Improving online conversion rates for your Shopify e-commerce site can be tricky, especially considering the average conversion rate is pretty low to begin with.
According to LittleData, the average conversion rate of a Shopify e-commerce site is around 1.6%, which can feel like peanuts from the perspective that 98.4% of your site visits don’t end up buying from you.
To put that into perspective, the average conversion rate for a physical retail store is usually between 20 - 40%.
But, if you think about it, that makes sense. There is a certain investment in time that a potential customer has made before entering your physical store. That doesn’t exist, in the same way, when stores are only a few keystrokes apart from each other.
On top of that, you probably have a lot of competition in a busy and distracting online space, which is causing your customers to abandon their shopping carts and your site.
It’s therefore incredibly important that you optimize your conversion rates before you lose too many sales and customers.
So, what are conversion rates? And how do you improve them to generate increased sales for your e-commerce business?
In this article, we’ll explore what conversion rates are and how to measure them, and give you four tips for increasing your conversion rates:
4 Best Ways to Increase Conversion Rates
- Remove barriers to purchase
- Be trustworthy
- Create a sense of urgency
- Reduce unexpected customer costs
Let’s start with the basics.
What Are Conversion Rates?Conversion rates are the percentage of customers who visit your e-commerce site and end up making a purchase within a set period of time.
In order to calculate the conversion rate, you can use analytics from your site, whether through metrics from Google Analytics, Shopify, or other tracking software to identify the number of visitors and number of orders. From there, you can calculate the conversion rate using the following equation:
Number of orders ÷ Number of visitors x 100% = Conversion rate
As mentioned earlier, with the average conversion rate for a site at 1 to 2%, a conversion of 2% or higher should be your target to have an above-average rate. An average conversion rate of 3.1%, like the one achieved by MarketplaceSolutions for the PerfectSense.ca website, would put you in the top 20% of all Shopify stores.
However, this is easier said than done, since you need to highly optimize your e-commerce site in order to reach conversion rates of that level.
Here are four proven ways to boost your conversion rate and increase sales for your business.
Four Tips for Increasing Your Online Conversion Rates
1. Remove barriers to purchase
Unfortunately, e-commerce businesses can work against themselves by making it easy for customers to either get distracted on your site or lose interest and abandon their carts.
E-commerce stores therefore need to streamline their customers’ shopping experience and remove barriers to purchase to keep the conversions rolling in.
But just because a customer leaves your website before completing the purchase does not mean all is lost.
One of the most effective ways of saving plummeting conversion rates is by implementing cart abandonment software. This means capturing an email address early in the shopping cart and checkout stages, which gives you the opportunity to prompt customers to return to their abandoned cart to complete their purchase.
According to Salesforce, 18% of shoppers who abandoned their carts made a purchase after receiving a personalized email inviting them to return. Considering the 1-2% average conversion rate on a website visit, 18% is huge.
If you’re a Shopify user, you can set these emails up to go out automatically after a customer abandons their cart.
But is one reminder enough? Not necessarily. Best practice is usually to have a reminder series of 2 to 3 emails that increase in urgency as they progress.
What should your cart abandonment emails look like?
- Email 1: Gentle reminder of items left behind in the shopping cart
- Email 2: Touch on sense of urgency, especially with limited availability products
- Email 3: Consider a special offer or discount to close the sale
It’s also important to optimize your site’s design and navigation to appeal to customers and eliminate distractions. This includes:
- Using high-quality images and videos as well as detailed descriptions of your products so your customers know exactly what you’re selling;
- Straightforward navigation so customers can easily find what they’re looking for;
- Providing filters and sorting options so customers can pinpoint exact products; and
- Allowing customers to expand the contents of their shopping cart from anywhere on the site without having to navigate away from the page they’re on.
Finally, it’s important to optimize your checkout for mobile devices, since more than half of e-commerce traffic is on mobile devices, yet conversion rates are half those of desktop.
2. Be trustworthy
Creating trust with your customers from the outset is incredibly important for sales conversions—especially for new or small businesses. A shopper won’t be comfortable buying from you if your site doesn’t look legit.
One way to develop trust is through excellent customer service. If you’re able to create a human connection between you and your customers, they’re much more likely to have confidence in your brand.
