Pass or Fail: A 5-Point Checklist for Optimizing E-Commerce Sales

Lauren Hamer
written by
Lauren Hamer
last updated
July 01, 2019
Pass or Fail: A 5-Point Checklist for Optimizing E-Commerce Sales

Securing a profitable conversion optimization rate that inflates your bottom line is an ongoing effort. Yet, e-commerce merchants know that time is always in short supply and money is hardly a flippant thought when brainstorming various strategies for growth. 

Conversion rate optimization tactics that personalize the online experience are usually catered toward big businesses and domineering e-commerce sites with money to spend — leaving modest start-up merchants with a choice: what’s more important today, sales or budget? 

Thankfully, you can increase conversion rates on your e-commerce site in ways that few merchants would deem complicated or expensive. It starts with a simple website audit. 

Specific areas of your website tend to affect conversion optimization rate more than others. Below, we’ve pinned down the internet’s most comprehensive conversion data into an actionable five-point checklist you can use to identify areas that might be causing friction for your visitors and, thus, affecting online sales. 

Use this step by step checklist to perform a quick website audit and learn how to improve your e-commerce conversion rates right now. Then, read on for a few cost-effective tools for implementing these adjustments simply and painlessly.

What’s a “Good” E-commerce Conversion Optimization Rate?

Understanding how to increase online conversion rates takes time. But the first step toward improvement is identifying a reasonable target rate to build upon. 

E-commerce conversion rates vary according to the sector, industry, and time of year. Econsultancy’s Performance Benchmarks tool states that the global e-commerce conversion rate average is between 1-3%.

But again, this varies across all businesses. For example:

  • Travel and tourism, retail, home furnishing websites typically see low conversion rates 
  • Food and drink, finance, health and fitness websites typically see high conversion rates

You can improve your e-commerce conversion optimization rate regardless of industry or niche with just a few simple adjustments to your website.

Fear not, the optimization tools and strategies suggested here don’t require a lot of time. And they most definitely don’t require a lot of cash.

How Would You Score Your… 

When performing a website audit surrounding e-commerce conversion rate, there are a few quick website optimization techniques that you can implement right now. Take a look these five areas of your website and decide: is your website doing all it can to convert visitors to customers? 

1. Overall website design: CTA buttons and white space

Simple tweaks to your overall website design can positively impact buyer decisions, web designer not required. If your existing site is not what you’d call “easy on the eyes,” try these tips for improvement. 

Use The Rule of Thirds as a website optimization technique to help you determine where to place your most important content. Place your call to actions toward the bottom left of your screen, as well as other relevant information such as value statements, features, or promotions.

Most website templates from your WordPress, Shopify, or Squarespace platform include a “hover effect” for buttons. Entice people to click by making them change color on mouse-over.

Leverage white space to your advantage. All that space between words, images, headers, and navigation menus contribute to overall readability. If your website is too cluttered with content, you’ll risk distracting users from what really matters: your product. 

2. Purposeful content: Useful information and high-quality imagery

The better your business is at educating, guiding, and connecting with visitors, the more likely they are to buy from you (as opposed to a competitor who overlooks this technique). Consider these solutions if your content could use a makeover.

Create useful, personalized content that helps inform the customer and drive sales.

  • Example: an online clothing store might publish bi-weekly articles discussing the latest trends in outdoor wear as well as tips for dressing appropriately on an overnight camping adventure. 

Audit your image quality throughout your site. Appealing pictures, graphics, and visuals enhance readability and keep customers engaged on your product pages for longer. 

3. Processes and policies: Checkout, return, and shipping

Small online stores can often lure visitors to their site with enticing policies and simple processes. But verify that they are highly visible to every user, as these accommodations are most effective for nurturing a positive online customer experience.

Such a seamless experience is a rarity these days, despite how easy it is to implement one. This means customers will be more inclined to give their hard-earned cash to stores that do. Shoppers love websites with:

  • Quick, simple checkout processes
  • Free, no-hassle return policies
  • Clear, definitive shipping information

Make sure these webpages are polished and optimized for sales. Complicated checkout pages requiring form completions and multiple steps lead to a higher cart abandonment rate. Furthermore, companies with strict or murky return policies can deter potential customers from purchasing your product at all. 

Pro tip: Automated customer experience bots like ChipBot can store all your need-to-know policy and procedure information in one spot, giving online visitors constant access to these details without requiring additional staff to monitor the inquires.

4. Brand transparency: Trust badges and online reviews

Customers want to know the whole story before committing to a purchase. More than price or convenience, brand transparency is becoming a driving factor in sales. To profit from brand transparency, try this:

Put your customer at ease by installing simple security measures like trust badges on your checkout pages. (Just know that some are more recognizable and effective than others.) 

Allow customers to post feedback on their purchases. Nearly 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. A simple product review app can help you collect and display reviews in a professional manner.

Showing the review count and the stars directly on the checkout page will also help influence on-the-fence buyers. Dribble offers a few payment form mockups you can use as inspiration for your own site. 

*Opportunity alert*  While some merchants hesitate to post negative customer reviews, a timely and professional response to a negative review can be just as influential as a positive review. 

5. Website efficiency: Page speed and mobile optimization

Learning how to increase conversion optimizations rates for your e-commerce store requires that you also identify how customers are interacting with your website. If your analytics tools show a higher than average bounce rate on your product pages, for example, consider these tips for better website efficiency. 

Test your page speed with PageSpeed Insights by Google. A tiny one second delay in page load time results in a 7% decline in conversions when users give up on your site and shop elsewhere. 

Leverage the power of mobile devices. Purchases made via smartphones and mobile devices account for over 34 percent of all online sales, and that number is only expected to rise. E-commerce merchants have a huge opportunity to increase conversions if their website is phone ready.  

Audit your website’s mobile capabilities with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and see how you fare. If you’re not up to par just yet, consider opting for a mobile-friendly template from your web builder. 

Not all e-commerce conversion optimization tactics require expensive software and complicated data charts. Visitors become customers when your online store is seamless, transparent, and functional. If your user traffic isn’t generating the sales you’d like it to, try implementing a few of these solutions for better optimization.

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Lauren Hamer
Lauren Hamer

Lauren Hamer is a Digital Content Writer and Copy Editor who helps top companies and small start-ups to define their brand through quality, conversational content.


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