Effective conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is what turns budding online stores into market-leading ecommerce brands. Here’s how to do it.
Expert conversion rate optimisation for your ecommerce store
So, you’ve just been introduced to the key concepts of CRO, and you’d like to optimise your online store for higher conversions? Great!
The logical next step might be to look up CRO best practices, right? Well, sort of.
You’re here because you want to learn the conversion rate optimisation best practices that will teach you how to enhance your ecommerce store and, quite simply, sell more.
However, in reality, ‘CRO best practices’ don’t exist. But don’t click away just yet.
There’s no such thing as CRO best practice
When it comes to conversion rate optimisation, it’s impossible to define ‘best practices’. As our in-house CRO expert Lilliana Miller explains:
“One of the biggest myths in marketing is that there are such things as ‘CRO best practices’. Why’s it a myth? Because one size doesn’t fit all. What works for one client won’t necessarily work for another, and just because a hypothesis is tested to be true, it doesn’t mean that you can replicate the results again!
CRO essentially comes down to humans and their different behavioural biases. Who’s ever known a group of people to be consistently predictable? Not me! I concede that you can have a loose CRO framework, but CRO best practices? Absolutely not.”
But stick with us here. While there’s no such thing as CRO best practices, there are areas of your site that you should be evaluating and enhancing in order to optimise your ecommerce store for better conversions. There’s no one size fits all, but these tried and tested approaches are definitely worth trying out.
We take your ‘9 expert CRO best practices for ecommerce stores’ and raise you ‘9 expert CRO techniques for ecommerce stores’. Get your pens out - you’re going to want to take notes on this one.
9 expert CRO techniques for ecommerce stores
1. Fix your page speed
Page speed and CRO are intrinsically linked. Nowadays, when we want something, we want it NOW. Being made to wait a fraction of a second more than we expected can be excruciating, especially when it comes to the internet. We’re not waiting around.
Visitors to your online store feel the same way. So, where does that leave you when your site takes a long time to load? It leaves you with a below average conversion rate, and your potential customers handing over their hard-earned cash to one of your competitors instead. You know, the one with the super fast and effective website?
Losing out on sales because of a slow website is the last thing any ecommerce store owner or manager wants to happen. But fear not - there’s some easy fixes. To increase your site speed, and the chance of converting your browsing into buyers, you can:
Compress your images, using a tool like CrushPics
Remove any unnecessary plugins
Cache your web pages
Google’s PageSpeed Insights will analyse your site speed and tell you exactly how to fix it. There’s no such thing as conversion rate optimisation best practice, but improving the speed of your website is essential to effective CRO.
2. Deliver a clear positioning statement
Just like people won’t wait around on your site if it takes ages to load, they also won’t hang about if they don’t immediately know what you’re offering.
Your positioning statement is your chance to communicate to your target audience exactly what you do, who you do it for, and why. Crucially, your customers should be able to find this out within 30 seconds of landing on your site, so they know if you’re offering what they’re looking for.
Cat furniture retailer Catapilla do an excellent job of this. Users who land on their site can immediately see what they sell, without even having to scroll down.
Delivering a clear and concise positioning statement is key to conversion rate optimisation.
3. Bring in a benefits bar
A great tip for effective CRO is to implement a benefits bar on your site that highlights your unique selling points. Why should people buy from you rather than your competitors?
Break these points down into snappy “why us?” headings, and display them on a benefits bar that shows up on every page of your site. This is a really simple way to increase your conversion rate by ensuring your potential customers see your brand’s best qualities wherever they land on your site.
Missguided do just that with their benefits bar, effectively promoting their offerings across their site and encouraging those all-important conversions.
4. Upgrade your photography
It’s impossible to define conversion rate optimisation best practices, but something that will almost always result in improved CRO for ecommerce stores is effective, high-quality visuals.
