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Ecommerce Optimization 101: Quick ways to Optimize Your Ecommerce Store For More Conversions

August 13, 2021

11 Min Read
How-to-Optimize-Your-Ecom-Store-For-More-Conversions

You know what’s more disappointing than having NO people visit your store? It’s when you actually get them to visit – but only a few of them make a purchase!

Imagine that – people see you, they see what you’re offering, and they say, “nah.”

This is what’s called a “conversion” problem. Meaning, the right people see you but you still couldn’t convince them to buy.

And if your store is going through this and you’re tearing your hair out trying to figure out what’s wrong, don’t fret. This is actually a pretty common dilemma for many site owners, with easily implementable and effective ecommerce optimization solutions.

I’ve learned this after years of building and optimizing ecommerce stores for clients and my own businesses, after which I’ve pretty much created a standard set of processes that I use to optimize ecommerce stores for more conversions.

These optimizations always have the same goal, which is to help me answer the following questions:

  • What’s stopping people from buying?
  • What areas of your ecommerce site need fixing?
  • What fixes do you need to make so that people buy?

Detailed Guide: How to Increase Ecommerce Sales in 2021

Ecommerce Optimization Tips

Now, here are the 8 standard steps I use as part of my ecommerce website optimization strategy for better conversions:

  • Install tracking and analytics
  • Optimize on-page elements
  • Have a fast-loading ecommerce site
  • Get mobile-ready
  • Make your ecommerce store “responsive”
  • Enhance your site’s UX/UI
  • Personalize your sales process
  • Streamline your sales process

If you’re not implementing at least 3 of these strategies, it could be impacting your conversion rate.

In this article, we’ll dig deeper on how to execute each strategy, so you can start converting more of your visitors into buyers.

Let’s start:

1. Install tracking and analytics tools for ecommerce optimization

Analytics tools allow you to track important KPIs and metrics to help you see what’s working and what isn’t for your ecommerce store. You’ll also get to see what areas in your website caused users to drop off, or what pages or elements in your pages led more users to buy.  Armed with this data,  you can optimize your conversions by improving poorly performing elements.

Here’s how to do this.

Integrate an analytics tool into your website

For many of your basic needs, Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager will do.

It’s pretty easy to install GA and GTM if you use Shopify.

Just follow these steps on Google,

then copy paste your code into Shopify’s head section.

Integrate analytics tool

*Under layout, click “(/)theme liquid”. Then, paste the code you copied from Google Analytics in Row 4 under the “ <head>” coding. Image is taken from Steward Gauld’s YouTube tutorial.

Integrate analytics tool 2

*For Google Tag Manager, click “(/)theme liquid” again. Under the coding, go to the fourth. Paste the first Google Tag Manager code below. Image is taken from MeasureSchool’s YouTube tutorial.

Integrate an analytics tool 3

*Find the start of the coding. Then, paste the second Google Tag Manager code underneath. Image is taken from MeasureSchool’s YouTube tutorial.

In my case, I mainly work with WordPress sites and WooCommerce because they allow for more flexibility and control.

So when installing GA and GTM, you can refer to these resources.

If you want more context behind your data, you can get these sorts of insights from heat mapping and user action recording tools.

Simply integrate the tool you choose with your website, start tracking your customers’ behavior, and improve your ecommerce conversion rate with data-led strategies.

The most common ones I use include:

  • Hotjar
  • Intercom
  • User.com

Optimize your CRO software strategies

To keep your site operating at its peak:

  • Test for glitches in the performance of your systems
  • Perform A/B testing to check how changes to your site affect its performance
  • Collect customer feedback to improve your designs and software

Get deeper behavioral insights through heatmaps

Through heatmaps, you can track where your customers move, hover, and click. Because you know what areas get the most attention, you can reposition elements on your page for better ecommerce conversion rate optimization.

2. Enhance your on-page elements

There are many elements that can affect your customer’s buying decisions. The most common ones are headlines, product descriptions, colors, placements, and call-to-action buttons. To get better conversions, you can optimize each of these elements. Here’s how.

Use A/B testing

A/B testing tests different versions of your on-page elements to determine which version converts more visitors into buyers.

For example, for your ecommerce conversion rate optimization, you can test the conversion rates for two headlines: one that’s short and punchy, versus a longer headline that’s more detailed.

Use high-quality photographs

Showcase your product through high-quality photographs. This is important to help buyers make an informed purchase. Show the product from different angles. Let them zoom in on the details.

Write clear product descriptions

If customers can’t touch the product, they’re more likely to buy it if you give them a good description. Write your copy in an accurate way so that shoppers know what to expect when they order.

