Conversion Optimization

24 Scientific Strategies to Increase your eCommerce Conversion Rate

Still using the age-old conversion tricks in 2024? Try out these proven scientific strategies to increase your eCommerce conversion rate.

24 Scientific Strategies to Increase your eCommerce Conversion Rate

How do I increase my conversion rate—the one problem every eCommerce founder grapples with—every day.

And rightly so: over 98% of visitors to eCommerce sites do not buy. (The average conversion rate for eCommerce is just 1.82%.)

But at the same time, there are successful eCommerce stores that convert up to 20% of their visitors.

What do they do differently? Science: they rely heavily on user behavior studies.

We're not saying they don't use hacks, they just use them scientifically.

24 Powerful eCommerce Conversion Rate Optimization Ideas

1. Turn your navbar into a click-magnet

2. Sprinkle urgency nudges across the store

3.  Make your prices attract attention FAST

4. Feature attractive cart deals

5. Simplify your checkout flow

6. Use only hi-res product images (& show multiple angles)

7. Write product content that actually helps

8. Show compelling, non-intrusive pop-ups 

9. Recommend smartly 

10. Feature reviews with images/videos

11. Build a strong abandonment strategy

12. Make your search bar distinctive

13. Hustle & get more micro-conversions 

14. Make your live chat instantly helpful

15. Incentivize pre-orders

16. Pitch long-term benefits

17. Use coupons to draw shoppers across the funnel

18. Create personalization beyond third-party cookies

19. Feature a feedback button 

20. Create customer milestone offers

21. Offer multiple popular payments (& express CTAs)

22. Make returns easy and flexible 

23. Deliver better mobile experience 

24. Aim for a <2 seconds site speed 

1. Turn your navbar into a click-magnet

The science behind this: You want to reduce your shoppers' cognitive load. Make things so simple that they take the next step almost automatically (don't make them work hard to understand).

A simple navigation with limited featured categories and well-organized sub-categories makes for happy shoppers—it’s because a great navbar reduces cognitive load

Here are a few steps to check for while enhancing your eCommerce conversion rate optimization:

✅ Do links change in appearance when you hover over them?

✅ Is every navigation option less than 3 words? (Men’s Jackets is good, Hoodie Jackets for Men is not)

✅ Are you featuring “new arrivals” or “bestsellers” on the nav bar?

✅ Is the search icon visible? (btw, always use a magnifying glass - saves space)

2. Sprinkle urgency nudges across the store

The science behind this: Urgency is when a buyer feels like they need to act quickly—the bigger principle behind this is loss aversion, the trait people exhibit at feeling twice the pain than they’d have gaining something.

Nudge marketing that triggers urgency in shoppers is essential to improve eCommerce conversion rate optimization. 

Such nudges work especially well across high-intent pages including the home page, category page and product pages. 

Here are a few ideas to apply urgency in your eCommerce store:

✅ Color code a sentence on “X people are viewing this right now” in your PLP

✅ Label images of products that have steep limited time discounts as “flash deal”

✅ Offer a “low stock alert” right above or below a primary CTA

✅ Feature a “final clearance for the next X hours/days” on the homepage

3.  Make your prices attract attention FAST

The science behind this: Psychological pricing hits the “sweet” spot the shopper finds agreeable (based on competition, perceived value etc.) and convinces them to buy more.

What pricing strategy you set for your brand to improve conversion rate largely depends on your business goals. For example, while cost-plus pricing may be ideal for a smaller eCommerce business, a larger one may benefit more from competition-based or value-based pricing. 

No matter what pricing strategy you use for conversions, here are a few pricing hacks you can try:

✅ Feature a subscription or quantity discount 

✅ Call out the discount in both % and $ (PLUS use a label to create recency like “New Markdown”)

✅ Use price anchoring & label the image with compelling words like “Sale,” “Lowest Price” or “Flash Sale”

You might like: eCommerce Pricing Tactics: 20 Smart Examples to Help You Sell More

4. Feature attractive cart deals

The science behind this: The Fogg Behavior Model talks about three steps to making an individual perform a behavior: motivation, ability and trigger (to buy, in the eCommerce context.) Ask yourself: Are you forgetting to remind shoppers to perform any of the three?

