Do you work with an ecommerce website? Hopefully you’ve already tried some conversion rate optimization ideas to help increase your ecommerce sales, like A/B testing your call-to-action buttons or adding security seals in your checkout. Looking for even better ideas that will often have a bigger impact?
Strong and high-impact improvement ideas really do form the bedrock of successful conversion rate optimization (CRO) efforts for any ecommerce website. There is no point in randomly changing or A/B testing things, or only changing what your HiPPO thinks – this will often lead to disappointing results.
To help you get even better results from your ecommerce CRO efforts, I’ve put together a fresh, high-impact list of ecommerce CRO ideas for you to try – that you probably haven’t tried yet. Let’s get started…
The 10 high-impact ecommerce conversion rate optimization ideas
1: Optimize your newsletter sign-up incentives
Who really signs up for newsletters at ecommerce websites? Most people don’t unless they see a good reason to do so. Unfortunately most ecommerce sites don’t seem to realize that capturing emails is essential to do follow-up marketing with – most of your visitors won’t convert first visit!
To encourage and capture more emails from your visitors, optimize your newsletter sign-up by offering a great free incentive to do so. Ideally using a pop-up instead of just having a newsletter box in the footer. Try offering a first time purchase coupon (20% off etc), or a free guide relating to what you sell – these can work very well. Test when you trigger the pop-up too – exit intent can often work best (just before visitors move their mouse to the browser bar) – don’t just pop it up immediately and risk annoying your visitors.
Here is a great visually compelling, highly useful pop-up example on GlassesUSA.com:
2: Use product page description bullet points to show key benefits/features
Your product page descriptions need to quickly engage and compel your visitors to increase sales and conversion rates. Good copywriting is essential for this, but you need to take this a step further by making key features and benefits highly noticeable and scanable – don’t just put your description lower down on your product page and hope visitors see it – they may often not scroll down that far.
To optimize this, above the page fold add some short bullet points highlighting the key features and benefits of the product. This greatly increases the chances of this essential information being seen and influencing your visitors decision to purchase, and not just buried in a long block of description text.
Amazon.com shows bullet points benefits very well with many of its directly sold products:
3: Add video to showcase each of your most popular products
Don’t just rely on some good quality zoomable images to sell your products – to show them in much greater detail (and even in use) you should try creating short review or promotional videos for your best products. While it is time consuming to create these, they can have very high impact on increasing conversion rates and sales – as leading ecommerce sites like ASOS.com and ModCloth.com have found.
To test this out, create some short (less than 2 minutes) simple videos for your top 5 best products. Then add the video to the relevant product pages (using prominent video player thumbnails near your other photos), and then measure the impact. If it works well, to get even better results you should increase the video quality and expand the number of products you offer them for.
Watchshop.com do this very well, showing videos of their watches being worn and examined up close:
4: Prominently add unique value proposition on your homepage
In a recent article I discussed the importance of showing strong unique value proposition (UVP) – and this goes for ecommerce websites too! It’s amazing how many ecommerce websites just hope and presume visitors will know the reasons to use their site instead of using other competing sites – often causing visitor misunderstanding, higher bounce rates and many lost potential sales.
To make sure your UVP is clearly emphasized and seen on your homepage, above the page fold you need to add in some short bullet points explaining it and your benefits (in particular the top reasons to use your website instead of competitors), with a compelling title. Don’t forget to mention things like major media mentions or awards you have received, if you have been in business the longest or have highest third party ratings (like from Trust Pilot or Google).
Here is a great example of UVP bullet points shown on the Cushionsource.com homepage:
5: Use your header to show strong risk reducers on any page
Following on from the last idea, many visitors will arrive directly on your product or category pages (often from search or social media) and won’t see your ecommerce homepage where you mention your key benefits and unique value proposition.
To make sure these key benefit are noticed, no matter what page your visitors arrive on, you need to mention 2 or 3 good risk reducers in your website header to encourage trust and low risk of purchase. For example, show wording and icons that emphasize things like free shipping, lowest price guarantee and free returns. And if you are already doing this in your header, test which combination of risk reducers work best to increase conversion rates and sales.
