If you’re running an e-commerce business, one of the most important metrics to track is your store conversion rate.
This golden number will tell you a lot about the performance of your website, the number of sales you’re delivering, and the revenue you’re generating.
When you’re maintaining a healthy conversion rate, the benefits will be reflected in your business results. A positive conversion rate equals a happy e-commerce business owner.
So what can you do to nudge this metric in the right direction? We’re glad you asked.
We’ve pulled together 17 expert strategies that will help you to polish your e-commerce website, delight your customers, and skyrocket your conversion rate.
How do I calculate my conversion rate?
Let’s start with the fundamentals.
What exactly is a conversion rate, and how can you calculate it?
Your conversion rate highlights how many of your site visitors are converting (e.g. making a purchase) within a specific period.
This is a very important metric to track for e-commerce businesses, and fortunately, it’s also simple to calculate.
To calculate your conversion rate, divide the number of conversions delivered in a certain time frame by the number of site visitors in the same period, and multiply the result by 100.
Why is my conversion rate so important?
There are plenty of important metrics to consider when you’re managing an e-commerce website.
Data points such as customer lifetime value, average website traffic volumes and acquisition costs can all be incredibly insightful.
However, your conversion rate is undoubtedly one of the most important metrics to monitor.
Because your conversion rate indicates how efficient your website is at converting clicks into those precious online sales.
While other metrics like site traffic are important, it’s impossible to generate revenue and stay profitable without conversions.
If your conversion rate starts to drop, this is an indicator that something needs to be fixed or updated as soon as possible.
Now, that isn’t to say that there’s a quick fix for conversion rate issues.
Several different factors will contribute to your overall conversion rate, and you may need to adjust various elements of your website to improve performance.
Luckily, we’ll be covering some of the most effective conversion rate optimisation techniques a little later in this guide.
What is a good e-commerce conversion rate?
A ‘good’ e-commerce conversion rate will fluctuate depending on your industry, audience, and product type.
No two businesses are the same, so it can be tricky to set a specific conversion rate target.
Fortunately, we can reference some average numbers to set a rough benchmark for a positive e-commerce conversion rate.
Most e-commerce stores achieve an average conversion rate of around 2.5-3%.
If you can maintain a conversion rate of 3% or above, then you’re doing well.
If your conversion rate drops below 2.5%, then you’ll know that there’s room for improvement on your e-commerce site.
The most important thing is to monitor your conversion rate consistently. If you can spot a potential website issue before it becomes a major obstacle, it will be much easier to improve your average conversion rate.
17 proven techniques to increase your conversion rate
The bad news is that there isn’t a silver e-commerce bullet that can instantly improve your conversion rate.
The good news is that this guide is the next best thing.
There are a plethora of different factors that can influence your website conversion rate – but that isn’t to say that you can’t make a difference to website performance.
If you follow the strategies below and make the right adjustments, you’ll be in a great position to refine your conversion rate and improve your bottom line.
1. Improve your website loading speed
The world of e-commerce moves at lightning speed, and your website needs to keep up if you’re going to succeed.
Consumers expect rapid website loading speeds and usually won’t have the patience to wait around for your store to load properly.
In fact, a one-second delay in page load speed can lead to a 7% loss in total conversions.
That’s right. Just one second can make a huge difference to your store revenue.
However, the reverse is also true. If you can successfully deliver a smooth, fast-loading website experience, you can easily increase your conversion rate.
The first step is to analyse your current loading speed to understand how your website is performing.
Free tools like PageSpeed can perform an instant analysis of your website’s loading speed.
Once you’ve assessed your performance, it’s a good idea to double-check your website hosting plan or get in touch with your e-commerce platform provider.
You can often work directly with your platform provider to troubleshoot your website and make improvements to your site’s backend.
Another easy win is to properly optimise any images on your website. High-quality images may look great, but they can instantly slow loading times and impact site performance.
You can use simple tools like TinyPNG to reduce the size of your images without sacrificing quality.
