45 Tactics for eCommerce Conversion Optimization

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Craig Smith  |  Founder & CEO


At Trinity, we see a lot of eCommerce brands and websites. We run a TON of tests. To help you in your growth, we wanted to summarize some of our favorite eCommerce conversion hacks to assist you in making your site more effective. We hope you take away a variety of new optimization and e-commerce feature enhancements.

1. Experimenting with the “cart-addition” experience

More carts equals more growth.  When looking to increase the volume of cart additions within your e-commerce experience, tweaking the add to cart process is a key aspect of improving your overall conversion rate.

Your store likely takes a user directly to the cart page after an add to cart action has been taken.  You may want to test an alternative approach, by skipping the cart page entirely and further guiding the user down the checkout path directly (right to the page).

Another option is to use an overlay modal (as Adidas does in the right example). This approach allows the user to jump right into checkout, versus having to go through the additional step of the shopping cart page.   We have seen conversion rate increases exceed 25% by instituting this type of practice.

2. Progression rate monitoring

Want to maximize your site potential and market opportunity?

If so, your e-commerce store needs to have an up-to-date pulse on a daily basis on all sections of the user experience.  Your brand needs to identify immediately what sections or experience types are under-performing.

By only reviewing your conversion rate and not your page level micro-conversion rate, i.e. the percentages that make up the paths in your merchandising pages, you are missing the granular details that define where your experience is broken or under-performing.

Progression monitoring enables marketers to have a clear understanding of website opportunities, primarily using Google analytics and their associated API functionality.

At Trinity we use the GA API in conjunction with data grabbing tools such as super metrics, empowering the knowledge to enable optimization on the pages that need it most.

3. Dynamic overlays


Although sometimes seen as annoying and potentially distracting to an online experience, overlay modals have proven to be effective in capturing email addresses and encouraging users to opt in to utilize promotional codes.

We recommend utilizing modals in a fashion which they are tailored to the clickstream path and behavior of the web user.

Either within exit intent scenarios, or within timed “page depth release rules”, overlays should be targeted with promotions that correlate to categories viewed or to the shipping value proposition (ex. Give email for flat rate $3.00 shipping code)

For example, if a shopper is shopping for grills on HomeDepot.com, the user will be shown a home and garden category coupon in exchange for email sign-up.

The e-commerce business captures the email address, emails the coupon to the user (or shows it immediately) and provides a great chance for that user to utilize a coupon in the process of the sale.

4. Geo-specific messaging

A great way to capture the interest of the user upon arriving to your store is to present geo-specific messaging that relates to their hometown location where they are based.

By utilizing IP addresses of web traffic, a website can present both weather-related merchandise promotions as well as shipping messaging that speaks to the timeframe for which a package would reach a local destination.

Many retailers in a great success in utilizing this type of geo-specific messaging with the free shipping promotion they already serve, for example if I came to a website from my hometown of Philadelphia, I would see “We ship free to Pennsylvania” as a core creative that is dynamically tailored within the homepage.

5. Trust Badges

Trust badges are another simple way to improve progression rates within your checkout process, without having to reconstruct or redesign your actual pages.

Consumers respond very positively to the insertion of a a trust provider logo,  as a significant subset of Web shoppers still feel somewhat uneasy with utilizing credit card data online.

Trust badging companies scan your site on a daily basis and providing a dynamic badge that is embedded within your checkout process and showing the extended level of trust to your shoppers. Gains from this type of solution can vary, at the low end you may see a 1 to 2% increase in conversion rate with in some instances we have seen companies experience 6 to 10% increases.

6.  Additional payment methods (Primarily PayPal)


Additional payment functionality is another way to provide a more effective checkout experience.   In this instance it comes down to convenience.  Additional payment options speed up transactions and relieve shoppers from entering credit card and ship details.

PayPal provides convenience to the shopper, is easy for reconciliation due to pre-built accounting integrations and often shoppers already have an existing balance that can be utilized for purchase at your store (reducing buying friction).

Other payment options from Visa and from Apple also exist but we recommend primarily utilizing PayPal within your current gateway and e-commerce platform.

