Conversion Optimization for Your eCommerce Store

0 min read

Marley Bathe

We know designing a checkout process for your eCommerce store can be a huge challenge. You might even begin to question why you would explore this unknown territory. But, to put things into better perspective, the statistics don't lie:

In 2015 alone, 1.21 billion people worldwide are expected to buy goods and services online

By the end of 2014, the average site abandonment rate was 71.9%

Current online commerce conversion rate statistics show that 47% of worldwide internet users have purchased goods or products online.

This amounts to more than 1 billion online buyers and an opportunity for future growth.

While more people are turning to their smartphones, tablets, and desktops to purchase online, most eCommerce checkout processes are extremely hard to navigate and have very high abandonment rates. However, there are many websites out there today that can teach us about eCommerce conversion rates. Lets take a quick look at Statistica's findings as a reference. How in the world did Amazon’s online sales in 2013 dwarf their competition? Even today, their sales continue to bring in outstanding revenue numbers:

To get there, we'll take a deeper look into how the forerunners of the eCommerce industry are doing online today and review some eCommerce conversion optimization and checkout best practices.


Start Optimizing: The biggest impact you have on conversion is in the first 3 seconds a visitor lands on your site. The first 3 seconds of the customer journey will determine if they will continue through the sales funnel or not. In order to have the biggest impact in those first couple of seconds, you want to make sure you grab their attention. This can be achieved by understanding your visitor’s emotional triggers and by using a variety of images, colours, and messaging to convey those triggers.

Call To Action Buttons: The colour, position, and size is all very important. However, during the most critical step of the checkout process you want to make sure they are:




Currency: A great way to increase conversion and improve the customer journey is to show currency according to a visitor’s origin. Lots of sites are doing this today, because it provides a more personalized experience.

Trust Elements: Convey trust by displaying the number of people who have already purchased an item from your website. This increases the importance of your brand and your social popularity.

Client Testimonials: Testimonials are a great way to get people buying. Confirmation bias is another cognitive bias we experience while shopping online. It means that we tend to search and interpret information in a way that confirms our beliefs and preconceptions. Etsy is a great example of an online storefront that uses emotional testimonials to support the purchasing of a product:

Countdown: Researchers have shown that rather than simply highlighting why a person should buy a product, showing people what they will miss out on by introducing a special offer can further increase conversions. This is because of 'loss aversion', a cognitive bias which demonstrates that the pain from losing is higher than the joys of winning.


Isolating the Checkout: This is crucial for eCommerce conversion rates. Once a shopper arrives to the checkout, they should only be taken to the checkout page. All exit links should be removed, so shoppers aren’t distracted or discouraged.

Similar Offerings: Once the visitor has decided to purchase an item, suggest additional items with the chosen product. This will create more of a buying opportunity.

Shipping: Shipping has a huge impact on eCommerce conversion rates. Make sure that all pricing is visible at first glance, so you're not surprising your shoppers with additional shipping fees. Also, help them understand their shipping costs. Etsy provides an option for changing the shipping destination, which leads to change in costs, with a simple drop down menu:

Clutter Free: Clutter is the worst thing for a shopping cart. Make it easy for shoppers to see what they are buying and how much each item costs.

Editable: Make it easy for shoppers to make subtle changes within the checkout page. This means that within the shopping cart you can edit the amount of products you buy, change the size of an item, or even remove products. By placing this option in one place, the shoppers chance of leaving the shopping cart will lessen.

Payment Methods: This area is fairly simple, but a lot of eCommerce sites still aren’t getting it right. For example, you shouldn't ask people to choose the type of credit card they are going to use, simply populate it yourself once the shopper begins to type. The idea is to create a seamless experience for the shopper.

Localization: We should probably stop asking for people’s full address before the postal code. It is so easy to have people fill in the postal code first and populate the address details. For optimization purposes, populating a shoppers address according to their postal code is a must.

Error Fields and Validation: Errors and validation in the shopping cart should be inline with one another. Inline validation ensures shoppers that they’ve filled in the field correctly or not.

Progress Bar: This shows people where they are in the check out process. It’s best to highlight the number above and indicate the amount of steps left for purchase.

Save Options: The option for saving your cart for later has proven in countless times to increase conversion rates -- particularly, for mobile. 80% of mobile users say they feel uncomfortable paying on their mobile device. By creating a ‘save for later’ button, shoppers can freely come back to the shopping cart and purchase the item on a tablet or desktop computer.

Free Shipping: People like free shipping, it just works. In 2014, 63% of Amazon customers joined them because of their free shipping offer:


Now that you’ve made the sale, it’s time to connect with your customer so they will return. Many people neglect the power of retention. However, it’s possible to increase your profits by 95% with user retention. Here are a few points that online storefronts should continue to work on:

Thank You Pages: Now is the time to sign customers up. Get more out of them, once they’ve purchased, by asking them to write a testimonial. Or, getting them to share their purchase on social media for further incentives, add them to your mailing list, and more.

Email Marketing: Thank your customers for shopping and start sending them newsletters about upcoming trends, or sign them up to your mailing list and personalize offers for them.

We know you do you best, but don’t forget to test! Just because things may look nice on your site, doesn’t mean they work.

For more on eCommerce solutions, contact us or see: Mobile Retail Trends [Infographic]

Graphics: Conversioner