For Business

10 best practices for conversion rate optimization

Your source for understanding how to boost conversions on your ecommerce site.

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In ecommerce, your conversion rate can make or break your business. No matter how many eyeballs you attract through major SEO efforts, clever email campaigns, or viral TikTok videos, if you aren’t converting enough of those clicks into customers, then you might as well count your losses.

Thankfully there’s some established best practices that you can use to reduce checkout abandonment and increase conversions.

Conversion rate optimization is an ongoing, incremental process, and the more consideration you give it over time, the more rewards that you can reap in both positive customer experience and revenue growth. The first step is to establish a baseline conversion rate and monitor it closely.

What is your conversion rate?

You can calculate your conversion rate (CVR) using this formula: divide your total number of conversions in a given time period by the total number of visitors to your site during the same time period. Then multiply by 100 to get a percentage.

CVR = (conversions / total visitors) x 100

For example, if you had 35 conversions and 1,000 site visitors last week, your conversion rate would be 3.5%. As a rule, standard ecommerce CVR is calculated using the number of visits, or sessions, and not the number of unique users—who may return to your site for several visits before making a purchase.

How does your conversion rate compare to the average?

In ecommerce, conversion rates vary widely across industry sectors, and there are no universal benchmarks against which your online business should measure itself. So don’t even worry about trying to find the answer to that question.

There are a multitude of factors that affect the average conversion rate, even when comparing nearly identical sites that sell nearly identical products. For example, the source and quality of traffic that one site attracts may be completely different from another, even though they have roughly the same amount of sales. While one site might depend more on high-volume traffic from social ads that result in a lower conversion rate, another might draw the majority of its visitors from very specific search terms, resulting in a higher conversion rate.

Other factors like price point also come into play, because sites that offer expensive, big-ticket items generally have lower conversion rates than those that offer cheaper impulse buys. Similarly, ecommerce businesses that sell subscription products and services tend to see lower conversion rates compared to single-purchase stores, primarily because those purchases require a bigger commitment.

Evaluating your conversion rate requires full context, even when you’re comparing yours to the category-specific averages of your competition. That said, it doesn’t hurt to be aware of the range of averages in your particular sector as a general performance gauge.

According to Statista, the average conversion rate of ecommerce sites across all sectors is roughly 2.5%, with beauty and skincare near the top at 3.3%, and home furniture rounding out the bottom at 0.6%.

Is my conversion rate “good” or “bad”?

Ranking your conversion rate is “good” or “bad” just for the sake of it isn’t as helpful as determining your conversion rate and using it as a learning experience. The conversion rate that can make the biggest difference is the one you track carefully over time and improve with hundreds of small decisions.

Sometimes even just a few easy tweaks to your user experience (UX) can add up to big results.

10 best practices for boosting your ecommerce conversion rate

Effective conversion rate optimization relies on the relatively simple and verifiable principle that shoppers will always prefer the path of least friction. It’s not enough that your product is the best in the world in its category—if your customer experience doesn’t deliver, your conversion rate will likely be lower than it should be.

On the Springboard blog, we’ve covered a broad mix of marketing strategies designed to boost traffic. However, conversion rate optimization isn’t about getting more shoppers to your site, it’s about the specific steps you can take to get those site visitors to take a desired action.

Each change you make should be in the service of creating a more seamless experience for your shoppers. Add improvements that make it easier for them to find what they want, decide if they want it, and complete the transaction. With an ongoing, systematic approach to optimization and experimentation, you can track the direct impact that every fine-tuned adjustment has on your conversion rate.

Follow these proven tactics to boost the conversion rate on your ecommerce site.

#1 Optimize your website’s UX design
When shoppers visit an unfamiliar ecommerce site, they tend to look for signals indicating that a brand or merchant is trustworthy and that it’s safe to make a purchase. Establishing consumer confidence in the first few seconds through a clean and polished design can be a critical component in driving conversions.

There are many ways to boost trust with your UX, and by following some fundamental principles of UX design and UX best practices, you can easily avoid some of the more common trust busters that tend to scare off shoppers.