7. Auto populating city and state after ZIP Code


The “new customer” e-commerce process for a consumer is a headache. Nobody likes filling out fields and creating accounts.  The more you can make it easier the better off you will be  (and your conversion rate).

A great example is a small change that can drive a big impact is to auto populate state and city information after a user enters in a zip code within a checkout form.  Within a test at Trinity, utilizing an API connection that populated this address data upon zip code population, this strategic page enhancement drove an 8% page level conversion increase which equaled  hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue annualized.

8. Form analytics


Nearly every Internet business uses web analytics to measure results, but very few use form analytics to gauge the progression of users within specific fields outlined in a given form (ex. Billing info in Checkout).

Within any business category in which the user must provide information relating to the purchase, be it credit card information, address information and so forth, it is critical to understand how far users go in the process.  Through this intelligence you can begin to test form field presentations to see what works best.

In certain instances, your business may be able to reduce the number of fields in your form and/or tweak the size of the form and layout/presentation to have a greater ratio of completion.

9. Save for later

Save for later functionality is a critical aspect of enabling users to not lose progress from on-site research that has been conducted.  NOt everyone is ready to buy now, in fact most aren’t.

Many times shoppers in your website are reviewing your models and pricing information, but yet aren’t ready to buy until conducting further research in the industry.

Empower them with the tools to  save their progress within your domain under a user ID and gain their email address from the registration process.  This will enable your business to market to them in the future, preferably on automated sequence to ultimately close the sale.

10. Exit interruption

Love it or hate it, exit interruption technology has become an effective way for brands to gather email addresses and derive value from otherwise lost sessions.

In these instances users are leaving your site anyway, so by generating a pop up triggered by mouse velocity and browser pixel thresholds, your site can gain value from otherwise lost sessions.

The key is interruption technology is to make messaging and creative align to the interests/clickstream of the user, i.e. what they have shown on your website (as discussed earlier).

For example if your user went to the bicycle category under your outdoor store, and ultimately shows propensity to leave, upon leaving show them a free shipping coupon code for bikes or potentially a video series to help them in finding and purchasing the best bike for their needs (for an email address).

11. Abandon cart emails

Abandon cart emails are another effective way to ensure that your business takes as many steps as possible to re-engage customers.  Within this use case, your eCommerce system sends a tailored email message to the website visitor, assuming they were logged in, and emails the cart content to the user, typically with a promotion.

Abandon cart emails can also be deployed in situations in which a user is not logged in, in this case the email address should be the first form field within the checkout page.   If the user abandons after filling out the first initial field, the system can still deliver the abandon cart email with the associated product and related offer using the magic of Javascript.

Retailers frequently disagree into when the best time to send an abandoned cart email is, but most of our customer send the email approximately 12 to 24 hours after the abandonment takes place.  This time duration has proven to be an effective timeframe for which to release.

12. Testing free shipping thresholds

Every retailer uses free shipping as a mechanism to drive growth, especially during peak seasons in which conversions are at their highest.

During the off-season however, free shipping cannot be a sustainable part to an online strategy, but yet should be considered as a tool to strategically help people to convert.

The question is what average threshold, in terms of dollar amounts, do your customers respond best to? This informational intelligence can only be gathered from testing thresholds.

Start with typical ranges of $50-$75 to trigger free shipping and observe the impact to your overall profit and loss, you will see with those minimums the right balance to maximize your logistical economic opportunity.

13. Infinite scroll

Infinite scroll is a fantastic mechanism to enable users to view an endless supply of products without having to engage in pagination clicks, clicks that would increase the chances of a user abandoning your website.

Essentially infinite scroll uses JavaScript and related technologies, to consistently deliver products within a merchandising grid type environment, until that complete list of products reaches its conclusion.

Be aware that this technology could  present potential problems with search engine optimization and brands should utilize canonical tags and/or prev next tags to ensure that search engines and crawlers have visibility into which pages should be served.

14. Product badging


Product badging is another great way to distinguish merchandise within a category as being on sale or being part of an associated promotion.