You can do this by:
- Displaying your company contact information clearly on your website, whether near the top navigation or in the footer of each page;
- Offering a live chat function; and
- Creating valuable & informative content around your products or services, such as a fashion blog if you’re a clothing retailer;
Another way is by enabling your customers to create trust for you by allowing reviews on products, or providing testimonials. You can also add logos for businesses or publications where you or your products have been featured.
Lastly, some technical and checkout-based trust builders that can help create legitimacy for your site are:
- Letting customers check out as guests without having to create a user account;
- Getting an SSL certificate for your site (this is already included for Shopify users). You'll want to show off the level of security that your site offers through icons (locks, security symbols) and text (“secure checkout”);
- Including symbols for credit cards or security badges from places like McAfee or GeoTrust; and
- Making your return policy crystal clear and, if possible, offer free returns.
3. Create a sense of urgency
Customers are driven to make purchases if they feel like they’ll miss out otherwise. To increase your conversion rates, create a sense of urgency to give your customers that feeling that they’re capitalizing on an opportunity.
It’s important from the outset to make it clear to your customers what makes you different from your competitors. Whether in the main banner of your homepage, in product descriptions or in promotional materials, your UVP (unique value proposition) should be clear to prospective buyers.
In other words, why should shoppers pick you, and why now?
Once that’s established, you can up the urgency factor by creating a sense of time sensitivity and expiration around your products or services—if customers snooze, they lose!
Some examples of this are:
- Providing limited-time coupons, whether to email subscribers, cart abandoners or as a pop-up on your website;
- Offering sales site-wide or on certain products for short periods of time;
- Displaying a countdown timer to when the sale expires in a banner or on product pages;
- Showing the stock countdown for a product if it’s limited (e.g. Only 2 left!) or if the price is expiring (e.g. Only 2 left at this price!)
Good (and bad) demonstrations of these concepts can be found on many travel deal websites. They love to create a sense of urgency but can also be an example of how not to execute these concepts, since they can come off as tacky.
A best practice to up your conversions is to test some of these examples rather than throwing them all at the wall and seeing what sticks.
One last, yet important note about creating urgency is not to create fake urgency. Online shoppers are pretty intuitive, so don’t say your stock is low if it’s not, for example. Customers can sniff this out pretty easily, particularly returning customers, so it’s a quick way to lose the trust you worked so hard to build.
For example, if you showcase “Only a few left” on a particular product, and a few weeks later that same customer comes back and still sees “Only a few left” on that same product, it will trigger one of two possible thoughts, both of which are not helpful to your conversion rate.
- That number is NOT real, which means this company is trying to trick me into buying
- That products is NOT very popular, since they haven’t sold that stock in two weeks.
4. Reduce unexpected costs
There’s no bigger conversion killer than unexpected costs at checkout. To prevent customers from rage quitting their shopping sessions, make any additional costs clear, or even better, have none at all.
Shipping costs are a huge factor in failed conversions. In fact, a lack of free shipping is the top reason why consumers abandon their carts.
Learn more here about why your e-commerce site should offer free shipping.
If you absolutely cannot provide free shipping, though, a shipping estimator function at the shopping cart or the very beginning of the checkout is helpful. This is a spot where customers can enter their postal code and the website will show them how much shipping will cost before going through the entire checkout process.
Making prices clear and concise before the checkout begins, including shipping costs, taxes, and so on before going through the whole kit and kaboodle of the checkout is crucial for increasing conversions.
Increase Your Conversion Rates, Starting Today
If your sales are struggling and your conversions are sparse, implementing these four tips can help you save your e-commerce site from impending doom.
While you might want to make all of these suggested optimizations at once, an important factor of increasing your conversion rates is to test, test, test. Otherwise, you might not know what is and what is not working.
For example, if you change two things and one increases your conversion rate by 20% but the other actually ends up reducing your conversion rate by 20%, you might think neither of them is working. You’d be wrong.
After a period of stability, try testing small things here and there, such as different coupon amounts or different copy for creating urgency, in ways that you can measure.
If you’re a Shopify user (or are interested in converting to Shopify), Marketplace Solutions can help you optimize your e-commerce site to drive sales and improve your conversion rates.