Conversion Optimization

31 Founders/Store Owners Share eCommerce CRO Best Practices

Struggling to increase sales? Here's a list of conversion rate optimization best practices from online store owners and CRO experts.

31 Founders/Store Owners Share eCommerce CRO Best Practices

CRO is hard.

With so many variables, it’s hard to know which store feature clinches the deal. 

That’s why we reached out to eCommerce business owners and industry experts - to find WHAT works for them.

We have collected 31 conversion rate optimization best practices from across industries.

Let’s dive in!

31 CRO Best Practices from eCommerce Experts

1. Be upfront about extra costs 

Unclear shipping costs at checkout are cited as the number #1 reason why most shoppers are hesitant to buy. 

To counter this problem, Zach Dannett, Co-founder, Tumble Living says, “We began showing shipping estimators earlier in the buyer’s journey. This led to a significant reduction in cart abandonment.”

2. Reduce any hesitation with social proof 

Conversion optimization best practices | CRO ideas  | CRO experts

Leverage social proof to improve add-to-cart and checkout rates.

Benjamin Beck, Marketing, Tortuga Backpacks, says, “We showed off the awards our travel backpacks have won alongside user-generated videos from social media, significantly reducing our abandoned cart rates.” 

According to a report, over 99.9% of customers read reviews when they shop online.

Furthermore, 96% of customers look for negative reviews specifically.

“Whether it's through reviews, direct feedback, or their behavior on your site, your customers will tell you where the pain points are. Addressing these will naturally lead to better conversions,” says Jeremy, Owners, Value Land Buyers.

3. Improve website page load time

Imagine you're a customer visiting your site. 

If the website loads slowly, you are bound to get frustrated as well. 

Marc Bishop, Director of Business Growth, Wytlabs SEO Marketing Agency says, “Consider optimizing images, using content delivery networks (CDNs), and leveraging browser caching to make sure your site loads quickly and efficiently.”

4. Be clear about shipping and return policies 

Use the right nudges to put buyers at ease and encourage them to complete the purchase. 

“Throughout the entire checkout procedure, use appealing language to publish clear and understandable information about shipping and returns,” elaborated Michael Wall, Founder, Codefixer

5. Upgrade your customer support

Instead of waiting for customers to initiate chats. 

Use chatbots to start conversations when visitors spend a lot of time on a page or seem stuck during checkout. 

David Godlewski, CEO, Intelliverse, commented, “Apply smart chatbots that predict customers' needs based on browsing and purchase history to offer personalized assistance. Just monitor how your chat support is performing and make adjustments as needed to keep improving.”

Embrace the power of personalization to engage and keep customers interested. 

Jim Cook, Owner, Avid Brio, recommends, “Craft tailored experiences that resonate with each shopper, fostering a deeper connection with your brand. Prioritize exceptional customer support as a cornerstone of your eCommerce strategy.”

6. Reduce friction with guest checkout

Conversion optimization best practices | CRO ideas  | CRO experts

Instead of immediately insisting on account creation, employ subtle, persuasive methods to encourage account setup after the sale. 

Riya Jeane May, PR/Media Coordinator, Nadrich & Cohen, commented, “For instance, you can offer perks like a one-time discount, personalized recommendations, or simplified returns as part of the post-purchase account setup process. Not only does this respect the customer's initial choice, but it also adds value to the long-term relationship.”

7. Apply more payment options

If the store offers limited payment options, customers who prefer alternative methods may abandon their carts. 

Illia Mundut, CEO and Founder, Heftyberry, says, “Expand the range of payment options to cater to different customer preferences.”

8. Prioritize mobile optimization 

Without a seamless mobile shopping experience, you risk losing a substantial number of potential sales

Chris Cho, Founder, DroneSourced says, “We observed that a significant portion of our traffic came from mobile devices. It's essential to ensure that your site is responsive, loads quickly, and is easy to navigate on mobile devices.” 

