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A Guide to Ecommerce CRO

April 11, 2018
Table of Contents

If you run an e-commerce website (especially a relatively successful one), you begin to notice how hard it is to move the needle on conversions and purchase power. You feel you’ve hit a wall in optimizing your user paths, designs seem harder to change, and you feel like the end of the rope has come and you’ve got nowhere to grasp.

There’s only one answer to this roadblock…


CRO testing can help you determine things the human eye can’t see in real time. It takes the past, present, and future into account and can help you make the small changes that make a BIG difference.

Related: 9 CRO Facts That Will Convince You to Use It

Let’s look at someone like Nike. You see their site (and maybe they do too) and it’s difficult to notice items that can be tested. To you, you may identify one or two things to improve or experiment with:

But in our eyes, e-commerce sites have endless things to test and reiterate. Here’s what we see:

Everything outlined in red, we see a test for. Before I lose you with this, let me explain:

E-commerce sites attract users, all of which are unique in the way they like to shop. Therefore, the more experiences you can tailor for, the better. Once you target a certain layout that appeals to the most amount of users, you’ve found what ultimately benefit you the most.


In addition to this idea, this year alone shows how much room for improvement there is among e-commerce websites. The Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly released a December 2017 report on conversion segmented by devices and media for large e-commerce brands, showing how there is always room to hit a 5% mark, even if the average lies around 2-3% (especially for mobile devices, I can’t stress enough how important mobile optimization is in 2018):

Why is it Important to Be Above the Average?

Convertize puts this into perspective in I think the best way:

“…the main takeaway that you should have after getting acquainted with “the slight edge phenomena” (another name for the winner takes all phenomena)… is simply to say that one should focus on relative, not on an absolute performance! Robert H. Frank and Philip J. Cook claim that in some settings, absolute performance does not yield the reward; what matters, in the end, is simply being better than your competitors… when you play tennis, you don’t have to be the best in the world to win in some match; you just have to be better than your opponent in the moment.”

It’s important to be better than the average because in most cases that makes you the best.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to CRO

So How Do We Get To Be THE BEST?

We test. In order to get a higher e-commerce conversion rate (or to meet averages in your respective industry), you must experiment and follow best practices and user data.

Here are some of the main items to look at when brainstorming ideas to test on your e-commerce website:

  • Website copy (categories, info, FAQs, product descriptions)
  • Social proof (testimonials, product reviews, social, media)
  • CTA placement (add to cart buttons, request info, checkout)
  • Exit-intent pop-ups (if the user leaves the browsing window, offer a discount)
  • Product pages (price size and color, description placement, ratings, images)
  • Checkout experience (how many shipping fields are there, where are people abandoning the cart)
  • Navigation (are pages clear for users?)
  • Reducing choices (instead of leaving too many options as a distraction, TELL the user what they need)
  • Reviews (make the placement and specific ratings strategic)

(Props to Shopify, PPC Hero, and Wise Pops on some of these)

Wrapping Up

In summary, keep an open mind when assessing the psychological effects of your e-commerce store. There are things waiting for you to toy with. 100% of the time you are either finding an improvement or validating the work you have done. It’s a win-win situation that leaves you with more money and knowledge in the end.

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