Conversion Rate Optimization

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How to Increase Website Conversion Rates

The strategy of most online marketing specialists is focused on attracting more visitors to the website. This allows increasing the lead number automatically and improving the website sales volume. Increasing the online platform traffic ranking can boost sales volume. This is simply the algorithm used by most internet marketing companies.

But only a few specialists make some effort to improve the quality of the sales volume, i.e., increasing the website conversion, thus enormously benefiting from the existing traffic and the number of constantly growing prospects. This article is about improving the website conversion rate.

Website conversion rate optimization: what is it and where to start

Let’s start with the basics.

What is a website conversion rate?

Website conversion rate is a percentage (ratio) of the number of achieved goals to the number of website visitors over a certain period. In other words, the website conversion is the indicator of transformation (conversion) of the traffic into the number of visitors’ actions that effectively reach the corresponding goals. It should be mentioned that these goals can vary: lead generation, purchases, visitor registration, etc.

The given definition clarifies that the website conversion rate is a qualitative traffic value, unlike traffic ranking, which is a quantitative indicator. If one tries to increase the number of visitors only (using SEO, advertising, etc.), but does not consider conversion, soon it will appear that the budgets spent on increasing the qualitative values are used inefficiently, as qualitative indicators (e.g., conversion in e-commerce) stay relatively low. Thus the platform's potential is not fully realized.

Even though marketing efforts attract many visitors and the website conversion rate seems reasonable, the conversion rate should still increase, as this allows developing the business and cutting the specific expenses for attracting each buyer to the website.

Increasing the website conversion rate is called Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). This can be achieved in different ways - by content SEO optimization, improving the website UX and usability, applying other marketing methods (e.g., free digital versions of an article or a book for signing up, participating in a giveaway when making a purchase, etc.).

Conversion rate optimization can be done for any website page. However, a few main pages play the most crucial role in improving this value.

  • 1 Conversion rate optimization of the main page (homepage)

    • The main page is the website’s storefront, and most visitors pay special attention to it. The main page is the symbol of your company, so the main page CRO should become one of the major targets of online marketing specialists.

  • 2 Price page conversion rate optimization

    • The e-commerce conversion rate can be improved by optimizing the CRO of the price page, as it serves as the concentration of the marketing “P” Big Five. The price allows making the product, presentation, and other elements of a unique sales offer more significant.

  • 3 Blog conversion rate optimization

    • Blog development on a website increases its CRO. The materials on this page show the seller’s competency. As there is no direct contact, such materials make a good impression on the visitors.

  • 4 Conversion rate optimization of category, item, cart, and order pages

    • Besides the mentioned pages, the CRO of these pages should also be improved. These pages are the most critical ones for the website. They generate sales or leads, the visitors make a decision there and perform meaningful co-operation with the website.

Naturally, the conversion optimization rate is significant for e-commerce. Let’s discuss this in detail.

Statistical values of the conversion rate in e-commerce

To boost the e-commerce CRO, first, you need to determine the “foothold,” i.e., the parameters that should become the basis of your analysis and estimations.

Based on many years of research in the sphere of e-commerce performed by the leading online marketing think tanks, it is clear that some factors play the most crucial role in conversion estimation.

  • 1 Determining the level of “good” conversion rate

    • The conversion rate of one or another website cannot be estimated precisely without considering the industry, business size, specific nature of the activity, and perceptions. The most objective level of assessment is the increase of conversion of a certain platform for a certain period.

      E.g., in 2018, 1.41% was the best conversion rate for the accessory and clothes market, while 0.58% was the best conversion rate for agricultural supplies.

      As of January 2020, 2.63% was a “good” conversion rate for e-commerce. Wild values were excluded when determining this value.

  • 2 Branch of economy

    • The conversion rate in e-commerce depends on the industry where online sales are made.

      Thus, as of the beginning of 2020, the average conversion rate in some branches of the economy was as follows:

      • Spare parts for farming equipment – 1.41%
      • Art – 4.01%
      • Baby products – 0.71%
      • Car and motoring goods – 1.36%
      • Electronics and commercial equipment – 2.70%
      • Fashionable clothes and accessories – 1.41%;
      • Food and drinks – 0.90%
      • Healthcare – 2.02%
      • Pet supplies – 2.51%
      • Kitchen utensils – 1.61%

      Of course, the given values depend on the country or even the region.

  • 3 Country

    • When determining the website key performance indicators (KPIs), consider the operating country's peculiarities. The website conversion rate can differ enormously depending on the location:

      • Germany – 2.22%
      • USA – 1.96%
      • Great Britain – 1.88%
      • Denmark – 1.80%
      • Netherlands – 1.78%
      • Greece – 1.44%
      • France – 1.10%
      • India – 1.10%
      • Italy – 0.99%.

