Improving your ecommerce conversion rate can have a huge impact on your online retail business’ bottom line, regardless of whether you’re running a large store or an online boutique.
Here at Tech.co, we’ve studied the online shopping market, coming up with a range of tips and tricks to help you get your customers over the line into sales.
Read on for our full guide to ecommerce conversion rate optimization.
What is a Good Ecommerce Conversion Rate?
A typical ecommerce conversion rate is around 1-2% — a good ecommerce conversion rate is around 2-4%, depending on the industry.
That might seem low because, frankly, it is. But before you feel deterred, have a think about how users – including yourself – actually behave on an online store. Consider how many times you’ve personally had a look at something online. Did you buy it on the spot? Or did you close the tab and head over to watch a funny dog video on YouTube?
Every time you do that, you count as a failed conversion.
It doesn’t mean you’ll never buy that product (you may even buy it from the original store you were looking at), but it’s rare that transactions are “one and done”.
Ecommerce Conversion Rate by Industry
Ecommerce rates can vary quite a bit depending on the industry in which your business operates. As a rule, you’ll find that industries that sell a lot of big-ticket items, such as Cars and Motorcycles, have lower conversion rates than smaller value items in Home Accessories and Giftware.
There are some exceptions, however. Baby and Child buyers are tentative — after all, there are a lot of safety concerns that need to be assuaged before anyone converts, and it’s a buying decision that lends itself to a lot of research and checking with peer networks.
The data below comes from IRP Commerce — it’s also worth considering the impact of the pandemic on buying habits. Conversion rates have typically dropped, though there are some exceptions:
|Sector||Average May 2020 conversion rate||Average May 2021 conversion rate|
|Arts & Crafts||3.8%||3.53%|
|Baby & Child||1.37%||0.93%|
|Cars & Motorcycling||1.31%||1.41%|
|Electrical & Commercial Equipment||1.7%||0.91%|
|Clothing & Accessories||2.51%||1.6%|
|Food & Drink||2.35%||1.75%|
|Health & Wellbeing||4.21%||3%|
|Home Accessories & Giftware||2.17%||1.11%|
|Kitchen & Home Appliances||2.43%||2.89%|
|Sports & Recreation||1.78%||1.33%|
How to Improve Your Ecommerce Conversion Rate
In this section, we’ll gather up the best tips and tricks to help you improve your conversion rate overnight.
We’ll cover everything from persuasive writing and trust signals, as well as technical issues that might be hampering your sales.
1. Make sure you’re measuring conversions correctly
The best place to start is by ensuring that you’re measuring your conversion rate accurately and consistently — this will make it far easier to spot whether the changes you’re making are having the desired impact.
You might be using Google Analytics to track how many users are visiting your site but, when it comes to tracking conversions, Google’s software isn’t quite the gold standard. It can be confusing to set up metric tracking and unwieldy to analyze the traffic.
Instead, we would recommend using a platform such as Shopify, which has dedicated tools to help you keep track of who’s coming and going to your store.
Read our full Shopify Review
Its online store conversion over time report will show you the percentage of visitors that make a purchase over a selected period of time. You can easily see the overall conversion rate, the total number of sessions where a customer purchased a product, the number of sessions that reached the checkout, the number of sessions when a product was added to the cart, and the total number of sessions. You’re also able to easily compare the data over days, weeks, or months.
Shopify has a dedicated conversion summary that gives you an overview of an individual customer’s previous visits and their behavior leading up to a purchase from your store. You’ll also be able to see a customer’s total number of orders, their total visits in the last 30 days, and the origin of the customer’s first visit to your store. You’ll also be able to find out the total number of visits the customer has made to your store and the number of days between visits.
2. Improve your checkout pages
Now that you can accurately measure how many users are actually making it through to purchasing something on your site, you can start to test improvements to your site to bump up the conversion rate.
One of the best places to start is by optimizing the process that buyers go through when actually checking out. Anything that introduces friction here is a recipe for a lost transaction.
Most hosted ecommerce providers — Shopify, BigCommerce, Square Online, or even Squarespace — will offer pretty standardized checkout processes. Users can get a view of the product with simple, clear drop-down menus and forms to fill in for shipping.
Now, there are two approaches to consider, and neither is necessarily better or worse for conversion rate optimization. You could try putting all this information on a single page, or keep users clicking through to different pages for payment details, billing addresses, and shipping.
What works for one store might not work for yours – keep in mind the type of product you’re selling above all. It’s worth testing and seeing what works for you.
3. Make your checkout effortless for all payment types
Easily digestible checkout forms that cater to all modern payment types are essential — not only for ensuring a quick checkout but also for conveying trust to users.
Ensuring that your site automatically formats CVV codes, credit card numbers, and sort codes, for example, makes life far easier for customers and makes your site seem more professional.