When you’re toying around with eCommerce conversion best practices, you’ll have to consider the number of people who add-to-cart and then drop off. 

Research shows the average cart abandonment rate across all industries is around 69.57%

Here are a few ideas for your mini cart / cart page:

✅ Showcase last-minute quantity discounts

✅ Feature gift-wrapping at zero cost

✅ Help them earn membership points when they spend a certain amount

✅ Feature a free gift (but include it in the product price)

5. Simplify your checkout flow

The science behind this: When shoppers do make up their mind about a purchase, they expect all related information to appear so that the decision seems sound—it’s the principle of transparency at play!

Between what happens once a shopper adds-to-cart and pays has a huge bearing on your eCommerce conversion rate. 

Bad checkout experiences result in multiple drops, many of them never to come back—to avoid this:

✅ Make discounts automatically applicable (and take away the option of searching for them)

✅ Feature the option to guest checkout option

✅ Offer a progress bar to show progress from shipping to payment details

✅ Show trust seals within the first scroll to eliminate doubt 

6. Use only hi-res product images (& show multiple angles)

The science behind this: The design principle of context comes into the picture here, because in an eCommerce scenario, shoppers can't really touch and feel the product before deciding.

How much detail you can show of a product will decide how much of it will sell. 

So, to get more conversions through product imagery make sure you: 

✅ Visually represent the uniqueness of similar types of products

✅ Highlight multiple contexts of use (for example if a bag can be used both for travel and partying, show how)

✅ Create a modal to offer deeper context (like how the bag would look based on shopper’s height, body type etc.)

✅ Always offer at least 3 images of the main product in various angles (before you show it as part of a look)

7. Write product content that actually helps

The science behind this: Good writing that also creates a narrative for your products has the ability to light up the neural circuitry in your shoppers’ brains—and this in turn can convince them to buy!

When you’re thinking of ways to improve conversion rate, you can’t minimize the fact that 85% of shoppers hold product information in high regard. 

Product content that’s authentic and engaging directly speaks to the uncertainty avoidance reflex in shoppers. 

Here are a few hacks that you’ll need to make if your product content has to appear sharper:

✅ Use bullets for product benefits, and in easily relatable words (“hydrates your skin on an extra busy day”)

✅ Use icons and one-word highlights to relay the product’s UVP

✅ Create content divisions based on “why,” “when,” “who” and “how” to make it easier to consume

eCommerce brand Fenty Beauty covers brand highlights, product highlights, ingredients, how-to, sustainability info and product impact in their product page content to reduce choice paralysis:

Fenty Beauty product page content example

8. Show compelling, non-intrusive pop-ups 

The science behind this: A pop-up with a relevant and targeted message is able to resolve the paradox of choice for a shopper, that catch-22 situation where there’s too much choice and one experiences confusion about choosing.

Rest assured, the same X% off exit-intent pop-up won’t work for everyone—if you’re trying to improve your online store conversion rate, you’ll have to target shoppers across the conversion funnel.

And to do this, you’ll have to fix what content you feature on the pop-up:

✅ Offer an extra X% off over the existing sale for first-time customers

✅ Offer a quantity discount to cart abandoners (make it a limited time offer for FOMO)

✅ Offer a refill reminder along with a bundle saving suggestion to a repeat customer

✅ Highlight your brand newsletter by talking about the kind of content shoppers can expect (improving confirmation bias)

Check out: Cart Abandonment Pop-Up: 14 Amazing Examples (That Actually Work)

9. Recommend smartly 

The science behind this: Information framing is a principle that allows an eCommerce business to frame a set of recommendations within a narrative that the buyer is likely to take seriously—based on a target segment’s biases and preferences.

Since every eCommerce site features product recommendations across high-intent pages, shoppers are jaded—and you gotta be smart

Here are some ways to get the emotional triggers, social influences and cognitive biases come together to make your recommendations more attractive: 

✅ Place your star products in the middle (to trigger the central fixation bias)—that’s what eCommerce brand Beer Cartel does: 

✅ Recommend products “just for you” (the exclusive angle will always make ‘em pause)

✅ Highlight top selling products from that specific category in individual product pages 

✅ Offer suggestions under “We’ve curated the highest-rated (insert product category) you’ll love”

10. Feature reviews with images/videos

The science behind this: While reviews are all about driving social proof, enriching them further with visuals & videos uses the principle of customer-centricity, that is, putting the customer at the center & understanding their core needs.

