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19 best ways to increase e-commerce conversion rates

· 21 min read · E-commerce · March 30, 2022
Renata (Business Operations Specialist)

Each visitor to your e-commerce site is a potential customer. Their every interaction from the homepage to checkout will determine if you make a sale. 

Let’s make their experience the best it can be! 

In this article, we’ll explain e-commerce conversions and dive straight into 19 strategies you can implement today to increase your conversion rate. 

A conversion in e-commerce can be a range of things, it all depends on the business goal. Some common examples are when site visitors:

  • Click a link on the page

  • Add a product to the shopping cart

  • Sign up for the newsletter

  • Purchase a product or service

  • RSVP to an event

The e-commerce conversion rate is the percentage of visitors on your e-commerce site or page that converts or completes a desired action. It’s a key metric to analyze, because it indicates how successful your marketing strategies are, and what can be improved.

Conversion rate = number of conversions / number of total visitors or interactions

Curious whether your e-commerce conversion rate is good or not? Here are two resources to compare your numbers with other online shops in the same industry.

The practice of improving your e-commerce metrics is called conversion rate optimization, or CRO, in short. 

During this process, you analyze how current results compare to the set objectives and then implement strategies that’ll improve the conversion rate. Once you formulate a hypothesis on why e-commerce visitors aren’t converting, you generate ideas that could improve conversion and test. We’ve got 19 ideas below to help you get started now!

Top reasons people don’t make a purchase

  • Online store load time is too slow

  • User experience isn’t smooth and enjoyable

  • Products are not detailed enough or hard to understand

  • Call to action is unclear

  • Website isn’t responsive on mobile devices

  • Copy isn’t persuasive

  • Brand isn’t trustworthy

  • Overall site leaves a bad first impression

  • Shipping is too costly

19 ways to increase e-commerce conversion rates

We’re all busy busy busy, so we’ve categorized each idea based on the time it takes to complete. Some actions can be done in a matter of hours, while others require planning and headwork. Let’s begin with the easy action steps.

Got an hour or two to spare? Perfect, because these seven strategies are easy to implement!

1. Add social proof

We all trust what our (internet) friends tell us about a product or service a lot more than what the company itself says. You know, they might be a tiiiiny bit biased.

To build trust, credibility and motivate people to convert, companies often implement social proof. “If everyone else loves the product, I will probably too!”, customers often conclude. 

The question is, do you have enough social proof on display?

Social proof comes in different forms—from positive reviews to (influencer) endorsements, case studies and hard data (e.g. showing the number of email list subscribers or your following).

Assuming you’ve collected feedback over time, you can start by implementing one element of social proof today. For example, add a slider with product reviews or create visuals with customer quotes to post on social media.

Or, like Harry from Marketing Examples, show how many others already enjoy the newsletter (85k+ 🤩) and add raving quotes from real people.

Screenshot of a Marketing Examples newsletter containing social proof.
Image credit: Marketing Examples

2. Insert a page pop-up

We all do it: skim web pages instead of carefully reading everything that’s written (if you’re reading this, I appreciate you!). 

With our short attention spans and fast pace world, information can be easily overlooked.

A good way to bring information to people’s attention is through pop-ups. If you’re a MailerLite customer, you’re in luck, because creating and activating a pop-up is done in less than five minutes. 

But of course, not all pop-ups have the same conversion success rate (in fact, they can be quite annoying). You’ve got to do it right. We’ll show you how in the blog post below.

3. Set up an A/B test

Instead of guessing, confirm your hypothesis with an A/B test. Most email software providers and website builders offer this as a feature. For MailerLiters, we offer A/B testing for landing pages and emails.

To give you an idea of what to test, we’ll use a personal example: When analyzing our newsletter click rates, we got curious about whether leaving out the header image could improve clicks. Normally, each newsletter opens with a header, large image, text and CTA (call-to-action). Because of the large image, the CTA button would first be visible after scrolling—even on desktop.

By A/B testing an email version with and without an image at the beginning, we discovered that not having the image resulted in much higher click rates.

You can read about this and more experiments in this article:

Try MailerLite’s A/B test feature for landing pages

There’s more to MailerLite than just email marketing features! You can also drag and drop your own e-commerce landing pages (even in our Forever Free plan!). Try out the built-in A/B testing feature, which lets you test up to five versions of your landing page to learn which ultimately performs better.

Learn more about landing page A/B split testing

4. Make it urgent

It’s an old trick, but it still works in this day and age. If an offer is limited, people are more prone to make a decision on the spot. Yep, FOMO is real!

A good way to make it urgent is by mentioning the time frame in the copy, and implementing a countdown timer to visually show how much time someone has left.

Tip: Looking for an easy way to install a countdown timer on your landing page or email (that’s not an HTML code or plug-in)? MailerLite has got you! Countdown timer blocks are available in both the email and landing page/website builder.