You'll love reading: 30 Mobile Optimization Tips For eCommerce (+ Examples)

9. Prioritize user experience

Make it easy and convenient to complete a purchase on your eCommerce site. 

Michael Wall, Founder, Codefixer, suggests, “Use a checkout progress bar to update customers on their order status. As a result, you’re less likely to abandon your shopping cart out of fear.”

Draven McConville, CEO & Founder, Klipboard, further elaborates, “Integrate product thumbnails at various points during the checkout process to serve as visual reminders for customers of the things they have selected.”

10. Switch to one-page checkout 

In a world overrun by complexity, it’s essential to become streamlined and have an open strategy. 

Jin Young Woo, CEO, Like Dreams says, “One-page checkout processes can reduce friction and quickly lead clients to the point of sale. Additionally, gain a buyer’s confidence by embracing openness in shipping prices. A flawless shopping experience in eCommerce results in increased customer loyalty and revenue.”

11. Increase AOV with clever nudges

Conversion optimization best practices | CRO ideas  | CRO experts

If prospective customers don’t see what they are searching for literally right in front of their eyes and readily available, there’s a high possibility of cart abandonment

Erin Banta, Co-founder, Pepper Home recommends, “Add features like ‘suggested items’ or ‘recently viewed items’ will help to streamline the customer experience."

12. Show your products in action 

Regularly conduct user tests to pinpoint friction points in the buying process. 

“For example, we learned product detail pages lacked lifestyle images demonstrating rugs in home settings. Adding warmer visual context increased time on site and purchases. There is no greater conversion tool than a delighted customer,” says Zach Dannett, Co-founder, Tumble Living 

13. Optimize your navigation menu

Test your navigation menu to identify the optimal navigation structure and help users discover products. 

Shaunak Amin, Co-founder & CEO, Swagmagic mentions, “Perhaps reordering menu items according to user priorities increases engagement. Or use clear and concise labels to reduce confusion. Or dropdown menus might make it more user-friendly.” 

14. Build an intuitive checkout page

Don’t let shoppers go back to ‘shopping mode'. 

Kathrina, Marketing Team, Droppe, says, “One problem we recently fixed was how we allow users to edit their delivery information in the checkout while trying to keep them in the checkout flow.” 

15. Build urgency with different tactics 

The FOMO effect is one of the most well-known CRO best practices. 

However not everyone gets it right. 

“Using phrases like ‘limited time offer’ or ‘act now’ can create a sense of urgency and motivate clients to make a purchase,” says Michael Wall, Founder, Codefixer.

16. A/B test website elements 

The eCommerce landscape is constantly evolving, and customer preferences change. 

To take advantage of it, Alec Rose, Founder, Golfible, suggests A/B testing. He says, “Continually test different checkout page designs and processes to find what works best for your audience.”

Illia Mundut, Founder & CEO, Heftyberry elaborated, “Regularly analyze data, run tests, and listen to customer feedback to identify areas of improvement. Stay adaptable and responsive to these insights to ensure your eCommerce store remains competitive and conversion-friendly.”

17. Analyse shopping behavior 

Understanding your target audience and their shopping behavior is key to improving conversion rates

Max Benz, Founder & CEO, BankingGeek says, “Data analysis, such as cohort analysis, can provide a clearer picture of this behavior over time and reveal opportunities for optimization. Addressing issues in the checkout process first, you can effectively reduce shopping cart abandonment and improve conversions.” 

18. Improve store security  

Cybersecurity threats are a prevalent issue. 

Max Benz, Founder & CEO, BankingGeek, says, “I implemented robust security measures such as two-factor authentication and one-time password methods alongside regularly updating our eCommerce security plugins. Another challenge was high shipping costs which were discouraging customers from completing their purchases.”

19. Focus on building trust

When customers trust you, they're more likely to make a purchase. 

Always prioritize the customer's experience and needs

“An eCommerce site that looks professional has secure payment options, offers excellent customer service, and provides transparent information will inherently build trust with visitors,” says Graham Grieve, Marketing Expert, A1SEO.

