The E-commerce CRO Checklist Your Competitors Wish You Didn’t Have

I want to let you in on a little secret. Your e-commerce site is just one in a sea of 47 billion websites currently swimming around the Internet.

Billion. With a ‘b.’

This includes roughly 1.3 million e-commerce sites. And that’s just in India. Sites like yours that are trying to get product and content in front of the right people, to get people to opt-in, engage, or buy. Out of those e-commerce sites, just a little more than 650,000 earn less than $1 million from web sales.

I know, “less than a $1 million” is an overly broad measure. Given that average conversion rates are between 2-3%, I believe it.

Though inbound marketing has made it easier to capture leads, it’s unfortunate that nearly 70% of marketers believe their current strategy is ineffective. Do you happen to be one of them?

Don’t worry, you’re in excellent hands.

So if you want to compete, you need to stand out. What follows is a comprehensive e-commerce Conversion Rate Optimization checklist for ensuring that your online store is conversion-ready and designed for maximum revenue and return. By the time you’re finished with this checklist, your digital store will be efficient, powerful, and ready for an influx of new and loyal business.

First, let’s take it from the top.

What Is Conversion Rate Optimization, Really?

You may have heard this term tossed around, but what’s the meaning behind it?

Put simply, CRO is the art of improving the shopping experience. Think of it in terms of the physical store experience. The shopper enters the store and is greeted with smiling faces and appealing visuals. All the items are clearly laid out on shelves, and a salesperson is always nearby to lend a helping hand when needed.

When it comes time to make a purchase, the cashier is glad to help, and the process is fast, efficient, and pleasant.

Translating that kind of experience into the digital world takes some imagination, but it’s the same concept. When a person lands on your e-commerce site, they should be greeted with clearly-displayed products and eye-catching graphics. Your menu of items should be intuitive to navigate, and shoppers should be able to find what they need in just a few clicks.

Finally, when it comes time to check out, the process is fast, seamless, and pleasant. Sound familiar?

That’s e-commerce conversion rate optimization in a nutshell. The overall goal, of course, is more sales and revenue.

But when you optimize for higher conversions, one great side effect is that more shoppers will visit (just by referrals alone), and shoppers will enjoy themselves more as they stock up on your latest and greatest products.

What is a Good E-commerce Conversion Rate?

Average ecommerce conversion rates are 1% – 2%.

Even if you are doing everything right, you can still expect to win the sale around 2% of the time.

A 2%+ conversion rate should be the baseline goal for your online store.

Once you hit that and are doing all the tips provided below effectively, then you can move onto more advanced conversion rate tactics.

How do you calculate conversion rate for an e-commerce website?

A quick example: If your online store is getting 5,000 visitors and 50 conversions for a set period, that means your store’s conversion rate is 1%. Simple as that! Divide conversion into visitors and you have conversion rate.

Most analytics tools provide conversion rate in any segmentation of the data, which we’ll get into in the sections below.

Before we go through what to do to increase conversions, we need to know exactly what your current visitors are doing to set up proper e-commerce conversion rate benchmarks for your online store. Where are customers getting stuck and how are they interacting with your website?

Once you find your benchmarks these should be compared to measure success. Of course when experts talk about increasing conversions you will hear a common theme: Test, test, test. I am all for testing. However, it is important to know what are your current conversion issues are and understand the basics before you can know what you should test.

Now it’s time to put these conversion rate optimization lessons to work for your business to improve your estore experience while boosting your sales, revenue, and return.

E-commerce Conversion Rate Optimization Checklist of Best Practices
1. Simplify your website

Websites with simple designs have higher conversion rates.

Depending on your company, you might have hundreds or even thousands of products for sale on your website. But trying to cram all of those products onto one page is ineffective, and it’s crushing your conversions.

Clutter overwhelms the customers. Instead, focus on your top-selling products or items with the highest profit margins.

When in doubt, it’s always a great idea to look at successful companies as examples. Apple is an industry leader, and their website is about as simple as it gets.

Think about the number of different products they offer. They have all kinds of different desktop computers, laptops, phones, and other electric accessories, not to mention the digital products like software and music.

If they tried to fit everything they sell on their homepage, it would be an absolute mess. Instead, they promote one product and have a navigation bar at the top of the screen that lists different categories. This makes it really easy for shoppers to find exactly what they’re looking for.

2. Include a search box

Users should be able to browse through your products quickly and conduct searches without fuss. That’s where a prominently-placed search box comes in: 30% of site visitors use search on an e-commerce store.

The quicker you can get customers what they want, the quicker you make the conversion. That’s the point of navigation. As such, it should be simple and distraction-free. Add-to-cart buttons and checkout signs must be clearly visible.

3. Offer free shipping

People want free shipping, and roughly half of the e-commerce sites out there are happy to oblige. If your store does not offer free shipping, customers are going to look elsewhere, period.

