You’ve designed your website, uploaded your products, perfected your digital marketing campaigns – it’s go time. Visitors are starting to trickle into your site.
Over time, more and more are finding you through Google search results or by engaging with your advertisements. Eventually, people who visit your website make a purchase. They´ll sign up for the service you are providing, or schedule a consultation to learn more about your business model.
From start to finish, what I’m describing is known as the conversion process. Putting to market a product or service that then is received and chosen by the consumer.
Conversions are one of the most important metrics for your online business. So much so that they have inspired their own term: the conversion rate. Here, I'm going to go in-depth with eCommerce conversion rate information. So keep reading to find out what you need to know.
Table of contents
- Breaking Down eCcommerce Conversion Rates
- Why Do Most eCommerce Stores Convert Poorly?
- Convert Website Traffic the Right Way
- Make It Easy as 1,2,3
- Improve the SEO Factors
- Differentiate Yourself
- Reassure Customers
- Encourage Your Customers
- Create Urgency
- Call Your Visitors to Act
- Your eCommerce Conversion Rate: The More You Know
Breaking Down eCcommerce Conversion Rates
Conversion rates are a way to measure your website visitors compared to the desired actions they take. Often, this is done through the Google analytics service. Let´s say your goal is for website visitors to sign up for your email subscription list. The conversion rate would be the total number of website visitors divided by those who actually signed up.
The conversion rate can apply to things like email sign-ups, demo requests, or even leaving a comment on a website. Most often, though, the conversion rate will refer to the number of visitors you have divided by the number of people who went on to make a purchase.
A “good” Shopify store conversion rate can be commonly agreed upon to be around one to two percent. However, many websites hit barely a fraction of this number. Meanwhile, other websites see conversion rates five times as high.
So the conversion rate isn't a magic number that means your business is successful at generating customers from visits or not. It's merely a reflection of all of the people who see your site compared to the people who then complete your desired action.
Most eCommerce stores, even if they are hitting that one percent, feel as if they are not converting enough. After hard work and thoughtful planning with the best of intentions, most Shopify store conversion rates will feel like a drop in a bucket.
But there are probably the same few underlying culprits for the lack of conversion rates.
Why Do Most eCommerce Stores Convert Poorly?
Think about the following problems that will lower Shopify store conversion rates. Any of them seem familiar?
Users Don't Enjoy Your Website
Website visitors aren't going to buy anything from your site if the process of using it is unpleasant. If they can't clearly see what you're selling, understand the purpose of your products, or even navigate your home page without difficulty, it's unlikely that they will spend any of their money on what your store offers.
And why would they? They can't know that you're trustworthy because they don't know you. The only way to gain trust from a stranger using your website is to give them a positive user experience. That includes everything from the basics of navigating your website to consumer reviews.
Your Site Isn't Optimized
Getting website visitors to make a purchase on your site is only half the battle. If you're not attracting the right viewers to your site in the first place, your Shopify store conversion rates aren't going to improve.
SEO helps your website stand out to visitors when they are conducting an organic Google search. If the keywords on your website rank high enough, you'll appear higher up on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
But if you're using the wrong keywords, people won't stay on your website for long. This will hurt your SEO.
You Don't Communicate
When you go into a regular store, you have the benefit of getting information from the salesperson in real-time. Online, you traditionally didn't have that luxury. Now, though, more and more eCommerce stores provide communications channels for you to get support during your browsing session.
Convert Website Traffic the Right Way
Now that you have a clearer idea of what factors may reduce your website's chance of growing your Shopify store conversion rate, it's time to introduce to you the right ways to present your website.
To improve eCommerce conversions, you will need to take a look at both:
- how you drive traffic to your website (factors such as SEO and advertisements)
- user experience once they get to your site (navigating your home page, viewing products, and making the purchase are all factors involved in the user experience)
Below are 18 ways you can improve your eCommerce conversions. They incorporate both improvements for increasing the traffic that reaches your website and the ways people use your site to accomplish what they're looking for.
Make It Easy as 1,2,3
Shopping can usually be broken down into two categories: pleasure and necessity. In both cases, the process should be as easy as possible.
If someone is shopping because they're in a good mood or they want to reward themselves with a purchase, they will want the entire process to feel like a treat for themselves. If someone is buying something because they need to, they will hope the process goes quickly so they can move on to other tasks.