2. Focus on high-quality website design
First impressions count, and this is particularly true in the world of e-commerce.
The look and feel of your website are extremely important and can make the difference between securing a new customer and losing potential revenue.
There are plenty of technical adjustments that you can make to increase your conversion rate, but if you neglect your website design, you’re unlikely to see an improvement.
Make sure that your website is visually appealing.
That means high-quality images, clean and simple landing pages, and a consistent brand theme or colour palette.
Here’s a great example of a well-designed website from drinks brand Perfy:
The page is simple but visually pleasing. It makes the brand feel reputable and trustworthy, which is key to driving conversions.
Consumers are infinitely more likely to explore your products and make a purchase if your website looks and feels professional.
If your landing page looks poorly designed, it reflects badly on your business, which can easily impact your conversion rate.
3. Utilise persuasive website copy
Your website copy will also make a huge difference to your conversion rate.
Site copy is often neglected by e-commerce business owners, but this can be a critical error that costs valuable sales and revenue.
Good website copy will keep users engaged and interesting, guiding customers through the sales funnel and nudging conversions over the finish line.
If you don’t take the time to produce quality website copy it’s immediately obvious to consumers, which can make your business feel unprofessional and untrustworthy.
You’ll need solid copywriting throughout your e-commerce site too.
Landing page headlines, product descriptions and CTAs will all need to be up-to-scratch to increase sales.
Here’s an example of top-notch site copy from Loaf:
The copy is punchy and effective, covering everything from compelling product benefits to direct CTAs.
There’s also a consistent and recognisable tone of voice across these pages, which is another sign of strong copywriting.
Persuasive copy will engage customers, build brand trust, and ultimately keep your conversion rate heading in the right direction.
4. Make your website easy to navigate
Imagine walking into a physical shop to find that the aisles aren’t signposted, the products are disorganised and the layout is a mess.
The frustration would inevitably lead to lost sales and negative reviews.
Well, the same logic applies to your e-commerce store.
A well-designed and expertly structured website is guaranteed to deliver more conversions than a cluttered and confusing store.
You need to make sure that your website journey is as seamless as possible.
The easier it is for customers to transition from your landing page to the checkout, the higher your conversion rate will be.
Think about the structure of your website by putting yourself in a new customer’s shoes.
Let’s say you’re arriving with a specific product in mind. Is there a search function available for speedy navigation? Does your search bar deliver relevant results quickly?
Or what if you’re just shopping around – can you quickly navigate between different products? Are your product pages neatly organised and categorised?
You should regularly test your website journey to make sure that customers can find what they’re looking for. Remember – easy navigation leads to increased sales.
Check out this site design from MADE – the product categories are immediately clear, the search bar is readily available, and it takes just 5 clicks to reach the checkout.
5. Recover abandoned carts
If you’re regularly seeing customers abandon their shopping carts, don’t take it personally.
Cart abandonment is extremely common when it comes to online shopping. It’s estimated that around 69.57% of carts are abandoned before a purchase is completed.
But that doesn’t mean you need to wave goodbye to these potential sales forever.
Recovering abandoned carts can help you rapidly increase your conversion rate and secure incremental revenue.
Cart abandonment emails are an incredibly effective tool that can help you to reclaim lost sales.
A tactical email that reminds a customer of the products they were close to purchasing can be enough to secure a conversion.
In fact, cart abandonment emails have an average open rate of 43% and an average conversion rate of 10.7%, so there’s a big opportunity for additional sales.
You can also use a website pixel to retarget users through other channels, such as paid social. Showing customers the specific products they’ve abandoned can be a powerful motivator, particularly if you’re offering a discount.
6. Connect your online store with social media feeds
Social media feeds have effectively become virtual shop windows.
It’s now extremely common for users to transition directly from social media platforms to product pages, by clicking on either paid ads or organic posts.
If you’re an e-commerce business, you need to take advantage of this opportunity and bridge the gap between your online checkout and your social media presence.