If unconditional free shipping just isn’t something you can do, think about the price point you would need to reach to make shipping free and market that.

Think that’s difficult too? Keep in mind that this is often a psychological game. Increase your product prices to cover shipping cost if that’s what needs to be done.

4. Accept multiple payment options

Some people just don’t want to enter their credit card information online.

While you’re never going to make everyone happy, it’s important to offer more than just a “pay by credit card” option.

PayPal seems to be a popular option with 44% of consumers saying they use it for payment as a fraud-prevention measure.

Consider adding payment options like PayPal or Amazon Payments. Or if your customers are more the tech/geek persuasion, maybe even consider adding a cryptocurrency option.

Some customers prefer COD, so just try and incorporate that in your website.

Whatever you choose, your website should be flexible enough to accommodate a broad range of shoppers.

If not, you risk alienating the 50% of consumers who will go somewhere else if their preferred payment method isn’t offered. If your site is supporting multiple payment channels, analyzing payment data at once can be difficult. With CRM, you can manage everything from invoicing and billing to payment failures.

5. Highlight items that are on sale

Most online shoppers—86% of them— say it’s important for them to compare prices from different sellers before making a purchase. It’s no secret price is an important factor when it comes to a purchase decision. That’s why you shouldn’t hide your discounted items.

The website is absolutely plastered with buzz words like:

  • free
  • X% off
  • sale
  • saving

That’s why they are able to get higher conversions than their competitors. Customers love to get a deal. Buying something that’s on sale makes your customers feel better about spending money. All too often I see companies try to hide their sale items. They would rather sell items listed at a full price. That’s a big mistake.

Instead, highlight discounted products and services. You can always try to cross-sell or upsell to those customers later by enticing them to buy something else through other marketing efforts.

6. Highlight your return or guarantee policy

Your return and guarantee policies should be front and center. Many e-commerce stores don’t offer them (but you should). More than 50% of customers will read the return policy before buying, so make sure that yours is clear, concise, and honest.

One of the biggest drawbacks of buying online is losing the ability to touch or try on the item you’re buying. Your customers want to know that you’ll take care of them if the product isn’t what they were expecting. When you’re upfront with your return and guarantee policies, customers are more comfortable and confident. And, more likely to complete a purchase.

7. Go responsive

Responsive design means that your site will automatically “respond” to fit the device a visitor is using. If done right this will enhance the user experience by minimizing the need to resize, scroll, or pan.

Pages need to load quickly, and visitors need to be able to do what they want to do on your site on their mobile. Adopting a “mobile-first” site design strategy for your e-commerce site is key.

And, since Google is moving to mobile-first indexing, your site will have to take a mobile-first design strategy or be lost in the rankings. You simply can’t afford to ignore mobile users. Despite this, conversion rates lag behind desktop conversion rates. Why? Sites aren’t optimized for mobile e-commerce.

Start by targeting smartphone users over tablet users. Smartphones are the preferred device for mobile shopping and account for nearly 70% of all mobile transactions. If you reach a crossroads where you have to choose between smartphone optimization versus tablet optimization – target those smartphone users. If there are still tablet users who aren’t picked up in your mobile optimization for smartphones, you can get them later.

8. Offer easily accessible customer service

Even if your website is very informative, some customers may still have questions while they’re shopping. But what if there’s nobody there to assist the consumer when they’re shopping online, unlike in a physical store?

Conversions rates drop. Make sure you give them several options to reach a customer service representative:

  • phone
  • live chat
  • email

Offer as many options as possible so each customer can contact your company based on their personal preference. You also need to have support ready at all hours. As an e-commerce platform, I know you’re aware that customers all over the world have access to your website 24 hours a day. Let’s play out a scenario. A customer is interested in one of your products but has a few simple questions. They try to contact customer support but don’t get an answer.

They won’t complete the purchase process. But if their questions get answered right away, your conversion rates will improve. Try to offer an online shopping experience they would get inside a physical store, with a sales associate available to assist them.

They make it super easy for customers to get all their questions answered online. This is especially important if your company sells products that may need some extra explanation. Realize not all of your prospective and current customers may be experts in your industry.

Although your product descriptions may be accurate, it’s possible there’s some terminology the customer doesn’t understand. Rather than forcing them to pick up the phone or do outside research, offer them a live chat. Receiving this type of help can be the deciding factor that leads to a conversion for this customer.

Conclusion:

With this e-commerce conversion rate optimization checklist in hand, you have at your disposal a guide for making your online store just as pleasing to the senses as any brick-and-mortar store.

With the right aesthetics and ease-of-use, high-value content and product images, a checkout process that’s a breeze, retargeting, live chat, and nearly-intuitive product search, you’ll have on your hands an e-commerce site that’s designed for maximum conversions.

That’s the goal, isn’t it? More leads, customers, and sales?

Put this CRO checklist to good use and watch your rates of conversion significantly improve.

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