Conversion rate optimisation is the process of optimising your website – via elements like website layout, messaging, CTA’s, and so on – to improve your conversion rate. More often than not, it isn’t technical, but simply a case of creating a frictionless and intuitive user experience.

If you’re an e-commerce store, conversions tend to equal online sales, so CRO should be a major consideration to your web or marketing team/person. Making what seems like minor improvements can have a compound affect on your sales when taken together. 

Conversion rate optimisation can sound like such a daunting process and it’s hard to know where to start. In this primer, I’ll explore the key pillars of e-commerce CRO strategy. I’ve even got a few quick wins to get you started. 


Understanding the Basics of E-Commerce CRO

Let’s start with the fundamentals. What is e-commerce CRO? And, most importantly, why does it matter?

Conversion rates are the lifeblood of any e-commerce operation – they represent the percentage of website visitors who complete a desired action, whether it’s buying an item, signing up for a newsletter, or filling out a contact form. Effective CRO strategy encompasses a myriad of elements, from website layout and design to compelling messaging and strategically placed calls-to-action (CTAs).

Whether your goal is increasing sales or enquiries or something altogether different, it’s not just about seeing that conversion-rate percentage get bigger, it’s about so much more; from ensuring your buyer experience is smooth to simplifying the purchase journey.

You want customers to have a good time on your website. Not a long, convoluted, frustrating time.

QUICK WIN #1: Navigation items are ordered on a priority basis, with the most important sections first. 

Layout Optimisation: How Design Improves CRO

Contact us or e-mail marketing concept with a focus on customer support hotline

A website’s design plays a crucial role in influencing customer behaviour and driving conversions. This ‘digital storefront’ of your e-commerce business has to perform in a number of ways. If you have a convoluted design with too many buttons, too much information, and hard-to-find details like returns pages or FAQs, customers are likely to give up and back out.

CRO can nosedive if your website doesn’t have intuitive navigation or visual hierarchy to guide user attention and simplify the checkout process. This is why URL structure is so important. Not only does it massively help your SEO but it creates an understandable hierarchy to help users navigate around your website with ease. 

There’s a lot you can do yourself to see immediate results:

  • Check where you’re seeing the highest bounce-rate? Where are customers leaving your website? How can you change this?
  • Do you have a pop-up that repeatedly appears? This often interferes with the user experience and just downright annoys them.
  • Is the shopping and checkout process easy to follow? 
  • Do you have way too many options – like far too many calls-to-action? Too many buttons? Too many drop-downs?
  • How can you minimise distractions?
  • Are you highlighting key information in a clean and visually appealing way?
  • Do you have social proof (i.e. reviews? Trustpilot?) presented on your site?

It’s important to have your web designer ensure your website is doing all that it should. Good design begets good SEO, so get the former right and you’ll find the latter comes far more naturally.

QUICK WIN #2: Make sure your homepage promotes any sitewide offers at the top of the page for speedy results.

Make Checkout a Breeze

A man before his loptop in home office

Make checkout beyond easy for your customers. It’s all about ensuring that at every point your customer isn’t left confused, or, worse, frustrated. Nowhere is it more important to have a smooth, simple process than at checkout.

Ultimately, the checkout process is the final hurdle between a potential customer and a completed sale. It should be as seamless and frictionless as possible to minimise cart abandonment rates and maximise conversions.

There’s an enormous list of strategies for optimising the checkout experience, including:

  • Implementing features like cart timers and progress indicators to create a sense of urgency and momentum.
  • Allowing customers to easily add or remove items from their cart and providing clear shipping and delivery information.
  • Incorporating trust signals such as secure payment options and customer testimonials to reassure customers and alleviate concerns.

By streamlining the checkout process and removing any obstacles or distractions, you can increase the likelihood of customers completing their purchase and returning to your site in the future.

QUICK WIN #3: Double-check that all of your products look exactly the same at checkout as they do in your shop – from product photos to product names – to ensure you’re not misleading your customers.

Strategic CTAs for Best Results

Calls-to-action (CTAs) are the linchpin of e-commerce CRO, serving as the gateway between engagement and conversion. It’s important to consider how you’re strategically placing CTAs throughout your website. Are you optimising their design and messaging for maximum impact? Consider where you’re placing them. What pages? What roles are they playing?

