10 Ways to Increase Conversion Rates for e-Commerce Websites

Calculating the conversion rate of your e-commerce site is fairly simple: It’s the number of orders in a time period divided by the number of visits during that same period. But while conversion is easy to calculate, you might be surprised how many orders never make it to completion.

In 2014, a whopping 68% of shoppers abandoned their online shopping carts, leading to $4 trillion in potential sales left behind.

And no e-commerce business wants to leave money on the table, right?

Luckily, you don’t have to sing the low-conversion blues. Take advantage of these 10 simple tips to increase conversion rates immediately on your website, so you can keep your customers’ attention, avoid losing sales, and increase your business revenue.

1. Give Better Product Descriptions

Buying online can be risky for consumers: What they see on a website isn’t always what’s delivered. That’s why your product descriptions may just be the most important element on your e-commerce website.

For every product you list, include high-quality photos from a variety of angles. Descriptions should be clear and include measurements, colors, links to product manuals, and any other specifications that will increase the consumer’s confidence that what they’re seeing online is what they’ll actually receive in person.

2. Showcase Customer Reviews

More than 60% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase decision, so smart e-commerce merchants feature customer reviews and ratings on their product pages. If your website doesn’t offer a plugin to automatically ask for and publish customer reviews, follow up with customers manually after each sale and ask for the review, and insert yourself into the product page.

Of course, a natural byproduct of publishing customer reviews is the risk that you’ll receive negative reviews. While it may seem tempting to delete these, don’t. A merchant with nothing but glowing reviews looks suspicious — after all, no one is perfect. As long as the negative reviews are few and far between, they can actually improve conversions by proving your authenticity.

3. Ask for Email Addresses Early

It’s impossible to convert 100% of shoppers who reach the checkout stage. But if you can capture email addresses early in the browsing or buying process – such as by asking customers to create an account when they place items in their shopping carts – you can launch abandoned cart email campaigns, which can bring back 15% of customers who left their cart mid-purchase.

4. Explain Why You Need Customer Information

With the alarming rise of phishing and identity theft, customers are understandably nervous about giving too many personal details to an online merchant — especially an unfamiliar one. To build better trust, merchants should always explain how they’ll use the personal information they collect. 

So if you ask for a customer’s phone number, explain that you’ll use it to provide shipping updates or contact the customer with delivery concerns.

5. Incorporate Trust Signals

Security is a big concern for online shoppers who are giving merchants sensitive personal information. If they feel a site isn’t safe, they won’t hesitate to abandon their purchases.

Instead, you can instill trust by showcasing specific elements:

  • SSL Certificates and Secured Websites. Customers are looking to see “https” and the lock symbol in a browser’s address bar before they proceed with a transaction.
  • Payment Certifications. When customers see their purchase experience is guaranteed through programs like Verified by Visa or PayPal’s Purchase Protection, they’re more likely to proceed with the transaction.
  • Guarantees. Products that come with a 30-day money-back guarantee may give customers the confidence needed to make a purchase.
  • Clear Return Policies. Make it easy for customers to find and understand return and exchange policies in case the product they receive doesn’t match what was advertised.

6. Create a Sense of Urgency

No one wants to miss out on the deal of a lifetime, so encourage shoppers to convert by creating a sense of urgency. For example, set a specific end date to any promotional offers, or highlight that only limited quantities of a product are available.

7. Simplify the Checkout Process

Checkout abandonment often happens when e-commerce websites have a complicated, too-long checkout process. Speed things up and keep customers moving closer to the final purchase by:

  • Adding a progress bar to the top of checkout pages to let customers where they are in the process.
  • Reducing the number of fields required on forms so you’re asking for only the data you absolutely need to complete the sale.
  • Making data entry easy for mobile users by launching the right keyboard for the field (e.g., a numeric keypad for ZIP code and phone number fields).

8. Offer Multiple Payment Methods

Customers don’t want to be locked in to a single payment option, so merchants should offer customers multiple ways to pay for purchases, including emerging methods such as PayPal, Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Visa Checkout. 

The more payment alternatives you offer, the easier it becomes for customers to complete their transactions.

9. Offer Free Shipping

Many merchants see shipping as an additional expense they want to pass along to their customers, but did you know that 73% of shoppers consider free shipping an important part of their purchase decisions? That’s why more than 50% of e-commerce merchants now offer free shipping. Some offer it on every purchase; some require a minimum purchase amount. 

If for some reason you can’t offer free shipping, be upfront about what the shipping costs will be for the customer. Problems with shipping rates – such as rates that are too high, or websites that don’t show the customer what the shipping rates will be until too late in the checkout process – are the number one reason customers abandon their carts.

10. Make It Easy for Customers to Get in Touch

If customers can’t easily find answers to their questions, they’re less likely to follow through with a purchase. Make links to contact information easily visible on every page and offer customers multiple ways to get in touch with your customer service department at any time.

Increase Conversion Rates With This Last Strategy

Boosting your conversion rates and increasing your revenue isn’t that hard when you know the right website changes to make. But when you’re updating your selling strategy, don’t forget to also ensure you’re protecting your growing business against the increased risk of card-not-present fraud and chargebacks.

It’s important to not cut corners when it comes to selecting the right fraud protection solution. Many merchants find that using a bare-bones fraud solution can actually increase false declines and decrease conversions. 

Contact a ClearSale analyst today to learn why companies around the world use our customized solution to increase conversion rates, deliver an improved customer experience and prevent cart abandonment.

Is a Fraud Managed Services Solution Right for Your Business?