65% of the world population happens to be “visual learners”—and this makes reviews that carry visuals more convincing. 

Here are a few ways some of the best eCommerce brands feature in-depth reviews along with images/videos:

✅ Highlight a call-out for each review (usually when you highlight a benefit, it’s most effective-”solved my skin eruptions in 2 months”

✅ Use a “verified buyer” badge to build trust

✅ Feature a “did you find this helpful?” nudge to gather data for the future

11. Build a strong abandonment strategy

The science behind this: The psychology of FOMO when leveraged, triggers both anxiety in a shopper as well as offers them a reward to ease that anxiety.

Gathering data around cart abandonment and creating a strategy that brings back abandoners is essential if you’re trying to improve conversion rate. 

Looking at the three stages that make up cart abandoners in your eCommerce store and then targeting them can be helpful—after all you’re trying to find a way to reduce decision fatigue for your shoppers:

strategy to recover abandoned carts

Here are a few hacks to bring back abandoners & improve conversion rate:

✅ Feature a “wishlist it before it runs out” pop-up nudge

✅ Offer an email signup nudge promising an exclusive discount on the products in the cart

✅ Send a cart abandonment reminder (& feature a free shipping offer when they order within X minutes)

eCommerce conversion rate optimization expert quote on cart recovery

12. Make your search bar distinctive

The science behind this: Natural language processing or NLP decides how a search bar “reads” a shopper’s query and throws up results that are closest to what the shopper is looking for.

To improve your eCommerce conversion rates in 2024, here are a few aspects your search function needs to cover: 

✅ Hint text to tell shoppers what they can hope to find

✅ Autocorrect & auto-suggest (with strong error tolerance)

✅ In-category and sitewide search results

✅ A list of trending searches

✅ Personalized recommendation results based on behavior, purchase history etc. 

✅ Add prompts under the products in search results like 

  • Selling Fast
  • Only 3 products left
  • Influencer Faves
  • Top 10 bestsellers 
  • Editor’s Picks
  • Currently in 25 carts 
  • 7 shoppers are eyeing this right now
  • 10% off until stocks last 
  • Trending on Tiktok

13. Hustle & get more micro-conversions 

The science behind this: The design of micro-conversions falls back on how developmental milestones work—the idea that a set of markers along a journey need to be met before the final maturation or destination (in this case, a macro conversion.)

The small steps that a shopper takes towards finally converting are micro-conversions—after all, it takes an average of 8 touches to generate a conversion. 

So, if you can optimize micro-conversions, your chances in turn of increasing your eCommerce conversion rate improve as well. 

Here are some of the ways to improve conversion rate through micro-conversions:

✅ Feature a share button wherever you list products on your site

✅ Make discount offers on notification bars clickable

✅ Showcase your social buttons in the primary navigation

✅ Offer email sign-up pop-ups to first-time visitors

For more advice, check out: 11 Brilliant Ways to Get More Micro-Conversions (For 2024)

14. Make your live chat instantly helpful

The science behind this: The principle of interactivity, which is especially relevant in web 2.0, treats clear & real-time communication as a cornerstone of customer experience.

Amongst one of the most underrated eCommerce conversion best practices is to make your live chat be more accessible & helpful—research has proven that 43% of customers spend more on the brands they feel loyal to and support creates loyalty. 

Plus, 42% of customers prefer live chat compared to just 23% for email and 16% for social media or forums. 

To drive conversions through live chat:

✅ Use a text label that’s welcoming (something as simple as “Hi! How can we help?” can be effective)

✅ Offer a way to attach pictures (this is especially helpful for faulty products)

✅ Offer tappable links for finding products, checking the stock and confirming email address

eCommerce brand Endy calls their live chat “the comfort concierge” and features links to resources that can answer vital questions by shoppers:

15. Incentivize pre-orders

The science behind this: Pre-orders relate to the psychology of hype that blows up any announcement of a scarce kind, and that becomes a marketing tactic on its own.