20. Try the checkout process yourself 

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. 

How many steps till you make a purchase? 

Is the checkout process confusing? 

Why is there an error message?

Christy Pyrz, CMO, Paradigm Peptides, says, “You want to make the checkout process as simple and seamless as possible. Make sure if a shopper adds to cart on their laptop, but wants to complete the order on their phone, the experience is seamless and friction-free.”

21. Offer some value before making a purchase

When it comes to CRO best practices, it’s essential to give something before you ask shoppers to buy.  

Gregory Rozdeba, President, Dundas Life, says, “We offer free ebooks or webinars to warm up leads before they hit the purchase button, which has reduced cart abandonment rates by 15%."

22. Run continuous stress tests 

It should be non-negotiable for eCommerce websites to undergo rigorous testing, ensuring all the functionalities work together in harmony without affecting the user experience.

Daniel Kroytor, Founder, Tailored Pay, comments, “Running regular stress tests on our system, we can make necessary adjustments, catch potential problems, and ensure that our site is always ready to give our customers their best experience.” 

23. Recover shoppers with automated email marketing 

Leverage email marketing for cart recovery and personalized recommendations based on browsing and purchase history.                           

“Set up automated emails that triggered 30 minutes after a user abandoned their cart. These emails achieved an impressive open rate, resulting in a noticeable increase in completed purchases,” says Magee Clegg, CEO and Founder, Cleartail Marketing.

24. Send abandoned cart emails 

Implement an automated system to send reminder emails to customers who have abandoned their carts. 

Priyanka Swamy, CEO and Founder, Perfect Locks, suggests, “Send out cart abandonment emails that remind customers about the items they haven't bought yet. Also, provide real-time support via chat to resolve any problems they may have while checking out.”

25. Explore tools for insight-backed CRO

Monitor competitor pricing and devise a valuable pricing strategy as part of your CRO plan. 

Steve Pogson, Founder, First Pier, suggests, “Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to check your site’s loading speed and get actionable recommendations for improvement.” 

David Rubie-Todd, Founder and Marketing Director, Sticker It, elaborated, “Shopify offers a variety of plugins designed to mitigate abandonment. Like the automated email system that notifies customers when they have left items in their cart.”

If you notice a high rate of drop-off rate, then it’s time to dig into our bag of CRO best practices.  

David Rubie-Todd, Founder and Marketing Director, Sticker it, offers insight, “Through heat mapping, we discovered that our customers were struggling to find the 'Next' button due to its placement on the page. We promptly adjusted the layout, which consequently reduced our abandonment rate.”

26. Enable ‘save for later’ for carts

A 'Save for Later' option allows customers to temporarily set aside products they're unsure about or when items are not in stock. 

David Godlewski, CEO, Intelliverse, says, “This strategy offers valuable insights into customer preferences, as you can analyze which items are frequently saved. This enhances the overall shopping experience and keeps potential sales in the pipeline, all contributing to a reduction in cart and checkout abandonment rates.”   

27. Utilize exit-intent popups 

Exit-intent popups are a great way to prevent cart abandonment. 

David Zhang, CEO, Kate Backdrop, says, “Use a popup to offer them a special discount or free shipping if they complete their purchase within a specific timeframe. This has proven an effective way to retain customers and improve our checkout rate.”

Conversion optimization best practices | CRO ideas  | CRO experts

28. Fix technical issues

Technical difficulties during checkout can cause major reductions in cart abandonment rates. 

“We ensured our website was optimized for different browsers and devices to solve this issue.” says, David Zhang, CEO, Kate Backdrop.

29. Show discounts above the fold

Offering discounts is not enough—make sure they're instantly visible. 

“When we added a discount on the second screen of the landing page, it shockingly didn't affect the conversion rate at all. Digging deeper, we found most viewers missed it completely. Shifting the discount to the top of the page, right beside the product name, resulted in a staggering +19% increase in conversions.”, says, David Owen, Founder, Dozy.