The easier it is for customers to tap on a social post and complete a purchase, the higher your conversion rate will be.
The key word here is ‘shoppable’.
Let’s use Instagram as an example.
With the Instagram Shopping tool, you can add product tags to both paid and organic posts, allowing users to explore your products and complete a purchase without even needing to leave the app.
The sheer convenience of this process is enough to persuade many users to convert on the spot. Many social media partners offer similar ‘shoppable’ features, so you can implement these tactics across multiple platforms.
7. Optimise your checkout process
Unsurprisingly, the checkout is one of the most important stages of the e-commerce customer journey.
If a customer reaches your checkout page, this is obviously a good sign. They’re seriously considering a new purchase, and they’re a few clicks away from completing it.
However, you can never assume that every checkout visitor will automatically convert.
If your checkout process is clunky and poorly designed, that new conversion can easily slip through your fingers.
Your checkout process needs to be fully-optimised and user-friendly to nudge new customers over the finish line.
Research from the Baymard Institute identified a number of common reasons that customers abandon checkout before completing a purchase:
Excessive ‘extra costs’ during checkout stands out as a major obstacle for shoppers.
If you can remove some additional costs entirely (e.g. by offering free shipping) then this is the simplest way to remove this purchase barrier. However, if this isn’t feasible, then try to reduce these costs as much as possible.
(You should also be fully transparent about any extra costs and make them clearly visible on the checkout page. This is another common reason for checkout abandonment!)
It’s advisable to include a ‘guest checkout’ option for new customers.
Not every shopper will want to create an account, so it’s important to accommodate these users to avoid lost conversions.
Slow delivery times can also be very off-putting for potential shoppers, so make sure that your logistics can meet consumer expectations.
Time-consuming and overly-complicated checkout processes are problematic too.
Although a multi-stage checkout can actually help to secure conversions by making customers feel more committed, just make sure that every step of the journey feels relevant and necessary.
The more streamlined your checkout process becomes, the easier it will be for customers to commit to a purchase.
Here’s a nice and simple checkout page from Dollar Shave Club:
There’s no unnecessary clutter on this page, just the fundamentals – a reminder of your products, the total price of your cart, and a big ‘Checkout’ button. It’s optimised for convenience and speed, which is hugely appealing for potential customers.
8. Make the most of social proof
It’s true that there isn’t a magical solution to improving your conversion rate overnight.
But social proof comes pretty close.
Social proof is hugely persuasive for new customers. It pushes users towards making a purchase, enhances your brand credibility, and builds consumer trust.
All of this is hugely important when you’re looking to increase conversions.
Social proof can take many forms on your website. Positive user testimonials and product reviews can be very compelling because they reassure new customers that other people are happy with their purchases.
You can also use social media content to fuel your social proof strategy.
Showcasing different people using your products is a great way to build consumer trust. Not only does it prove that shoppers are enjoying their purchases, but it also shows off your products in an authentic way.
Below is a great example of social proof in action from Warby Parker:
This reviews page immediately makes the brand feel more transparent, more reliable, and more reputable – and increased customer trust leads to increased conversions.
9. Craft effective product descriptions
Many e-commerce businesses tragically neglect their product descriptions, not realising that this can seriously damage their conversion rates.
Your product descriptions are an incredibly important part of the customer journey.
Think about it. The customer journey is different for everyone.
Users will arrive at your online store from several different sources (e.g. search results, social media) and explore different areas of your website depending on their preferences.
But the product page is always a crucial stage in this journey.
The product description is often your final opportunity to secure a conversion. Will a new customer click ‘Add To Cart’, or will they close the tab?
Your product descriptions need to be informative and compelling. A bland product description that’s packed with technical jargon isn’t going to convince someone to make a purchase – in reality, it could easily drive them away.