If you’re wondering how to improve eCommerce conversion rate, making pre-orders attractive for potential customers can be a leading strategy. 

While it’s commonly thought that pre-orders are relevant only for eCommerce product launch scenarios, in reality, they can also be applied to: 

- Limited time products 

- Seasonal bestsellers

- Popular out-of-stock products 

Here are a few tricks to make your pre-orders more attractive:

✅ Offer early bird prices 

✅ Feature a price slash for quantity pre-orders

✅ Promote a freebie like premium membership when a shopper pre-orders

16. Pitch long-term benefits

The science behind this: The principle of initiation rewards customers for taking certain actions (for example, buy regularly) to be able to enjoy long-term benefits (which can also be exclusive.)

You’ll always be targeting a chunk of customers who’re looking for more than just an immediate purchase. 

To improve conversion rate, you'll have to pitch your long-term rewards in a more convincing manner:

✅ Mention point rewards on purchases across product pages

✅ Talk about the kind of trust you’ve built & how that translates into your products being differentiated

See what Burt’s Bees does:

Burt's Bees talks about product differentiation to improve conversion rates

✅ Feature referral rewards that make existing customers talk about your brand among those they know

17. Use coupons to draw shoppers across the funnel

The science behind this: The trigger stage of the Fogg Behavior Model, which often rides on high ability (to buy) but low motivation—this is why coupons give that extra impetus to buy!

How well you use coupons across your site for visitors across your funnel, decides how your online store conversion rate improves. 

Here are some evergreen coupon ideas we’ve seen work with our clients:

✅ In-cart referral discounts (ask for the referral code and make the discount applicable)

Free shipping coupons

✅ Free trials on upgrades for high-value customers

✅ Extra X% off for members

✅ First-time buyer email opt-in discount code

eCommerce brand Whistlefish, for example, urges email subscribers to move towards their first-time order but with a limited time offer:

18. Create personalization beyond third-party cookies

The science behind this: Using zero-party data for hyper personalization falls back on the principle of purpose limitation, that is to use the information that’s compatible only with an agreed purpose.

Since third-party cookies are all set to phase out by mid-2024, your eCommerce conversion rate optimization strategy now has to depend on first-party data. 

The idea is to look at more avenues that can offer you quality data about your customers—here are a few ways: 

✅ Ask for feedback (limit the number of questions to revolve around product recommendations, navigation, search results and product descriptions)

✅ Send content over emails that reflect their preferences and the problems they’re likely to want to solve

✅ Check patterns from questions asked and problems mentioned on customer service calls & requests

19. Feature a feedback button 

The science behind this: Customers feel more in control when they know you’re including them in crucial decisions around improvements—this can instantly affect CLV.

When you’re finding out how to improve eCommerce conversion rate, a feedback button becomes crucial. 

Most sites that collect data through this method introduce a sticky feedback button that shoppers can access through the site. 

You can do something as simple as eCommerce mattress brand Casper does:

20. Create customer milestone offers

The science behind this: Milestone offers and deals connect back to reinforcement theory, which has to do with customers getting more of what they want by doing certain tasks (in this case, engaging with a brand longer, buying more etc.).

First things first: knowing your customer journey map becomes crucial in creating milestone offers that customers will in fact want to redeem. 

To create milestone offers that really count:

✅ Measure metrics that together offer a full picture of shopper behavior: CLV, churn rate, net promoter score etc.

✅ Factor in dates that represent the customer’s association with your brand along with dates that are personally relevant to the customer 

✅ Factor in number of purchases and cyclically reward X number of purchases 

eCommerce brand Ulta is known to honor a number of important customer milestones including birthdays, purchase anniversaries as well as spends: 

ULTA features customer milestones in this email

21. Offer multiple popular payments (& express CTAs)

The science behind this: Featuring multiple recognized payment methods drives the theory of inclusivity, which is all about creating choices for a wider audience based on geography, cultural norms as well as behavioral tendencies.

For eCommerce conversion rate optimization, it’s important that you feature a number of payment alternatives—audit your target audience preferences and also see what competitors are doing. 

Next, check factors like payment compatibility with the platform you’re using as well as geographic location of your shoppers. 