Selling online can be tricky. In a physical store, you’re able to go in, look at and physically handle items before you purchase them. In ecommerce, you have to try and replicate this buying experience as best you can, to build trust and convince your customers to buy from you.
The trick to replicating the in-store experience is to prompt a psychological trigger in your potential customers’ minds that allows them to see themselves owning your products. How can you achieve this? With epic product photography and visuals.
When you publish clear, well-shot images of your products, your customers will be able to get a fuller picture of what you’re selling. Displaying videos of your products in use is even more helpful in replicating the in-person buying experience. You can even utilise user generated content (UGC) from your customers for these images and videos (check out the examples on point 9 below), which can double as social proof. It’s a win-win!
5. Display payment options and trust icons
This one gets our CRO Specialist Lilliana’s vote for the most important CRO “best practice”/technique, so you know it must be good.
Adding payment options or other trust-building logos to your site is a really effective way to build credibility amongst your customer base, particularly if your brand isn’t very well-known (yet!). And, if you didn’t already know, trust and credibility are incredibly important for conversion rate optimisation.
You can display these icons in the footer of your website, on your product pages, and even at cart level. Our CRO client POMP Flowers, for example, utilises magazine logos as trust symbols on their homepage.
Displaying payment options as well is not only useful for building trust, but also for making it clear to customers that you accept their payment choice, removing yet another conversion blocker.
6. Accept split pay options
Displaying payment options on your online store is great. Displaying payment options that include increasingly popular ‘split pay’ options is even better.
Split pay is the new craze in the ecommerce world, and it’s something that ecommerce stores should be embracing to increase their conversion rate.
Split pay services like Klarna and ClearPay allow customers to spend more (raising your average order value), but pay less upfront. The great thing for merchants is that split pay services give you the whole purchase fee right away, so you’re not the ones waiting for 3 instalments of a payment.
Another pro to this is that customers implicitly trust services like Klarna, who have put a huge amount of effort into building a reputable brand image. So, having their logo on your store is a great credibility boost.
7. Accelerate your checkout process
As we’re already discussed, people like things to be fast. So, to enhance your online store’s conversion rate, it’s important to make your checkout process as quick and easy as possible.
Ideally, you should offer 1-click, fuss-free payment options like Apple Pay and Google Pay. This way, you can make it easier for your customers to buy from you, and reduce the chance of them changing their mind in the process.
8. Communicate your delivery terms
As a customer, there’s nothing worse than making your way through a long online checkout process, only to discover that the delivery options don’t suit you. Maybe your purchase isn’t going to arrive until after the event you’re buying it for, or maybe you just don’t fancy spending £6.99 on postage. We’ve all been there.
So, as an online seller, it’s important to communicate your delivery options clearly, and early in the checkout process. This might even be something you can incorporate into your benefits bar, if your delivery terms are something you want to shout about.
If you offer free next day delivery, or free shipping, it’s also extremely useful for CRO to implement a countdown timer. Something like “Order within 3 hours to receive free next day delivery”. This will help to communicate your delivery options, but also utilise scarcity marketing to encourage your potential customer to snap up that delivery deal and make their purchase ASAP. No one can resist a deal that’s running away from them.
9. Show off your social proof
One of the closest things we can offer to a conversion rate optimisation best practice is: shout about your social proof.
Social proof is essentially digital word of mouth. When you display real reviews from your real customers on your site, your potential customers will feel at ease knowing that your store is reputable, and that other customers have had a fantastic experience.
Think about it. If your friend raves about how great a new restaurant is, you want to try it out, right? The same goes for your ecommerce store. Gather social proof and shout about it across your site to put your browsers at ease, generate trust, and enhance your conversion rate. Simples.
Learn to grow with CRO
For more expert insights into how to grow your business with CRO, read our comprehensive guide.
No matter what stage your brand is at, our free ebook will arm you with the knowledge to transform your user journey and effectively optimise your site's conversion rate. Soon, you'll have game-changing data in your hands, and a revenue boost well within reach.