Use engaging videos

Videos are a great way to showcase your product’s features and dimensions. In fact, research has shown that 73% of U.S adults are more likely to make a purchase after viewing video content.

Utilize product reviews

A great way to improve ecommerce conversion rate is by including reviews on your site. People trust other people’s opinions over brands. If they see that similar people bought and loved your product, they’ll be more likely to buy.

Increase your search functionality

Make products easier to find. Do this by optimizing the functionality of your site’s search tool.

3. Have a fast-loading ecommerce site

If your mobile page loads in five seconds, studies show the bounce rate can increase by 90%.

Even a second delay can mean a 7% reduction in your conversions. And this could mean thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

Because no matter how engaging your site is, it won’t matter if shoppers leave before it loads. That’s how crucial speed is to your conversion. So consider it an incredibly important element of your ecommerce conversion rate optimization strategy.

To increase the speed of your site, here’s what you can do.

Assess your site’s current speed

To make improvements to your site, it’s important to know your site’s baseline speed. To do this, you can use Pingdom or Google PageSpeed.

Update your site’s theme

Choose a theme that’s well designed, easy to customize, easy to integrate, mobile responsive, and loads quickly.

Double-check the images on your sites

Certain images can affect your site’s performance. Use tools like RIOT, TinyPNG, and Kraken to make sure your images are optimized for web and mobile.

Find hosting that will meet the needs of your site

Different hosts have different performance compatibilities. But when it comes to hosting for WooCommerce, I’m currently pretty partial to Cloudways.

As PM for many web projects, I’ve tried my fair share of hosting:

And so far, Cloudways has got my back when it comes to WooCommerce projects.

So if your ecom store uses WooCommerce, here’s  a quick guide to speed it up.

4. Be mobile-ready

If your ecommerce site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re losing out on traffic and sales. That’s because more than 50% of online shopping is done via mobile devices. Here’s what you can do.

Examine the mobile compatibility of your site

Test the mobile compatibility of the content and graphics on your site with tools like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

Check if your product descriptions are readable. Make sure your site is responsive and easy to navigate even on mobile.

Help customers skim through easily

Use bullet points and ordered lists to help customers skim through your page.

Readers can digest the information faster, and this format is easier to read even on mobile.

Often, content using this type of format can rank high for SEO because most essential information is in one place. It gives viewers a great experience.

5. Make your ecommerce store “responsive”

A responsive site can increase the user experience of your shoppers.  This can lead to more conversions for your ecommerce site.

Here’s a list to tell if your page is responsive.

  • The page loads quickly
  • It responds quickly to fit the device of the shopper
  • Shoppers achieve their goal on your site even on mobile
  • The shopper does not need to resize, scroll, or pan to see your site better

To increase the responsiveness of your site, here are some of the things you can do.

“Mobile-first” site design

Google is using the mobile version of your site for ranking and indexing. So if you want more traffic, prioritize the smallest of screens at the beginning of your design process.

Target smartphones users

If your site is mobile responsive, you can capture the majority of smartphone users. This is crucial because they account for nearly 70% of all mobile transactions.

6. Enhance your site’s UX/UI

Poor UX design can lead to confused and frustrated visitors. But, a smooth and seamless user experience can increase engagement and conversions.

Here’s what you can do to improve your site’s UX/UI.

Optimize your search bar

About 30% of e-com shoppers will use your site’s search tool. If they can’t find the tool, their UX decreases. If a glitch in the tool occurs, shoppers can’t find what they’re looking for. When that happens, they can’t become customers.

Optimize mobile navigation

To do this, use a “hamburger” menu. It’s the icon with three lines you often see in the top left corner.

It lets you pack the features and tools of your site in a tiny icon – creating a clean minimalistic look on mobile devices.

Categorize your product strategically

If a product fits into multiple subcategories, make sure they’re not placed in only one.

For example, if a shopper is looking for custom mugs in the category “utensils,” but you only have it listed in “custom products,” then the shopper might assume you don’t have the product.

Check your site’s internal search data

Discover what shoppers are searching for. See how they’re navigating your site. With this data, you can get more sales by improving product arrangements and on-page elements.

7. Personalize your sales process

A personalized shopping experience is a surefire way of increasing your return visitors.  To execute this, you can follow these four steps.

Personalize their recommendations

Track your visitor’s location, traffic sources, preferences, and purchase history. Then, highlight products they’re more likely to buy.

Add a Wishlist

Often, shoppers can’t buy all the items they like at the moment. This “save for later” tool lets them revisit these items for later purchases.

Segment customers to personalize their messaging

Your visitors have unique needs. If your message is too generic, they won’t respond. Segment visitors by traffic source, age groups, actions taken, and more.

SEGMENT CUSTOMERS

*Here are examples of different ways you can segment your customers. For example, you can segment them by source type, visitor type and device type.

