19 Effective Conversion Rate Optimisation Strategies for E-Commerce Websites

What even is CRO?

In plain English, CRO is the art (and science) of getting more of your website visitors to do what you want them to do, be it buying a product, signing up for newsletters, or hitting that download button. It’s about making your website a smooth, persuasive machine that guides visitors straight to the checkout button. Whether it’s tweaking designs, refining content, or simplifying navigation, every little change you make can help turn passive lookers into active buyers.

CRO - It's a marathon, not a sprint.

The true magic of Conversion Rate Optimisation lies in its long-term benefits. By strategising and implementing CRO thoughtfully over time, you harness the power of marginal gains—small, incremental improvements that compound and significantly boost your efficiency and profitability.

Getting the most out of your advertising spend

It’s about making every click count and every visitor matter more. This approach not only maximises your advertising spend but also turns casual browsers into loyal customers. The better your site converts, the higher your return on investment will be, making every penny you put into promotions work harder for you. So, while it may require patience and persistence, the payoff is a more effective, efficient website that drives growth and scales your business.

So, ready to boost your site’s performance? Here’s a list of 19 actionable CRO tips that will help you optimise your e-commerce website in ways you probably hadn’t thought of yet.

1. Optimise everything for Mobile

Mobile commerce accounted for 69% of e-commerce sales in the UK in 2023 (Statista). Ensuring your site is mobile-friendly is crucial, including responsive design and mobile-friendly navigation elements that improve usability on smaller screens.

Review some of your own usage statistics and reflect this in the overall design, speed performance and feel of your website.

Keep coming back to this point too as you add more CRO tactics, tools or tech to your store and make sure nothing is overlapping on mobile, for example Sticky Add To Carts & Chat Widgets will typically stick to the bottom of the page alongside cookie policy pop-ups so make sure there is either a clear hierarchy or that certain tools are switched off or re-located for mobile.

2. Include Plenty of Social Proof

As the majority of your store’s visitors will be first-timers, we need to build as much trust in your brand and the products you provide as possible and the best way to do this is showing that other people have bought this item or from this store before AND have had a great experience.

Make sure this is included at multiple touch points; Home Page, Landing Pages, Product Description Pages so that wherever buyers are looking, they are seeing just how great your brand & products are and that they are not alone but part of a community by buying from you.

Examples include Number of units sold, Number of happy customers, User Generated Content (UGC), reviews etc.

On average, reviews produce an 18% uplift in sales. Use reviews and ratings prominently on product pages and within search results to help build trust and influence purchase decisions.

Tech partners such as reviews.io and Trustpilot are great for collecting reviews and integrating these into your online store.

Don’t have any reviews yet? Pick a platform to use and start collecting reviews from existing buyers in both written and video form, use email marketing and incentives to drive these and give your biggest fans a platform to share their experiences.

Don’t forget to engage with reviewers too, good or bad their experience will be valuable to potential buyers so this is a great opportunity to publicly showcase your awesome customer service.

If you are highlighting specific quotes or videos from buyers, make sure they focus on the benefits to buyers, not just talking about features.

Finally, consider social proof to encourage cross-sells. For example ‘300 people who bought X also bought Y’.

3. Reduce Load Times

This is becoming increasingly important, not just for SEO but also for user experience and now evident in CRO, a one-second delay in page load time can yield a 7% reduction in conversions (Neil Patel).

Streamline your store by optimising images (correct sizes and using .webp where possible), using lazy loading on images, leveraging browser caching, and reducing server response time to enhance the user experience and retain customers.

Consider hosting Landing Pages on an externally hosted subdomain which will remove a lot of the scripts and pixels the main store will load in.

Use the same principle for videos too, avoid hosting directly on your store but opt instead for hosting on either YouTube or Vimeo and let their servers do some of the heavy lifting.

4. Use Heatmapping Tools

Heatmaps have shown that 80% of users only view information above the page fold. Tools like Microsoft Clarity or Hotjar help analyse what elements your buyers interact with and how they navigate your site, allowing you to optimise layout and content placement effectively.

Review heatmaps across both desktop & mobile to find where users are clicking.

Use scrollmaps to determine how far on each page buyers are actually scrolling to determine where to place key conversion-boosters on each page.

If you do want to include very detailed information on certain ingredients or industry-specific terms, include them further down the page but link to them from some of your key features or descriptions towards the top of the page.

Spend some time watching live user recordings to fully understand how people are interacting with your store, where users click (which variants have they looked at), where their scrolls stop or where they have clicked to Add to Cart or where they have been switched off.

5. Clear and Global Calls to Action

CTAs that are clear and compelling can increase conversion rates by up to 32% (HubSpot, 2021) so make sure every CTA on your site uses action-oriented text, stands out through colour or design, and is placed strategically to draw attention.

