Conversion Optimization

17 *Underrated* Conversion Rate Optimization Ideas for eCommerce

As your online business starts to grow, conversions need to grow too. Let's explore underrated eCommerce best practices for conversion rate optimization.

17 *Underrated* Conversion Rate Optimization Ideas for eCommerce

If you’ve read all ‘best practices’ blog posts, then you know, there’s nothing more than the usual advice. 

The same goes for suggestions from teams, or even ‘gut feelings’.  

However, 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 eCommerce best practices for conversion rate optimization.

CONVERSION FUNNEL    

1. Connect the mobile and desktop shopping experience

1. Connect the mobile and desktop shopping experience

Most marketers will say think mobile-first. 

And it’s true. 

Today’s customers shop from desktop, mobile, tablets, social media, live streaming, video games, wearable technologies, IoT, etc.

How everyone does it? 

eCommerce stores create responsive websites. But they fail to keep the shopping experience seamless.

For instance, visitors looked 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. 

It’s frustrating when I move from desktop to mobile and the brand doesn’t recognize me.    

How you can do it differently?

Since you’re already collecting cookies, use them to personalize and simplify the shopping experience to a whole new level. Some websites use cookies to recognize returning customers and have their data pre-filled when they enter checkout again.

Here are some underrated best practices to fix interrupted shopping experiences and increase conversion rates with cookies: 

  • 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 on email for later checkouts)

2. Fix the ‘leaks’ in your sales funnel

Habits are hard to break.  

Once set up, eCommerce businesses fail to understand the limitations of their sales funnel. 

While ‘don't disturb what’s working’ might usually ring true, falling into a scripted sales funnel and only thinking about the bottom line can impede your vision. 

How everyone does it? 

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 visitor clicked on “Sign Up” doesn’t automatically mean they registered as a user.

How you can do it differently? 

Explore usability testing. 

In this route, 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 visitors might face throughout the customer journey. Perhaps, some visitors might find your checkout process too long or others might face difficulty navigating a mobile product page.     

3. Count micro-conversion wins

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. 

How everyone does it? 

Many eCommerce brands we collaborate with solely focus on sales, no matter what. While this tunnel vision might get you conversions in the short term, it falls apart in the longer run.

Usually, 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.      

How you can do it differently? 

Prioritize micro-conversions for a larger goal. 

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.    

Looking for inspiration? Win back customers with these abandoned cart email examples

4. Show search results EVERY TIME

How everyone does it? 

Imagine this scenario. 

A visitor is searching for a V-neck t-shirt. 

Sounds possible? 

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.     

How you can do it differently? 

Here are some underrated best practices to fix ZERO search results and increase conversion rates: 

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. You can also 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’. 

See how Amazon shows results no matter how irrational you may think the search term is. Furthermore, search results that contain more than just text are here to stay.

Taking lessons from search engines, eCommerce brands can pick it up too.

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) 

PRODUCT DISCOVERY

5. Customize product category navigation  

How everyone does it? 

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 increase conversions.  

How you can do it differently? 

Here are some underrated best practices to optimize product categories: 

Implement eCommerce 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. 

Read: How to build high-converting category pages (12 ideas + great examples) 

6. Help customers make a decision 

How everyone does it? 

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.    

How you can do it differently? 

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 where they sold 24 flavors of jam, they got only a four percent conversion rate. But when they displayed six flavors, the 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 underrated best practice will help potential customers to overcome choice paralysis and make a purchase. 

Read: How to overcome choice paralysis & drive more conversions (13 brilliant ideas)

7. Recommend the ‘right’ products  

How everyone does it? 

While recommending products, 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. 

How you can do it differently? 

It’s always better to recommend products in the 10% to 50% price range of the selected products. 

 Recommend the ‘right’ 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 recommend products according to 

  • the location such as "hot in your area" 
  • the shopper's wish list, and  
  • browsing and shopping history.  
Is it possible to cross-sell without being too pushy? See how to apply customer-centric strategies.   

9. Make a sale, even with out-of-stock products 

How everyone does it? 

The rule of eCommerce is 'never say never'. 

But in the non-ideal scenario, there will be times you have to say no to customers. However, 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 instant disappointment. 

How you can do it differently? 

Here are some underrated best practices to increase conversion rates: 

  • 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

10. Encourage repeat purchases 

How everyone does it? 

We have all heard it before. 

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 and 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.   

How you can do it differently? 

Encourage repeat purchases 

An underrated best practice to optimize conversion rates is product replenishment. Send reminders to refill products at regular intervals to bring customers back into the fold and not sound pushy.   

BUILD TRUST

11. Enhance the reviews section

How everyone does it? 

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. 

How you can do it differently? 

Integrate reviews from different channels like Google, Facebook, and third-party listings

Enhance the reviews section

Ubuntu Baba spends time importing 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.  

12. Do more than only free shipping

How everyone does it? 

When we consider the psychology of online shopping, high shipping costs are cited as the number #1 reason for cart abandonment.  

Therefore, brands emphasize fast and free as it’s every customer’s default expectation mode when it comes to shipping.  

However, offering free shipping won’t magically increase conversions.  

How you can do it differently? 

Here are two underrated ways you can apply shipping strategies: 

Do more than only free shipping

Fitbit offers different options that let customers decide their delivery timeframe. Furthermore, they can see shipping details that outline how their shipping methods work.      

GetFPV takes the honesty 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.         

13. De-risk purchases  

How everyone does it? 

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.   

How you can do it differently? 

In that case, instead of losing out on sales, here are some underrated ways to de-risk orders:

  • 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.
  • If you sell products that are less prone to damage, then try something like Warby Parker. They 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.    

IMPROVING EXPERIENCE  

14. Ease the cognitive load 

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. 

How everyone does it? 

Most online brands want to put their best foot forward. 

They try to include loads of information around their product to help customers make an informed decision. 

eCommerce stores have multiple filters so customers can view products with exact specifications. They 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.   

How you can do it differently? 

Here are some underrated best practices to reduce 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. 

15. Don’t do away with mobile pop-ups

How everyone does it? 

There’s a lot of debate around mobile pop-ups. 

According to them, pop-ups on smaller screen sizes such as mobile interrupt user experiences.  

Don’t do away with mobile pop-ups

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. 

How you can do it differently? 

Here are some ways to design compliant pop-ups for mobile:

  • 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.  

16. Capture more than just email IDs 

How everyone does it? 

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.  

How you can do it differently? 

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.   

17. Testing unnecessary elements  

How everyone does it? 

Most eCommerce stores A/B test website page elements. However, they test irrelevant elements, such as CTA button colors that don’t offer any real insights.   

How you can do it differently? 

Try multivariate testing - which is a way to test with multiple variables. Unlike A/B tests which allow you to test two different versions of your website, multivariate testing allows you to test several different versions or features of your website 

Also, one last tip: don’t tweak your running experiment. Perhaps, the test is not performing well. However, if you tweak it, it might only get worse. Instead, wait until the end of the test time frame and analyze insights.  

Understand the difference between A/B testing and multivariate testing to see which applies to your online store.   

Keep in mind: 

Don’t copy “exactly” what your competitors are practicing

Test out these “best practices” before you roll them out

Don’t give up  

Looking to get personalized recommendations to improve your eCommerce store conversions? Get a free audit from experts!

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