Above all, your site layout should be easy to navigate, with product categories that are simple and organized. (A best-sellers section is usually a good idea, too.) Many plug-and-play ecommerce platforms like BigCommerce have useful templates to help simplify the design process.

Common but easily addressable design issues include layouts that don’t have enough white space, unclear navigation or labels, and misaligned text or images. If your site looks messy or disorganized, shoppers will be wary. Pay attention to elements like background color, contrast, font size, and style, and the overall spacing and design balance of graphic brand elements on your site. Make sure that your calls to action (CTAs) are clear and effective in their wording, design, and placement. And don’t bombard your site visitors with endless pop-ups.

To increase the chances of appealing to a wider range of shoppers, you can adopt a flexible search experience optimization strategy designed to build strong connections to the three main shopper archetypes. For more insights, visit the Baymard Institute report on key UX optimizations to increase conversions on your ecommerce site.

#2 Streamline your checkout flow
In June 2023, roughly 71% of shopping carts were abandoned. According to a study commissioned by Amazon Pay, 37% of surveyed online shoppers said they abandoned checkout because they were asked to create an account, and 28% said it was because the checkout process was too long or complicated. Baymard Institute found that brands can increase their conversion rate 35.26% by providing a better checkout design.

Requiring shoppers to register, create new accounts and passwords, or fill out too many form fields makes them hesitant, particularly if they’re unfamiliar with your brand. And many customers are likely to stop checking out because they don’t see their preferred payment method or don’t trust an unfamiliar website with their credit card information.

You can streamline your checkout process by making it as straightforward and user-friendly as possible, with minimal steps and distractions. Buy with Prime offers shoppers a trusted, familiar checkout flow in just a few simple clicks, with no accounts to create, address information to fill out, or payment details to fumble for.

In fact, according to a 2023 Buy with Prime Customer Survey, average shopper satisfaction ranked greater than 4.5 out of 5, where 5 was completely satisfied. When Prime members see the Buy with Prime badge on an ecommerce site, they know they can expect a quick and easy checkout similar to what they get on Amazon.com. A seamless checkout can help reduce up to 65% of the buyer friction that leads to abandoned carts.

#3 Use high-quality product images
Detailed product images can play a critical role in conversion, particularly when it comes to establishing “perceived quality.” Shoppers often zoom in on product images to inspect the details of the fabric, stitching, finish, and materials. Include lifestyle images that feature your products as well as images that showcase your products from every angle.

According to Baymard, 56% of shoppers begin exploring product images immediately after arriving on an ecommerce page, yet 25% of sites still don’t have product images with sufficient resolution. Low-quality photos that don’t allow users to zoom in adequately can lead to high rates of cart abandonment.

#4 Improve your product descriptions
It might seem obvious, but glaring spelling and grammatical errors can erode trust, even for established brands. Sloppy copy is one of the most common ways to lose customer trust, but it’s also one of the easiest to correct.

Incomplete or unclear product descriptions can also lead to lower conversion rates. Incorporating detailed and persuasive product copy can reduce cart abandonment by giving shoppers the information that they need upfront to feel comfortable making a purchase on your site. At a minimum, your write-ups should include product measurements, material specifications, warranty information, and any other information that your average shopper would need to make a buying decision.

#5 Leverage social proof by displaying product reviews
In the era of social proof, featuring positive, authentic reviews from real customers can have a significant impact on sales. According to data collected by Statista, sites selling home appliances and electronics that display ratings and reviews increased conversion rates by as much as 38%, and sites selling health and beauty products by 19.2%. A survey conducted by Power Reviews also found that 98% of surveyed consumers believe that “reviews are an essential resource when making purchase decisions.”

Generally, shoppers look for social proof of quality and they tend to consider customer-generated product reviews to be more trustworthy than content provided by brands or websites. When you offer Buy with Prime on eligible products, you can display the reviews of those products on Amazon directly on your ecommerce site product detail pages, providing a powerful signal boost for establishing customer confidence and brand credibility.