      From the given examples, it is clear that cultural differences significantly impact the success of e-commerce.

  • 4 Channels/sources

    • According to the research, it is clear that referral channels that confirm the information on the website are the most powerful tool for increasing the conversion rate of e-commerce.

      Average conversion rates for different traffic sources are given below:

      • Direct – 2.16%
      • E-mail – 5.32%
      • Organic search – 2.08%
      • Facebook – 0.93%
      • AdWords – 1.42%
      • Referral traffic – 5.44%
      • Word of mouth – 0.74%

      The indicators may vary widely: from 11% in food trading to less than 2% in furniture trading.

  • 5 Devices

    • The e-commerce conversion rate strongly depends on the user’s device – desktop, tablet, or smartphone. The most effective devices are desktops and laptops (4.84% and 4.06%, respectively). Smartphones are less effective (2.25%). This is probably connected with the features of display visualization and the absence of convenient means for visiting a website via a cell phone.

  • 6 Operating system

    • Windows show the best website conversion values. This is probably connected with highly-developed e-commerce tools for the most popular platform globally.

  • 7 Payment

    • Secure and easy payment is an essential factor in e-commerce CRO. PayPal is the most effective one.

Mistakes in optimizing the conversion rate for e-commerce in 2020

Mistakes happen in e-commerce CRO, just as in other spheres of human activity. Their reason is also “universal” – business owners or web analysts often decide based on subjective perceptions without relying on precisely known facts.

Reliable data in e-commerce can be obtained from different researches: website usability and UX testing, estimation of the impact of the factors mentioned above, and determining the top-priority spheres for improvement. It is essential to use proper testing tools and software to interpret the obtained results correctly. The main goal of the research is to get data on visitor behavior and detect “weak” points.

The second-largest block of mistakes that hinder website CRO is the wrong optimization technique. There are often too many or too few changes or only a cosmetic effect. Sometimes there is a lack of understanding of the terms required for responding to the improvements and regularities of prospect behavior.

In terms of content, very often, e-commerce marketplaces suffer from the under-representation of goods. Marketing specialists usually do not consider the peculiarities of remote trading when the content serves as the seller explaining the peculiarities of the goods and giving useful advice.

From a technical point of view, trading websites should not have a slow speed, broken links, poor optimization, or ill-advised structure. Also, emerging mobile device users should be considered; trading platforms and ultra HD advanced monitors should be adapted for this.

The technical aspect of the website should be thoroughly tested, concerning both the platform work and the usability, before being run.

As a result, mistakes in traffic conversion into sales can derail the efforts of developers and trading platform SEO specialists, and the investments into the project lose efficiency.

20 ways of improving the e-commerce conversion rate

We have analyzed the typical mistakes online marketing specialists make in trading platform CRO. Now let’s discuss some efficient methods of improving the conversion rate. Their efficiency has been proven by many years of research and experience in e-commerce.

  • 1 Easy ordering

    • Reducing the number of steps when making an order is one of the most efficient website CRO methods. This allows cutting the “last mile” distance for a prospect.

  • 2 Heatmaps

    • Regular customer behavior analysis with heatmaps allows detecting problems and improving the conversion rate. There are more details about using Plerdy heatmaps.

  • 3 Feedback

    • Provide a reliable feedback service between the online marketplace and digital platforms for product/service advertising.

  • 4 Simple design

    • Intuitive and straightforward website design allows a prospect to focus on the main items. Often, the intention to decorate the projects seriously harms the website's usability.

  • 5 Page speed

    • Low website speed wards off buyers no less than a complicated sign-up system. There are more details about page speed.

  • 6 Representation proof

    • Feedback, reviews, photos, and videos about the advertised products or services improve the e-commerce conversion rate.

  • 7 Campaigns and bonuses

    • Free shipment, prize and discount coupons, and campaigns attract website visitors and improve its conversion.

  • 8 Customer-oriented approach

    • Customers should recover personal accounts that have not been used for a long time.

  • 9 The existing customer feedback system

    • The feedback system should be transparent and not nominal.

  • 10 The existing customer feedback system

    • The feedback system should be transparent and not nominal.

  • 11 Online support service

    • Online (chat) customer support increases conversion.

  • 12 Purchase stimulation

    • It is recommended to evoke a perception of urgency in the customer with countdown timers, banners, and other similar tools for stimulating an effective action.

  • 13 A/B testing

    • A/B testing often allows finding the most suitable design and content solutions for the conversion rate.