1. Make the Purchase Process Seamless
How many clicks – from the landing page to the purchase confirmation – does it take to buy something on your site? If you don't know, the number is probably too high. There's no magic number of how many steps it should take a customer to purchase on your site. But the number should always be as low as possible.
Act like a customer who's first using your site to make a purchase. Take yourself through the process of buying something and take notes about how it feels. Are there distractions on your site like a poorly-placed advertisement or an aggravating pop-up?
2. Increase Customer Support
You can't give a customer shopping online in-person help (that would be creepy). But you can offer numerous support options that give them just as much – if not more – information than shopping in a brick-and-mortar store would.
The one that most closely mimics the support from an in-person interaction is the live chat feature. Often depicted as a little chat box at the bottom corner of the screen, the live feature option serves as an instant messaging system between the website visitor and a customer support member.
The customer can ask questions about products, services, and availability and get a fast response. Just as they would in real life. The customer support member on the other end of the line would have access to more information just fingertips away. This makes them more useful to a customer who has a lot of questions.
If your website doesn't have the resources for a live chat option, there are plenty of other ways you can communicate with a customer. Provide an email address that responds to customers within 24 hours. Or, list a phone number for 24/7 service.
Social media is another great way to communicate with customers. If someone follows your social media, there is a 91% chance they will visit your website or app. Once that happens, there is an 89% chance they will end up purchasing something from you. So, communicate effectively through social media and your Shopify store conversion rates will grow faster than you can keep up.
Another benefit of social media is that it is free. Adding a live chat feature to your site can be expensive. But social media may be a great place to start, especially for smaller businesses that can more easily manage their customer base.
3. Simplify Your Design
Most websites display most of their text in a dark color like black. Or dark grey over a white or light neutral background, and this is for a reason. It's much easier for our eyes to read dark text on a light background than the other way around.
Even if your website has one of the most beautiful designs that your viewers have ever seen, they're not going to stay long if reading its content hurts their eyes…
- or if the pictures don't display your products well
- if your menu is in a confusing location
- or if your layout is hard to navigate
… see where I'm going with this?
Your website design has an infinite number of possibilities. But the most successful websites are usually the ones with the most simple design elements:
- Website logo in the upper left-hand corner
- The menu bar located at the top of the page
- One or two legible fonts throughout
- Dark text on a light background
- Additional info and socials on the bottom
Improve the SEO Factors
As mentioned above, SEO is a key part of your website. It both drives the right customers to your website and keeps them there. All based on Google's ranking of your site in its algorithm. Make sure you're keeping up with the following SEO factors if you're finding that your Shopify store conversion rates aren't as high as you'd like.
4. Choose Keywords for the Right Audience
Keywords tell Google the audience that your website is targeting. However, they don't automatically ensure that you're targeting the right people.
For instance, you could decide that your company is marketing to young business owners under the age of 30. You could:
- conduct high-quality research
- develop the appropriate keywords
- make corresponding ads
- generate a high number of website visitors from all of these actions who match your target audience
But none of them seem to convert.
This is likely because those keywords you chose are relevant to the wrong audience. Maybe your store isn't for business owners under 30. Maybe it's for those who have a bit more experience operating a company. It could be small business owners in their 30s-40s, instead.
Experiment with different target audiences. Also, alter your keywords to see which of those visitors you're attracting are actually making purchases.
5. Upgrade Your Site Speed
Did you know that one of the factors in SEO involves how fast it takes your site to load? Sites that don't meet Google's standards for loading time will actually rank lower in the SERPs.
This is because website visitors who have to sit and wait for a website to load are much more likely to click away from the website after a short period of time than those who can scan the website for the information they need.
How short is this period of time? Just a few seconds. The average visitor will only give a website page 10 seconds of their time to provide what they're looking for – if not, they're gone. So if most of that time goes toward just loading the website, they won't have much information to go through your content.
Upgrading your site speed can begin with a few edits you can make right now. Do you have a bunch of active plug-ins that you're not using? They may be slowing down your website – get rid of them. Delete content on pages that is not absolutely necessary for selling the product. Even consider actual upgrades you can purchase from your site host that will offer better loading times.
Improving your site speed will not just attract new customers, though. It will encourage existing website visitors to stay on your site for longer periods of time, explore different pages, and ultimately make more purchases.