30. Highlight wishlist option 

As an eCommerce CRO best practice, think like a customer. 

Nikhil Jogia, Managing Director, Jogia Diamonds, says, “There is an art in nudging an indecisive customer. Our CRO remedy was adding a wishlist feature. This simple add-on lets users save and contemplate their selections, easing them toward conversion over time.”

31. Create interactive experiences

Customers often seek online stores that offer personalized services.

“Use generative AI to help customers imagine a piece of furniture in their home. This will engage the customer and become one of the main elements of the shopping experience that gets them to buy,” says, Sean Coffey, Marketing Manager, Regency Fire

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Why: user experience issues that cause friction for visitors.

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1) What are the benefits of CRO?

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) offers numerous benefits for businesses seeking to improve their online presence and drive growth. 

Here are some key advantages of CRO:

a. Increased Revenue 

CRO focuses on enhancing the user experience and removing barriers that prevent visitors from converting into customers. 

By optimizing the conversion funnel, businesses can increase the percentage of website visitors who take desired actions, such as making purchases or signing up for services, ultimately leading to higher revenue.

b. Improved Customer Experience 

A well-optimized website provides a seamless and enjoyable experience for users, making it easier for them to navigate, find information, and complete tasks. 

This enhanced user experience increases customer satisfaction and fosters loyalty, leading to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth referrals.

c. Reduced Customer Acquisition Costs 

Acquiring new customers is often more expensive than retaining existing ones. CRO efforts can help businesses retain existing customers by improving the overall experience and addressing pain points. 

By retaining more customers, businesses can reduce the need for costly customer acquisition efforts and allocate resources more effectively.

d. Better Data and Insights

CRO involves tracking and analyzing user behavior on a website. This data provides valuable insights into customer preferences, pain points, and areas for improvement. 

By leveraging these insights, businesses can make informed decisions to optimize their website and marketing strategies, leading to better overall performance.

e. Increased Efficiency and Productivity 

By identifying and removing bottlenecks in the conversion process, CRO can help businesses streamline their operations and improve efficiency. 

This can lead to increased productivity and cost savings by reducing the resources needed to generate leads and convert them into customers.

f. Competitive Advantage 

In today's competitive online landscape, CRO gives businesses an edge by helping them stand out and attract more customers. 

By providing a superior user experience and addressing customer needs effectively, businesses can differentiate themselves from competitors and gain a competitive advantage.

2) What elements should I test for CRO? 

A/B testing is a useful tool for small businesses because it helps pinpoint specific areas that need to be changed without needing large amounts of website traffic in order to produce results.

Here are the elements to test for Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO):

On homepage:

  • Sticky navigation menu vs non-sticky menu
  • Feature a rotating carousel vs feature a single hero image
  • Copy against the image vs hero space divided into image & solid background for copy
  • Feature only one CTA on the hero banner vs feature multiple CTAs 
  • Feature an email sign-up prompt in the hero header vs feature a seasonal sale discount

On category page:

  • Sub-categories appear as plain vs sub-categories are highlighted through buttons 
  • Feature an above-the-fold banner that shows a sale/discount vs feature a banner that just talks about the category
  • Offer a “quick view” option vs introduce the “quick add” option directly
  • Total number of page results is mentioned at the top vs the number of results split by sub-category

On product page:

  • Feature a short product description above the primary CTA vs feature key features
  • Ingredients are listed in a block of text vs a link is provided to a separate page 
  • Try a variant with a static hero product photo with a next button to display other images vs. another where the images are laid out in tiles
  • Place a GIF in the photo gallery vs place a video right beneath the first fold
  • Try a variant with a 360-degree view vs. another where all parts of the product are labeled within a single image.

Related reading

23 Ways to Boost eCommerce Homepage Conversions
eCommerce Conversion Rate by Industry (2024 Update)
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