  • 14 High-quality blog

    • A prospect should have a reason to stay on the website for as long as possible. This means that the website is attractive to them. So, a good blog managed on behalf of the project keeps the visitor on the website and increases the e-commerce conversion rate.

  • 15 Good visual material

    • Before running a project, ensure that all images on the website are high quality and that the visual imagery is supplemented with videos.

  • 16 Pop-ups

    • Pop-ups stimulate trading platform visitors.

  • 17 CRO sequence

    • It is recommended to improve the conversion from the bottom-of-funnel (BoFu).

  • 18 Traffic structuring

    • Make sure that the traffic is directed to the target page.

  • 19 Guarantee

    • A product guarantee improves e-commerce conversion.

  • 20 Easy payments

    • Ensure that the customers can use every possible payment method for the products or services.

  • 21 Traffic analysis

    • Continually analyze and segment the traffic.

The list of the methods mentioned above is not complete, although implementing the described strategies allows making the first steps for improving the e-commerce conversion rate.

It should be noted that the intention to influence the prospect with various marketing methods should not obscure the unique project sales offer. In other words, the customer should be able to check out the bid and make a purchase without any problems and without being distracting by a lot of pop-ups, chats, and other communication tools. They should not form a bad attitude about the e-commerce conversion rate but improve it.

CRO vs. SEO: what to focus on right now

We have found out that CRO is the key to good cooperation with the audience. But what if the changes recommended in the previous section would be harmful to SEO?

The general reply is simple: SEO and CRO are not mutually exclusive, but the activity sequence should be considered in any certain case.

If the website does not generate enough traffic, the e-commerce CRO activities will not be very influential. In this case, start by creating exciting and valuable content to the target audience. You can’t reach the necessary conversion level using testing, color changes, placement, button or font sizes, and calls to action without it.

First of all, the content should establish a dialogue with the visitors and create an emotional value of the brand/product/service. The customer should have a reason to revisit the website. When this goal is reached, the loyalty conversion should be developed.

If there is enough traffic for performing A/B testing, the second CRO stage can be started – reaching a higher involvement level and boosting the sales volume by combining SEO and CRO. Finally, everything depends on the intentions of the target audience.

We are talking about CRO and deliberate efforts for creating high-quality and semantically relevant content providing a good customer UX. Finally, the UX will determine the number of loyal and qualified leads.

Don’t worry that CRO will destroy the SEO. Often, CRO efforts make the audience more apparent with the help of long queries. This allows segmenting the traffic and improving its quality. For sure, 30 out of 100 visitors that make a purchase are better than 10,000 visitors who do not perform practical actions.

So, arising from the above, the following conclusion can be made: at first, traffic that allows the audience to find a platform should be created. Then, SEO and CRO should be combined for extending the conversion funnel.

Why are CRO and UX efficient cooperation methods?

CRO (conversion rate optimization), UX (user experience), and usability are often used as synonyms. Indeed, they are related, but there are big differences between them.

CRO is a strategy that allows transforming a visitor into a customer. It is based on a thorough study of behavioral responses and creating a conversion funnel without any obstacles for the visitors.

UX is a tactic that leads the website visitor through the created conversion funnel.

Usability determines the convenience of the visitor’s cooperation with the platform.

That’s why CRO and UX optimization measures should be in agreement and regulated by common approaches.

CRO specialists can determine standard UX directions using tests, considering that all SEO and CRO efforts can appear to be useless without a positive UX.

It is recommended to follow some rules:

  1. Your actions should be based on research and tests. An adequately organized hypothesis check can only confirm its validity or ineffectiveness.
  2. CRO should determine the main directions and priorities of the e-commerce project design.
  3. UX specialists should always present the platform on different browsers and devices.

It can be added that only regular website usability audits, A/B testing, and cooperation with UX specialists can improve the website conversion rate from a long-term perspective.

What you should know about CRO for lead generation

In the struggle for position in the e-commerce market, the project with constant website CRO improvement has the most significant advantage, all other things being equal. This will mean converting customers ready to shop online inside the market segment in numerical terms.

In simple words, lead generation transforms the website visitor into a prospect or captures them in the broadest area of the conversion funnel section. CRO of lead-generation websites is no less important than target audience search with SEO methods.

The most important factors of successful CRO of lead-generation websites are given below.

  • 1 Optimization for mobile devices

    • More than 50% of consumers do online shopping via their smartphones.

  • 2 “About us/about company” page

    • Use the “About us” should provide the prospect with complete information about the company.

  • 3 Short data acquisition forms

    • Do not collect unnecessary information.

