eCommerce CRO: 9 Sneaky Mistakes That Might Be Killing Your Sales

Discover 9 of the most common reasons why your shoppers aren’t converting and optimize your conversion rate in this eCommerce CRO guide

  • Guest
  • November 24, 2021
  • 8 minutes

eCommerce CRO (short for eCommerce conversion rate optimization) is directly linked to the success of your brand. After all, there is little point in driving visitors to your site if they leave again without buying.

Yet many retailers struggle to improve their conversion funnel once customers land on their site. It’s often difficult to know where to start, and if you don’t know what to look for, you can end up doing more harm than good.

But fear not – because in this post you’ll learn about nine of the most common eCommerce CRO mistakes. Plus, we’ll share tips for what you can do to fix them. We’ll look at:

So, if you’re ready to optimize your conversion rate and pump-up your sales, let’s jump in!

Why Worry About eCommerce CRO?

Simple changes on your site can have a significant knock on effect on your conversion rate – whether positively or negatively.  Without systematically analyzing your conversion rate and looking for ways to improve it, you could be letting profit slip through your fingers. 

Let’s say you typically make one conversion for every 100 visitors to your store. If you could make improvements – perhaps by fixing a faulty link, or simplifying your payment page – you could change this to 2%. That may still seem like a low figure… and yet it would immediately double your revenue!

How does eCommerce CRO work?

A good ecommerce CRO strategy starts and finishes with data. Unless you have data on your site’s performance, you’ll struggle to see where conversions drop off. Therefore, first aim is to analyze your site’s conversion data hypothesize what needs to be improved.

But tread carefully. Any change could risk making a negative impact too. So, a scientific approach like A/B testing is needed to make sure you have reliable results.

With A/B testing, you trial a new version of the site or a specific page, by segmenting your site visitors so that 50% view the new variant, while the other 50% continue to be served with the original version.  By comparing both outcomes, you’ll which produces the best conversion rate, and adopt or reject the change. 

Tests can range from those that are very simple but have a significant impact, to others that are complex and costly to implement, and result in a smaller change in conversion rate. So hypotheses should be prioritised, with the easy-wins put in first place, and more subtle changes left till last. Each change is then tested using A/B testing, and the learnings of each test help inform further improvements. 

Every ecommerce store is unique, and your target audience will dictate what is most effective for your conversion rate. 

That said, there are several essentials that apply to all ecommerce retailers as fundamentals that customers are looking for in their online shopping experience. Get these right and you boost your conversion rate and see the resulting revenue uplift.

So let’s take a look at some of the potential easy wins that could improve the conversion rate on your store.

eCommerce CRO: 9 Common Reasons Why Shoppers Leave Your Store

Ok, so with the why and the how of eCommerce CRO under our belts, let’s truck on to learn the most common mistakes and easy-wins for your store.

1. Poor mobile-friendly version

Mobile-first ecommerce design is non-negotiable nowadays. Statista predicts that across 2021, 72.9% of retail ecommerce globally will come from mobile users, increasing from 58.9% in 2017. 

Since the majority of your customers will be shopping on their mobile devices, having a beautiful desktop design is of little value if your store isn’t mobile-friendly.

From an eCommerce CRO perspective, if customers find your store is unresponsive as illustrated below, they are less likely to complete their purchase. 

ecommerce CRO

So, carefully test the mobile version of your site to ensure it looks good and offers users a smooth customer experience.

2. Slow page Speed

Online shoppers are looking for a fast, easy solution to their shopping needs. Slow loading pages will frustrate them and see potential customers leaving your store to look elsewhere. 

In fact, a study by Portant found that within the first five seconds of a page loading, conversion rate drops by an average of 4.42% for each additional second of load time! A serious blow to your eCommerce CRO efforts.

With so many competitor sites just a click away, it’s vital you grab your customers attention immediately, and that means optimizing your site for speed. 

3. Too many distractions

Cluttered, disorderly webpages are off-putting to customers who are focussed on finding a product they want. If your pages have excessive amounts of text and images, these are more likely to distract than encourage your customers to buy. Case in point, this monstrosity we found earlier:

ecommerce CRO

So, keep your website clean and product focused, from landing pages to product and payment pages. Limit the number of buttons on each page – there’s no need to have 10 different buttons where three would suffice. Narrowing the number of decisions you are asking your customer to make will give them a clearer path to a purchase. 

Use consistent shapes and sizes for product photos so that your page layouts are neat and easy to understand. For best ecommerce CRO scores, color schemes and fonts should be easy on the eye and not distract from the products themselves.