#6 Design for mobile experiences
More than half of website traffic worldwide comes from mobile devices, yet many merchants continue designing their ecommerce sites for computer screens. With layouts, photos, and video assets optimized for computers, these sites might not translate seamlessly to a mobile framework.

Mobile ecommerce sales are expected to double to $710 billion in 2025, compared to 2021, meaning it’s more important than ever to make sure everything on your site, from the layouts to the checkout process, is mobile first and mobile friendly.

To check how your site performs, you can use a mobile-friendly test tool from Google.

#7 Optimize your page load speeds
If a web page is taking too long to load, half of surveyed online shoppers say they leave the site, abandoning their carts. When it comes to page-load speeds, every millisecond counts: The same survey found that 39% of shoppers think ecommerce pages should take 2–3 seconds to load, at most.

Slow load times can directly impact sales, and the more you can optimize your website’s performance, the less chance you’ll lose customers to the ravages of time. For one, make sure your video and photo content is properly compressed and can be accessed easily on mobile without latency. You can use free tools to test your page speed and identify where you can make changes to optimize performance.

#8 Offer fast, free delivery and easy returns
Nearly half of surveyed online shoppers say high additional costs associated with shipping, taxes, or fees keep them from placing an order, and 22% say they abandoned checkout because of slow delivery times. What’s more, 77% of customers abandoned purchases because they didn’t like the delivery options provided. Unexpected shipping and fees and long delivery times are kryptonite-level friction points for shoppers that will decimate your conversion rates.

Clearly display any shipping fees and transparent delivery estimates before shoppers enter the checkout process, so there are never any surprises. Or better yet, simply eliminate the problem entirely by offering fast, free delivery.

Buy with Prime purchases come with the Prime delivery promise, with orders shipped as fast as one day. Customers receive a purchase confirmation email, transparent delivery estimates, and a shipment tracking link when their order is shipped. When a customer uses Buy with Prime to complete a purchase, they get free returns on eligible items and the assurance that their purchase is protected by the Amazon Pay A-to-z Guarantee.

According to a survey of more than 30,000 online shoppers, 70% of global consumers want a shopping experience with the same kinds of benefits and services as Amazon Prime. Adding Buy with Prime to your site is an opportunity to do just that—while reducing checkout abandonment and even converting more shoppers. In fact, adding Buy with Prime has been shown to increase conversions by an average of 25%*.

#9 Continually A/B test
There’s always something you can do to enhance your customer experience (CX) and boost conversions, from tweaking layouts and button placement to swapping in better product images. Effective conversion rate optimization is directly linked to experimentation and iteration. A/B testing is the tool that puts your data and benchmarks to use so you can identify which changes to your CX design have the biggest impact.

Testing can give you the information that you need to make informed decisions about what messaging, images, colors, fonts, layouts, feature launches, and checkout flows work best to turn those hard-won site visitors into customers. For instance, A/B testing the language, design, and placement of your CTAs can offer outsized rewards, whether you’re offering free shipping, a deal on a particular product, or any other kind of promotion. Learn more about A/B testing to boost conversions with Buy with Prime.

#10 Offer better customer support
According to a 2022 study from Forrester, 54% of customers who report positive emotions like feeling happy, valued, and appreciated are willing to forgive brands that make mistakes. High-quality brand interactions are integral to building customer trust and loyalty, and beyond product and CX, customer support represents one of the greatest opportunities for a brand to deliver on experience.

Communicate clearly and transparently about the customer service options that you offer, including telephone contact information, ways to access chat, and your return and refund policies. When you offer Buy with Prime on your channels, you have customer and order data at the ready so you can easily manage orders and returns, and provide best-in-class customer service.

Buy with Prime has been shown to reduce checkout abandonment, and even increase conversions by an average of 25%*—or in the case of Epic Water Filters, by more than 40%! Learn more about how Buy with Prime can help increase your conversion rate. Or if you’re ready to get started, you can sign up now.

*This data point measures the average increase in shoppers who placed an order when Buy with Prime was an available purchase option versus when it was not, during the same time period.

Chris Redhead