  • 4 Unfavorable “send” marker

    • A “Send” button on the form is too formal. It is recommended to demonstrate the result of the user’s action (e.g., “Get free subscription” or ”Find out more”).

  • 5 Proof

    • It is recommended to publish facts that prove the company’s competence.

  • 6 Proof of trust

    • Participation in industry-specific associations, voluntary or obligatory certification and other trust-confirming references increase the website conversion rate.

  • 7 Results/Topical researches/Achievements

    • Publish news about the company’s achievements and its work results regularly. This will prove that the company’s activity is continuous.

  • 8 Readability

    • The text should be written in clear and straightforward language.

  • 9 Page speed

    • Visitors often leave a website due to slow page speed. When designing a platform, consider whether it can be used with a poor Internet connection.

  • 10 A clear and short call to action.

    • The user should clearly understand what to do.

  • 11 User-friendly text typography

    • The text on the website should be presented so that the visitor’s eyes will not get tired after reading the first lines of the text.

  • 12 Website architecture

    • The website architecture should be designed simply and intuitively.

  • 13 Heatmaps analysis

    • Such analysis will allow finding out where users click and where they just move the cursor and do not engage with this element further or when they leave the page.

  • 14 Visitor behavior analysis

    • As has been mentioned above, CRO decisions should be based on research. Indeed, you can pay external companies for website usability audits and conversion. Still, it is recommended to study your audience yourself as Google Analytics and Plerdy provides vast opportunities.

RO advanced tips and best practices

When significant efforts on project development have been taken:

  • information was collected,
  • enough traffic for A/B testing was received,
  • hypotheses were made,
  • and the testing was performed,
  • general design directions were determined,
  • and a good UX was provided,
  • it is not time to stop.

It is time for more thorough and hard work on website CRO. It is worth remembering this as the e-commerce market is a very competitive environment and activity reduction can affect sales volume.

  • 1 Checking the weakest links in the conversion funnel

    • As a rule, most people focus on the beginning (target page) or end (ordering page). This is a mistake that beginners make. Focus on eliminating “narrow” areas that, at the same time, serve as the areas of the maximum possible development.

      Make a conversion roadmap and then measure the conversion rate with analytical tools. The optimization steps should be based on analyzing the CRO of each stage.

  • 2 Micro-obligations

    • Often “forgetting it all immediately”, e-commerce platforms try persuading the customers to accept significant obligations (e.g., paying for a yearly subscription or large service package). But this does not work. By contrast, the micro-obligation tactic is much stronger. Instead of an offer of an expensive package, you can present a trial period with the personalized purchasing of a package in installments or by stages.

  • 3 Cross-oppositions

    • Don’t be afraid of showing customer’s objections on target pages; this can be done if they answer the visitors’ questions. Please note that online trading has minimal live dialogue means, so ensure that customers can check out the objections even if this requires a lot of space.

      The more expensive the product is, the more information is required.

  • 4 “About Us” page

    • As the project team members cannot introduce themselves personally, the “About Us” page should contain complete information. This page should inspire trust towards the company when a prospect reads or watches it.

  • 5 Test chat support

    • A live chat compensates for the lack of live communication in e-commerce, so its features should be used to the full extent.

  • 6 AutoComplete fields when making an order

    • The website conversion rate, especially for mobile devices, can be increased significantly with AutoComplete fields in obligatory forms.

  • 7 A lot of target pages

    • According to Hubspot, companies with more than ten target pages generate 55% more leads than companies with five target pages. More target pages generate more traffic and create more personalized offers. But you need to make sure that the content is unique.

  • 8 Presence on social media

    • Persuade users to share their purchases on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media. This provides referral sales and increases brand awareness.


Website conversion rate is an essential qualitative indicator, but it should not become an end in itself as profit is more important for e-commerce.

Conversion rate optimization includes several measures for solving the sales funnel problem. They should correlate smoothly with SEO and UX, causing a synergistic effect. SEO and CRO demonstrate the two aspects of the process – attracting more customers and distinguishing a target segment. CRO is prescriptive for UX, but still, they have vital feedback.

A “good” conversion value strongly depends on the operating country, industry, and market segment. However, in general, 3% can serve as an approximate guide.

CRO should be started after reaching a certain traffic level that allows performing A/B testing. Implementing hypotheses without researching behavioral responses can affect the sales volume.

There is no need to follow the sequence of actions described in the article – this depends on many circumstances, and mainly on the budget. However, the provided information serves as a guide to the shortest path to success.

No website SEO or CRO can boost the sales volume in e-commerce if people don’t need the product or are not interested.