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Solve These Problems to Quickly Increase Your eCommerce Conversion Rates

The simple recipe to increase your eCommerce website’s conversion rate is to identify and address key friction points throughout the customer journey. To drive the most impact as quickly as possible, it helps to know which problems are the worst offenders and what opportunities are most frequently overlooked.

Here at Cro Metrics, there are various problems and opportunities we typically review first when starting to experiment on an eCommerce website. Where do our team of veteran eComm growth strategists suggest you start first?

Top Problem Themes and Opportunities

  1. New Customer Promos
  2. Checkout
  3. Shipping
  4. Listing Pages
  5. Product Detail Pages

1. New Customer Promos

Since the early days of the web, everyone has complained about pop-ups. Yet, they haven’t gone anywhere in over 20 years. Why is that? Because they work.

By far the most common usage of pop-ups today is the new customer promo. Think of it as a slap in the face with a hug afterward. These promos interrupt your shopping experience, ask for your email (or worse phone number) and usually offer something in return such as 15% off your first order.

Regardless of how we feel, if you’re not using a new customer promo, you probably should. The potential impact is honestly incredible—just make sure to test it first.

To provide an example, one of our clients tested removal of their promo and saw a 25% drop in sales. That drop would have also resulted in a loss of nearly 1.5 million email addresses a year, crippling their email marketing program.

Since most eComm sites already use new customer promos, here’s how you can improve them to boost your conversion rate (proven by thousands of tests):

  • Do not make submission mandatory
  • Do not ask for too much personal information
  • Make a reasonable offer and not just a newsletter sign-up
  • Once submitted, auto-apply the coupon and show the discount throughout the customer journey
  • Provide an opportunity to re-engage with the promotion if initially declined
  • Align messaging with visitor’s source
  • Create fun factors (gamify, snarky copy, etc.)

2. Checkout

Checkout obviously isn’t a problem area but it’s an area of your website with a massive opportunity to increase conversions. The final steps before a transaction are crucial. 

From this point in the user journey, conversion rates are higher and visitors are more valuable. Those higher values mean even a small win in checkout can lead to some serious revenue growth.

If your website is custom and does not use a SaaS offering like Shopify, go no further and start your optimization efforts in checkout. We find that our clients with custom eComm websites frequently miss the mark and are unaware of customer pain points in this area.

We were able to increase orders by 16% for one of our major DTC clients by simply identifying high drop-off points and reviewing error message data from within checkout. A variety of tactics and solutions can be used to achieve these results:

  1. Remove extra steps from the process: Avoid an independent guest vs account-setup step. You shouldn’t force your customers to create an account. It’s also best to avoid placing a redundant order confirmation step between checkout and purchase.
  2. Make all elements and steps crystal clear: Ensure all field labels and CTAs are clear and that all error messages, such as those for missing field validation, are communicated and noticeable.
  3. Improve promo code steps: If you don’t use promo codes, remove that step completely. If you use promo codes frequently, emphasize that step. And when promos are available, auto-apply them to each relevant purchase.
  4. Show the customer their progress: Checkout processes can be lengthy. Eliminate the guesswork by showing a progress bar that contains a finish line.

3. Shipping

Brands like Amazon and Zappos started offering free shipping nearly a decade ago. Their market dominance (and others of course) has led to customers expecting the same from their other favorite brands. Customers with a full cart will frequently abandon when they discover shipping is $5 extra in checkout.

Unfortunately, offering free shipping can be unprofitable, since rates are so high, or may require price increases that give competitors a chance to undercut you. There’s no silver bullet to solve this but you can increase profitability by iteratively testing various themes:

  • Free standard shipping: Test what happens when you offer free standard shipping; but don’t stop there. Perform a follow-up test that tries raising prices slightly to offset the additional shipping costs.
  • Free shipping messaging: Test the messaging you use throughout the customer journey (globally, product detail pages (PDPs), cart and checkout) to advertise your free shipping offer.
  • Shipping threshold: Test a threshold that must be met before a customer receives free shipping. Start with a lower threshold around 30% lower than your AOV. We’ve seen this work well for many clients. High thresholds can dissuade loyal customers. You can also try offering low-cost add-ons in the cart of PDPs to help customers reach your shipping threshold.
  • Lower shipping rate: If offering free shipping doesn’t move the needle or results in too high of a cost for you, try lowering the shipping rate instead.

Whatever you do, make sure to optimize based on profit (or customer acquisition cost) and not transactions or revenue.

4. Product Listing Pages

Product listing pages (PLPs) are the top landing pages for most eCommerce websites. They make a great “front door” for paid acquisition channels. PLPs are multi-functional and introduce customers to your brand, provide quick product access, and open up merchandising opportunities. 

These factors make PLPs a high-value swim lane for optimization, but their multi-functional/multi-audience nature also can make finding wins here more difficult. After running thousands of tests, our team has found several high-impact PLP themes you can consider:

  • Layout: Try a grid layout versus a list layout or vertical product cards versus horizontal product cards.
  • Filtering and sorting: Test the way your customers can filter and sort products. Be sure to include the most relevant product discovery options and ensure filters are noticeable on the page.
  • Add to bag CTAs: A quick CTA on your PLPs may increase add to bags. We also recommend considering a smooth UI for selecting product size and color.
  • Quickshop: A quickshop option allows customers to quickly select their product options and add them to their cart without displaying the full PDP.
  • Badges: There are various badges to place on your products, including Best Seller, Top Rated and New Arrival. Test how these may or may not improve add to bags.

It’s critical to extensively test the area above the fold on your PLPs. For example, try removing hero images and show products instead. Or, show special products such as featured products or promotional products.

5. Product Detail Pages

The most important visitor decision happens on your product pages: the decision on whether to stop my research, buy the current product and trust this brand to deliver on my needs. If customers can clearly understand your product, its value, and what differentiates it from competitors, you should be successful.

Some of the top themes to explore when attempting to improve your PDPs include:

  • Pricing: Try showing the price of your product clearly on the page with any promotions already applied. Be sure to show the savings clearly too.
  • Reviews: If reviews are strong, show them prominently. If the reviews are mixed or low, hide or deprioritize them.
  • Model information: Provide information for each product such as height, size and weight. Make sure all product specifications are easily accessible.
  • Key features and differentiators: What makes your product different from the rest? Showcase the features and differentiators that will resonate with your customers.
  • Up-sells and cross-sells: Test offering bundles and recommendations on your PDPs to increase cart amounts.

In the early stages of your growth program, it’s important to refrain from getting bogged down in pixel perfection and analysis paralysis so you can start testing quickly. A high testing velocity is one of our biggest levers to drive impact.

Start Growing Your eCommerce Revenue Today

The themes listed here, sourced from our experienced team of growth strategists, should be more than enough to get your experimentation program started off right. If you need support optimizing your eCommerce website, send us a message today.