Convert more traffic into sales with 14 E-Commerce conversion rate optimisation secrets [2021 cheatsheet]

Convert more traffic into sales with 14 E-Commerce conversion rate optimisation secrets [2021 cheatsheet]

Imagine burning through your social ads budget and pulling out every SEO tactic you know to drive hoards of traffic to your online store, only to get a 2.27% conversion rate?

That’s the average ecommerce conversion rate. So if you’re hitting around that mark as an ecommerce business, you’re actually doing alright. But you can always do better. You know you can.

Nonetheless, it’s frustrating to think that after all your efforts, 97% of visitors are still uninterested. But never fret. With the right CRO tactics, improving your conversion rate will be a walk in the park.

Stick around as we open up pandora’s box of 14 ecommerce CRO secrets you need to be doing to increase your conversions.

But first, a little insight into what is CRO and its unyielding connection to ecommerce.

What is Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)

CRO is the process of making changes to your website to enhance user experience and boost conversions.

Conversions can mean a number of different things for various businesses, including form submissions, engaging with online chat, or downloading an ebook, among other things.

For an ecommerce store, in particular, the conversion rate is the percentage of unique visitors who purchased something from your online shop.

A CRO agency will take learnings from your customers, analytics and advertising accounts to roll out changes to the website and ad campaigns that lift the conversion rate.

How do you calculate the conversion rate for an ecommerce website?

Conversion rate = (total number of conversions / total number of visitors) * 100%

Although sales will be the main metric used to measure the success of your online business, you may also want to consider the following conversions:

  1. ⭐️ An online sale ⭐️
  2. Products or services added to cart
  3. Products or services added to a wishlist
  4. Newsletter signups
  5. Shares on social media
  6. Conversations with chat technology
  7. Create an account
  8. Request a trial
  9. View a demo

And the list goes on.

Today, we’ll be discussing 14 secrets that will increase conversion rates on your site.

However, CRO is such a broad topic that each of the bullet points mentioned above all deserve a marketing strategy and a guide of their own.

Depending on what KPIs you’re tracking, optimisations can be conducted on landing pages, UX/UI design improvements, and every aspect of the customer experience.

What is a good ecommerce website conversion rate?

What exactly does a ‘good conversion rate’ look like? It’s very easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to industry conversion rate benchmarks from around the world.

What you’ll find is a huge disparity between your numbers and other industries. That’s because what is defined as a ‘good conversion rate’ for one industry differs from another.

The same applies between countries, devices, channels, and even seasons. For example, ecommerce conversion rates by industry showed that arts and crafts had a 3.79% conversion rate compared to sports and recreation at 1.75%.

E-commerce Conversion by Industry

(Source: growcode)

The same can be said with online retailers from the same industry.

A clothing ecom store may be targeting a younger audience and will likely show a reasonable difference in overall website conversions when compared to a store catering for infants and children.

The best practice is to develop your own KPIs and look at the average ecommerce conversion rate in your industry and country while allowing for anomalies such as seasonal changes.

Once you do that and are doing all 14 of the CRO tactics below effectively, you’ll see a noticeable increase in your conversions.

Why is CRO so important for an ecommerce website?

This question is like asking, “why are sales so important?” Sales are what keeps the lights on and the wheels turning.

CRO is the process of improving your website’s online shopping experience to ultimately increase your sales.

Companies using CRO tools have seen a 223% increase in ROI.

We now live in a world where users can gain access to hundreds of services and products at the click of a button from the palm of their hands.

CRO lets online retailers differentiate themselves from the competition by optimising for their ideal customer — to make the buying experience as smooth as possible.

It gives marketers insights on how their target market behaves and the ammunition they need to convert them into a sale. Providing you’re implementing the right CRO tactics.

14 Ecommerce Conversion Rate Optimisation Secrets [Cheatsheet]


1. Understand customer behaviour

Before you begin optimising your website, you need to know exactly what your current visitors are doing — where are they getting stuck and how are they interacting with your website?

60% of online marketers now include a Customer Journey Analysis in their CRO strategy.

This will not only help with setting up ecommerce conversion rate benchmarks but also give you more confidence when A/B split testing.

How do you know what to improve if you don’t know what needs improving?


2. Implement CRO tools

Conversion rate optimisation tools such as Google Analytics, HotJar, and KissMetrics are great for giving you a general idea of how you’re performing. Most analytic tools provide conversion rates in any segmentation and help with highlighting areas that need improving (such as mobile devices) and what to aim for.

3 must-have conversion tracking and optimisation tools


Implement the all-seeing eye, Google Analytics 

Google Analytics is the most popular analytics tool, used for tracking and reporting website data, and is essential to every marketing campaign.

It provides digital marketers with data visualisation tools including dashboards, scorecards and motion charts, all of which are great for helping you with reporting.

But, perhaps the best part about Google Analytics is web analytics data that gives you insights on your website visitors

Ecommerce Conversion Rate Audience Dashboard

  • How visitors found your website: this could be from keyword searches in Google, referral websites, or direct visits.
  • How long visitors stay on your website.
  • Where visitors are from
  • If the visitors returning or new.
  • What browser, operating system was used and if the visitor used a mobile device or desktop/laptop.
  • How many visitors converted (based on goals setup) and the interaction that leads to the conversion.
  • Link to your Google Adwords campaign to track paid traffic as well.

