CRO for ecommerce enhances the shopping experience by converting more visitors into paying customers. Learn how to use different conversion tactics to boost your online sales.

Here, you’ll find:

Your ecommerce website is getting decent traffic but mediocre conversion volume.

Getting website traffic is just one piece of the ecommerce marketing puzzle. To grow sales, you must equally focus on turning more website visitors into paying customers via ecommerce conversion rate optimization (CRO).

“Effective conversion rate optimization ensures each visitor to your site has the best chance to convert into a customer,” says Sam Yadegar, co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. “From testing the right keywords to optimizing landing pages, every element needs to work together to ensure your marketing efforts yield the highest return on investment.”

Let’s start with the basics.

What is conversion rate optimization for ecommerce?

Ecommerce CRO uses keyword optimization, web design best practices, advanced copywriting techniques, and user experience research to increase the percentage of visitors who purchase from your website.

It improves parts of your website that directly impact the buying process. For instance, making product descriptions clearer, speeding up how fast pages load, and simplifying the steps to complete a purchase.

To perform CRO, you must analyze where potential customers leave your site without buying, then make relevant changes to keep them engaged long enough to make a purchase.

For example, if many visitors abandon their shopping carts, CRO could test a shorter checkout process to see if more visitors complete their purchases.

conversion rate optimization guide for ecommerce websites

Why ecommerce CRO matters

Conversion rate optimization for ecommerce directly increases your sales by making the most of the traffic your site already receives.

CRO for ecommerce is important because it:

  • Enhances user experience (UX), which can lead to higher customer satisfaction
  • Increases ROI by maximizing the effectiveness of each visit
  • Lowers customer acquisition costs (CAC) since improving conversion rates can be more cost-effective than attracting new site visitors
  • Makes your business more scalable by increasing sales without a big increase in advertising costs
  • Supports long-term business growth by continuously optimizing user pathways to purchase (the steps customers take from entering your site to completing a purchase)

19 tips to increase your ecommerce conversion rate

Follow these conversion rate optimization tips to improve sales revenue for your ecommerce store:

  1. Simplify your site navigation
  2. Optimize your product pages
  3. Offer free shipping
  4. Provide social proof
  5. Create a sense of urgency
  6. Simplify the checkout process
  7. Use retargeting ads
  8. Offer live chat support
  9. Optimize for mobile shopping
  10. A/B test your changes
  11. Provide clear shipping and return policies
  12. Use high-quality product images and videos
  13. Offer a money-back guarantee
  14. Personalize the shopping experience
  15. Analyze and optimize your sales funnel
  16. Offer multiple payment options
  17. Optimize your email marketing campaign
  18. Provide detailed size guides
  19. Offer a loyalty or rewards program

1. Simplify your site navigation

Clear, well-organized navigation helps visitors find what they need quickly, enhancing their shopping experience.

Ensure your menus are intuitive. Categories should be logically organized to guide customers.

For larger ecommerce sites, implement a mega menu that displays all available product categories and subcategories. This allows users to see everything at a glance without being overwhelmed.

Walmart has a great site navigation menu that’s well-sorted:

Simple and well-organized navigation menu on Walmart’s website

2. Optimize your product pages

Ensure your product pages are clear, engaging, and informative because this is where users make the buying decision.

Highlight the product with high-quality images from multiple angles and provide zoom-in functionality.

Include descriptions that directly address your customers’ needs and concerns. Focus on how your product solves their problems.

List the key features using bullet points for easy readability. Detail aspects like size, material, and any unique qualities that can help in quicker decision-making.

Here’s an example of a good product description by Levi’s, a popular clothing brand:

Example of a good product description on Levi’s website

Further reading: How to Increase Conversions with CRO Website Design

3. Offer free shipping

Free shipping encourages more purchases by removing a common barrier — the extra cost at checkout.

Customers often abandon carts when they see additional charges. However, free shipping makes the total cost clear from the start, enhancing transparency and trust.

To manage the costs of free shipping while encouraging larger orders, set a minimum purchase threshold.

Here’s an example of Michaels Stores, an arts and crafts store, offering free shipping after a threshold mark:

A product page on Michaels Stores showing its free shipping option

This tactic boosts average order values and increases overall sales as customers add more items to reach the free shipping limit.

4. Provide social proof

Social proof like customer reviews and testimonials enhances trust, which prompts more visitors to convert into buyers.

Display this feedback prominently across your product pages to reassure potential customers about your products’ quality and satisfaction.