Use dynamic text boxes

Integrate dynamic text boxes that will offer personalized messaging based on the segment the customer is in.

Dynamic text boxes

In this picture, you can see a dynamic text box segmenting the visitor based on location. It even went as far as mentioning the visitor’s name to personalize the experience. Image is taken from Getsitecontrol’s YouTube video.

Use specific landing pages per user type

Build a unique landing page for each group, then speak directly about their needs. It may take some effort, but personalized landing pages convert better than generic ones.

specific landing pagesExample of a personalized landing page for buyers of AppSumo

use specific landing pages

*Here’s an example of a website that gives personalized landing pages depending on the type of visitor they’re having. Image taken from Abercrombie & Fitch website.

use specific landing pages 2

*On the left, you’ll see a landing page personalized for women. Image is taken from Ambercrombie & Fitch. On the right, you’ll see a landing page personalized for men. Image is taken from Ambercrombie & Fitch.

Have a single CTA

Distraction is your enemy when converting traffic into buyers. Limit distractions by highlighting only one call-to-action on the page.

single and multiple CTAs

*On the left, you can see an example of a landing page with multiple CTAs: download an ebook, subscribe to a blog, watch a video,and visit the company’s LinkedIn, YouTube and Facebook page. Image is taken from Wishpond.com On the right, you can see an example of a site with only one ideal CTA. Image is taken from Shopify.

8. Streamline your sales process

There are a couple of things that prevent customers from buying, even if they’re ready to buy.

  • Poorly designed shopping cart
  • Lack of information
  • Unoptimized check out process
  • Complicated check-out forms

Here’s what you can do to prevent or remedy drop-offs.

Speed up the transaction

Get rid of unnecessary steps in the checkout process. The faster the transaction, the more likely it’s completed.

According to the Baymard Institute, the top 60 US and EU online retailers had an average of 5.1 steps in 2019.

Display shopping cart contents

Display their virtual shopping cart from shopping to checkout. Ideally, they should see their individual items, prices, and total costs.

display shopping cart content

*In this photo, you can see that the shopping cart and its contents are visible from the homepage to the checkout page. The image is taken from Lazada.

Provide real-time assistance

Some customers have doubts and questions that need to be addressed before they complete checkout. Address them quickly and conveniently through live chat support.

Examples of live chat apps I typically use for my clients websites include:

  • Intercom

Set up an abandoned cart sequence

When they do drop off, an automated email sequence should remind them to complete their transaction. This simple strategy alone can turn 15% of abandoned carts into sales to improve ecommerce conversion rate.

Apps such as Klaviyo, Autonami, and ClickFunnels help with automated emails to remind customers to checkout.

Start your ecommerce website optimization

You don’t need to follow all 8 strategies to notice an improvement. If you’re struggling with low and inconsistent conversions, even implementing two to three strategies in any of these areas can make all the difference.

Simply observe your current ecommerce site. Use analytic tools and customer feedback, then analyze the insights. What areas need work? Which of the 8 strategies do you think you lack?

Once you’ve understood your weak points, execute the strategy we’ve outlined above. Track and see how certain optimizations affect your site’s performance

Continue what works, and optimize what doesn’t.

Q1. What is a good conversion rate for an ecommerce site?

According to WordStream, the average conversion rate across industries is 2.5%. So, if you are getting around 3% to 5% conversion rate that is more than better. However, it also depends on the industry in which you are doing business and the type of traffic you get. If it is only about paid traffic, find out what are the right keywords to target? Do your audience have buying power? And more similar questions. Also, landing pages matter a lot. Some websites have increased their conversion rate to almost 11% by improving the design and content of their landing pages.

Q2. What is the definition of conversion rate in ecommerce?

Conversion rate is the percentage of users who take a desired action on your website. For example, an ecommerce store receives 1000 visitors. Only 20 visitors tend to purchase a product. hence, the conversion rate will be (20/1000)*100=2%.

Q3. Why is conversion rate important?

Conversion rate allows you to track the performance of a website. It helps understand how visitors of a website are performing and allows site owners to take measures for improvement. By keeping a track of conversion rates, website owners can take actions to lower customer acquisition costs and increase revenue per visitor.

Q4. How should you start a conversion rate optimization campaign?

To optimize your campaigns, first create an objective in black and white. After setting the objective, create baseline after looking at the past performance. Now, start making changes to the page and test results. Here are six effective ways to improve your conversion rate optimization campaigns.

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Basilis Kanonidis

Basilis Kanonidis, Business Hacker & Product Manager. Ideas Architect. I've combined the science of behavioral and positive psychology with methods of strategic foresight to build, grow & scale Businesses and Products.

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