If you’re like me, you likely find that the speed and convenience of shopping online often outweigh the effort it takes to leave your house and shop in-store. And while shopping from your couch is a huge benefit in and of itself, there are other perks to consider too, such as wider product selection, multiple payment options, and a more personalized experience.
In today's digital-first world, your customers don't just want but expect a seamless, personalized online shopping experience—and it’s up to you to provide it. How? Through continuous optimization.
With ecommerce conversion optimization, not only will your customers get their needs met, but you’ll reap the benefits of higher conversions and sales.
What Is Ecommerce Conversion Optimization?
Ecommerce conversion optimization is the process of optimizing your website through continuous testing and personalization with the goal of increasing the rate of visitors who convert (aka make a purchase and become a customer). The better you optimize your site, the higher your conversion rate can be.
Before you can put an ecommerce conversion optimization plan into action, you should determine your current conversion rate as a baseline and set a goal for where you want it to be.
To determine your ecommerce conversion rate, divide the total number of conversions by the total number of website visitors. Then, multiply this number by 100. For example, if 1,000 visitors looked at a product page and 50 of them made purchases, your conversion rate would be 5%.
Research & Analytics: How to Understand Your Ecommerce Customers
Once you know your baseline conversion rate and have a goal in mind, you’re ready to kick off the first step of ecommerce conversion optimization: research! By placing yourself in your customer’s shoes and removing assumptions about what they will or won’t like, you’ll have a strong foundation for your optimization program.
Analytics tools such as Google Analytics are often the best jumping-off point for research. While it’s essential to look at your website metrics, don’t forget to analyze any other campaigns driving traffic to your site, such as ads and marketing emails.
As you begin your research, you can use these tools you can use to identify and solve for drop-off points in the customer journey:
- Heatmaps: A heatmap is a graphical representation of the interactions on your website, allowing you to understand how a customer is scrolling or moving around your site and which elements they’re clicking on most frequently.
- Session replay: This tool goes a step further than heatmaps by recreating the exact journey that a customer took on your website. Session replay is helpful in showing the different paths that customers might take on your site and can also help recreate any bugs or friction points they experience.
- Surveys: On-site surveys help you get real-time customer feedback. For example, you can ask a customer if they need any help (if they’ve been on your site without taking action for a certain amount of time) or ask them what’s stopping them from making a purchase (if their cursor moves toward the browser bar, showing exit intent).
- User testing: This method involves having real customers evaluate your website, either for usability purposes or prior to a new feature launch. With user testing, you get real people giving feedback in real time, allowing you to truly see your website through your customer’s eyes.
For even more insight into customer behavior, here are some additional metrics to track in your analytics tools:
- Traffic source
- Bounce rate
- Page load speed
- Conversion rate
- One-time vs. repeat customers
- Cart abandonment and checkout abandonment rates
- Average order value (AOV)
- Customer lifetime value (CLTV)
- Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
- Net Promoter Score (NPS)
3 Ways to Optimize Your Ecommerce Conversion Rate
After you’ve conducted thorough research, you’ll have a better understanding of your customers and their needs and pain points. From there, you’re ready to optimize your website in a way that reduces friction and ultimately compels people to convert.
Let’s take a look at 3 ecommerce conversion optimization tactics to help you get started:
1. Optimize your copy
For headlines, CTAs, and product descriptions alike, you want to ensure that your copy is clear and easy to understand. Your CTA should tell a customer exactly what will happen next when they click on it whereas your product description should tell them everything they need to know succinctly.
Here are a few other best practices to consider as you optimize your copy:
- Use bullet points or short sentences over large blocks of text
- Ensure your website copy reflects the campaign the customer arrived from (e.g. a Facebook ad or a promotional email)
- Lead with the most important information in your product descriptions and use collapsible sections to let a customer know more about your product
2. Streamline the checkout process
Cart and checkout abandonment are some of the biggest issues your brand may face, which is why it's crucial to streamline your checkout process wherever possible. For first-time customers, consider offering a guest checkout option to make checking out feel less taxing (no need to sign in to an account!). Further, don’t forget to allow anyone checking out as a guest to create a password at the end of their purchase for a simple, one-step account creation. For return customers, auto-fill their address and payment information to eliminate as many steps for them as possible.
3. Iterate, iterate, iterate
Ecommerce conversion optimization is a continual, data-driven process. This is why it’s essential to regularly review your test data and iterate on your campaigns based on your learnings. For example, you may iterate on the variations of your tests, your segmentation, and the pages you’re testing on as your customers’ behaviors and preferences inevitably evolve.
Additional Ecommerce Conversion Optimization Resources
There are endless ways you can optimize and personalize your ecommerce website to drive more conversions, purchases, and revenue. Check out these articles for even more tips and tricks: