.

Show a maximum of 10 main product categories

Too many product categories make it hard to navigate your site. You can use subcategories and filters later on in the process to help your customers narrow down products.

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Product pages

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Your product pages are where you show off your products and convince people to buy them. Every product page should include item features and specs, a compelling product description, and potentially a short FAQ.

It’s worth spending a lot of time on your product pages. Keep in mind that your product page shouldn’t just inform, it should convince. It’s important to organize this page well, write powerful and informative copy, leverage social proof, and use high-quality photos.

Showing off your items

Covering every angle and leaving nothing to the imagination gives your customer a clear idea of what they're getting.

The importance of product photos in ecommerce stores can't be overstated. If you want your sales numbers up - make sure all products have high-quality images.

John Lawson

Ecommerce expert and CEO

ColderICE Media

Show at least 3 photos for each product

Customers normally want to see a minimum of three images from multiple angles. Showing just one or two photos limits their ability to assess your product.

Include zoom functionality

Some shoppers like to see products close up. Letting them zoom in to see important details is empowering and reassuring.

Show related products and categories

Customers often want to look at multiple options before choosing. Showing related products gives them useful browsing options.

Display included accessories

Shoppers might think accessories aren't included in the price unless you add a clear photo of everything that comes with their product purchase.

Present products in proportion to other items

Customers can’t judge an item’s size without seeing it compared to something else. Showing your products on a person, mannequin, or next to a familiar object makes size assessment much easier.

Show your products being used

This helps customers imagine wearing or using your items themselves, and makes the products more attractive to buy.

Include a video if possible

Videos can show products in real-world environments or in use. They're also a great way for customers to process product information, such as reviews and instructions.

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In-depth descriptions

Describing products in detail and answering potential questions at the outset can resolve purchase doubts.

Write detailed product descriptions

Customers won't assume what isn't in the description. Make sure you explain the product's basic functionality and features.

Use objective, neutral language

Customers know when you're trying to oversell a product using marketing language. Instead, give as much detail as possible, stick to the facts, and let customers make up their own minds.

Speak to your customers directly

Create a dialogue and connect with customers using second-person language (such as 'you' and 'yours') when explaining how they'll benefit from your products. This makes your copy more personal and engaging.

Customers expect product descriptions to explain how it solves their problem. They want to know benefits, features, and what distinguishes it from competitors.

Haim Medine

Co-founder

Mark Henry Jewelry
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Reviews, comparisons, and alternatives

Putting your shoppers in the driving seat and letting other customers do the talking are powerful tools of persuasion.

Include user reviews

Many people won't buy something without reading some reviews. Allowing customers to upload photos to their reviews can also instill confidence.

Let customers compare products

Enabling customers to see how products compare against each other gives them the knowledge and confidence they need to choose.

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Conversion clinchers

The finishing touches to seal the deal.

Show that you offer free shipping on your product pages

Extra charges lead to abandoned carts. It's better to include these costs in the product price and offer free shipping as a key selling point.

Offer guarantees

Since there's always the risk a product might not meet customer expectations, satisfaction or return guarantees can help ease any concerns and reduce perceived risk.

Offer customization options

Shoppers are often happy to pay more for the ability to customize and personalize products.

Make your return policy crystal clear

Let your customers know how easy it is to return items for a refund. This will reassure them that there's no risk if they're not happy with the product.

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Add to cart

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Your add-to-cart rate is a key indicator of site success. Optimizing this process and making it as seamless as possible for customers will improve your conversion rate.

As you optimize your add-to-cart process, start tracking your add-to-cart rate. This important metric can reveal a lot of useful information about your site and how buyers interact with it.

What’s your current add-to-cart rate? Find out by doing this calculation:

No. people who added item/s to the cart
÷ total sessions x 100
= add-to-cart rate

Pushing the right buttons

Your add-to-cart button should shine through.

Surround your add-to-cart button with enough white space

Your add-to-cart buttons need white space around them to stand out. Customers won't notice them if they are surrounded by clutter.

Make the button stand out

Make sure the color and design grab attention. Shoppers might not see important buttons if they blend into competing elements on the page.

Optimize conversion rate using A/B testing

Try out different colors and calls to action (CTAs) using A/B testing software to boost the conversion rate. CTAs should give clear instructions to your customers, like "Add to Cart" or "Buy now".

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Good, honest math

The two most important customer calculations are cost and delivery time. These should be clear and save your shoppers from arithmetic.

Show delivery dates, not speed

Showing the delivery speed forces customers to work out when their order will arrive, taking into account holidays and weekends. Providing an expected delivery date or date range does the work for them.

Give a faster delivery option

Some customers need their purchase quickly and others are just happy to pay extra for faster delivery. Let customers weigh speed vs cost based on their priorities.

Tell customers the full cost in the cart

It's frustrating to discover extra costs late in the game, so be sure to show them the full cost, including taxes and delivery fees, or at least an estimation, early in checkout.

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Cross-selling and upselling

This is the golden window of opportunity when you can push for more sales.

Cross-sell low-cost, consumable products

Offer customers low-cost products related to the products in their cart. These one-click add-ons are one of the best ways to boost your sales.

