As your online business starts to grow, conversions need to grow too.
And the usual “best practices” don’t make the cut.
In this article, we’ll explore underrated conversion rate optimization best practices to decrease online shopping cart abandonment rates and increase conversion rates.
15 underrated conversion rate optimization ideas on how to reduce shopping cart abandonment rates
1. Connect shopping experience across devices
Most eCommerce stores create responsive websites to reduce shopping cart abandonment.
But they fail to keep the shopping experience seamless.
For instance, shoppers look up specific products and added them to the cart on their mobile devices.
Later in the day, they went back to the website through a desktop.
In this case, if you make them search, filter, and add the products to the cart again, you’re only setting up for failure.
You might be already collecting cookies.
So use them to recognize returning customers and have their data pre-filled when they enter checkout again.
Here are some underrated conversion rate optimization best practices to reduce online shopping cart abandonment:
- Reflect recent searches (what visitors searched on mobile can come up on desktop and vice versa)
- Update carts (send a triggered notification on mobile if shoppers added something to the cart on desktop)
- Reserve products or ‘save’ carts (a great way to capture email IDs to save carts for a brief time or to send saved carts via email for later checkouts)
2. Fix the ‘leaks’ in your sales funnel
Most eCommerce business owners rely on tools such as heatmaps.
Although heatmaps visually capture data, there’s a high potential of misreading the data.
For instance, just because a shopper clicked on “Sign Up” doesn’t automatically mean they registered as a user.
Apply usability testing
To implement this conversion rate optimization idea, you typically set users up for a task and then observe how they go about completing this task.
Observe live sessions on websites and create follow-up sessions to understand their feedback about the overall shopping experience.
This way, you’ll understand what obstacles different shoppers might face throughout the customer journey.
Perhaps, some shoppers might find your checkout process too long or others might face difficulty navigating a mobile product page.
3. Count micro-conversion wins
Shoppers often come to the website to do 1 of 4 things:
- learn more about the brand,
- understand the product range,
- read testimonials, and
- make price comparisons.
Usually, eCommerce brands go two ways: offer too much to website visitors or bombard them with nudges.
They go as far as making every blog, and social media post about their products with CTAs everywhere.
This results in content duplication and even bores a potential customer.
Prioritize wins for long-term sales funnel
Micro-conversions are a great conversion rate optimization idea to reduce cart abandonment.
You can turn today’s website visitors into customers with a good nurturing strategy.
The main goal? Establish recall through a mix of communication and feedback loops.
Perhaps, website visitors would be more willing to share their website experience feedback.
You can also use email marketing for more than just discounts.
Segment and set up visitors through different email journeys that are informational and fun.
It’s a fact that a majority of your eCommerce store visitors won’t be going in with the intent to purchase.
Visitors often come to the website to do 1 of 4 things:
- learn more about the brand,
- understand the product range,
- read testimonials, and
- make price comparisons.
Looking for inspiration? Win back customers with these abandoned cart email examples
4. Make your search feature more conversion-friendly
Imagine this scenario.
A visitor is searching for a V-neck t-shirt.
They just directly search with the exact search term or search ‘t-shirt’ and then select V-neck from the filter list.
Once they browse the list of products, they filter it for fabric ‘cotton’.
Next, they filter colors, sleeve length, occasion, and other parameters.
As the search terms become specific, your product list will narrow as well.
While it’s ideal to have a product that satisfies every visitor's requirement, it’s not plausible.
In such cases, a zero result can lead to quick drop-offs.
Fix ZERO search results
Here are some underrated conversion rate optimization best practices to fix ZERO search results:
a. Avoid disappointing and making the shopper close the tab by offering product recommendations.
For instance, you can factor in what the visitor has searched for and recommend something similar or in the same product category.
b. Recommend products based on search history to redirect and continue their shopping route.
Offer related search terms with real-time updates in the dropdown menus. This will help customers to search for what they want with the specifics.
For example, a visitor is searching for steel pans and you have some products that are bestsellers. Then you can specify the size and features such as ‘steel pan dishwasher safe’ with a tag that says ‘trending’.
c. Rich content results, also known as enhanced results, these search results in the dropdown contain images, quick information, links, and other media that offer a detailed look into the products.
Read more: 18 eCommerce site search improvements that prevent drop-offs (with examples)
5. Help shoppers discover products faster
Thematic product categories are getting loads of love.
It’s great to see eCommerce brands create product categories apart from bestselling and trending to get traction.