Make sure that your product descriptions are:
- Short, snappy and scannable
- Packed with key product information
- Focused on solving specific user problems
- Written in line with your brand personality
- Accompanied by a clear call to action
Here’s a great example of an effective product description from Boie:
These descriptions are short and sweet, focusing on persuasive product benefits (e.g. long-lasting bristles, easy to use, gentle exfoliation) rather than functional features.
10. Conjure up a sense of urgency
When a potential customer is browsing your site, you ultimately want to guide them towards a specific action.
To help accelerate this process, it’s useful to create a sense of urgency that will incentivise users to make a decision and take the desired action.
Although you want to avoid pressuring customers with aggressive messaging, the right level of urgency can make a big difference to your conversion rate.
Countdowns and timers are a very effective way of conjuring up this sense of urgency.
Many e-commerce stores include a product page timer that encourages users to make a quick purchase to unlock certain benefits – for example, next day delivery.
Amazon is highly proficient with this ‘countdown’ technique:
Another way to create urgency is to highlight products with low stock.
If a customer is interested in a specific item but feels as if they could miss out due to high demand, they’re more likely to make a decisive purchase on the spot.
11. Analyse your website traffic
One of the best ways to increase e-commerce conversion rates is to focus on targeting and attracting your most valuable prospects.
Sounds pretty self-explanatory, right?
But identifying your most valuable prospects takes a little bit of time and effort.
You’ll need to carefully analyse your website traffic to understand where new customers are coming from. You can also use pixel data to identify the platforms and channels that are delivering successful conversions.
For example, imagine that you’re running digital marketing activity across various social media platforms.
You notice that both your Instagram and Pinterest audiences are driving similar traffic volumes, but Instagram users are delivering significantly higher returns.
This data can help to shape your marketing strategy and improve your conversion rate.
You might increase your Instagram budget to widen your reach, or change your Pinterest creative messaging to try and encourage more sales.
It’s all about improving the quality of your website traffic to maximise conversions.
Businesses can also pick up on other insightful trends, such as the most popular day of the week for online shoppers or the most profitable time of day for advertising.
12. Use smart promotions and discounts
Special offers and discounts can be an incredibly strong purchase incentive for your customers.
When used strategically, promotions can rapidly increase your conversion rate.
However, if you offer discounts too frequently, they’ll become less appealing and can even decrease your margins.
The key is to focus on offering discounts at the perfect time.
For example, if you’re launching a marketing campaign that’s exclusively targeting new prospects, you could include a limited-time offer to encourage first-time buyers.
If you’re running a series of cart abandonment emails, you might incorporate discount coupons to try and lure users back to your store.
In both of these cases, you’re using special offers to secure conversions that previously might not have occurred, rather than just giving out discounts for the sake of it.
It’s also important to offer the right incentive.
A promotion needs to be genuinely appealing to customers, but it also needs to make sense for your business.
Work out a percentage discount or package deal that won’t impact your profitability, and make sure that it’s aimed at relevant audiences.
13. Take advantage of tactical pop-ups
Pop-ups haven’t always had the best reputation in the world of e-commerce, mainly because many businesses have bombarded unsuspecting site visitors with irritating messages.
However, when used correctly, pop-ups can be highly effective at driving conversions.
These mini-messages are great for grabbing the attention of a site visitor and delivering speedy messages.
The most important thing is to use pop-ups strategically.
They need to feel genuinely informative and relevant to users on your site.
When these little nudges appear at the right moment, they can achieve big things.
Below are a few examples of how pop-ups can be used to increase your e-commerce conversion rate:
- Capturing email data in exchange for coupons and discounts
- Announcing flash sales or special offers (e.g. free shipping)
- Notifying users about live-chat support
- Reminding shoppers about abandoned carts
You don’t necessarily need to use all of these tactics, and in the world of pop-ups, less is usually more.
However, don’t hesitate to incorporate pop-ups into your website and experiment with different strategies.
Here’s a smart example from ASOS, using eye-catching pop-ups to promote a student discount:
14. Deliver responsive customer service
Accessible and responsive customer support can be crucial for converting shoppers who are on the fence about making a purchase.
