16 simple tips to improve your ecommerce conversion rate

Andy Tweddle, Payments writer
10 Feb 2022
Line graph moving upwards

Conversion rate remains an essential metric for determining the success of a business.

In simple terms, your conversion rate demonstrates the actual percentage of people that not only visit your company’s website, but actively convert, therefore directly contributing to a business’ revenue.

In this article, we’ll take you through some straightforward tactics to improve your ecommerce conversion rate so that you can see greater numbers of website visitors turn into paying customers.

How do you calculate your conversion rate?

Ecommerce conversion rate is typically measured as the percentage of visits to your website that result in a user completing a desired action. However, it can also be measured on individual landing pages or checkout pages, so you can hone in on particular parts of your shopping experience.

A ‘conversion’ is often classed as completing a purchase, but can also include following a link, completing a survey or becoming a subscriber. With online stores, the ultimate conversion goal is a successful purchase.

In order to determine ecommerce conversion rate, divide the number of users that complete the desired action, by the total number of visitors to your site or to a specific landing page. Multiply the answer by 100 in order to get the percentage.

This can be expressed by the following formula:

Conversion rate = (number of conversions/total number of visitors) x 100

For example, if a clothing retailer receives 5,500 visitors to its website on a single day, and 275 of these go on to buy something, we can apply the formula:

(275/5500) x 100 = 5%

The clothing retailer has a conversion rate of 5% for that given day.

You can also calculate conversion rate by the number of sessions, rather than just the number of visitors. This will therefore count users who make several visits to the site.

What is a good conversion rate in ecommerce?

According to the Q2 2021 ecommerce benchmark report, the average ecommerce conversion rate in the UK was 4.4-4.6% in 2021. You might think that any rate higher than this average is good. However, the reality is a little more complicated.

In fact, a good conversion rate is very difficult to clearly determine. It depends on a variety of factors, such as the sector or industry your business belongs to, how segmented your target market is, how much traffic your site receives, as well as your past average conversion rates.

According to Unbounce's 2021 conversion benchmark report, the industry with the highest conversion rate globally is the food and beverage industry, which has a rate of nearly 10%. Media and entertainment, fitness and nutrition, events and leisure, and travel, meanwhile, are all industries with a conversion rate far higher than the ecommerce average.

When it comes to attaining a good conversion rate in ecommerce, you should look at the average within your relevant industry or sector. Focus on competing with your own business and its past performance. The goal is to improve, and a good conversion rate will be one that is on par with other ecommerce businesses in your industry, but one which is also higher than your previous average rates.

16 effective ways to improve conversion rate

1. Speed up your website

Users will quickly tire of a slow website and won’t stick around long enough to complete a purchase. In fact, a mere one second delay can result in a 7% drop in conversion rate. Google’s PageSpeed Insights can help you figure out what exactly is causing a page’s slow load times.

2. Ensure the customer journey is consistent throughout the checkout process

Customers can easily get put off by a site suddenly changing its appearance once they get to checkout. This is because it raises alarm bells that they might be giving their sensitive payment information to the wrong company. Keep brand colours and typography consistent at every step of the payment journey to reassure users they are still in the right place.

3. Offer free shipping

Free shipping can be a big incentive for customers to make a purchase, with 46% of people saying free delivery makes them more likely to buy from an online vendor. Offering free shipping, even if it’s just on orders over a certain amount, can help significantly improve your conversion rate.

4. Utilise live chat for instant customer service options

Having a live chat where customers can ask questions helps users to feel supported throughout their shopping experience. 41% of consumers prefer live chat support over any other methods of customer service online. Ultimately, this makes it more likely that they will end up converting.

5. Provide limited time discount codes

Customers respond well to discounts. So much so, emails with discount coupons see a 48% increase in revenue per email. A voucher or discount code can often be the final push that helps convert a potential customer.

6. Ensure your website is device responsive

Customers may want to access your site from a variety of different devices. Make sure your website will load properly and is easy to use on any kind of device to help maximise customer engagement. Mobile is particularly important, as 47% of UK shoppers purchased something with their mobile in 2020, while 62% of visitors to your site will be less likely to purchase from you if they have a poor shopping experience on mobile.

7. Use high quality images on your product pages

Buying online and not in person carries more risk for the customer as they can’t verify the quality, look or size of a product with their own eyes. This can be partly combatted by providing high quality images of a product at several angles. This way customers can get a better idea of exactly what they’re buying before they confirm the purchase.

8. Ensure product descriptions are as detailed as possible

Similar to the above tip, having a clear description of a product with measurements and details of fabric or material can help persuade customers to make the purchase. This is because it allows them to be more certain that the product is indeed what they’re searching for.

9. Ensure you have a clear and easy returns process

Buying online can be a risk and sometimes products don’t live up to expectations. Customers will be aware of this possibility when making an order, so many will look at a website’s return policy to make sure they can return goods easily and without added expense. Making the policy as clear and simple as possible – ideally with instant settlement when the refund is agreed – will reassure customers that they’re not risking losing their money by going ahead with an online purchase.

10. Display any positive review scores

If you have good reviews or ratings from satisfied customers, make them available for website visitors to see. This will confirm the quality of your service and encourage new customers to make purchases. With a single review increasing conversion by 10%, they are powerful conversion tools.

11. Allow customers to save their shopping cart for later

Being able to save a shopping cart and come back to it at a later time allows the customer flexibility, improving their experience with the site. It will also save them time when coming back to complete the checkout.

12. Ensure your website is safe for users (eg SSL certificate)

Customers will feel assured typing in their card or bank information if they are sure that the site is secure. An SSL certificate authenticates a website's identity and enables an encrypted connection. It is essential for ecommerce sites to have this certificate in order to accept payments from customers online and make their users feel safe and comfortable making purchases.

13. Let customers checkout as guests

Having to create an account can be off-putting for customers as it takes extra time and requires entering more personal information. According to Sleeknote, it’s the second biggest reason people abandon their purchase. Allowing customers to checkout as guests can help keep them motivated to complete the checkout process.

14. Display your contact details prominently

Having your contact details displayed prominently on the site allows for transparency and helps customers to easily get into contact with any questions about their purchase.

15. Add useful filters on your category pages

Having filters can help streamline the shopping process, making it quicker and easier for customers to find what they’re looking for. If they can find their desired product easily, then they’re much more likely to purchase it.

16. Provide alternative payment methods

Letting customers choose how they want to pay – and offering the right alternatives to card payments – drives conversion. YouGov and TrueLayer research shows that online shoppers are more likely to buy from a retailer if the right payment options are available. And according to Forbes, providing more payment options at checkout also speeds up the purchase process, especially on mobile.

How can TrueLayer help improve your ecommerce conversion rate?

TrueLayer is an open banking platform that enables ecommerce businesses to build better payment experiences for their customers, including the all-important payment experience. With payments from TrueLayer, customers can achieve a 90% conversion rates and 30% share of checkout.

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