Use CTAs to drive buyers towards your ‘Best Sellers’ or ‘Popular’ products.

Make sure this is overtly clear, keep the colour consistent across Add To Cart, Checkout, Complete Purchase etc. Making this a unique colour will help these CTAs stand out very obviously.

6. Reduce Buyer Anxiety

As noted further up the page, most visitors are first-timers, it’s our job to reduce any anxiety around buying from a new retailer.

Offering a clear and reassuring return policy can increase conversions by up to 17% (ReadyCloud, 2019).

Be sure to include delivery information before the Cart and test adding gamification on orders reaching the Free Delivery limit.

Showcase your policies on product pages, close to Add To Cart buttons and during the checkout process to alleviate shopper concerns and encourage purchases.

If you don’t have strong returns policies in play yet, take some time to consider how you could improve your product or satisfaction guarantees to make it a no-brainer for buyers to use your products or services.

Is your brand or product based in the UK? Shout about it!

Posting all orders out within a day? Make sure buyers know this!

7. Reduce Clicks to Purchase

There are so many studies on how the number of steps to checkout can increase conversion rates and reduce lost sales. Evaluate your checkout process and streamline it as much as possible, removing unnecessary steps and simplifying the user flow – Shopify has one of the best converting carts online FYI.

Landing Pages for core products are essential for this, guide buyers directly to them from your marketing campaigns and include direct Add To Cart buttons to really streamline this process.

8. Highlight Your Best Offers

This really is Marketing 101 but be sure to always make your best offer front & centre.

Displaying special offers on landing pages can improve conversions by over 10% (Marketing Experiments, 2019). Ensure that your best deals or key selling points are the first things a visitor sees on your homepage and main landing pages.

If you’re running key promotions or your core product has a huge number of 5* reviews, feature this front-and-centre in the hero section of your Home page.

9. Enhance Product Images

Using high-quality images can increase sales by up to 9% (ConversionXL, 2021). Employ professional photographs that show your products in a clear, attractive manner and include zoom or rotation functionalities to allow for detailed views.

Product imagery should be visually stunning; use some colour, make it bright, add key iconography to highlight the features. 

Now your product images are looking awesome, make them big & bold!

Introduce UGC on your product pages in the main product images section and elsewhere on the page.

10. Make Discounts and Offers Prominent

If you do offer discounts or have offers (and that’s a big IF as it’s not always the only way to increase sales), really make sure you are including these clearly and making it as easy as possible for buyers to take advantage – especially if they are designed to increase AOV!

Avoid falling into the trap of making discounts or offers hard to apply. Make them easy to copy and paste or auto-apply product discounts in the cart where necessary.

If it’s not auto-applied, include this in the Cart drawer so buyers can do this straight away – this would probably need some extra coding as it isn’t included natively in Shopify, for example.

Strategic placement of discounts can lead to an increase in transactions by up to 24% (VWO, 2018). Make sure that any discounts, promotions, or special offers are easy to find and clearly labeled.

11. Standardise 'Add to Cart' Button

More than any other CTA, your Add To Cart button should be the easiest thing to find on Product Description Pages or Landing Pages – really make this stand out and standardised across the whole site with hover states to make these stand out even more.

Buyers should never be more than one finger-scroll away from an Add To Cart button, look to tweak your product pages to keep this easily accessible through a sticky Add To Cart which appears at a determined scroll depth.

12. Remove the Noise

Remember why your buyers are here, what they want to know and what we as marketers want them to do.

Keep everything as simple as possible on the site, using icons where possible to clearly showcase features. Consider how content is displayed on sales-focused pages and remove or restructure any lengthy sections to cut to the chase as quickly and clearly as possible without overwhelm or offering too much choice.

13. Optimise the Cart Page or Drawer

Enhancements on the cart page can lead to an 18% uplift in conversion rates (Baymard Institute, 2021). Include trust signals, such as security badges and easy access to customer support, along with clear information on shipping options and costs.

Employ some of the tactics we have included in this list within the cart; easy returns, social proof etc.

If you have a free delivery threshold, include this in the cart to encourage buyers to increase their order value to reach the threshold.

Consider introducing subscription options, cross-selling options to suggest complementary products or low price, high margin products. Alternatively, if your profit margins increase on multiples of a product, offer an increased quantity at a discounted price.

Remember this is the last chance to get a buyer to push the button so we need to remind them of all the great reasons to buy from your brand.

14. Use Clear & Descriptive Icons

Icons can help users navigate your site more effectively and increase purchase intent by up to 11% (UX Movement, 2018).