To learn about how to use countdown timers in emails, click below:

5. Include videos

According to Wyzowl’s Video Marketing Statistics 2022, video has helped a whopping 87% of marketers to increase traffic.

If you have any videos that can up conversions, make sure to implement them. This goes for product features, tutorials, unboxing, interviews, (customer) reviews—anything that can make someone feel more enticed to convert.

6. Add product snippets

This strategy is slightly more technical. In short: Adding rich code snippets can help your products show up in the shopping section of Google. When your product is shown as the featured snippet, traffic could increase by 20-30%.

To learn about the different types of featured snippets and how to implement them, head over to this guide by Ahrefs.

Screenshot of matcha snippet examples in Google search

7. Create an FAQ

It’s normal that people have questions before they commit to something, and the easiest way to solve someone’s doubt is to tackle it heads on. Hence, FAQs.

Many websites have a section where the most frequently asked questions are answered. To create an FAQ, first identify the questions that people have by looking at support tickets, survey responses, keyword reports, or any other reports that offer customer insights.

Most FAQ pages use a content element where people can click on a question to reveal the answer, keeping things clean and organized. It’s good practice to also add support links or contact information, in case someone’s question wasn’t answered.

Screenshot of the FAQ page found on the Keys Soulcare website
Image credit: Keys Soulcare

8. Build specific landing pages

If you’re running paid advertisements, a great way to increase e-commerce conversions is by checking the landing page that’s connected to each ad. Low conversion rates (but good click rates) can indicate that people expected something else once clicking on the ad.

For example, say you run an ad for hiking shoes and the ad redirects people to the product page. Just showing the assortment without additional context might not entice visitors. 

Instead, you could build a dedicated landing page that shows hiking shoes from your catalog, but also contains persuasive copy, testimonials, and anything else that could pique people’s interest.

Did you know?

In MailerLite, you can build and publish landing pages and then check with the click map feature where people clicked the most. This shows you where people’s focus goes towards, and which elements can be positioned better.

9. Show people that you’re trustworthy

With no-code tools widely available, it’s easy for anyone to make a website. While that’s great, it also makes it harder for customers to filter which online retailers are legit. To show people that your company is credible and trustworthy, it’s recommended to implement:

  • Product guarantees

  • Trust badges and seals

  • Detailed product, shipping and return policy information 

  • Banking or payment trust badges

  • Support via email, phone, social media or live chat (or all!)

  • Contact information

  • About us page

  • Customer reviews and testimonials (bonus: from trusted websites)

  • SSL certificates for payment pages

  • Security system badges

While you don’t have to implement all of the above at once, start with one today!

For example, if you offer a secure, SSL checkout process, you can rename the CTA button to “Secure checkout”, like Ulta does.

Screenshot from the Ulta Beauty secure checkout page
Image credit: Ulta Beauty

10. Simplify the main navigation

The navigation bar is a piece of art in itself. Along with the footer, this website element returns on every page and is essential for visitors to find what they’re looking for.

Make sure your navigation menu is clear and straightforward. This goes for the aesthetics (font size, design, etc.) as well as how menu items are structured. Don’t cram too many items into the navigation (stick to a maximum of five or six) and work with subcategories that unfold when clicked.

The simpler it is, the better.

The next strategies could require more time to execute. You might need to analyze reports, get approval from management or ask colleagues to help implement the changes. Let’s have a look!

11. Offer coupons or discounts

There’s nothing like a discount to persuade people to convert. Whether it’s an early bird discount or a flash sale, incentives can positively influence people’s purchasing decisions.

Try pairing your discount or coupon code with a time frame to create a sense of urgency. And test what type of discounts works best for your audience. From a psychological standpoint, people might be more enticed when an offer is promoted as “Buy 2 get 3” versus “Get 15% off on the third product”.

Discount email coupon example from Saks Fifth Avenue
Image credit: Saks Fifth Avenue

12. Give people free shipping

If you currently charge to ship orders, it’s worth experimenting with offering this service at no cost. 

According to this study, 94% say free shipping is an important consideration factor when shopping online. In fact, it’s at an all-time high! NRF also reports that 60% expect not to pay shipping costs (thanks, Amazon). As you can see, these numbers are all in favor of putting this strategy into action!

Example of free shipping on the Tree of Life checkout page
Image credit: Tree of Life

13. Expand payment methods

Does your e-commerce business cater to everyone’s payment preferences? You might find that some options are missing, causing people to refrain from buying from you. 

Most shops include the most popular payment options, including credit card, Apple Pay and PayPal, but there could be a country-specific method you’ve overlooked. For example, in The Netherlands, the majority of people use the e-commerce payment system iDEAL for online shopping transactions, and it’s essential to offer this option.

Take the example of Rituals. For their Dutch customers, they offer a wide variety of payment options.