GlassesUSA.com do a great job with this, showing 3 risk reducers in a sticky bar at the top of every page:
6: Optimize how you handle coupon codes in your checkout
This is an easily fixed ecommerce conversion killer that many businesses are making. If you clearly show a discount/coupon code box in your checkout, you need to realize that visitors will often leave your website to try and find the codes – and often will be frustrated and won’t return if they can’t find any.
To make sure you don’t suffer from this, if you actually offer coupon codes then you need to clearly mention how to get them – a great time to mention you can get them when signing up for your newsletter. Some smart websites like Dell.com (screenshot below) even go as far to show all their active codes in a pop-up – making it a really refreshing easy coupon finding experience for visitors. And if you don’t offer any discounts at all, then just get rid of this field in your checkout altogether!
7: Add some personality and ‘story’ to your about page
Many ecommerce websites suffer from a bland, generic ‘about us’ page that most visitors find boring and uninspiring to read. A much better use of this page to help captivate and convert your visitors is by adding some personality and interesting storytelling about your business. People often want to buy from businesses with personality and a good story – not soulless corporate businesses!
In particular you should include a ‘story’ of how, when and why your business was created, why you are passionate about what you sell, and include photos and fun facts about the owners. Video helps to convey this well. You could also mention strong community/charity/ethics elements to help with this too.
The owner of Titanium-Jewelry.com did a particularly good job with this on his about page:
8: Add a side bar in your checkout to mention risk reducers/benefits
There are now many types of ecommerce checkouts, including traditional multi-page checkout, longer single page checkout, and the newer accordion-style single page checkout. To increase your sales and conversions, no matter what type of cart you have, you should try adding a right hand side bar that prominently mentions and re-emphasizes your biggest benefits and risk reducers of using your ecommerce store.
This often works well in the checkout because visitor purchase apprehension/worry is often highest at this point in your ecommerce store – reminding them here that there is little risk of purchase and re-iterating main benefits goes a long way to combating shopping cart abandonment, and increasing sales.
Watchshop.com do a fantastic job in their checkout, including their great refund policy and price promise:
9: Emphasize biggest risk reducers near add to cart button
Following on from last idea, another high impact place to mention your risk reducers is on your product page. Showing your biggest risk reducer right next to your ‘add to cart’ button on this page ensures it’s highly noticeable by your visitors above the page fold.
Product guarantees or a low price promise can work very well here, particularly by showing an icon of it to help draw visitor’s eyes to it, like a guarantee seal. Free shipping is important to mention here too, but it’s now so common its almost expected by visitors, so try to use or create something more ‘unique’.
Titanium-Jewelry.com do this well, highlighting their ’90 days to love it, or return it’ guarantee:
10: Create some product-specific landing pages for paid search
Rather than directing all paid search to your homepage or relevant product pages, you should try a new approach to increase conversion rates and sales. Try creating longer more information-rich product landing pages for your best products and send relevant product keywords there instead – if it works well you can ramp this up and create many more.
On these stand-alone landing pages, instead of just using a normal product page template, create a highly compelling longer page that steps visitors through everything they need to know in order to make a purchase decision. Make sure to emphasize a strong benefit-focused headline (not just the product name), unique value proposition of the product, risk reducers for it (guarantee, free trial etc), more images and video, and more social proof like awards or media mentions.
Here is a great product landing page using these best practices at EnergyFirst.com (credit to Alex Harris):
A/B testing is essential to find highest converting ideas
Wrapping up, to help you find highest converting variations of ecommerce ideas you really need to do some A/B testing for them. And realize not all ideas will work for you – it can heavily depend on the type of industry you are in and your unique value proposition – I can help give you customized ideas too.
And don’t worry if you don’t have enough traffic for testing (at least 1,000 uniques per week for each test page, with many conversions) as I have created a low traffic A/B testing guide for you.
Which of these ecommerce ideas have you tried?
Now its your turn – which of these ideas have you tried? Or maybe you have used some particularly unique ways to increase your ecommerce conversion rates. Please comment with your thoughts. Thanks!