Following business rules, you can associate badges within products using backend factors.  For example any merchandising grid product presentation you can show: free shipping, on sale, and buy one get one free.

15. Showing discounts


The concept of “was is pricing” has always been an effective way to merchandise in an e-commerce store.  By showing the old pricing, new pricing and the ultimate difference from the two, this additional layer of information is an effective way to persuade users and is worth testing in your store.  This tactic is obviously more prominently used in discount environments and if your brand cycles inventory frequently.

16. “Email me my cart” on mobile

In today’s multi-device, multi-touch world, the need to bridge the gap between desktop and mobile sessions is paramount. Most brands do not have the sophisticated data systems to enable pre-population of cart contents across devices.

A more simple approach is to allow your visitors to email their cart content to themselves. This approach allows your shoppers to quickly access their products on a desktop following a shopping session on mobile.  Using tracking parameters, your business can also “stich together” these sessions and enable more informed decisions relating to attribution and campaign spend performance.

17. Delivery & Ship Info at the Product Page


Want a quick ecommerce improvement? Include delivery and ship information at the product page. IT works best if you enable users to input their zip codes (or conduct a geo lookup) and quickly deliver precise information (such as 2-4 days with standard shipping).  This enhancement will serve your users well by answering a critical question in their minds (when will I get my stuff!).

18. Product Page QA


Product page QA is a great addition to your webstore. Typically served via Javscript, this type of functionality allows your shoppers to ask specific questions on the page which then are stored and showed to future product viewers.

Questions are routed to team members within your brand, and once answered are then published. Amazon takes this function a step further, facilitating consumers to answer questions to products. This type of functionality is vital within consumer electronics where specification questions and usage details are critical in educating a shopper when making a purchase decision.

19. Related Searches

How smart is your on-site search? If you are not using algorithm based semantic matching to help guide your shoppers, your site search is likely leaving dollars on the table.

Related searches driven from this type of technology will take previous searches from users as well as constructed searches that are pre-set and present these terms as filtering/refinement options when the shopper is in the discovery mindset.

20. Caching


A technical element of utmost importance, ensuring that your website supports browser caching is critical to maximizing your site performance.

There is a direct correlation between speed and conversion rates.  After a shopper loads an element from your server, there is no need to serve it again when it can be cached locally.  Ask your development team to ensure that your store leverages the latest in caching technology to present your best site speed to your shoppers.

21. Prominent Pricing


In conducting hundreds of tests on product pages for brands of all sizes, one aspect that can enhance the effectiveness of a product page is the presentation of price.

Your price should be clear, big, bold and be near the call to action button – most likely the standard “add to cart” action.  The biggest thing to look out for within your product page presentation is to ensure that the pricing is displayed above the fold, both within desktop and mobile environments.

22. Out of stock reminders


Do you have product that goes out of stock quickly? A good sign because your merchandise is in demand, but this delivers a terrible experience for your eCommerce shoppers.

Instead of leaving your shoppers left unfulfilled and miss out on lost revenue – use technology to construct a user email reminder that informs the user when the product inventory rises above a certain threshold or back in stock.

23. Video Analytics

Analytics tells you what is happening, but primary usability research tells you why it is happening.  A great way to kickstart your eCommerce intelligence into your site usability is to implement video analytics into your site.

This will allow your business to watch sessions for certain scenarios within certain pages, and get real life examples of how your site experience is performing.  Take this intelligence and strategically plan how to improve your site through functionality enhancements or bug rectification to things you haven’t noticed lately.

24. Optimize category layouts

Category, sub-category and family pages are eCommerce templates with the core and only goal of product merchandising. These pages exist to present your catalog in dynamic ways, making it easy for users to analyze and evaluate product options within a given category.

Slight changes into how these pages are constructed and the overall design elements can equal large gains in “category to product page progression” ratios.

Think outside the box in these templates. What can be added to better engage users, expand and deliver a more complete assortment, and enable the ability quickly evaluate products? Use an optimization platform to conduct multivariate tests and assess how the changes affect key metrics.