6. Investigate the Back-End
There are certain design elements of your website that may make Google suspicious and rank you lower. For example, many WordPress websites can download a plug-in that allows you to hide the title of a webpage for a more visually appealing look. However, multiple ways of hiding the title are available aside from the plug-in, one of which involves typing in certain lines of code.
However, entering these lines of code can be bad for your website if not done properly. Some code essentially tells Google that the titles don't exist, making it seem like your website has something to hide. Even though the change is for stylistic purposes, the content on your website would get ranked lower.
This is why it is so important to take a look at the back-end of your website. Make sure all the code looks as it should. It's probably best to hire an expert for this.
I know, I know – how are you supposed to show the unique sides of your company if I just told you that using the popular minimalistic design is the best option?
While your website layout should be common enough that most people can intuitively use your site, the details of how you display your product should be anything but common.
7. Thoroughly Describe Products
You'd be surprised by the number of eCommerce stores that have the laziest descriptions of their merchandise. Sizes S-L are available? With no size guide? What does that even mean?
One often overlooked eCommerce marketing strategy involves taking the time to upload detailed information about your available products and services. Most of the time, there are dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of available substitutes for what you’re selling.
Give a customer the exact details of your product though, and all of those choices disappear. Sure, that person could go to another website and take the chance on a similar product, but on your website, they’re getting the specifics. Some helpful information you could use to describe your product includes
- Country produced
- The size that other customers with your measurements bought
- A size guide
- A virtual room to see how furniture would look
- An explanation of the steps that go into your copywriting process
- A color description that goes beyond just “red,” “blue,” or “green”
- The specific software your business uses to design graphics for clients
There’s no rule for what information you need to include, but one thing is for sure – the more relevant information, the better.
8. Position Your Brand Category Ahead of Its Time
With the advent of technology, the ever-changing economy, the focus on social justice, and modern lifestyles, every field is evolving to include more people. Most of the time though, people are more resistant to change than they are to maintaining the status quo.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion have become some of the most popular values in 2021. If you think any of these values resonate in some way with your business practices, emphasize what you are doing that aligns with these values to show customers that your brand is looking to a better future. For example, position your brand ahead of its time by including newer groups of people or categories on your website.
If you’re an eCommerce store selling clothing to young women, you could include diverse models of different sizes and backgrounds. Most of the fashion industry continues to display only sample-size models on their websites. If this is an important issue for you, why not emphasize it in your business?
Focus On Your Unique Value
Keep in mind, though, that any forward-thinking theme your website pursues should be something your company's missions actually align with. Plus this theme is what will differentiate your company from the rest.
And you could do this in several ways.
- Donate a portion of profits to an up-and-coming charity and make a page on your site talking about your efforts
- Feature unique customer stories on your website
- Create a green initiative
- Partner with teaching fellowships to fund scholarships
- Team up with a lab working on groundbreaking research
- Collaborate with a social influencer who speaks about certain messages or issues
Again, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. It’s all about adding value to your website by showing that your brand is more than just the products and services you offer – you’re looking to the future of the industry.
9. Take Unique Photos
Humans are visual beings – no argument here. When a visitor clicks on a product page, they're not going to read the text first. The image depicting the product will make the first and most lasting impression.
People actually store images in their long-term memory. Our brains even have a massive storage capacity for a high amount of details in visual images. So, if your photos are striking and beautiful, the visitor will remember them in detail. If your photos are abrasive and of poor quality, the visitor will also remember them in detail.
It is therefore vital to take both unique and high-quality photos. You want the customer to associate each photo with your brand. And you only have a few seconds to make the impression you want.
Often, a professional photographer will be the best choice. This way, you can ensure all of your photos have the same look and feel to them. The style and theme of your brand should be apparent in all of your photos. Regardless of the product you're selling or a particular campaign you're focusing on.
All customers, especially new ones, want to know that they're not throwing money down the drain by trying your product. Making any purchase is a risk, even if you have an established relationship with a company. Sometimes, unexpected things happen that may affect the quality of your product, its delivery, or overall customer experience.
Reassure customers that your company is credible, and your Shopify store conversion rate will undoubtedly improve.
10. Provide Free Returns
Customers may be reluctant to make a change on purchasing from your company if they feel like they’re going to take a loss from it. Humans are naturally loss-averse. This means the potential losses from an action feel worse than the positive feelings from a potential gain.
