How To Select The Best Ad Platform for Your Business
By Tom Wintaugh
Follow these proven methods for increasing conversions and optimizing your ecommerce site.
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An optimized online store is one that effectively converts website visitors into customers by providing a seamless, personalized, and engaging user experience. Achieving this level of optimization involves employing advanced conversion rate optimization (CRO) techniques that cater to the unique needs and preferences of your target audience. In this blog, we’ll outline the 15 major ecommerce conversion optimization techniques which successful stores use to increase conversions.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the art and science of guiding your website visitors on a satisfying, intuitive journey which culminates in them taking the actions you desire. Be it making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or filling out a contact form—using website CRO to create an an optimized online store is all about making every click count and maximizing the sales potential of your online business.
By using customer data to personalize content, offers, and product recommendations, you can create a more engaging experience for your shoppers. Personalization is a central concept for creating an optimized online store. It helps you connect with your customers in a way which responds to their specific preferences, increasing their likelihood to make a purchase.
Example: An automotive parts store can recommend appropriate products based on a customer's vehicle make and model. One simple way to do this is by adding search facets for common manufacturer and vehicle models, so if a customer searches products for “Ford F-150" they will be only be shown parts which match that model. We explain how to use search facets here.
Streamline the checkout process by reducing the number of steps required and simplifying form fields. A streamlined checkout process can significantly reduce cart abandonment rates and is a powerful conversion optimization tool. Offering multiple payment options is another checkout-improving feature, as it allows shoppers to quickly pick a payment method which works best for them.
Example: An online produce seller could offer guest checkout options to make transactions fast and easy for customers who do not wish to create an account. Conversely, that same seller could offer fast one-click checkout for logged in accounts, such as wholesale customers who prefer quick order forms. Learn more about different kinds of checkout in this blog.
Ensuring your online store is responsive and easy to navigate on mobile devices is crucial, as a growing number of customers shop on their smartphones. Developing a mobile-optimized website is an important part of online store optimization as it enhances user experience and increases the likelihood of customers completing their purchases—in this report, improving mobile site speed by just .1 second results in 8% more conversions.
Example: A hardware retailer with an easy-to-navigate mobile site can specifically serve customers who like to browse and purchase items from their mobile devices while they are on the go, on a job site, or perhaps in the middle of a home improvement project. Learn more about what goes into a great mobile site here.
The faster it is for shoppers to find what they’re looking for, the less likely they are to leave. Miva ecommerce experts suggest that main navigation categories should be kept to 5-7 items in order to keep distraction to a minimum, with the most popular categories in the first and last position. Once these popular categories are established, build a hierarchical category structure with categories leading to a wide product list, not just a single product.
Example: An auto parts business with a very elaborate product catalog simplifies its main navigation into 5 master categories, using a contextual mega-menu to allow customers to refine their category choice. This creates an intuitive UI which makes it easy to quickly find and purchase specific products.
If you want to know how to optimize your ecommerce website quickly, upgrade the quality of your images. Clear, high-resolution product images can help customers make informed purchasing decisions and boost conversion rates. Providing multiple images from different angles and offering zoom-in/zoom-out functionality can further enhance the customer experience.
Example: An office furniture wholesaler might provide 360-degree images or even interactive 3D visualizers to help customers visualize products within their offices. You can see some examples of product visualizers here.
Well-written, informative product descriptions and other site content can help persuade potential customers to make a purchase. The best product descriptions should highlight key features, benefits, and differentiators while specifically addressing any common questions or concerns. Pro tip: Include detailed product specifications on the product page whenever possible. Specs are a conversion powerhouse because they directly answer the most common questions shoppers have about products, such as exact size, measurements, power needs, and other technical details. Simply adding this information to a product description helps customers make informed decisions, and set accurate expectations for the products they are selecting.
Example: An online coffee shop can optimize conversion rate by including expertise-driven information about the origin, taste, and best preparation of a particular coffee bean along with other product information on the product page. Not only does this extra content demonstrate authority, it also gives more detailed product answers which might drive conversion. In this blog, we discussed how a business can inject "solution expertise" into written site content in order to maximize conversions.
Every time you promote your business in external paid channels, be very specific with the links your assign to content. Making sure copy and images link to specific products ensures your audience won’t get distracted or lost on the way to making a purchase.
Example: A home improvement store running targeted social media ads for gardening supplies might confuse shoppers if ads are linked to the store’s home page, rather than to the gardening category page or individual product pages.