25. Unique copy at product level

One of the most under-valued areas within an eCommerce operation is the importance of product copy. Brands and retailers frequently just utilize manufacturer content that is provided. This copy is typically “thin” and not written to engage shoppers and sell.

By enhancing this copy with more descriptive text, product value (i.e. what problems are solved by the product) and by summarizing key points with bullets, your products will likely convert more effectively. It may seem mundane and not very sexy, but refreshing your copy will help SEO and conversion in parallel.

26. International Messaging

Do you ship internationally? If so, then be sure to make sure your non-US traffic knows!

Create country banners that render above the header that are dynamically served when the website identifies an international visit. By informing the shopper that the website will indeed ship to their native country, your brand can capture this additional segment more effectively.

27. Product targeting by clickstream


Another tactic to more effectively convert shoppers is to target merchandising based upon product views in a category.  For example, if a shopper goes to WalMart.com and viewed 5 products within the Starwars category, when the users comes back to the website within a subsequent visit or to the homepage, tailored creative will be shown to further spur a purchase to the product category that was viewed.

In omni-channel scenarios, these scenarios can cross physical and digital lines – i.e. tailoring products and promotions based on in-store purchases.  To achieve a result such as this, a data management platform is required to house all the attributes and data – while “listening” to all channels for when it can make a match and deliver on triggered marketing.

28. Auto suggestion for search


Site search, as mentioned earlier, is really critical to get right. One additional component to ensure your site maximizes search is auto suggestion.  As a shopper utilizes your search function, the application presents suggestions for the user, or provides quick jump points to related products based upon the existing catalog feed within the store.

29. Clear error messaging

Error messaging within your checkout process is an important component to not overlook.  Most eCommerce platforms provide standard error messaging that is triggered when shoppers input wrong characters or similar. Sometimes though these errors are delievered on page load, causing abandoned checkout sessions.

Its crucial to ensure that his messaging load instantly (not on page load) and uses a color and text scheme that quickly gets the shopper’s attention and allow the user to make the needed changes to progress forward within the process.

30. Intelligent Emails


No doubt, Email marketing has become more sophisticated within retailers and brands over the last 12-24 months.  No longer is sending out blast promotions a strategy for growing loyalty and purchases from within your house list.

Using data management platforms,  your business can create an ongoing record of activity, across all channels from your shoppers, and you can trigger email promotions queried from purchase and interactivity data.

For example, create an audience of all the shoppers that have bought a Philadelphia Eagles product over the last 2 months and send a clearance email for Eagles merchandise.  That is a powerful message targeting an appropriate audience for maximum impact.

31. Product Videos

In reviewing product page data each day, we frequently see the impact that product video can have to the user experience. Already proven as one of the most effective advertising strategies within Facebook, using a short but descriptive video within the product page is a great way to further engagement and create a greater degree of interactivity.

Start on your top 100 products and see what type of an impact video can drive on both page performance and within overall conversion.

32. Sales section

Everyone likes a bargain and some shoppers are driven mainly from discounts and deals. These shopper subsets frequently show the propensity to click on “sale” or “clearance” sections within a website as a first navigation path.

If your business is not luxury or brand oriented, consider creating a category to house all of your out of life inventory to sell at cost or slightly above.  Doing so will serve this subset of shoppers and enable your brand to have a future relationship, hopefully at full price.

33. Live chat in the cart


Where do shoppers have questions? While in the cart and checkout process of course.  The “rubber meets the road” within these pages and your website needs to provide a quick pathway to service.

A quick solution outside of informational messaging is to provide a link to live chat within the cart/checkout. Upon initiation, the shopper is now able to ask complex questions to a live human and gain the confidence to move forward with the transaction.

34. Persistent Cart


A persistent cart is when a visual cart icon and total are indicated in their website header after a cart action. This functionality provides shoppers with a quick path back to the transactional process and also gives details into order sub-totals.

Making persistent carts become even more effective as dynamic messaging around order totals are provided, while informing shoppers how much merchandise is needed to receive incentives such as free shipping.

35. Progress indicators in Checkout


As users flow through your checkout process, there is always a perception of “pain” as multiple pages and form fields present hurdles in ordering.