If a customer has a pressing question about your business, you must provide an answer as quickly as possible to avoid missing out on a conversion.
This is a golden opportunity to engage with shoppers, offering valuable product information while also proving your dedication to customer support.
If you can respond quickly, you can convert a user query into a new sale. If you fail to respond promptly, customers won’t hesitate to give up and move on to another store!
You can also use live chat (or even automated chatbots) to nudge customers towards product recommendations or different categories.
This can be a great way to increase your average order value and bump up your conversion rate.
15. Upsell and cross-sell
Upselling and cross-selling are both incredibly useful techniques that can increase your average order value and encourage new customers to convert.
It’s fairly obvious how up-selling and cross-selling can increase average order value – because you’re trying to increase the number of products in a shopping cart.
But how can these tactics increase your conversion rate?
Let’s say that a customer is browsing your online store, but they’re not entirely convinced about which product to buy.
A helpful pop-up appears with a selection of recommended products. Something catches the attention of this customer, and they’re suddenly inspired to make a purchase.
The logic here is fairly simple.
By exposing potential customers to a wider range of products, you increase the chances of them finding something they’d like to purchase.
It’s important to only recommend relevant products that are likely to be of interest.
However, if you can up-sell and cross-sell the right products, you’ll be in a great position to increase your conversion rate and maximise the revenue you generate from sales.
Beauty brand MAKE does a great job of cross-selling throughout the customer journey, recommending relevant items on every product page:
If a customer was unsure about a certain product, they could find inspiration and a range of new suggestions within a couple of clicks.
16. Enable multiple payment options
Digital payments may not be the most exciting topic of conversation, but they can be critically important to your conversion rate.
E-commerce shoppers have more choices than ever before when it comes to paying for online goods.
To stay ahead of the curve and offer your customers a seamless shopping experience, you need to make sure that you’re providing a range of different payment methods.
Now, that isn’t to say that you need to accept every single form of payment – just the options that the majority of customers are likely to want, such as Apple Pay and PayPal.
The more payment options you decline, the more customers you’re potentially excluding from making a purchase.
There’s nothing worse than having a customer at your checkout, willing to part with their money, but leaving because of a missing credit card option.
It’s also a good idea to clearly highlight the available payment methods on your checkout page. The quicker a user is made aware of their payment choices, the more likely they are to avoid confusion.
17. Run frequent A/B tests
Last on the list, but certainly not least, is A/B testing.
A rigorous A/B testing strategy can completely transform your website performance and consistently improve your conversion rate.
By regularly tweaking and testing different elements of your online store, you can optimise the user experience to maximise conversions.
The first step is to identify potential issues or weaknesses within your website design.
There are several ways to achieve this.
You could survey new customers to ask questions about their experiences, or use heatmap tools (like HotJar) to analyse how users interact with your site.
Plenty of website features can be A/B tested, including:
- Landing page structure and design
- CTAs and buttons
- Product images and videos
To make the most of A/B testing, you need to ensure that you have a thorough measurement plan in place. If you’re not 100% clear on how a test has performed, it will be tricky to make any impactful website optimisations.
Platforms like Google Analytics have specific A/B tools that enable you to set up different tests and run them against specific objectives.
By testing different website variables over time and monitoring how they influence your conversion rate, you can steadily improve performance.
Getting started with conversion rate optimisation
All of these strategies can have a positive and noticeable impact on your conversion rate.
However, it can be tricky to know where to begin with optimising e-commerce performance.
The first step is to assess your current online store and identify areas that are in urgent need of improvement.
For example, if your website loading speeds are clearly a major issue, you can make this a priority to fix.
Once you’ve reviewed the performance of your current website, you can create a roadmap for conversion rate optimisation. Take a step-by-step approach to updating and fixing different elements, and keep an eye on your conversion rate. Use this guide on how to increase e-commerce conversion rate to help you.
Over time, you should be able to see your conversion rate improving and identify the elements that have contributed to these changes. Best of luck!