Displaying customer reviews, testimonials, and case studies can help build trust and credibility for your brand, making potential customers more likely to convert. This social proof serves as validation that your products are worth the investment.
Example: An automotive parts store can feature customer testimonials to help shoppers differentiate popular products similar items in a large inventory of products. Learn more about what features drive automotive ecommerce conversions here.
Don’t neglect search when building your conversion rate optimization strategy. A powerful and user-friendly search feature helps customers quickly connect with products, increasing the likelihood of a purchase. Consider incorporating autocomplete suggestions, search facets and filters, and sorting options for a more efficient search experience. You can learn more about how to choose partners with advanced search features in this blog.
Example: An athletic apparel seller could assign products with user-friendly search facets for commonly used search terms like “Nike,” “washable,” “medium,” etc., so customers can use precise language to locate a selection of products.
Dead links or 404 errors might be lurking on your site if you have not redirected traffic properly for moved or deleted pages. Ensuring that every link on every page of your site works is essential for generating trust in your store and keeping customers on the path to conversion. Also, make sure you haven’t left any “noindex” or “nofollow” tags in the code of pages you want customers to find—these come in handy when you don’t want Google searches to link to an outdated or under-construction page, but they should be removed for active pages.
Example: A blog which links a product mention to a Black Friday promotional sale should be revised as soon as the sale is completed, redirecting the link back to the normal product page. That way, shoppers who discover the blog months later won’t get an error message if they click the link.
Offering instant customer support through live chat or chatbots can help address customer questions and concerns, increasing the chances of conversion. Quick answers can lead to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty. Live chat is an effective tool for humanizing customer relationships—we describe how to use chat and other ecommerce features boost B2B customer connectivity in this blog.
Example: A sporting goods retail store could implement a chatbot to assist customers with questions that frequently arise around how to set up camping gear, and then direct customers to relevant products.
Use exit-intent popups to retain customers who are about to leave your website, or create a sense of urgency with an offer or discount that has a time-based deadline. This ecommerce optimization technique can encourage customers to make a purchase more quickly, as they won't want to miss out on a great deal. Countdown timers and low-stock alerts can further enhance the sense of urgency. Miva CEO Rick Wilson describes new technology and techniques around website marketing promotions here.
Example: A home decor ecommerce store could use this strategy to create urgency around seasonal outdoor products, such as offering a winter clearance deal on deck chairs made for warm weather.
A fast-loading website improves user experience and can lead to higher conversion rates. Quite simply, customers are less likely to abandon a site that loads quickly and seamlessly. Site speed is one of several key elements of a successful B2B storefront we discuss in this blog.
Example: An art supply ecommerce store which relies on large, colorful images to promote its products could optimize its site load times by making sure image compression settings well-configured and up to date. If a shopper has to wait for a product image to load, they may lose interest and navigate away.
Conducting A/B tests on various elements of your website, such as headlines, calls-to-action, and images, allows you to make data-driven decisions and continuously improve your online store. Multivariate testing and heat maps are other ways to uncover hidden opportunities for improvement. Regular testing helps you refine your website and adapt to changing customer preferences—read more about why integrating data systems is so important for great ecommerce here.
Example: A textile business with combined B2B/B2C sales might test one homepage which displays products in consumer-oriented lifestyle imagery vs. a stronger focus on wholesaler-specific banners, in order to see which approach drives more conversions.
The best way to encourage customers to convert is to ask them, in clear, strong, simple language. Think “Buy Now” or “Download Here.” An effective CTA is crucial for guiding customers towards making a purchase. CTAs that increase conversion rates are direct, concise, and visually appealing, standing out from the rest of the page.
Example: A consumer electronics ecommerce store with elaborate product merchandising could help customers navigate to conversion by experimenting with different CTA button colors, text, and placement to find combinations that “pop” on the page. You can read more about effective merchandising techniques in this blog.
By following these tried and true ecommerce website optimization techniques, businesses can create an optimized online store that drives revenue and provides an exceptional customer experience. However, not all ecommerce platforms are created equal when it comes to CRO. Choosing the right platform is crucial for implementing these CRO strategies effectively and maximizing your return on investment. When evaluating potential platforms for ecommerce conversion optimization, consider factors such as easy-to-build promotions, excellent checkout options, advanced search, and the ability to seamlessly integrate with third-party applications and services.
More conversions are just a click away. Not only will these features optimize your store and drive conversions, they will also leave customers with an excellent impression of your business that will build loyalty, increase revenue, and set your store apart from the competition.
Tom is a Content Marketing Specialist at Miva.