Sometimes, you’ll notice websites going ham for CTAs: Shop Now! Sign Up Now! Get Started! Learn More! Request a Quote! Download Now! Join the Community! Contact Us! Limited Time Offer! Subscribe Now! Try It for Free!

Ask yourself the question: do your customers know what you want from them? Do you want them to download that guide? Do you want them to sign up for your newsletter? Do you want them to get this product for 15% off now if they spend £35 or more?

If your site ends up feeling like an overly aggressive salesman, you’re going to lose customers – or, you’re going to frustrate them enough that they don’t come back again.

Don’t get me wrong. CTAs are important, and a great way to create urgency and incentive, such as limited-time offers, exclusive discounts, and personalised recommendations. Equally, don’t become an exhausting website with constant CTAs shouting for attention.

By carefully crafting and testing your CTAs, you can encourage visitors to take the desired action and move them further down the conversion funnel.

TOP TIP: Once you’ve streamlined your CTAs, A/B testing is a great way to experiment with different CTA variations and identify which ones resonate most with your audience. 

Optimising On-Page Content

Your on-page content is a powerful tool for engaging visitors and driving conversions. From high-quality product images to compelling descriptions, every element of your content should be optimised to captivate and persuade your audience. 

How do you begin to optimise on-page content? The answer can seem never-ending, especially with a constantly changing SEO landscape. Our checklist linked at the bottom of this article is a great place to start as the benefits of optimising your on-page content are invaluable, from helping search engines understand and contextualise your content, to increasing CTRs and delivering higher volumes of traffic.

Powerful content here is key. From visual cues, such as the use of high-resolution images and videos to showcase your products in the best possible light, to carefully crafted language, such as descriptive product titles.

Here too you should focus on your selling points:

  • Your customer reviews and testimonials. 
  • A place for comments and questions.
  • FAQs answered in an easy-to-find, easy-to-understand way.
  • User-generated content (i.e. Instagram photos, real-life examples).
  • Product pairings and useful recommendations.

Together, these elements build trust with potential buyers. You’re not hindering. You’re helping.

QUICK WIN #4: Your main CTA is prominent and contains an optional “cart” icon.

Mobile Optimisation

man sitting alone in his living room at home and using his cellphone

A good few years ago you might’ve gotten away with a website that wasn’t optimised for mobile. Now, there’s no excuse. 69% of people who use a smartphone made an online purchase on it in the last twelve months. So, if your website isn’t optimised for mobile – we mean, really, truly optimised for mobile – then you’re quite literally losing out.

Mobile optimisation is no longer an option, it’s a critical factor in e-commerce CRO.

Our quick tips for mobile include:

  • Check your page and image loading time. You can use speed tools like GT Metric to check how long your website is taking to load up. (Note: If a page takes anything longer than 3 seconds to load, you’ve already lost out.)
  • Are your CTAs too big or appearing oddly on mobile? Maybe they make sense and look great on your desktop website, but for mobile, things might be different.
  • Are your images optimised for mobile? This means not only image size and load time, but also how easy they are to ‘swipe’ through on your phone.
  • Have you considered streamlining the mobile checkout process, such as integrating mobile payment options and autofill capabilities? Remember, so many of us use Apple Pay or PayPal to checkout on our phones.

By prioritising mobile optimisation and ensuring that your e-commerce site is fast, responsive, and user-friendly on all devices, you can tap into a vast market of mobile shoppers and drive higher conversion rates.

Superb Digital’s Ultimate E-commerce CRO Checklist

CRO is not a one-time effort but an ongoing process of experimentation, measurement, and refinement. This article has only scratched the surface of how to improve your e-commerce store’s CRO and this aspect of your marketing should never be considered ‘done’, it should always remain under constant review.

That being said, there are a lot of CRO tactics that e-commerce stores fall short on (even some of the big ones). Much of this is simple UX best practice. 

This is why we’ve created our e-commerce CRO checklist for you, with over 100 simple-to-implement checks and to-dos, all rated by priority, with a ton of links to best practice examples and helpful how-tos. It even gives your website a score once you’ve been through it.

It’s totally free, so download it today to start pushing your conversions up.