E-commerce Conversion Rate: Lessons from Retail Giants


For a change, let’s just cut to the chase. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is maximizing the number of visitors to your website taking an action that you want them to take. The action you want the visitors to take could be anything from signing up for a newsletter, creating an account, making a purchase or downloading an app. CRO is a structured and systematic method that makes use of insights like analytics and user feedback to improve the performance of a website. The alterations made in the website to enhance performance could involve elements of visual design, copywriting, and testing out different versions of the website content.

Three Approaches

Now that we’ve defined it, let’s take a look at the three common ways to perform CRO. The first option is to teach yourself by reading about it online. Secondly, you can experiment and learn by using trial and error. And the third option is to hire or outsource CRO to a professional firm. No approach is supreme; you can choose the approach that suits you best.

The Fourth Approach: Learn from the best

Apart from the three aforementioned approaches, there is a fourth approach that cannot be overlooked. It is to observe, learn and imitate. To be more specific, you can take a close look at successful ecommerce websites and understand what is working for them and adapt those techniques to reap maximum benefits without having to spend a lot of time and money by experimenting and hiring respectively. We shall look into some lessons that these ecommerce giants have taught us.

Popup Paradox

It isn’t surprising if you haven’t met someone who screams that she ‘loves popups’! Because, most of us don’t, we find it very annoying. But no matter how annoying we find them, they work. Sounds paradoxical, doesn’t it? Maybe, you find it even a little implausible. Here’s a small thought, if they are annoying and don’t work, why do ecommerce giants still hold on to them? The answer is simple, they do work. A company like Staples is making millions of dollars with them. If you still don’t believe in it, give it a try and see the results for yourself.

Upsell Tactic 

If you are selling your products online, then Click-through rate (CTR) for you involves actions like purchase that are directly related to profit-making. In such cases, CRO is also about increasing profit. This is where upselling comes in. An upsell tactic involves suggesting an item or product that is more expensive than the one the customer was about to purchase. A cross-sell, on the other hand, is trying to make the customer spend more money by adding products that could be bought along with the product the customer is buying.

Pay a visit to the site of Amazon and you can see both these tactics in action. You can upsell when the customer heads for checkout.

Spotlight Numbers

Ecommerce shoppers are usually price sensitive which means that the first thing they want to know is the product’s price and the discount available. Making your numbers stand out takes advantage of this shopping behavior. Take, for instance, Staples, the numbers on their homepage has the largest font size, larger than even the brand name and headline.

HQ Images

High quality images attract a lot of attention. Using a lot of quality images can sell the product. Three great tips to improve conversion rate through images are: use big images, select a good background or keep no background and use pictures of people. Walmart and Amazon are making the best use of large high-quality images.

Top-grossing First

As an ecommerce retailer, you may be selling a lot of inexpensive things and not only that, many expensive things may not be in the customer faves. So, front-load those products that are top grossing. Follow the example of Staples. They sell many cheap items like clips, sticky notes and other office miscellany. But look at what they front-load, the high-grossing printers, iPads and desktops.

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Free Shipping

Why do most of the giant ecommerce retailers offer free shipping? Because, no one likes paying extra costs. Not only that, most of the customers also expect to receive free shipping. It is now something online shoppers take for granted. If you can afford it, better provide it because it’s a big win.

Freebies Rule

Seriously, who doesn’t love getting stuff for free? Online retailers give out free stuff now and then especially if it’s holiday season. Sure, freebies do cost the company but the loss is very little and completely worth it since it motivates conversions rather effectively and succeeds where many other strategies fail.

Off the Record

Learning from the best is well and good, but blind imitation is downright risky. Keep in mind that just because CRO tactics worked well for some ecommerce retailers, it doesn’t imply that the tactics are infallible and will definitely work for you.  Your industry, target audience and niche will help you decide what tactics work the best for you.

CRO will rarely succeed if imitation and guesswork are its foundation. Sure, the successful ecommerce retailers teach us some tips and guidelines that make our job of searching for tactics easy, but all tactics are not surefires. Take your time, understand your own market and perform your own tests and learn from them. Come up with those tactics that are tailored for your business. Finally, remember, CRO isn’t everything. No great ecommerce website grew from CRO alone.

Author : Letterbug Date : 12 Feb 2016