How many page views did your eCommerce website get last month? What about over the past year?
What would it mean for your business if 5% more of those page views resulted in sales? How much of a boost in revenue would it create, and what could you do with that money?
That’s the thinking behind eCommerce optimization: The more visitors turn into customers, the more revenue an eCommerce business pulls in — and the more it can grow.
We’re about to show you 10 strategies for converting more online shoppers into happy customers through the art and science of eCommerce optimization. But first, let’s define our terms!
What Is eCommerce Optimization?
The discipline of eCommerce optimization evaluates every aspect of an eCommerce store’s website, eCommerce marketing, and customer experience, making adjustments where needed to increase conversions or sales. It’s a similar concept to conversion rate optimization, and it’s highly relevant in today's online business environment.
That’s because getting visitors to your eCommerce website is important, but it’s not enough. You also need to get those visitors to convert into customers.
Whether you’re taking a traditional eCommerce approach or exploring alternative options like connective eCommerce, eCommerce optimization is an essential ongoing process.
How To Tell If Your Conversion Rate Is “Good”
One of the first questions that comes up in any business evaluating conversion rates is always this: what’s a good conversion rate, anyway?
It’s a good question — but one with no good (universal) answers.
The ideal conversion rate varies from business to business, and it can even vary by product category or even individual product. It’s easy to see why this is the case by juxtaposing a couple of extreme examples.
Which has a higher conversion rate: an Amazon listing for Tide laundry detergent or Ferrari.com?
What a good conversion rate looks like depends on the industry, target audience, product type, platform, and a dozen other factors.
So, instead of looking for a universal “good” rate, use these tactics to determine what good looks like in the context of your business.
Compare to the Average Rate for Your Sector
Start by looking at industry benchmarks (if they’re available in your industry) as a starting point. Low-price consumable items will convert at a higher rate than durable luxury goods, and it’s usually possible to find averages for broad categories like these.
Track Your Own Optimization Rate Over Time
Your own data could be your best source of information. It could be that “good” is the wrong measurement altogether. Instead, think in terms of “better” or “worse”: Is your conversion rate higher or lower than your historical average? Than six months ago? Than the last big sale or holiday rush?
By monitoring and tracking rates internally over time, you’ll begin to find patterns in the data. What marketing changes did you make around the time that your conversion rate shot up (or tanked)? By comparing this data against other elements, you’ll begin to zero in on what helps and what hurts.
Consider Your Business Goals
Last, remember that not all businesses have the same goals. We cheated a bit by referencing Ferrari’s website earlier, but for good reason. You can’t actually buy a Ferrari online — because that’s not the point of the Ferrari website.
Ferrari’s website is all about brand awareness, image curation, and desire. It’s not about directly selling Ferraris; it’s about helping people imagine themselves in one. They can configure every model to their heart’s content, even if they have no intention of sending that configuration to a dealer.
Regardless of whether you sell high-priced luxury items or everyday consumer goods, your business objectives (e.g., brand awareness vs. direct sales) can heavily influence what a “good” optimization rate looks like.
10 eCommerce Optimization Strategies To Increase Conversions
You’ve already got an online store that’s pulling in traffic, and you’re already making sales. But now it’s time to turn more of that traffic into dollars!
Check out these 10 strategies for ecommerce conversion rate optimization that you can use to turn more visitors into satisfied paying customers.
1. Improve Your Website’s Speed and Performance
There’s a direct correlation between site speed and user experience — and that’s not all. Slow page load speeds are one factor that search engines like Google and Bing use to determine their search engine rankings.
In other words, if your site isn’t loading quickly, it negatively affects your search engine optimization (SEO), which lowers your organic traffic.
Consumers can be impatient when shopping online. So, if a page isn’t loading as quickly as they expect, they may assume something’s wrong and navigate away.
Not sure how to check your website’s speed and performance? Google offers a tool called PageSpeed Insights that can help. It’s a little technical, but this developer guide should help. Google Analytics is a little easier to use and can also give basic information about page speed (as well as other potential errors).
2. Optimize Your Site for Search Engines
Next, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of SEO for visibility in eCommerce. When people search for the things you sell, you need to be the first result. Making that happen consistently takes time and effort in content marketing and SEO.
Here are a few on-page SEO pointers eCommerce sellers should follow:
- Include the generic or category names for an item in its product description. (For example, “sandals” in addition to the product name, which might be something vague like “Women’s Vintage Slingback II”)
- Include phrases shoppers might search for when looking for this kind of product.
- Make sure product descriptions are well-written, accurate, and helpful.
- Include internal links to similar or complementary products where possible.
3. Create High-Quality Product Descriptions With Video
If a picture’s worth a thousand words, a video is worth far more. Your product descriptions should explain in clear, compelling language what an item is, what it’s for, who should buy it, and why.