Because of this, it’s absolutely vital to present exactly how many steps are remaining in an ordering process for complete alignment with your shopper to reduce abandonment.  Make sure the indicator creative is in the primary visual viewing pane of the user, within the browser above the fold, and uses clear colors and/or contrast to distinguish among other checkout elements.

36. Visual credit card icons within checkout


A new tactic that many retailers are executing is to show a visual mock of a credit card along with logos to make entering numeric values more intuitive. Google frequently follows this approach within their products in order to reduce funnel leakage.

37. Guest Checkout

Guest checkout is the process of allowing a prospective shopper to purchase from your store without having to register or create an account. In these instances, most brands will present the register option at the respective thank you page, in conjunction to potentially firing off tracking pixels that visibility into cross channel behavior and mobile usage.

If your business is not giving your customers the ability to checkout as a guest, this is then the most impactful change you can likely make from this complete list.

38. Maximize thank you page


Outside of getting a guest checkout shopper to register, the thank you page is an effective method to further present offers and promotions that are relevant to the previous purchase. For example, after a shopper buys baby furniture – a brand could present a time sensitive coupon for Free Shipping on all strollers.

39. Facebook remarketing (contextual ads)

Sophisticated marketers are using pixel created audiences to serve contextual ads that are targeted for greater effectiveness.  This approach is allowing brands to spend their money more wisely and drive greater thresholds of return on ad spends.

Facebook is the leader in this segment, enabling marketers to activate campaigns that enable brand engagement and present products within a re-engagement approach.  Working effectively for smaller brands are pre-sale engagement pages that deliver content and videos in order to sell and engage traffic prior to presenting the ability to buy.

40. Sticky headers

A new type of design approach that has gathered momentum within eCommerce, “sticky” headers keep a website navigation in the primary visual pane of the user – therefore making the shopper have an easier path to either utilize site search or the website taxonomy.

This approach, which can be tested against your control header with optimization tools, can potentially increase your overall usage of your search box – which could drive greater levels of engagement and overall conversion.

41. Security Assurance 


Even with the advances in web security, consumers are still scared of losing their credit card information by shopping on a second rate website. With the data breaches that take place among the giant brands, consumers need reassurances that you are taking the appropriate safeguards.

Outside of using HTTPS as a site protocol, be sure to message to the shopping base how the website is kept safe to reduce fears.

42. Mega Menus

All too often, retailers render boring drop down navigations that do nothing but present utility links for users to click through. Try optimizing your menu by using a mega menu that expands across the majority of your header presentation.

This extra real estate provides the ability to integrate promotions to a category, editor picks, as well as relevant content that supports the decision making process for the shopper.

43. Timer countdowns


The old fashioned timer presentation still works in delivering urgency and providing context to when a shopper has to make a decision.

If you have sales or time sensitive promotions, using this type of function within your homepage can be an effective tactic to drive higher conversion. These types of tools are made easier in macro-adopted platforms such as Shopify and/or Magento as pre-built extensions are integrated seamlessly and can be deployed rapidly.

44. Gift guides and lists


Every brand needs to be a publisher and speak to an audience. How does your product solve a problem and/or enhance someone’s life?  How can you educate your prospective customer into why you are better than the competition and how to choose from among your product mix?

Creative content in eCommerce is paramount, but two tactics seem to work better than others. Next peak season try creating gift guides for 5-10 different customer segments as well as construct editorial lists to help engage and educate (ex. The top 20 digital cameras this year).

45. Bot messengers

Lastly, every brand should be considering and planning a strategic bot strategy. Both within Facebook messenger and within a native website, shoppers are interacting with bots and having rewarding interactions.

Your bot should not only engage in customer service related tasks (ex. “Where is my order”) but should progress to become interactive sales assistants that ask questions within category presentations in order to suggest an effective product or lead a consumer to content.

There you have it!  45 ways to drive your ecommerce business to new heights.  We hope you got some new ideas to drive your revenue and conversion rate higher.

If you have any questions to above or would like a custom website review from a Trinity Insight conversion specialist, please contact us or learn more about our conversion optimization services.

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