7 Minute Read

Whether your business has been in the eCommerce space for what seems like forever, or you’re new to the world of eCommerce, one thing is true across the board – online shoppers need to convert for your business to generate revenue. And while the eCommerce industry has been steadily growing for years, competition has been increasing exponentially. In such a competitive landscape, conversion rate optimization (CRO) will have a direct impact on your bottom line.

In the simplest of terms, conversion rate optimization improves your online shoppers’ experience in order to increase the likelihood of them becoming a customer and driving sales. While that sounds easy enough, there are a variety of techniques you should consider when trying to optimize your conversion rate. 

Here are some key eCommerce features that deserve your attention for increased conversions.

User-Friendly Website Navigation

Shoppers walking into a brick-and-mortar store expect to have a clear sense of the products offered to them and where they could find them. Retail chains have entire teams dedicated to creating the right flow within a store to provide a positive experience for shoppers. Your website navigation is what creates that flow for your online store.

Your eCommerce site visitors need to land on your site and immediately identify how to navigate it, regardless of what kind of device they are using. They want to find exactly what they’re looking for quickly and easily or explore what you are offering in a logical and intuitive way. In a web usability report, 37% of respondents maintained that a poor experience with site navigation was enough of an annoyance to make them want to exit the site immediately. Look at your navigation and ask yourself a few key questions:

  • Does your navigation follow the path a typical customer would take? For example, are you able to seamlessly go from getting to know the company, to exploring the products, to checkout?
  • Is your navigation in a standard place where people expect to find it? Creativity is great but not when it comes at the expense of user experience.
  • Is a shopper able to sort and filter within categories so they can easily find the products they are looking for?

Clear Value Proposition

Think about what sets you apart from all of your competitors. Is there something truly unique about your products? Are you a company with a social good side making a positive impact on the world? Do you just genuinely care about your customers so much that they become like family? 

Your value proposition should be front and center on your homepage and an integral part of copy across your site. Make it one of the first things your visitors see and accent it with a call to action (CTA) that reflects your brand’s personality. If your product is something unique, invite your visitors to find out for themselves and use the CTA to send them to the product page to purchase. If you are making an impact on the world, invite your visitors to join you by signing up for an “action” newsletter. 

Whatever your value proposition is, make sure your visitors know it and feel like they can be a part of it too.


One of the best ways to turn a shopper into a customer and create brand loyalty is to make your eCommerce website visitors feel like they are special to you. One key benefit of personalizing messages is that you can recognize customers as individuals. By marketing one way to new shoppers, another way to those that have already purchased a product, and another way to long-term, high-value customers you can create marketing messages that are more compelling and effective.

Accenture found that 83% of consumers are willing to share their data to create a more personalized experience and marketers see an average increase of 20% in sales when introducing personalized experiences.

Some ways to create this experience can include:

  • Smart content that greets a known visitor by name. 
  • A “find your style” questionnaire that matches products to your visitors’ preferences.
  • Dynamic content, promotions, and banner images based on properties such as customer address, order history, and shopping cart contents.
  • Featured product recommendations based on previous purchases. 
  • Geo-targeted product recommendations – for example, if a visitor lives in a historically warmer climate, prioritizing swimsuits over parkas is likely to be a better fit.

A study by Epsilon found that 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that provides personalized experiences. The fact is, just like being coddled in a high-end retail store makes you feel special, a more personalized site and shopping experience will increase conversions and sales.

Imagery and Video

One of the biggest differences between shopping in a physical store and shopping online is that shoppers don’t have the ability to view a product in person. While eCommerce offers convenience, it doesn’t give a shopper that tangible experience – the ability to pick up a product, touch and feel it, and check it out from all different angles. 

The best way to make up for this is by using images and videos that help your shoppers experience a product as close to the way they would in a brick-and-mortar environment. Collectively, people are extremely visual and retain 80% of what they see and do. Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text. Close up photos of a product that give a sense of the material used, 360-degree videos that show all angles of a product, high-quality images of your product in use or styled, and augmented reality features allowing a shopper to see the product in their actual space are all ways to provide a better experience and make your shoppers want to click that “Add to Cart” button.

We usually only retain 10% of the written message a mere three days after hearing it. Add an image to that information, though, and we retain 65% of the message. Make sure you consider quality and quantity when it comes to product and brand images and videos on your eCommerce website.

Reviews and Social Proof

Ideally, your products or services should speak for themselves. But there is something in our nature that makes us more trusting when someone else has vouched for it. According to a study from iPerceptions, 63% of customers are more inclined to make a purchase from a site that has user reviews.

User-generated reviews and social proof offer a lot of value when it comes to building trust and persuading your customers to buy.