However, thematic product categories alone won’t significantly reduce online shopping cart abandonment and increase conversion rates.
Customize product category navigation
Here are some underrated conversion rate optimization best practices to optimize product categories:
- Implement schema markups such as product schema, rating and reviews schema, local business schema, price schema, and product availability schema.
- Avoid infinite scrolling – use pagination to make product selection less overwhelming
- Use a vertical navigation bar if you have many top-level categories.
6. Help customers make fast decisions
Most eCommerce brands need to capitalize on the moment and increase conversion rates.
To do this, many try to expand and grow their business.
This often translates to increasing their product listings and introducing new product ranges.
When the number of products increases, there’s added pressure to improve conversions.
Many online stores are stumped when their sales fall despite efforts to market a wide variety of products.
Limit your product list
So why is choice paralysis an underrated online shopping optimization best practice?
The moment we tell eCommerce businesses to limit their product list, there’s instant hesitation.
It’s hard to digest that less is more.
You might have come across ‘The Jam Experiment’.
The premise – Researchers ran an experiment in a local grocery store with a jam stall.
On some days they kept six flavors of jam while on other days they offered 24 variants.
The result – On days when they sold 24 flavors of jam, they got only a four percent conversion rate.
But when they displayed six flavors, the ecommerce conversion rate increased to a staggering 31 percent.
Hide some product stock and show more exact-match results and offer first-time buyers a discount.
This will help potential customers to overcome choice paralysis and make a purchase.
7. Don’t put off shoppers with outrageous recommendations
Most online stores often try to pitch ‘bestsellers’ or higher-end products to increase the average order size.
However, if the customer is purchasing something worth $5, and the recommendations show products priced at $20, then you are only setting yourself up for failure.
Recommend products in the same ‘price range’
To implement this online shopping optimization, recommend products in the 10% to 50% price range of the selected products.
iHerb understands this pricing behavior.
The brand cross-sells only products that match the buyer’s appropriate price range: if the price of the item is $19.99, the recommended products go for $8.99 and $19.80.
Furthermore, you can also reduce shopping cart abandonment by recommending products according to:
- the location such as "hot in your area"
- the shopper's wish list, and
- browsing and shopping history.
8. Never say never
It’s a silent rule in eCommerce to never say no to a customer.
However, there will be times you have to say no to customers.
Most online stores don’t do more than a product is out of stock message to capture email IDs or even a 404 error page.
The result is an instant disappointment.
Make a sale, even with out-of-stock products
Here are some underrated conversion rate optimization best practices to reduce shopping cart abandonment:
- if temporarily out of stock, then allow customers to place an order, communicate that the product will be delivered once the product is back in stock, and offer multiple shipping times and delivery dates so that customers understand that the product is not genuinely out-of-stock
- if permanently out of stock, then communicate the same and recommend new products or categories
9. Encourage repeat purchases
Repeat customers drive most of the revenue.
That’s why it’s important to nurture a great relationship with your repeat customers.
However, sending an email or a newsletter now and then will not offer them value.
Most brands try to retain customers by offering exclusive pricing to repeat customers.
They try to recover the loss by recommending products customers will need to purchase or asking them to join a loyalty rewards program.
While these work, they often lack a personal touch.
Recall customers with product replenishment
An underrated conversion rate optimization best practice is to send reminders to refill products at regular intervals to bring customers back into the fold, without sounding pushy.
10. Have customers sell for you
About 93% of consumers say that online reviews influenced their purchase decisions.
Therefore, eCommerce store owners regularly keep an eye on the review section.
However, many try to delete negative feedback (a big NO).
We have also seen many eCommerce brands enabling searchable and filtering features to make it easier to find specific reviews.
Enhance the reviews section
To implement this online shopping optimization idea, integrate reviews from different channels like Google, Facebook, and third-party listings
You can import reviews across all marketing channels for more diverse feedback.
There’s also an option to read more for lengthy reviews and the layout is very structured.
11. Go beyond free shipping
High shipping costs are cited as the number #1 reason for online shopping cart abandonment.
Therefore, brands emphasize fast and free shipping as it’s every customer’s default expectation mode.
However, offering free shipping won’t magically increase conversions.
Always offer more than 1 delivery option
Here are two underrated conversion rate optimization best practices you can apply to shipping and delivery strategies:
a. Offer different options that let customers decide their delivery timeframe.
