What is a conversion?
Surely you’ve heard this term before, but for the sake of completeness, let’s explain: a conversion is the execution of a desired action by a site visitor. The types of conversions can range from going to a specific page, clicking a button, watching a video, downloading a file or finally placing an order on an e-commerce site. Making a purchase is the type of conversion that e-commerce owners are most interested in. What’s more, without conversion at the basic level, you can’t count on the ultimate one. Also remember that conversion should be measurable.
Just a simple example: the owner of an e-store wants to increase sales. So he invests in paid advertising. However, it’s not enough to pay to see an increase in store visits – the ad needs to be properly set up and its content encouraging. A well-prepared ad, placed in the right places, increases the chance of micro-conversions, i.e. actions leading to a purchase. These include displaying a product card, adding it to a shopping cart or signing up for a newsletter.
The product in the shopping cart is not yet sold. In many cases, the path between placing a product in the shopping cart and finalizing the transaction is very long – we have written about abandoned shopping carts and how to deal with them before.
However, if everything goes according to plan, we have a proper conversion – this time equivalent to the sale of a product or service. As you can easily see from this example, the ways to get conversions are different, each also happens at a different stage, but none is less necessary.
Microconversions are many minor activities performed by e-commerce customers before finalizing a purchase. To count an activity as a micro-conversion, it must lead to a purchase. So, among them, we will list displaying a product card, developing a broader product description, getting in touch with the store or adding a product to a wish list.
What is conversion optimization?
Conversion optimization is the preparation of a store’s website, offerings and marketing in such a way as to achieve the highest possible conversion rate. This time we will start from the end – we will explain how to calculate the conversion rate.
We calculate CR (from conversion rate) in a very simple way. We divide the number of conversions by the number of users involved in the process and multiply times one hundred percent. We can present this with the formula: CR = (number of conversions / number of users) * 100%.
How to prepare for conversion optimization?
In order for the conversion rate to meet expectations, you need to create the right conditions for it. This, in turn, will not succeed without proper preparation. Here are the steps you should take before you start optimizing.
Identify the most important types of conversions
It’s a good idea to start by identifying the metrics that matter most to your business. In the vast majority of cases, the macro-conversion will be sales, but nothing prevents you from focusing on another customer action. In addition to the most relevant conversion, it is also good to have a number of relevant micro-conversions defined.
Want to reach a wide range of users with new offers? Try to keep track of newsletter signups or new social media profile sightings. Are you keen to establish a base of regular customers? Focus on the number of store accounts or loyalty program sign-ups.
Analyze current user behavior
Once you’ve figured out what types of conversions you want to monitor, look at how users who end up on your online store’s website behave. To conduct an effective and insightful analysis, you will need to use specialized tools.
Among the most popular are: Google Analytics, Heap, Hotjar, CrazyEgg, Instapage or Hubspot. These tools allow monitoring a range of statistics, including identifying points at which users lose interest in an offer.
Using the aforementioned software, you may find, for example, that users rarely click on an ad (this may indicate the need for adjustments – for example, changing an ad slogan or banner) or try to add a discount code from a newsletter in the shopping cart, but suffer a fiasco and abandon the cart. Monitoring your online store, therefore, allows you not only to optimize conversions, but also to detect technical problems that, in some cases, can even prevent the completion of a transaction.
Analyzing each stage of the sales funnel is a necessary step to optimize conversions.
How to get optimal conversion rate – 8 ways
Let’s move on to the most important part of the article, in which we will present the actual ways to optimize e-commerce conversions. Remember, however, that in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the solution used, you should introduce them one by one, not several at the same time. But how do you test whether the implemented changes actually improve conversions?
Use A/B testing
Take care of the technical side of your site
Very often the decision to abandon purchases is influenced by how the online store operates. If a page takes too long to load, content displays incorrectly, or some buttons don’t work, a visitor may conclude that he or she doesn’t have time to wrestle with the technicalities and will simply move on to a competitor’s site.