Track products & your biggest spenders with Kissmetrics

Ideal for small and medium-sized businesses selling products online, Kissmetrics is a very simple-to-use analytics tool that lets you easily track and report on important metrics and conversions.

Ecommerce Conversion Rate Dashboard KPIs Metrics

Built-in functions allow you to pinpoint your most viewed, added to cart, and purchased products. It shows who are your big spenders and what they have in common, as well as the lifetime value of your customers by segment.

Implement HotJar and watch your customers

Ever wondered what visitors are doing on your website? HotJar is an excellent tool for spying on your visitors from a high level to get a better understanding of how they are interacting with your website.

Information including clicks, session recordings, actions on-site, and scroll-depth mapping allow you to analyse customer behaviour and help pinpoint areas of friction and drop-offs.

Ecommerce Conversion Rate Heatmap Hotjar

HotJar gives you real-time data on how visitors engage with your website so you can make data-driven decisions when optimising for conversions.


3. Optimise your website for mobile

In 2020, 36.4% of Australians used their mobile phone to purchase something online. It’s been predicted that by the end of 2021, mobile e-commerce sales are expected to account for 54% of total ecommerce sales.

Although these statistics are quite appetizing, you must remember that just because a business is online doesn’t necessarily mean they are optimised for mobile.

Mobile phones had the highest average cart abandonment rate of 80%.

Take Apple for example. Apple presents product information, options, and comparisons of colour and capacity. They have made it as easy as possible for the customer to simply select the options they want while answering questions that may arise (and stop the buying journey) with clear call-to-actions.

A truly responsive web design will deliver results across many areas of your business. Optimising your website to be mobile-first —  mobile-friendly — will not only increase conversions, but it will also help improve your SEO. Consider optimising the user experience of the following for better mobile e-commerce conversion:

  • Mobile homepage
  • Mobile on-site navigation: menu, product lists and categories
  • Mobile on-site search
  • Mobile checkout
  • Mobile forms


4. Create a smooth checkout process

Imagine you have taken the time to choose items and added them to your cart — and when you’re ready to actually buy them, you’re hit with a 1-pager “Create A New Account”. Aaaaaand I’m gone. 

The average ecommerce store loses over 75% of its sales to cart abandonment, with some industries experiencing as high as 83.6%.

Having to create a new user account right at the point of purchase is just one of many reasons why people abandon their carts.

The easiest way to optimise your checkout process is to actually go through it yourself and identify:

  • What steps seem unnecessary?
  • What issues come up at the stage of checkout?
  • What takes too long?
  • Can you reduce the number of form fields?
  • Can they use a guest account?

It’s also important to include a complete summary of the items in the cart during checkout, along with images, sizes, colours chosen, as well as quantity.


5. Create strategies for abandoned carts

Unexpected shipping costs is ranked the highest probable reason why people abandon their carts (25%), followed by having to create a new account (22%), and conducting research to buy later (17%).

Ecommerce Conversion Rate Abandoned Cart Reasons

Source: Statista

For a small business to consumer B2C, this can be frustrating to deal with, but there are simple strategies you can implement to help reduce abandonment rate.

  • Unexpected shipping: Bundle the extra cost of shipping into the product cost itself. Offer free shipping — free shipping can encourage 93% of shoppers to buy more online.
  • Having to create a new account: Offer a guest account.
  • Conducting research to buy later: Customers will use many channels before making a purchase, which means you need to move the customer through the buying process across the channels they use. This includes on-screen pop-ups to send cart content to their email, social retargeting ads, and Google Display Ads.

6. Offer multiple payment options

There are now many ways a customer can choose to pay online. What does this mean for ecommerce retailers? — long gone are the days of simply offering direct debit or credit cards.

Online payment options such as PayPal, Amazon Payments, and Apple Pay are preferred by 27% of online shoppers, followed by direct debit (18%).

Ecommerce Conversion Rate Payment Methods

But as of recently, there has been a huge uptick in the buy now pay later industry, with Afterpay, ZipMoney, and Payright. From 2018-19 there were over 3.7 million transactions totalling up to $5.6 billion in the financial year.

Ecommerce Conversion Rate After Pay Transactions

Source: ASIC


If you’re looking to boost ecommerce conversion rates, it seems like offering buy-now-pay-later options is a trend worth adopting.


7. Focus on channels and pages with higher conversions

Using the CRO tools — Google Analytics —  mentioned earlier, you can check the conversion rates of individual pages and channels. This will give you insights into where you need invest more of your budget, i.e. Facebook retargeting ads.

If the product or service you offer is of high search intent, for example windscreen replacements, then focusing on optimising your Google ads and service pages will help boost conversions.


8. Test and optimise your calls to action and copy

Testing different CTAs and copy lets you find out what resonates most with your customer. Think small changes, big impact. It can be as simple as changing ‘View Options’ to ‘Add to Cart’, or ‘Shop Now’ that drives more conversions.