But words alone can only go so far.
Especially in the world of eCommerce, shoppers need a way to see products in action so they can understand how they work and envision themselves using or experiencing the product.
Product images can help, but multimedia is the perfect solution. With a short, simple video, eCommerce businesses can show rather than tell how a product works and how it improves consumers’ lives.
Gander is the ideal solution for informative, high-quality shoppable videos that show your products to your audience in a more hands-on, engaging way. Adding Gander videos to your product pages is a great way to increase conversion rate on Shopify stores — or any eCommerce site.
You can use Gander to feature your brand’s own product videos or lean on user-generated content (UGC) for these videos as a great way to improve the customer experience while boosting your product’s authenticity and social proof.
4. Make Finding Products Simple for Customers
No matter what you sell, making your site easy to navigate should be a top priority. User-friendly navigation makes a huge difference for the customer. Strive to give them a frictionless shopping and purchase experience rather than one full of hurdles and points of confusion.
So, what does user-friendly shopping look like? Start with a search bar that works well, even proactively suggesting options as users type. If your catalog is large (such as a clothing retailer), set up filter options to narrow down the results from hundreds or thousands down to just a few.
5. Offer Different Payment Options
There’s a great global diversity of online shoppers, which is one of the greatest developments for eCommerce businesses. When shoppers aren’t limited to your physical storefronts, you aren’t limited to a specific geographical reach.
But wherever you’re selling, make sure you’re prepared to accept payments in a variety of globally accepted ways.
This includes the standard credit card and debit card options, but there are also digital wallets and a variety of online payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, and Square.
6. Simplify the Checkout Process
The harder it is to buy from your store, the easier it is for shoppers to walk away. There’s a clear connection between checkout complexity and shopping cart abandonment rate (with 18% of cart abandoners citing a long or complicated checkout as their reason), so do whatever you can to simplify the checkout process.
If you’re a Shopify eCommerce store, using Shopify’s Shop Pay is a no-brainer. It’s a simplified accelerated checkout service that has stellar conversion rates.
Other tips for reducing abandoned carts:
- Reduce the number of form fields.
- Offer guest checkout rather than forcing account creation.
- If you use upselling and cross-selling at checkout, do so in moderation.
- Offer no-hassle returns.
7. Offer Free Shipping or Returns
In the age of Amazon Prime, shipping costs can be a deterrent for many buyers. Most people understand that “free shipping” isn’t really free, but that isn’t really the point. Once again, the point is friction: Buyers don’t like being confronted with unexpected or unpredictable fees during checkout.
Offering free shipping is often a matter of baking that cost into your retail prices. There are other strategies like the cart minimum.
Free returns can also soften customer fears or resistance — at a cost. Consider offering free returns but steering customers toward exchanges or credits rather than cash refunds.
8. Personalize the Shopping Experience
Shoppers like it when the experience is personalized — as long as things don’t get too personal.
There are plenty of methods for personalizing the shopping journey: behavioral or contextual advertising, AI-powered item recommendations, and interactive video content are a few strong options.
Interactive video sounds technically complex to implement, but it doesn’t have to be. Gander makes it easy to achieve greater interactivity and engagement.
9. Use Social Proof through Reviews or Testimonials
Social proof — the concept that says we’re all influenced by others’ decision-making when we make our own decisions — has a serious psychological impact on customers or potential customers.
When website visitors see compelling, believable social proof (whether text reviews, video testimonials, or other formats), they may think, “If it worked for them, it’ll work for me!” It’s a powerful way to build trust — and boost sales as a result.
So, take time to evaluate where to display those positive customer reviews and testimonials.
10. Test and Adjust Your Site Regularly
One of the risks in publishing an article like this is that online shopping trends change — sometimes quite quickly.
While some principles are evergreen, others aren’t. What works well today might not work as well in six months (and in a year, it might even be working against you)!
That’s why part of optimization includes testing and tracking so you can understand how the site is doing now compared to historical performance — and even how differing versions of a new piece of content perform against each other.
Regular A/B testing is key, and so is staying updated with eCommerce sales best practices as the industry continues to morph.
Let Gander Help You Optimize Your Site and Attract Customers Today
These 10 proven optimization tips can help you optimize your eCommerce site for conversion, helping you turn more viewers into customers. And Gander can help you execute several of these strategies through interactive videos and UGC.
With Gander, you don’t need complex development to introduce video onto your product pages, and you don’t have to worry about backend hosting or page load times. Gander takes care of all the complexity so you can focus on what you do best — selling great products to larger and larger audiences.
Transform your approach to conversion rate optimization by incorporating interactive video content, shoppable videos, and user-generated content with Gander. Request your demo now!