Find ways to highlight the many, many people who love your products. Incorporate real customer reviews on your website or invite customers to share pictures of themselves wearing or using your products to your social media channels. Build a community of brand loyalists. At the end of the day, the best online sales people you have are the happy customers that want to shout from the rooftops how much they love your brand!

Easy Checkout Process

Perhaps the most important conversion opportunity on your eCommerce website is your checkout. We all know that the area of an eCommerce website that experiences the most cart abandonment is, in fact, the checkout. The easier the checkout process the more confident a customer feels in making a purchase, 2.6 times more likely to purchase, in fact, when they feel confident in the buying decision. If a shopper has made it all the way to checkout, the last thing you want is for them to leave before the sale is finished because of a poor checkout experience.

Incorporate stock updates into your checkout process. One of the most frustrating things for a customer is to fill their cart only to get to checkout and discover that an item is no longer available. Stock updates during the shopping process helps to avoid that frustrating moment. This also creates a sense of urgency to finalize the sale if an item in a shopper’s cart is close to selling out.

Payment is the final and most important step in your checkout process. With an increase in eCommerce has come an increase in fraud, so your customers need to know that their financial information is secure. Offering multiple payment options gives your customer more control over this. Accepting various credit cards along with Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, and digital wallets provides a greater level of comfort and convenience to your customers.

Loyalty Programs and Discounts

Loyalty programs and discount codes are great for eCommerce retail. Customers convert and spend more time and money with brands they are loyal to. Loyalty Programs turn satisfied customers into valuable brand advocates and increase their lifetime commitment to your products.

Sales are often 5 times as high when a loyalty program is a part of the buying process. You should develop these programs with a long-term approach and offer a balanced mix of benefits and rewards to customers who demonstrate continued loyal buying behavior. Existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more when they shop.

In addition, you should look beyond dollar rewards to create and retain customers. Provide your dedicated customers with:

  • Free shipping or shipping upgrades
  • Coupons and discounts not available to all customers
  • Access to advance release products
  • Exclusive content and events
  • Rewards for writing reviews, social sharing, and referrals

Not only do these features give you the opportunity to grow an email marketing list or social media following to engage with customers on a consistent basis, but they often result in increased sales. Using these loyalty rewards and coupons should be easy for your customers. Make sure your checkout process incorporates a coupon and reward function that is easy to find and use.

Mobile-Friendly Site

mCommerce or shopping via a mobile device (typically a smartphone) has been on the rise in recent years. According to Business Insider, in 2019, mCommerce comprised over a quarter of total eCommerce – more than doubling since 2015.

With more people choosing to shop and buy via their mobile devices, it is crucial for your eCommerce website to be mobile-friendly. If your site is poorly designed in a mobile-view, 57% of users actually say they won’t recommend your business. Your site not only needs to look good on a mobile device, but it needs to provide the same customer journey and maintain the functionality that users are expecting, especially during the checkout process.

Most websites today feature a responsive design but simply having a responsive site is not good enough. What’s important is that 85% of adults think that a company’s website when viewed on a mobile device should be as good or better than it is on a desktop.

Site Speed

According to a Gomez internet study, “every 1-second delay causes an average of 7% reduction in conversion rate.” With that in mind, run a page speed test on your website. How does your site fare?

If your speed isn’t where you had hoped, there are steps you can take to make an improvement. 

  • Optimize images. Reduce image size where you can and ensure you are using the right file formats.
  • Limit redirects. Every redirect adds wait time to your site while the HTTP request-response cycle completes.
  • Enable file compression. Reduce the size of your CSS, HTML, and JavaScript files so that they are under 150 bytes.
  • Optimize your code. Minifying CSS, JavaScript, and HTML can have a big impact on your page speed. 

Addressing your site speed is a quick win for many reasons (one being increasing customer conversions), and can often be improved without an excessive amount of effort.

Conversion rate optimization isn’t just about turning shoppers into customers. It is about creating a positive experience for your customers. That experience is what will create more customers, increase loyalty, and drive more sales. 

Let’s look at what kind of impact a better conversion rate can have on your business. For a fictional business, we’ll say that the company is selling just one product priced at $200. If four thousand people buy the product, producing a gross revenue of $800,000, that’s a conversion rate of just 2 percent.  Let’s consider boosting the conversion rate and quantifying conversions at 11 percent. In this fictitious example, revenue jumps to $2.2 million (11,000 people bought a product worth $200). Impactful right? The same volume of site traffic, the same effort required on your part, the same marketing spend to gain customers, and the list goes on. Tremendous distinction! 

Conversion rate optimization changes everything!