Integrate real customer photos, video reviews, or ratings next to purchase buttons. It can influence buying decisions by showing real-life satisfaction and product use, which can boost confidence and reduce purchase hesitation.

Here’s an example of Nike showing customer product reviews and ratings on its product pages:

An example of social proof (customer reviews) on Nike’s product page

5. Create a sense of urgency

Building a sense of urgency can lead to quicker purchase decisions by tapping into the fear of missing out (FOMO).

Use real-time stock updates or limited-time offers to communicate scarcity and prompt immediate action.

For example, displaying messages such as “Only 1 left in stock!” or “Sale ends in 2 hours!” directly on product pages or during checkout can increase the perceived value of purchasing right away.

Here’s an example of creating scarcity by Uncommon Goods, a New Yorkd-based retailer:

A product page on Uncommon Goods’ website showing the number of items left

This reduces the time customers take to decide, significantly lowering cart abandonment rates.

Further reading: Marketing Psychology: 5 Tips to Win Hearts (+ Examples)

6. Simplify the checkout process

Complex checkout processes often lead to cart abandonment. Ensure your checkout process is straightforward and quick to navigate.

Use a clean layout with clear, simple steps that guide the user from the cart to completion without distractions.

Add a guest checkout page for those who prefer not to create an account. This will reduce barriers and speed up the purchase process.

Also, consider integrating progress indicators to visually guide users through the steps and show them how close they are to completing their purchase.

7. Use retargeting ads

Retargeting ads reconnect you with visitors who leave your site without taking the desired action (like buying).

These ads follow users to other websites they visit, reminding them of what they’ve left behind and inviting them back to complete their purchase.

How retargeting ads work

For effective retargeting, segment your target audience based on their behavior on your site. Like which products they viewed or how far they got in the checkout process.

Choosing the right ecommerce ad platform that allows granular audience segmentation and integrates with your omnichannel analytics can enhance your retargeting efforts. It can make your ads more personalized and relevant, increasing the chances of conversion.

8. Offer live chat support

Live chat can improve your website conversion rates by providing immediate assistance to visitors.

When potential customers have questions or need reassurance, live chat offers real-time solutions, which eliminates doubts and encourages purchases.

Here’s an example of live chat on every product page of Wayfair:

Live chat support on Wayfair’s product page

Equip your chat support with expert staff who are ready to answer product-specific questions and offer personalized recommendations.

Proactively initiating chat on pages where visitors hesitate or abandon their carts can also be a strategic move to increase engagement and sales.

9. Optimize for mobile shopping

Thanks to m-commerce apps, smartphone shopping is growing, which means mobile optimization is now critical to maintaining high conversion rates.

This is especially true for jewelry ecommerce businesses and other clothing sub-categories, where customers often browse and purchase items on their mobile devices.

In fact, more Americans visit a retail website and place orders from their smartphones than a desktop:

Distribution of retail website visits and orders in the United States as of 1st quarter 2024, by device

Source: Statista

So, make your website responsive. It should adapt smoothly to any screen size, and the navigation should be easy to use on mobile devices.

Speed is just as important. Optimize images and streamline code to ensure quick loading times.

A mobile-friendly site keeps visitors engaged and enhances their shopping experience, which can lead to higher conversion rates and improved customer retention.

Further reading: How to Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly (& Why It’s a Must)

10. A/B test your changes

A/B testing (or split testing) improves your site by comparing two web page versions to determine which converts better.

A/B testing for CRO

To start CRO testing, select elements critical to conversion, such as headlines, call-to-action (CTA buttons), and navigation to the homepage.

Use a platform like Optimizely or VWO to create and run these tests. Set up one version with your current headline and another with an alternative version.

Then track click-through and conversion rates to identify the more effective option.

Further reading: 16 A/B Testing Ideas to Boost Conversions + Tools to Use

11. Provide clear shipping and return policies

Clearly communicating shipping and return policies builds trust and reduces purchase hesitations.

Make these policies easy to find and understand by placing them prominently on your product pages and linking them in the footer.

Ensure the terms are straightforward, explaining shipping timelines, costs, and return procedures without complex legal jargon.

Here’s an example of Vasque, an online shoe store, prominently mentioning that customers can return products for free:

A product page on Vasque clearly showing its shipping and return policy

This transparency helps customers feel secure by informing them exactly what to expect and how they can return products if needed.

12. Use high-quality product images and videos

High-quality images and videos give visitors a clear and detailed view of your products, which boosts their confidence in making a purchase.