So the time spent buying items from a new store, only to pay for shipping, return them all and pay for the return fee, seems worse than not having the items they want in the first place.
If you get rid of that loss aversion, though, trying out items from your store is going to seem much more worth it to new customers. Without having to pay the extra costs, it’s like they’re getting a free opportunity delivered right to their doorstep.
Worried about incurring the costs? Require a minimum purchase, like $150. This will ensure that the customer has bought enough items that the likelihood that they will find at least a few that they are willing to keep becomes much higher. If they do return items, you’ll recoup the losses from the merchandise they did keep.
Make sure you're using the proper eCommerce shipping software to help facilitate this process.
11. Guarantee Product Quality
Every single purchase a customer makes should have a quality guarantee. Whether you're making your items in-house or drop-shipping them from a factory across the world. No matter how diligent you are, sometimes an item will be faulty, get damaged in the delivery process, or just not live up to the customer's standards.
When this does happen, having a guarantee of product quality will save your relationship with the customer. Knowing that they will receive a quality item no matter what will make them much more likely to trust your business.
This plan also builds trust another way by showing you have confidence in yourself. Think about it – companies that know their products aren't of the greatest quality won't offer product guarantees. Because they can't afford to keep up with the costs of replacing faulty merchandise or reimbursing clients for poor delivery experiences.
And companies that offer digital services like graphic design or copywriting can benefit from this model, too. A guarantee for first-time customers that you will work until a project until they are 100% satisfied with the result could be the deciding factor for many unsure potential clients to take a chance on you.
12. Include Testimonials/Reviews
Another way to add believability to your company is by including testimonials from customers. After a customer makes a purchase, reach out and ask politely for them to leave a positive review for your product if they are enjoying it.
While it's true that advertising is great at generating attention, it's not great at converting website visitors to buying customers if those visitors know nothing about the quality of your products or services. You're viewed as a stranger to them, no matter how detailed your “about us” page is.
Strangely enough, though, there is one kind of stranger whom websites visitors do trust. And that's the reviewers of your products. 70% of people trust online reviews from strangers. This means that positive testimonials and reviews will give your brand more credibility better than any advertisement or information page on your website could.
Reduce Risk Perception
This makes sense, right? The opinions coming from satisfied customers are coming from people who took a risk. And because everyone who is spending money on a purchase from your store is taking that risk, the reviews are going to mean much more to customers who are considering taking the risk themselves.
A review option adds even more credibility because it shows to customers that you're open to receiving any and all feedback. When you do receive the inevitably negative review, contact the customer right away. Then, respond to their comment publicly with an apology and a confirmation that you reached out. Potential customers will see that you care, making it much more likely that they will trust you enough to make a purchase.
Encourage Your Customers
With a pleasant and credible website, you now have the authority to encourage your customers to make a purchase. If you're an unfamiliar entity to them, this encouragement could be the tipping point between moving on to a different store or deciding to make a purchase from you.
13. Send Out Quality Emails
Emails are a great way to remind customers of deals, your company's mission, and even send out personalized notes. One popular use of the email marketing campaign strategy is to give customers 15% off of their first order if they sign up for your email list. The 15% will encourage customers to make a purchase, and signing up for the email list will give you continued contact with them.
But use emails wisely – more and more companies have created elaborate email marketing campaigns that only annoy potential customers further.
Do some research on your target audience to find out what you think the right number of emails would be. Are shorter emails once every few days the better idea, or would longer emails sent once a week convert the most customers?
(One thing I can tell you, though – the stores who sent out multiple emails a day are not appreciated by anyone.)
14. Recover Shopping Carts
According to the Baymard Institute, 70% of shopping carts are abandoned. This proves that even if you are generating a large number of visitors to your site and they show initial interest in making a purchase, there's a high likelihood that you won't see the end results you want.
Give your customers a friendly reminder of their last visit to your website, and that may be all the push they need to complete the process.
Do them a favor and recover their shopping carts when they go back to your site. No one wants to go through all of a website's product categories to re-add the items they wanted into their shopping cart.
Sometimes, urgency outweighs importance. Even stores with low-quality items can see high Shopify store conversion rates by convincing customers that they would be missing out should they pass up on their products.
Take a look at the following examples.
15. Generate Exclusivity
One of the reasons that top designers can sell their products for such high prices is the factor of exclusivity. Only certain members of society can afford to buy their pieces. People will either buy them to show off their financial status or work hard enough to afford something that is way out of their price range.