Furthermore, they can see shipping details that outline how their shipping methods work.
b. Take the honest route by communicating same-day shipping and they display it right away on the homepage and checkout pages.
This enables customers to purchase products, knowing they will receive the product at the earliest.
12. Do more than just returns
Return and exchange policies can go a long way in assuring visitors while making a purchase.
Brands try to assure customers with extended time frames for returns or exchanges.
But, they seldom go beyond the usual.
This leads to some visitors who still hesitate before making a purchase and instead opt for other brands that give them more benefits.
De-risk purchases to assure shoppers
Here are some underrated conversion rate optimization best practices to de-risk orders:
a. Offer them free samples with every order.
However, let customers choose the samples instead of forcing unnecessary products.
This is a smart tactic to not overwhelm customers and offer them long-term benefits.
b. If you sell products that are less prone to damage, then try this idea:
Let customers try on products at home for a short time.
This way customers can use and judge the product’s suitability, and make an informed decision.
13. Don’t overwhelm the shopper
John Sweller’s Cognitive Load Theory states that one should avoid overloading the working memory i.e. the limited space where information is stored before it’s moved to long-term memory.
Most online brands try to include loads of information about their product to help customers make informed decisions.
They have multiple filters so customers can view products with exact specifications.
Also create subpages to address frequently asked questions.
Detailed product content lends authenticity and establishes trust.
But when customers see the crowded page it can overwhelm them too.
Furthermore, reading so much information takes time, which hinders the shopping experience.
Ease the cognitive load
Here are underrated online shopping optimization best practices to limit excessive mental load:
- Arrange text by grouping related items into small, manageable sections or as mentioned ‘chunks’
- Show information without overwhelming visitors with text hover on images
- Use a URL rewrite for each filtering stage so that customers can go back without losing all the filters.
14. Don’t skip mobile pop-ups
There’s a lot of debate around mobile pop-ups.
According to Google, pop-ups on smaller screen sizes such as mobile interrupt user experiences.
The above image shows how pop-ups cover the mobile screen, which can annoy any website visitor. And if pop-ups are not customized for different sizes, Google will penalize stores.
For this reason, many online stores end up forgoing pop-ups on mobile sites and decrease their chances of conversions.
Design compliant pop-ups for mobile websites
Here are some underrated online shopping optimization best practices to reduce shopping cart abandonment:
- You can offer a preview of the pop-up as a clickable button. When clicked, visitors can view the full pop-up and take action.
- If you do want to use full-screen pop-ups then account for scroll time and show it to returning visitors or customers rather than new visitors.
- Have only one form field. Here, it’s essential to capture a direct point of contact. So, an email ID will suffice.
You can save as much as 15% of lost traffic by using a good exit-intent pop-up. Overcome these common mistakes to craft high-converting exit intent pop-ups.
15. Capture more than just email IDs
Often brands use single-step forms to just capture email IDs.
Why? Because single-step forms have proven to get more conversions.
Single-step forms convert best when used for opt-ins or collecting basic customer information.
However, with only an email ID, it’s difficult to offer personalization.
Enable multi-step forms
To implement this underrated online shopping optimization best practice, establish intent and capture the necessary information.
Multi-step forms have proven 86% higher conversions.
The technique of breaking down long forms into smaller steps, so that it doesn’t intimidate the visitor with an overwhelming list of questions.
If there are limited options, then create them as tappable in the form so that visitors can input information without facing an error.
Understand the difference between A/B testing and multivariate testing to see which applies to your online store.
TLDR: 15 *underrated* conversion rate optimization ideas for eCommerce
- Apply usability testing to fix leaks in the sales funnel
- Prioritize micro-conversion wins for long-term sales funnel
- Fix ZERO search results to avoid quick drop-offs
- Customize product category navigation to let shoppers discover products faster
- Limit your product list to avoid choice paralysis
- Recommend products in the same ‘price range’
- Use clever messaging to make a sale, even with out-of-stock products
- Encourage returns purchases with product replenishment
- Enhance the reviews section with integrations and imports
- Always offer more than 1 delivery option instead of just free shipping
- De-risk purchases to assure shoppers and reduce returns
- Ease the cognitive load to not overwhelm shoppers
- Design Google-compliant pop-ups for mobile websites
- Enable multi-step forms
Keep in mind:
Don’t copy “exactly” what your competitors are practicing to reduce shopping cart abandonment.
Test out these “best practices” before you roll them out.
Don’t give up
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