Example of payment options on ecommerce website from Rituals
Image credit: Rituals

14. Offer live chat

Live chat is the future. You might need to hire additional people or onboard existing support members, but we promise that it’ll be worth it! In fact, let’s back it up with not one, but a few statistics:

  • Live chat leads to 48% increase in revenue per chat hour and a 40% increase in conversion rate (Forrester)

  • 79% of businesses said that implementing live chat resulted in increased customer loyalty, sales and revenue (Kayako)

  • 38% of consumers are more likely to buy if a company offers live chat support (Crazy Egg)

  • Website visitors that engage via live chat are worth 4.5 times more than visitors that don’t (ICMI)

Convinced yet? To implement a live chat feature, there are many different routes to take. Examples of live chat software are Help Scout, LiveChat, Podium, Intercom, Olark, Zendesk and Acquire.

Example of live chat on the Brooklyn Candle Studio website
Image credit: Brooklyn Candle Studio

15. Recover abandoned carts

The fact is, not everyone that adds stuff to their basket will end up buying from you. Many people ditch their cart midway and exit the e-commerce website—and that’s totally normal!

What can help is to send an email that says “hey, you left some stuff in your basket”. Like THE NEW SAVANT does after browsing their candle collection and adding one to your basket.

Example of an abandoned cart email from SAVANT
Image credit: THE NEW SAVANT

These so-called abandoned cart automation emails are proven to increase e-commerce conversions. 

Salesforce found that 17.6% of shoppers who leave their shopping carts return to complete their order after receiving a personalized retargeting email. And Barilliance reports that these cart abandonment emails have a high success score. They have a 43% average open rate and a 10.7% average conversion rate. Impressive!

Want to see more examples of awesome abandoned cart emails? Click below:

Not every optimization can be done instantly. Take the strategies below. For some, you’ll need to collaborate with tech folks to code the solution, while for others a deep dive into case studies and behavioral data is needed before you can execute.

16. Optimize product images and descriptions

Do your product pages show how awesome your products really are?

Online shoppers want to know exactly what’s delivered to their doorstep before completing their order. For this optimization strategy, we’ll be making sure people’s expectations are met. Open a product page as an example and ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have high-quality images?

  • Do I show different angles of the product?

  • Would a GIF or video help to show the product in action?

  • Can I add more diverse models (for clothing)?

  • Can I include more details in the product descriptions?

  • Do I have customer pictures that show the product in real life? (e.g. Instagram tag feed)

  • Are there testimonials or customer reviews I can implement?

Take a look at this product page of scented candle brand Maison Louis Marie. It includes reviews, a scent story, ingredients, more details, images, videos and related products.

Product page example from candle brand, Maison Louis Marie
Image credit: Maison Louis Marie

17. Allow for guest checkouts

Between privacy policy reminders, cookie approvals and push notification pop-ups, most people agree that browsing the internet has become a tiring activity at times.

While asking people to create an account to purchase is beneficial for businesses, it can also stop them from buying because of the inconvenience. It takes time to walk through each step of the checkout process and think of yet another random, scam-proof password.

To avoid losing potential customers on the checkout page, many e-commerce shops offer guest checkouts. They’re faster and require less commitment, removing the barriers for people to complete their orders.

Example of guest checkout option on the Uncommon Goods website
Image credit: uncommon goods

18. Understand the customer journey

While it’s time-consuming to study your customer’s behavior and connect the dots, identifying where people are in their customer journey can significantly increase e-commerce conversion rates.

Knowing whether someone is ready to buy or merely exploring their options makes all the difference in how to approach this person.

For example, you’re probably reading this blog for its actionable tips, with no precedent intention to sign up for MailerLite. While we did sprinkle some MailerLite features to get you excited about our product, the main goal is to inform and increase awareness about our email marketing tool.

Keep people’s customer journey in mind when creating content and analyze current copy to see how to optimize it.

19. Optimize website speed

It’s perhaps not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about how to optimize e-commerce conversions, but your page speed can be a total gamechanger!

Akamai reports that a small delay of two seconds in page loads can increase bounce rates by over 100%. Furthermore, 40% of the people who didn’t enjoy their experience browsing a website would tell their friends or family. Yikes!

With these numbers in mind, it makes sense to start a project that focuses on increasing page speed. To learn which steps you can take, check out this article by Ecommerce Guide.

Now that you’ve gathered many hacks to improve your e-commerce conversion rate, it’s time to put them into action! Not each tactic will instantly give your metrics a boost, but trust us when we say that everything adds up and you’ll reap the benefits over time.

Share which tactic you’ll implement in the comments!

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Jonas Fischer
Jonas Fischer
I'm Jonas, Content Manager at MailerLite. I’m not the 4th Jonas Brother, but I do write content (which is similar to being a teen heartthrob). After writing for a bunch of companies over the years, I discovered my professional passion—helping add some humanity to B2B marketing. Email is the perfect place to start!
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