4. Faulty search function

Customers who know what they are looking for are much easier to convert than those who are simply browsing. And when these customers visit your site, their primary concern will be to confirm that you have what they need. They won’t want to be overwhelmed by too many options – instead they’ll want to be directed towards the product they want to buy. 

Your search function should be obvious on your page, making it easy for high-converting customers to locate what they want – just like this one from Ikea:

Make sure your products are all tagged properly, and invest in a search function that works well. You’ll want to offer a wide range of filters to help customers narrow down their options and avoid them having to scroll through multiple pages.

For more tips on how to optimise your search function, check out this go-to guide packed full of best practices

5. Lack of information

One of the great drawbacks of online shopping is that customers cannot see or touch the product itself. Therefore, they need plenty of information to help them make an informed purchase decision.

Use concise, simple language in your product descriptions that make your products sound attractive to customers without over-emphasizing. High quality photos of the products – including lifestyle photos – and a thorough product specification are also key for eCommerce CRO.

Besides just product information, consumers are increasingly brand conscious and want to know more about the brands they buy from. With the environment on everyone’s mind, consumers are likely to favour brands who have ethical or sustainable values that give shoppers the satisfaction of making an ethical purchase. 

Make sure customers have access to information about your brand values, so they can buy into your brand as well as buying your products.

6. Lack of urgency

Not every customer browsing your site will be ready to buy immediately. If there’s no sense of urgency, they’re likely to leave your site with no guarantee that they will come back again. 

Give buyers a compelling reason to complete their purchase there and then. For example, here’s how Airbnb nudges visitors to take action now:

eCommerce CRO Urgency

Whether it’s offering time sensitive offers or making buyers feel that they are competing against other customers for a desirable product, there are various ways to encourage action and increase conversions through creating urgency. 

7. Long checkout process

Once your customer has selected their purchase, they want the checkout process to be as straightforward as possible. Long, tedious forms across multiple pages can cause customers to give up and seek out a better experience elsewhere. 

Keep custom fields to a minimum when requesting information and give users the option to continue as a guest if they don’t want to create an account.  

Aim to limit your checkout process to four stages:

  1. Checkout
  2. Delivery Details
  3. Payment Details
  4. Confirmation

Capturing an email address is an important step, allowing you to follow up an abandoned cart and convert a customer at a later date, so you should include this early on in the process. 

Including a progress bar on the page can help reassure customers that the process is almost complete, and encourage them to continue.

8. Unexpected costs

A customer adds an item to their cart based on the cost of the item, and the value they perceive. No customer wants to be hit with a surprise additional cost once they reach the payment page. Not only will this change their perception of the value of the product, it also deteriorates trust in the brand if they feel they have been misled. 

Provide pricing information up front on taxes, exchange rates and delivery charges – or build them into your product prices – to avoid nasty shocks at checkout. You can use customer address details to calculate delivery costs at the shopping cart page, so they are aware of this at an early stage. Offering multiple shipping options at varying costs also gives customers a feel of control over the price of their purchase.

9. No purchase confirmation 

Your purchase confirmation page might not affect your conversion rate on the initial purchase, but when it comes to converting one-time customers into life-time customers, they are a must. 

Buyers will be confused if they do not see a confirmation page, or receive a confirmation email. This common courtesy not only improves customer experience and increases trust in the brand, it is also a great opportunity to encourage future sales. 

A personalized thank you page, using the customers name and delivery details, will let the buyer know they are a valued customer and that this is a brand who cares about the individual. Adding product suggestions for future purchases, or offering time limited promotion codes, are perfect ways to get your customer already thinking about their next purchase. Then you’re well on your way to your next conversion!

Improve Your eCommerce CRO Today

There are lots of reasons why shoppers may be choosing to leave your ecommerce store. Perhaps they are struggling with the checkout page. Or they may not be ready to buy, and might need more encouragement.  

Conversion Rate Optimisation is a robust method that implements and tests changes to your store based on customer data, to help you maximise your conversion rate. Even the smallest of improvements to your conversion rate can have a big impact on your bottom line, so consider where you might be losing customers and take steps to fix it.

Author Bio

This was a guest post from the team at Swanky. Swanky is a leading international ecommerce agency, recognized with the official Shopify Plus Experts status. Swanky offers a full suite of digital solutions for brands looking to elevate their ecommerce strategy, from replatforming and app development, to conversion rate optimization and digital marketing. Find out how Swanky can help unlock your ecommerce potential by getting in touch with their team today.

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