Page load time is especially important for customers who are visiting your store for the first time. A returning customer is able to forgive more if he or she was satisfied with previous purchases – but no patience is inexhaustible.
What is the solution? Optimize graphics, reduce the number of animations and other elements weighing down the site, abandon unnecessary widgets. Often website templates are full of elements that no one uses anyway. The fewer sections and data to load, the better. Leave only what is necessary to make an offer.
UX first and foremost
One of the most annoying problems of websites is overly complicated navigation that makes it difficult to navigate the site. Make sure the menu helps users find the most important elements of the store.
On the product list itself, on the other hand, it’s worth taking care of the appropriate filters – well-described products and the ability to filter out those that interest customers the most is important for the conversion rate. Often it is not enough to just filter by product name or price. The ability to display only available products or detailed categorization is also standard. This is especially important if you sell different types of products.
Refine the CTA
CTAs, or call-to-actions, are all kinds of buttons designed to encourage the user to perform an action. “Add to cart,” “Subscribe” or “Place order” are all examples of calls to action.
The basic principle in creating a CTA is that it must tell the user what will happen when they click the button. The CTA is not a place for advertising slogans or displays of creativity. “Add to cart” will work much better than “I select this product.” The purchase decision is often a matter of timing – it is not worth prolonging it unnecessarily.
Also pay attention to the color scheme of the buttons, their shape and size – ideally, CTAs of the same type should be the same color. On the other hand, if you place two CTAs next to each other (for example, “Add to Cart” and “Add to Wish List”) make sure they have different colors, and the one you care more about is more strongly highlighted.
For example, it’s a good idea to fill the “Add to cart” button with color, and put the “Add to wish list” button in a frame, so that the main conversion is more visible.
Maximum simplicity in the purchasing process
As we have already mentioned, a purchase decision is often made in a short moment. If, after taking it, the customer is forced to click through seven steps before being able to place an order, the risk of abandoning the process increases significantly.
Make sure that in the course of placing an order, the user needs to perform only the most important actions. It might also be a good idea to display progress in the buying process. A customer who sees that he or she is already on the second step of four after adding to the shopping cart will be pleased that he or she is so close to finalizing the purchase.
Reviews and ratings are still a factor that strongly influences customers’ purchasing decisions. If you want feedback from customers on your store, offer them something in return. A great solution is to combine a request for feedback with a loyalty program, if you implement one.
A few extra points can encourage a customer to write a few words about the product they purchased, and the points earned will allow you to get a small discount that will make them more likely to return to your store.
Track customer behavior
We’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth recalling and expanding on. Tracking customer behavior on an e-commerce website is an almost inexhaustible source of relevant information. Using the right analytics tools, such as heatmaps, you can see where users stop for a moment, where they click most often, and which areas of the site don’t interest them at all.
Analytical tools also allow you to see exactly how much time customers spend on a given subpage, how many of them have converted or what the rejection rate is.
Let customers contact you
Sometimes questions arise while browsing a store’s offerings or even after a purchase. Will the product still be available, and if so, when? How long do you have to wait for shipping? Is it possible to change the shipping address? Often these questions are very important to customers, so they want answers as soon as possible.
Email contact in such situations is not enough – it is worth adding the possibility to use a chat widget, Messenger or simply make the phone number available in a prominent place. In order for such forms of contact to be effective and positively impact conversions, however, you must ensure that there is always someone on the other side ready to respond. Well, maybe not always, but at least during store opening hours.
Changes made – what’s next?
Even if you make all the planned improvements, and the conversion has shot up (I wish you all the best!), the work is not over. The process of optimizing conversion is continuous – even if you manage to increase it by 3% (a great result), you are certainly capable of improving it by another 3%.
Customer tastes and behaviors are constantly changing – conversion optimization in 2023 looks different than in 2018, and in 2025 we will be using even newer techniques and methods to attract customers and encourage them to make purchases. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take your time. After all, every day with a lower-than-optimal conversion rate means less revenue from your e-commerce site.