22. Make returns easy and flexible 

The science behind this: Reciprocity often seals the deal between eCommerce businesses and customers because the latter get convinced the business is there to help them beyond purchases.

Create a policy that has room for seasonal variations, customer preferences as well as some unusual events (like the product is intact but the packaging is lost.)

Here are a number of aspects you’ll have to:

✅ Clarify the date of return and how you will refund their money through an email

✅ Link your returns policy alongside your product info

✅ Keep customers informed about the status of their returns (through email, SMS or both)

eCommerce brand ASOS is known for their detailed and flexible returns policies, which are further broken down for the shoppers’ convenience:

ASOS detailed FAQ page example

23. Deliver better mobile experience 

The science behind this: Change blindness is a visual phenomenon where shoppers don’t register important changes in their mobile experience journey, creating chances for lower conversions.

A report shows that out of 60% of eCommerce traffic, 53% of sales are through mobile commerce sites.

When you’re trying to improve conversion rate on your mobile site, you’ll have to factor in hand gestures and visual optimization for increased focus/less distraction. 

improve conversion rate expert quote on mobile commerce

Here are a few key aspects to cover:

✅ Highlight CTAs upon hover

✅ Use only forward & backward pointing arrows to indicate moving forward & going back

✅ Keep your error messages short and sweet

✅ Feature product filters at the top of the page

For more actionable advice, read: eCommerce Mobile UX: 27 Ways to Get More Conversions & 35 Tactics to Increase Mobile Conversion Rate

24. Aim for a <2 seconds site speed 

The science behind this: 47% expect websites to load within two seconds—this relates to performance-related stress that can lead to shoppers experiencing negative emotions, which in turn can affect their engagement with an eCommerce brand.

47% expect websites to load within two seconds.

The fastest hacks to reduce website speed for eCommerce conversion rate optimization include:

✅ Choose an image compression plugin that does not hinder image quality

✅ Reduce redirects while building internal links

✅ Disable plugins you don’t use / that have overlapping functionalities

For more, there’s: Smart Ways To Speed Up Your eCommerce Store (Top 5 Platforms Covered)

Recommended reading:

13 eCommerce Leaders Share How To Improve eCommerce User Experience

The Right Way to Calculate eCommerce Conversion Rate (& How to Improve it)

People also ask about eCommerce Conversion Rate:

1. How to calculate eCommerce conversion rate?

eCommerce conversion rate explores the relationship between the total number of sales and the total number of website visits.

So, the following becomes the formula for eCommerce conversions:

Total number of conversions / Total number of visitors * 100

Google uses the same formula - only replaces ‘conversions’ with ‘transactions’ and ‘visitors’ with ‘sessions’. 

So, let’s say you’ve had 200 sales in a month and visits from 1000 shoppers, then your conversion rate would be 20%. 

2. What is a good eCommerce conversion rate?

eCommerce conversion rates across industries seem to lie between 1% and 3% generally. 

According to merchant net profit platform IRP Commerce, as recently as May 2022, the conversion rate across eCommerce businesses averaged at 1.78%.

When businesses aim for a baseline conversion rate of 3% +, it’s considered to be a good benchmark to have. 

You'll love: eCommerce Conversion Rate by Industry (2024 Update)

3. What factors contribute to eCommerce conversion rates staying low?

There are a bunch of varying factors that can come together to make your eCommerce conversion rate fall or keep it at a low level. Here are some of the most significant ones:

Unoptimized product pages

This essentially means visitors are not converting on your product pages for several possible reasons: not knowing how to act, not finding the information they need, not seeing good deals, not seeing suggestions that match their preferences & lifestyle etc. 

Confusing or outdated search & navigation

The search functionality on an eCommerce website is the foremost factor that contributes to shoppers finding their way through the complexity of landing, product and category pages

Low or badly timed customer support

In the lack of a brick and mortar setup, customers may need advice and information on a bunch of queries.

A lack of either can lead them to feeling lost and not converting at all. 

A painfully long checkout process

Too many steps after a product has been added to the cart can annoy customers no end.

Once they have already picked a product, they don’t want to spend extra time paying for it or being offered a payment confirmation notification.