And you can use the idea of exclusivity in your eCommerce marketing strategy to improve Shopify store conversion rates without selling a product or service for a high cost.
This can be done through personalized email marketing and advertising. You could even send out an email campaign offering 10% off to a certain group of customers who all exceeded a certain threshold of spending on your website.
Even your social media advertisements can create exclusivity. For example, you could a Facebook ad campaign that promised 20% off to each user who made a purchase on your site by clicking on it from the Facebook page. That way, you could track how many leads you were getting from Facebook while simultaneously showing a particular segment of people that they had high value to you.
16. Display Item Quantities
Ever found an item online that you just had to have, only to be greeted with the words “Only 1 left in this color” in an ominous red font? Who knows how many of these pieces are sitting in the back of a stockroom – but it doesn't matter.
Stores that display the quantity of merchandise remaining do a great job of creating urgency. Because it instills a fear in consumers of missing out on something they really want. When they're aware of the high likelihood that acting later means losing an opportunity, customers will jump at the chance to buy the product they were originally planning to wait until the weekend to purchase.
17. Push Limited-Time Offers
The same idea goes for limited-time offers.
Typically, companies will do this by introducing a sale for a limited period of time. The higher the percentage of the sale and the shorter the number of days, the higher the Shopify store conversion rate you’re likely to see.
To make an offer even more imperative, include the length or occasion for the offer in its name. For instance, if your company sells certain items for 50% off twice a year, include “Semi-Annual Sale” in the campaign. When customers see that they’ll have to wait another six months for a similar offer to resurface, they’ll be more inclined to make a purchase from your business now.
Call Your Visitors to Act
You've done it all:
- provided a seamless website experience
- positioned yourself as a unique brand
- showed customers they can trust you
- encouraged them to use your site
- and even made the choice to purchase seem as urgent as possible
It's time to push a little harder. Sometimes, people simply need to be told the next step involved in the purchase process. This brings us to Call to Action Buttons.
18. Re-Think Your Call to Action Buttons
Call to Action buttons guide your user toward the end goal of conversion by telling them what step is next. Whether it's signing up for a free consultation or adding an item to their cart.
And you'd be surprised at just how powerful changing your CTA buttons can be. If you're going to take anything from this guide, remember that CTA buttons can make or break what your website visitor will do next. A well-placed, colorful, and relevant CTA button will entice the visitor to do the next requested step.
You want your CTA buttons to appear in bright enough colors that your website visitors are encouraged to take the next step. But not so obnoxious that they are distracted from the products that are displayed.
Typically, green and orange make for bright and crisp CTA buttons. But any color that contrasts its background will do. For example, a cobalt blue CTA button on a light grey background could be appealing on a modern website with an otherwise neutral color palette.
Your CTA button needs to involve (can you guess?) action. There needs to be a verb – “sign up for this opportunity,” “get my free sample,” and “book my personalized consultation” are all effective examples.
Notice how each CTA mentioned above includes both a strong action verb that clearly indicates what the user will be doing next (sign up, get, book) and the benefit that the person will receive by doing so. A CTA button with words like “more information” or “donations” is neither exciting nor as clear as it could be. How is “more information” really going to make a customer excited?
Communicate as the Buyer
“Get my free demo” and “Get your free demo” both promise a website visitor the chance to receive a free service from the company. However, the use of pronouns changes how the potential customer will view the offer.
“Get your free demo” is a message to the consumer from the company. It tells the consumers that the company sees you as an outside entity. Meanwhile, “Get my free demo” is a nod from that company that it is putting itself in the position of a first-time customer viewing the site.
Although the difference is nuanced, it actually has quite a difference in Shopify store conversion rates. Changing call-to-action buttons to reflect the perspective of the reader increase the conversion rate by up to 90%.
Your eCommerce Conversion Rate: The More You Know
This isn't an exhaustive list of ways you can improve your Shopify store conversion rate, but it sure will get you closer to more sales and more engagement.
And you don't need to figure it out all on your own – let's work together! I can help you figure out which of these strategies will generate the most success for your e-commerce store.
Starting an e-commerce store often comes with a long period of experimenting and failure before success. As you can see, there are so many factors involved in positioning your business in the best way possible.
Contact me for an e-commerce business coach that will help your business see success much more quickly!