How to: Conversion optimization for your e-commerce website

Are you having trouble turning website visitors into customers? This guide shows you the most effective ways to optimize your conversions on your e-commerce website.

Sara Bak
Sara Bak
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How to: Conversion optimization for your e-commerce website

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Does your online shop have a lot of visitors? Mega!

... but this won't do you much good in the long run if you can't convert these website visitors into customers, i.e. convert them. Optimizing your conversion rate is the first step for you to generate more turnover and sales and the basis for scaling your business. In this guide, you'll learn how to improve your conversions on your e-commerce website.

But first, a small digression: What is the conversion rate and how is it determined?

First things first: Conversion rate definition

The conversion rate is one of the most important KPIs in e-commerce — it shows how many visitors to your website actually become customers. It is calculated by dividing the number of purchases made by the number of website visitors. In other words, the conversion rate measures how effectively your website converts visitors into customers.

A high conversion rate is crucial for the success of your e-commerce website, as it is directly linked to your turnover and sales. A low conversion rate means that many visitors visit your website, but only a few of them actually make a purchase. Conversely, a high conversion rate means that you can convert more visitors into paying customers, thus increasing both your turnover and sales.

There are several steps you can take to improve your conversion rate, the most effective of which are listed here:

Analyze your target audience and their behavior on your website

Who do you actually need to convince and persuade to buy? Sounds banal, but it's one of the most important building blocks for a highly converting (e-commerce) website, which you should approach most carefully. After all, many decisive factors depend on this, such as your website structure, texts, design, animations and many more.

So before you start optimizing your conversion rate, it's important to take a close look at your target audience and their behavior on your website. Use tools like Google Analytics to measure KPIs such as time spent on specific pages, page views, and bounce rate. This information can help you make targeted changes to improve your conversion rate.

Another way to analyze the behavior of your target group is through surveys or feedback loops on your website. Ask your users what they think of your website, what they would improve, and what problems they have when buying or navigating. This information can help you make targeted changes to improve the conversion rate and increase customer satisfaction.

By analyzing your target audience and their behavior on your website, you can take targeted measures to optimize the conversion rate and manage your company's success.

Improve the usability and user experience of your website

The happier users are with your website, the more likely they are to become customers. Therefore, make sure that your website is generally easy to understand and clear for users. This includes, for example, that it is easy to navigate and that the most important information and products are easy to find. Avoid excessive pop-ups or complicated or maybe even unnecessary steps in the checkout process that could scare off the user — more on that later.

The targeted use of search functions and filters is also a way to simplify the user experience for your website users so that they can find what they are looking for more quickly. This is essential, especially for large shops, so that they are not swamped by the flood of products.

Screenshot Onlineshop Zalando Filter
Example of filter options at Zalando — how else would you find the right dress in the flood of offers?

Important: Also test the speed of your website regularly, as slow loading times can also result in a lower conversion rate. If you have analyzed your target group in detail step beforehand, you also know on which devices your e-commerce website is used most frequently — so don't neglect the mobile optimization of your website under any circumstances!

Optimize your product pages

What would an online shop be without products? It's logical that the product pages should be the heart of your e-commerce website — this is where it is ultimately decided whether a visitor becomes a customer or not. So make sure that the product descriptions are detailed and appealing and that high-quality images or videos are available. Ideally, these cover different angles, perspectives, lighting conditions, sizes or use cases — depending on what type of product it is.

Screenshot Onlineshop Tropicfeel Produktbeschreibung
A detailed product description is essential, especially for innovative or complex products — as here at Tropicfeel.

Use customer reviews and comments and meaningful product descriptions to build trust in your product. Paired with clearly highlighted CTAs, you effectively encourage your users to buy.

Another way to optimize your product pages is through cross-selling and up-selling strategies. Show similar products or accessories that match the product the customer is currently viewing (e.g. “Customers who bought this item also bought” on Amazon) or newer/larger versions of the item. This increases the likelihood that the customer will buy more or choose a more expensive product. However, make sure that these suggestions aren't intrusive and make the customer feel like they're being pushed to make a purchase.

Screenshot Onlineshop adidas Crossselling
“You might like that too”: An example of cross-selling at adidas.

Use social proof and customer reviews to optimize conversions

One of the most effective ways to increase conversions on your e-commerce website is to use social proof and customer reviews. Potential customers often rely more on the opinions of other customers than on the company's advertising statements. Make sure customer reviews and comments are easy to find and read on your website.

Note: Even though it sounds tempting to buy such comments and reviews, we strongly advise you not to do so. Fake reviews are usually immediately recognizable and severely damage your brand. In addition, they can also have a bad SEO effect on your search engine ranking, as the Google algorithm recognizes comments from bots and automatically blocks them — and punishes you with a poor ranking.

Instead, invest in your actual customers and ask for your product reviews there directly.

Screenshot Onlineshop Purelei Kundenbewertungen
Social proof in the form of verified customer reviews at Purelei.

If your users are also increasingly sharing content about your products on social media, use social media widgets, such as sneak peaks on user-generated content, to present positive reviews and comments on your website and to strengthen trust in your product.

Simplify the checkout process of your shop system

You've now spared no expense or effort to convince your users to buy and convert them into customers. The user has added the product to the shopping cart, wants to pay and... must then go through 20 steps, enter all the details of his entire family tree and turn a kidney before the check-out is complete.

You would probably cancel the purchase too, right?

So remember: Nothing is more annoying for users than hurdles when buying your product.

Screenshot Onlineshop Snocks Checkout
Keep your checkout process as clear as possible — like here at Snocks.

Avoid unnecessary steps and forms that could be daunting and offer various payment options to give customers the choice. It is also not always necessary or useful to force users to create a customer account in order to make a purchase. Make sure the checkout process and payment processing run smoothly on all devices, including mobile devices.

This prevents customers from canceling their order and switching to your competition.

To make your online shop successful, you must convert visitors into paying customers. The conversion rate, i.e. the ratio of purchases to website visitors, is decisive. You can improve them by analyzing your target audience, optimizing the usability of your website, creating meaningful product pages, using social proof, and simplifying the checkout process. These measures help you generate more revenue and scale your business effectively and in the long term.


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