Ensure your product visuals are sharp and professional. Consider adding features like a 360-degree view or zoom functionality to allow customers a closer look at product details.

Also, videos showing the product in use can further enhance the product’s understanding and appeal, directly impacting buying decisions.

Here’s an example of Sally Beauty, a hair and beauty product store, that uses high-quality images and videos.

An example of ecommerce site Sally Beauty using high-quality product images and videos

13. Offer a money-back guarantee

A money-back guarantee reassures customers of the quality of your products and minimizes their perceived risk in purchasing.

Clearly state this guarantee near your pricing or add-to-cart button so it’s seen during the decision-making process.

Explain the terms simply: what the guarantee covers, how customers can claim it, and the timeframe they have to return the product. You can also link to your money-back policy page.

Here’s an example from eBay:

A product page on eBay highlighting its money-back guarantee

This can boost buyers’ confidence and increase the number of conversions by reducing risk concerns.

14. Personalize the shopping experience

Personalizing the shopping experience increases user engagement and conversion rates.

Implement product recommendation engines that display items based on a customer’s browsing behavior and previous purchases.

Amazon does this well:

Amazon showing personalized product recommendations based on previously viewed products

Furthermore, ecommerce SEO services can optimize your website’s content and structure to deliver targeted and relevant experiences to your visitors.

For deeper engagement, develop personalized email campaigns that feature products tailored to individual preferences and past interactions. This can increase the likelihood of purchase by making recommendations feel tailored.

15. Analyze and optimize your sales funnel

Analyzing your sales funnel helps you understand where potential customers drop off and why.

Use Google Analytics to monitor how users move through your site and identify stages with high abandonment rates.

Improve these areas by streamlining processes, clarifying information, or adding reassurance, such as customer reviews at critical decision points.

16. Offer multiple payment options

Offering various payment options meets customer preferences and eases the checkout process.

Include popular digital wallets like PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay, along with traditional credit cards.

For example, Overstock, a well-known online retailer, offers a range of payment options during checkout:

Overstock giving customers multiple payment options

It even offers express checkout options:

Overstock giving customers express checkout options

Multiple payment options reduce barriers at checkout. They cater to customers’ preferred payment methods, which provides convenience and builds trust. This can lead to improved customer experience and higher conversion rates.

17. Optimize your email marketing campaign

Effective email marketing directly increases sales by engaging customers through personalized communication.

Segment your email list to tailor campaigns to specific customer groups, such as frequent buyers or those who’ve shown interest without purchasing.

Automate critical emails like:

  • Abandoned cart reminders, which prompt customers to return and complete purchases
  • Post-purchase follow-ups to encourage repeat business and gather feedback

Here’s an example of a great abandoned cart email by Huckberry, a men’s clothing online store that also invests in fashion SEO activities:

Example of a cart abandonment email from Huckberry, a men’s clothing online store

This targeted approach ensures each recipient receives relevant content, increasing the likelihood of engagement and conversion.

18. Provide detailed size guides

Detailed size guides and fit tools reduce returns and increase customer satisfaction by helping shoppers choose the right product size.

Include clear visual charts and interactive tools on your product pages to guide customers through the sizing process.

This clarity minimizes uncertainty and aids in making confident purchasing decisions. This ultimately decreases the likelihood of returns due to size issues.

For example, Louis Vuitton has an interactive guide on its product pages for customers to find the right fit:

An interactive size guide on Louis Vuitton product page

It also has a standard and static size guide:

A size guide on the Louis Vuitton product page

19. Offer a loyalty or rewards program

A loyalty or rewards program incentivizes repeat purchases and builds long-term customer relationships.

Enhance customer loyalty (and drive ongoing engagement) by offering them points, discounts, or exclusive access to sales for returning customers.

Here’s an example of a point-based loyalty program by Zappos:

Loyalty program of Zappos

Adding loyalty programs into your CRO strategy encourages repeat business and cultivates a community of brand advocates or fans who are more likely to refer new customers.

Further reading: 11 Conversion Rate Optimization Trends + Tips to Grow Sales

How to measure ecommerce conversions?

While sales numbers are a clear indicator of success, tracking additional key performance indicators (KPIs) provides a deeper understanding of your ecommerce CRO efforts.