Accepting digital wallets is another great way to make customers feel more secure in handing over their money.
Apple Pay and Google Pay should be standard on most ecommerce sites but PayPal Express is also a great option for a lot of customers.
4. Set up abandoned cart software
Naturally, one of the best ways to recoup potential sales is by getting users to pick up where they left off with an abandoned cart notification. These normally take the form of emails to customers who are signed in to your site or have entered their email.
Pinging out an email after a few hours to a customer with products in the cart might get them to get back on the wagon and convert into a sale. Not all hosted ecommerce providers offer this service but Shopify offers it on its cheapest $29 per month Basic plan.
You can also include discount vouchers or coupons to make the sale even more enticing to the user. Some sites apparently see a 20-30% uplift in sales thanks to abandoned cart emails alone.
5. Ensure customers know that your site is safe
You know that your online store is safe but your customers might not. Ensuring that your site shows its SSL certificate is essential — most ecommerce platforms do this out of the box.
It’s also worth showing images of the different payment methods that your site accepts. PayPal, for example, is a big trust signal as users feel safer knowing that it's easy to get their money back, should something go awry.
6. Let customers checkout as guests
We’ve all got enough online accounts and it’s unlikely that customers will want to add another one to the list. By forcing customers to register an account with your site, it’s giving them another reason to leave.
By the time they checkout, you’ll have their name and email address (at least) so forcing them to create an account won’t actually give you much more information.
What’s more, if you mandate that customers create an account with your store, you’ll be responsible for managing and securing loads of customer data — one data breach could land your business in serious trouble.
7. Allow user reviews
Customer reviews and testimonials are a great way to communicate your business’ trustworthiness to potential buyers. As long as the product reviews are believable (we’re looking at you, Amazon) then buyers should be more likely to part with their cash.
Adding photos to product reviews can be a great way to give potential buyers another look at something they might buy — if your business is selling clothes, for example, getting buyers to post photos of themselves in your gear will do wonders for sales.
Should you encounter any negative reviews, however, it’s worth being proactive and replying to customers and sorting out their issues for them as soon as possible.
8. Ensure your website looks good and reads well
Nothing screams shady like a website with pixely photos, lacklustre text, and fuzzy navigation.
By making sure that your website looks great, buyers will trust your site more and they will be far more likely to checkout. What’s more, consumers will be able to get a better feel for your products with improved text and images.
You can also create content related to the items you sell in order to promote trust. For example, if you sell specialist sporting equipment, it might be a good idea to do interviews with the participants or do retrospectives on important moments in the sport’s history.
Oh, and make sure you spell-check everything properly. Typos might seem insignificant but they can seriously damage your brand’s credibility and trustworthiness. Spelling errors are one of the telltale signs of phishing emails and websites, which could really throw a potential buyer off.
In fact, TightsPlease.co.uk noticed an 80% conversions uplift when they corrected “Tihgts” to “Tights” on its category page.
9. Make it easy for customers to contact you
Sites with opaque contact information are going to look shady to customers.
By making it clear how users can get in touch with you in the event that something goes wrong with their order, customers will be more inclined to buy in the first place.
Remember that not all customers will be satisfied with a singular way to resolve queries. Some will be happy with online chat (even if it’s a chatbot), while others will loathe it and be furious that there’s no way to find an email contact address. And “solve it yourself” help centers may deflect potential new tickets, but they could be driving customers in circles when they just want to speak to an actual person.
10. Remember that potential conversions start before buyers hit your site
It’s rare that customers search for a product, find one, and then buy it based solely on the website. Nowadays, customers expect consistent and engaging branding.
If you can start to create a brand and engage with users before they come to purchase, they’ll be far more likely to become first-time and return buyers.
Engaging with customers on social media can be time-consuming but can also reap huge rewards. Email marketing is another great way to help build loyalty among your potential customers.
Are You Using the Best Ecommerce Platform?
You’d be forgiven for thinking that in order to get a best-in-class online store, you’d need to have it custom built by a team of crack developers. However, with the range of hosted ecommerce platforms on the market, you can easily create an easy-to-use, stylish, and trustworthy online store in a matter of hours.
Here at Tech.co, we’ve done the research and tried the leading online store builders on the market and we think that you can’t go wrong with Wix or Shopify.
Wix is the best choice for small and stylish online stores with affordable pricing and heaps of creative control over your site’s design.
Shopify is a better fit for larger online stores with lots of product listings. It also has excellent reporting tools and analytics to help you optimize your online business.
Final Thoughts — Increasing your Ecommerce Sales
Trying to boost your ecommerce sales can seem like a fool’s errand — after all, you don’t control your buyers.
However, by following some simple tips, from ensuring your site security certificate is up to date, to making checkout as painless as possible, you will start to see your conversion rate improve.
Ecommerce Conversion Rate FAQs
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