Just be mindful when testing, to avoid these 12 CRO mistakes, as it may cause more harm than good to your campaigns.


9. Automate marketing workflows

Unless you’re a massive enterprise that has staff working 24/7/365 to take and process orders every hour of the day, automation will be a key process that keeps your ecom store ticking when no one is present.

Even then, large businesses will have intricate automation systems in place to improve efficiency, lead generation and sales. Ecommerce tasks where automation can assist with include:

  • Customer service and support — track customers, gather feedback, respond to negative reviews, and segment customers
  • ⭐ Marketing ⭐ — nurture leads with email automation
  • ⭐ Sales ⭐ — automate repetitive sales tasks, automate deal follow-ups
  • Order management — shipping labels, send reminders for re-orders, send abandoned cart emails
  • Inventory — tracking and management of stock, warehouse management, logistics

10. Display social proof

Social proof is the unyielding force that tips customers in your favour. It’s what I like to call the ‘modern-day word of mouth’. Think about it — how many times do you read the review section before making a purchase? And how many reviews do you read before you actually pull the trigger?

56% of consumers read at least four reviews before buying a product.

Using social proof tactics such as including user reviews, testimonials and product ratings on product pages can improve conversion on sales pages by as much as 34%.

Other types of social proof can include certifications, expert opinions, celebrities, and crowds (e.g. 100,000+ businesses use this e-commerce strategy to get more website sales).


11. Use  high-quality images on your product pages

Ecommerce sites are usually peppered with images. So they should.

But you know what really grinds my gears? Low-quality images that are so pixelated they look like they’ve been taken out of a 90s arcade game.

Ecommerce Conversion Rate Image Optimisation

To use images to your advantage, not only do they need to be of high quality, they must be structured in a way that lets the customer get a look and feel for the product. As if they were holding it in their hands and looking at it from different angles.

For example, having ONE image of a bathroom tap against a white background is okay, but not nearly enough.

  • How does it look from the side?
  • Will it match my bathroom?
  • What is the size of it?
  • How does it look attached to a basin on vanity in a bathroom?

High-quality product images are absolutely crucial to the success of any ecommerce platform and can make a huge impact on conversions.


12. Use videos to your advantage

As of 2021, video has fast become a top priority for most businesses, with 99% of marketers now including video as an important part of their marketing strategy. Simply adding a video to a landing page can boost conversion rates by up to 80%.

The most commonly-created types of video are:

  • Explainer videos (72%)
  • Presentation videos (49%)
  • Testimonial videos (48%)
  • Sales videos (42%)
  • And video ads (42%)

Videos also help with creating audiences for retargeting and running cost-effective ad campaigns on social media and Google.


13. Offer live chat support

We now live in a time where over 50% of customers expect a business to be available 24/7. That’s a pretty hefty demand to satisfy if you’re a small time ecommerce business. So, how do you compete for customers with industry giants? Implement an AI chatbot.

But no one wants to speak to a robot… — BINGBONG! You. Are. Wrong.

In fact, 69% of consumers prefer to use chatbots for speed at which they can communicate with a business. 

46% of consumers would even go as far as to buy items via a chatbot. With clothing retail sales benefiting the most from a chatbot.

Ecommerce Conversion Rate Chatbot Lead Capture

Source: Tidio

Businesses that have implemented a chatbot have seen an increase of 67% in sales, with 57% claiming that a chatbot delivers a large ROI on minimal investment.


14. Running giveaways, promotions, and discounts

At the end of the day, nothing beats a great offer. Offers are a tried and tested, multi-channel method that can increase your ecommerce sales and conversions.

They are extremely versatile and can be positioned on your website like banners, automated through email marketing, social retargeting ads, and even through a chatbot.

When running offers, take into consideration the customer profile you’re targeting for it to be more effective. Using tactics such as scarcity, urgency, and exclusivity can help drive immediate action.

Leverage holidays, seasons, birthdays, and competitions, to create personalised offers that resonate the most with your customer.

What are your next steps?

There you have it folks, 14 of the biggest ecommerce conversion rate optimisation secrets driving sales in 2021. In writing. What’s next? Implementing them all. But, not all at once.

Conversion rate optimisation is a meticulous process that uses real-time data to make data-informed decisions. You need to know what metrics to track and which customers to target in order to implement the relevant CRO secrets to generate more conversions.

Test too many things at once and you may see your conversion rates decrease. This is where you’ll need an e-commerce strategy.

Whether you’re a business owner with an online store, or a digital expert overseeing an ecommerce platform, speak to one of our growth consultants today for an e-commerce strategy.

We’re not an e-commerce agency, but we are a growth agency focused on increasing sales and conversions.

Updated: November 10, 2022
Leon Dougall

Leon is Invicta’s content specialist and has a bachelors in Journalism. He fell into the world of digital marketing and copywriting and has never looked back. Intrigued by customer journeys and consumer psychology, Leon specialises in creating a seamless, omnichannel experience through his engaging content.

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