Make it simple to change quantities

Adding +/- boxes allows customers to increase, decrease, or remove products from their cart and mean they'll be less likely to abandon their cart if something isn’t right.

Offer related accessories

Shoppers often need accessories related to the product they're buying. Adding them to the cart at this stage saves hassle.

Asking customers if they want the upsell during the checkout process is often the best way to have customers choose it.

Kevin Miller

Digital Marketing Expert

KevinMiller.com

Promote recommended products

Show what other people bought along with the chosen product. If some customers bought multiple, related items in the same purchase, others will too.

Offer discounts for multiple items

A discount on a second or third item can be very attractive and a great way to upsell.

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Checkout

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Your checkout experience is just as important as the rest of your eCommerce site. To successfully drive customers to purchase, your checkout experience needs to be frictionless, convenient, and as easy as possible.

If anything goes wrong or if your customers find the process frustrating, time-consuming, or complicated, they will go and probably won't come back.

People in the checkout are the hottest prospects. When you have a high cart abandonment rate it’s like ignoring people who have money in hand.

Tom Shivers

President

Capture Commerce

According to Salecyle, 87%³ of people who abandon their cart say they would consider returning to their purchase given the right prompt.

³ Salecycle, "2021 Ecommerce Stats & Trends Report"; accessed October 2021

Eyes on the prize

Removing obstacles and distractions on the final leg of the journey.

Use a focused, minimal page design

Customers can be distracted by headers, footers, and other visual elements. At this stage they should only be looking at one thing: your checkout page.

Remove all things that are not 100% required, and you will increase your conversion.

Karl Lillrud

Global e-Commerce Expert, Professional speaker and Mentor

karllillrud.com

Use vivid colors for main checkout buttons

Use subtle tones for all other buttons to make sure your main checkout button stands out. 

Use simple buttons for 3rd-party payment

It's great to offer multiple payment options but try not to distract your customers from your main checkout button.

Discover GetApp's payment processing software category leaders

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Smart forms

Removing hurdles and helping shoppers over the line.

Offer third-party sign-in options

Signing in using social media accounts, like Google and Facebook, gives customers an easy alternative to registering and speeds up the process.

Provide a guest checkout option

Forcing customers to set up an account before purchase can put them off. A guest checkout offers a quicker way to buy.

Show your customers their progress

A progress bar gives customers an idea of what they need to do and how long it will take. It should also reassure them the process won't take too much longer.

Only ask for essential information

The more work you create for customers, the more likely they are to leave. Getting rid of unnecessary questions streamlines the process.

Use clear, concise, useful error messages

Customers often make mistakes on forms so it's essential to provide guidance. Use simple, conversational language and make sure you offer a clear solution.

Offer account setup after the sale (for guest customers)

At this point, customers have already provided all the information you need to set up an account. Offer an option to set a password and create their account for future orders and to keep tabs on their purchase status.

Frictionless technology can remember customer information, so repeat shoppers don’t have to fill out the same fields on subsequent visits.

Nick Drewe

Founder and CEO

wethrift.com
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Following up

The journey doesn't end with a sale or abandoned cart.

Show a detailed order confirmation screen

Give a detailed breakdown of the purchase. If anything is wrong with the  shipping address, email address, billing, or products, the customer can get in touch with you. 

Software tip

Check your CRM, Payment Processing and eCommerce software are all synched to provide this information to the customer.

Send a confirmation email

Customers expect instant purchase confirmation, so it's best to automate this. Make sure the email contains key product details, expected delivery date, and instructions on how to contact you.

See GetApps' email marketing software category leaders

Abandoned cart? All is not lost!

Cart recovery and reminder emails have a great chance of success. You can use marketing automation software to automate this process and boost conversions.
See GetApps' marketing automation software category leaders

The power of automated marketing is consistent, persistent and reliable. Solopreneurs depend on marketing automation to build and scale their business.

Ivana Taylor

Publisher at DIYMarketers.com

LinkedIn
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Conclusions

Gains from multiple, small improvements can give a huge boost to your eCommerce store. Just a 1% conversion rate increase can boost your revenue by 30-100%

But knowledge alone won't build a great website. Having the right tools and knowing how to use them is key to success.

Let us point you in the right direction…

What's your eCommerce objective?

Building the right tech stack getting the most out of it is the key to boosting your conversion rate. We recommend these three types of software for your store:

A/B testing software

Test two or more versions of the same page or page element, such as your conversion buttons and marketing copy, and see which one is more successful with your customers. By forming and testing hypotheses you can boost your conversion rate and other key performance metrics.

» Explore A/B testing software for your store

Marketing automation software

Automate your marketing tasks such as emails, social media, and advertising. This allows you to send follow-up emails automatically, which can play a huge role in boosting conversion. The software is capable of personalizing and segmenting the various aspects of your marketing.

» Explore marketing automation software for your store

Website optimization software

Website optimization software helps you work out the aspects of your website you can improve. This can boost your overall conversion rate and help you to optimize your site for specific segments of shoppers. Website optimization software can also help you find ways to boost the amount of traffic your store gets.

» Explore website optimization software for your store

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