Here are some KPIs you should track:

  • Conversion rate: Calculate by dividing the number of purchases by the total number of visitors. It reveals the effectiveness of your site in converting visits to sales.
  • Average order value (AOV): Measure the average amount spent every time a customer purchases. To find this, divide total revenue by the number of orders.
  • Cart abandonment rate: Reflects the percentage of shopping carts that are filled but never lead to a purchase. This metric helps identify issues in the checkout process.
  • Customer lifetime value (CLTV): Estimates the total revenue you can expect from one customer account. It helps predict long-term business viability.

To track these metrics, use analytics tools like Google Analytics, heatmap software (like Hotjar), or ecommerce platforms with built-in analytics features. These tools provide detailed reports that help you understand user behavior, identify potential issues in your conversion funnels, and monitor key benchmarks like bounce rate.

Based on this data, you can continually refine your strategies to boost conversions and improve the overall customer experience.

At HawkSEM, we use ConversionIQ, our proprietary marketing tool. It provides detailed tracking throughout the buyer’s journey, allowing us to pinpoint exactly where enhancements are needed on the ecommerce platform.

ConversionIQ, a proprietary tool of HawkSEM

“Conversion tracking allows you to identify which elements of your site influence customer behavior and purchasing decisions,” says Yadegar. “With ConversionIQ, we can evaluate how changes in website design, checkout processes, and product presentations affect conversion rates. This precise analysis helps us continuously optimize the shopping experience and consistently ensure higher profitability for our clients.”

Team up with CRO specialists at HawkSEM

Implementing ecommerce CRO has several challenges, like:

  • Balancing user experience with conversion optimization
  • Continuous testing straining budgets
  • Keeping up with evolving technology and consumer expectations
  • Identifying the right metrics to track and interpret results

The team at HawkSEM helps clients address these challenges head-on and achieve higher conversions.

HawkSEM is a top digital marketing agency that works with brands like Microsoft, Nike, Verizon, and Honda. We offer end-to-end ecommerce marketing services, including ecommerce cro services.

Over the years, we’ve worked with many ecommerce businesses, driving their online sales with data-driven strategies.

For example, our team helped NorthStock (a leading online store of commercial and industrial HVAC equipment) increase its conversion rate by 53%.

We achieved this by optimizing its landing pages for clarity and speed, streamlining the checkout process, and implementing targeted A/B tests to refine its user experience based on real user data.

If your online store has low conversions and you want to grow sales, contact our CRO specialist today. Book your free consultation.

Frequently asked questions

How to calculate ecommerce conversion rates?

Here’s the formula for ecommerce conversion:

  1. Take the total number of sales over a specific period
  2. Divide it by the total number of visitors to your site during the same period
  3. Then, multiply it by 100 to calculate the percentage

This figure represents the proportion of your visitors who make a purchase.

What is a good ecommerce conversion rate?

A good average ecommerce conversion rate typically ranges between 2% and 3%. However, this can vary depending on your industry, product type, and target market.

For instance, luxury goods may have lower rates due to higher price points, while essential items might see higher rates.

How do paid search conversion rates compare to SEO?

Traffic from paid search can have higher conversion rates than search engine optimization because it targets specific user intents and can be optimized for conversions.

SEO drives organic traffic, which is key for long-term brand exposure and credibility. However, because it attracts a broader audience, organic traffic might convert at a lower rate.

What can improve the conversion rate of my ecommerce website?

There are several ways to improve your ecommerce website’s conversion rate and make it easier for online shoppers to find and purchase your products

These include optimizing your website design for usability and speed, providing clear product descriptions and high-quality images, and streamlining the checkout process.

Of course, there are challenges in increasing the conversion rate optimization of ecommerce stores based on your industry competitiveness, the types of products you’re selling, and your existing digital marketing results.

You can hire an ecommerce CRO agency for help.

Read: Top 8 CRO Agencies to Drive More Conversions

The takeaway

Bringing visitors to your ecommerce site is important. But that’s just the first step.

Those visitors won’t affect your bottom line if you don’t know how to convert them into paying customers.

You need an integrated ecommerce marketing strategy built on all key functions — from SEO, content marketing, and CRO to social media, paid ads, and email marketing.

So, if you’re struggling with lower ecommerce sales, here’s what to do:

  • Analyze your existing digital marketing strategy to ensure it’s comprehensive and covers all functions
  • Check if you’re getting enough visitors
  • Implement the CRO tactics we discussed in this guide
  • Hire an ecommerce CRO agency

If you need help, contact our CRO specialists today to book your free consultation to see how we can increase your online sales.

Contact HawkSEM for Free Consultation