Use clear, intuitive icons to communicate shipping policies, payment options, and other key commerce features.

Replace lengthy ‘Product Features’ boxes with a series of icons highlighting how great the product is. Introduce 3-4 key icons in the homepage to show your key trustbuilders.

15. Add User Generated Content (UGC)

Building on the Social Proof point from earlier, the use of UGC is becoming a real catalyst to conversions.

It’s been clearly documented how successful UGC is across paid media campaigns, especially on social media but introducing this to your store not only gives a clear, joined-up journey but can also increase conversion rates.

16. Provide Bundles & Smart Cross-Sells

Offering bundles and smart cross-sells can be a game-changer for improving both Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) and Average Order Value (AOV). Strategically aligning these tactics with the profit margins of each product not only boosts profitability but also enhances customer experience by simplifying their purchase decisions.

For example, if your delivery costs remain constant for up to three items, why not incentivise customers to buy multiples? Introducing a multi-buy discount can encourage shoppers to purchase more than one of the same product, effectively increasing your sales volume without additional shipping costs. This not only improves your margins but also enhances the perceived value you offer to your customers.

Cross-selling should be approached with a keen eye for complementary products, akin to thoughtful merchandising in a physical store. For example, suggesting a matching top for a skirt or the perfect pair of shoes to go with a new dress can significantly elevate the shopping experience. Products linked in this intuitive manner are more likely to resonate with shoppers, making them feel understood and catered to.

Tools like Salesfire can streamline recommendations and cross-sells by integrating these tactics seamlessly into your website, helping to optimise your e-commerce platform further.

17. Focus on Benefits, Not Features

Ditch the technical jargon and instead focus on how your products can genuinely make life better. For instance, research suggests that talking about the benefits of a product over its features can boost your chances of making a sale by 20% (MarketingProfs, 2020). That’s pretty significant!

So, how do you put this into action? If you sell smart watches, instead of talking about its 18-hour battery life, why not highlight how it frees up the user’s day? You could say something like, “Wear it from breakfast to dinner without a single charge—perfect for your non-stop lifestyle!” It’s about painting a picture that fits seamlessly into your customer’s daily routine and shows the practical perks of owning the product. Remember the first iPod slogan? “1000 songs in your pocket.”

Sprinkle these benefit-focused nuggets not just on your product pages but everywhere your brand has a voice. Whether it’s in emails, on social media, or in your ads, make sure your messaging sings the same tune, telling your customers how much easier, happier, or cooler they’ll be with your product in their life. This approach doesn’t just sell a product; it sells an experience that’s too tempting to pass up.

18. Continuously Measure and Optimise

CRO is a long game and should be treated as such. Continuously testing and tweaking elements like CTAs, product images, and page layouts based on analytics and heatmap data to refine user experience and boost conversions.

Use A/B Testing to prove or disprove your hypotheses and give each test enough time and data to do so.

Not all CRO tactics will work all the time but the key is to continue to make marginal gains and reap the benefits of compound interest by being consistent over time.

19. Ensure Consistency Across All Channels

Keeping your brand message consistent across all platforms is a must if you want to see a real bump in your bottom line. In fact, sticking to a unified message can boost your revenue by up to 23% (Forbes, 2021).

This is because consistency breeds familiarity, and familiarity breeds trust. When buyers see the same values and messages whether they’re scrolling through their phones, looking online, or walking into a store IRL, they start to get a real feel for what your brand is all about.

But here’s the best bit: a joined-up approach does more than just streamline your message—it also makes your teams more efficient. When everyone, from marketing to sales to customer service, is on the same page, it cuts down on confusion and lets your teams focus on what they do best.

When your advertising highlights certain features, these should echo across your landing pages or product descriptions. This creates a seamless journey for the buyer. Imagine seeing an ad for a waterproof, all-weather jacket and clicking through to find a product page that talks up its style and design but neglects to mention its durability against the elements. It’s a huge turn off, right? And it might just lose you a sale.

Let's Wrap It Up There

Well done, you’ve made it through our treasure trove of CRO tips! 🎉

There are so many other areas we could cover but this should be enough to whet the appetite for upping your CRO game.

All good CRO efforts come from a strong strategy; pull the big levers first then consistently test clear, measurable changes to finely tune your store.

Whether you’re just starting out or looking to up your game, applying these CRO strategies can seriously revamp your e-commerce site, making it not just a store, but a conversion powerhouse. Remember, it’s all about testing and tweaking—small changes can lead to big wins.

If you need a hand fine-tuning your website or crafting a killer CRO strategy, don’t hesitate to reach out. Our team is here to help you decode the digital maze and find the perfect path to success. 

So, why wait? Drop us a line and see how we can elevate your e-commerce game.