Lack of mobile optimization

Many eCommerce businesses have the misconception that whatever works for their websites, will also work on mobile.

However, mobile needs very targeted optimization strategies to impact conversions in a positive way. Here’s an exhaustive list.

4. For what length of time is eCommerce conversion rate measured?

While there’s no standard answer for this, most businesses come to conclusions about their conversion rate over a period of time. 

For example, if you’re running a marketing campaign, it may be wise to observe the trends across a minimum of two to three months to come to conclusions about conversions. 

5. Does improving eCommerce conversion rates need a strategy?

The short answer to this is: yes. 

The strategy aspect is often referred to as eCommerce CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization). 

eCommerce CRO looks at optimizing various key parts of your web and mobile sites to make them more engaging, accessible and relevant for potential customers. 

8 key aspects to consider for more effective eCommerce conversion rate optimization:

1. High-intent pages (like the homepage, landing pages, product pages and checkout page)

2. Overall design and UX

3. Copywriting

4. Quality and relevance of visuals

5. Navigation menus

6. Product recommendations

7. Pricing & offers

8. Returns & shipping

6. What are the common misconceptions around eCommerce conversion rates?

1. Implementing eCommerce CRO best practices will instantly resolve conversion issues

This is a big illusion because uplifting your eCommerce conversion rate means a bunch of other things, including having a robust marketing strategy and innovating on product offerings as time goes by, amongst several more. 

2. Some branding tweaks here and there, and sales will improve

This is a dangerous assumption made by many businesses that think branding is ONLY about the look and feel. In reality, branding is about WHAT you do to make your customers’ buying journey a whole lot easier and enjoyable. 

3. Doing what a competitor is doing will change the eCommerce conversion rate for the better

Nothing is farther from the truth. Even in the same category, every business is different - right from their USP to the way they prefer engaging with customers.

So no two businesses employing the same techniques can ever have the same results. 

4. Wondering how to turn around your eCommerce CRO efforts?

Read 17 *Underrated* Conversion Rate Optimization Ideas for eCommerce

7. Does eCommerce funnel optimization help eCommerce conversion rates?

Yes,it absolutely does.

To start with, visualize your conversion funnel to know the journey a potential customer is going to make. 

The idea is to make sense of every little detail that a customer might encounter as they negotiate engagement with your brand and either decide to buy for the first time or decide to buy again. 

To ensure you optimize your eCommerce funnel in a relevant way, here are some questions you may want to ask - 

- Where are your customers in their buyers’ journey? (Typically some customers will be at different stages of the usual 5-step funnel process)

- What are their main problems behind why they want to engage with a brand like yours?

- Given where they are in the funnel, what are their expectations from you as a brand?

- How can you help customers solve their primary problem AND offer them enough reasons to keep engaging with you?

8. What are some unusual ways of improving eCommerce conversions?

There are a number of understood ways of improving eCommerce conversion rates, but there are some rare ones too.

If you’re keen to implement some unusual practices, you’ll need to remember that the devil is in the details.

Here are some that work well when applied with care and consideration. 

Use your primary CTA to talk about the value proposition

More than something feel-good, customers are willing to take action on something that promises them tangible benefits.

A prime example is Shopify’s “create your store”. 

Make your live chat feature multiple languages

You guessed it right - everyone talks about the live chat feature but not enough about how the chosen language of communication keeps it relevant.

We suggest featuring at least two more important languages apart from English to make it relevant for a wider audience. 

Employ odd pricing

It leverages slight adjustments to pricing and reaps big benefits.

It creates the illusion of a much better price alternative whereas it in fact is not. For example, consider $12.79 instead of $13.

This is an instance of odd pricing that makes the customer pay attention only to the first two digits to come to a positive buying decision. 

Before great conversions comes memorable UX...

98% of visitors who visit an eCommerce site—drop off without buying anything.

Why: user experience issues that cause friction for visitors.

And this is the problem Convertcart solves.

We've helped 500+ eCommerce stores (in the US) improve user experience—and 2X their conversions.

How we can help you:

Our conversion experts can audit your site—identify UX issues, and suggest changes to improve conversions.

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100 Conversion Hacks for eCommerce (2024 Edition)