Despite all of its moving parts, basic ecommerce strategy comes down to 3 primary tenets:

Traffic Generation – Investing in marketing and advertising to drive qualified traffic to an ecommerce website.

Customer Acquisition– Optimizing that ecommerce website to receive traffic and reliably convert it.

Customer Retention– Increasing revenue from existing, known customers using retention strategies like email marketing and retargeting to encourage future purchases.

In the following guide, designed for ecommmerce CEOs and Marketing Directors – we partnered with Helpflow to outline the key CRO best practices that every online retailer should have implemented on their site.

FREE Ecommerce Business Owner’s Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization

If you don’t have time to read through the full guide, skim the checklist we’ve created below.

1. Live Chat is the Fastest Way to Answer Questions

The best way to get an answer to a question is to ask a human. The human thinks about the question, asks for a few more details in some cases, and then provides the answer. Simple.

This happens naturally offline, but is tough to produce if you don’t have human help available on your site. It’s hard to provide this same experience through great user experience testing and content.

The solution? Offer human help through live chat.

Keys to Success:

  • Live chat has the highest satisfaction score across all support channels.
  • There are many benefits visitors get by using live chat over another support channel, but the most important is that they can get answers to their questions quickly.

 

2. Data Driven Approach to Creating Comprehensive FAQs

Some people won’t ask questions via live chat, but you should still focus on getting them answers easily. Having great FAQs throughout your website gives you a chance to answer these visitors’ questions so they purchase.

Keys to Success:

  • Create an FAQ page, but don’t fill it with “fluff”. Focus on product and order questions real shoppers have.
  • Review your emails, live chat transcripts, and Amazon listing FAQs to pull out specific questions visitors ask.

 

3. Publish FAQs Throughout the Website

Having a dedicated FAQ page is important, but you should also integrate relevant FAQs directly into your site.

conversion rate optimization checklist

Keys to Success:

  • Implement content on product page(s) with a creative way to address common question(s).
  • Do the same for checkout pages – provide relevant content throughout the customer’s purchasing process.

 

4. Don’t Hide From Visitors, and Reply Quickly

If you’re not using live chat, and a question isn’t covered in your FAQs, what is a visitor supposed to do? They’ll either “come back later” (which is unlikely) or they’ll want to ask you the question directly.

Too many ecommerce stores make it tough to ask questions. You wouldn’t want your brick and mortar employees hiding from visitors in your store, so make sure you’re not doing that online.

conversion rate optimization checklist

Keys to Success:

  • Make it easy for your visitors to contact you, whether it’s via phone, chat, or email.
  • Use a HelpDesk to manage incoming questions so you can easily route questions to the right person automatically and collaborate with your team on complex questions.

 

5. Make It Easy to Enter Payment & Shipping Info

conversion rate optimization checklistIf someone wants to give you money for your product, you need to make it as easy as possible to do.

If you’re asking for a ton of information before you will take their money, then many buyers will leave. You need to make your checkout process simple.

Keys to Success:

  • Don’t force account creation – you can automatically create an account for them after they check out as a “guest” using some creative programming.
  • Auto-populate addresses with the Google Maps API & simplify credit card entry.

 

6. Allow Buyers to Come Back to Their Shopping Cart

Once customers are ready to buy, they’ll clean-up their shopping cart and complete their purchase. This isn’t a problem for you, unless they want to come back later today or tomorrow and finish the checkout.

Keys to Success:

  • Allow visitors to automatically “save” their shopping cart so they can easily come back and complete the purchase.
  • Using a “Persistent Shopping Cart” gives the customer the ability to come back and see their cart without having to save anything or create an account.

 

7. Use Checkout Abandonment Email Reminders

More than half of people leave the checkout process before completing a purchase. This happens for a lot of reasons.

Using a persistent shopping cart makes it easy for them to finish the checkout process when the come back, but what about those customers that don’t actually come back?

You can use email reminders to get customers back to the website to complete their checkout. Shopping cart abandonment emails used to be a ninja tactic, but they’re a standard best practice now that every store should be using.

Keys to Success:

  • Get the customer’s email address early in the checkout process.
  • Automatically send a reminder to finish the checkout process.
  • Test the abandoned cart email sequences.

 

8. Optimize Product Pages to Start The Purchase

Once your checkout process is really dialed in, it’s time to optimize the next step back from the purchase – the product page.

The goal of the product page is to get buyers to add the item to their shopping cart, so that’s what we’ll focus these optimizations on.

Keys to Success:

    • High quality images and video, coupled with free shipping and no hassle return policies, can have a big impact on conversion.
    • Make product images BIG, use editing and post production

 

9. Address The Ultimate Concern ― Can I Return This?

Your product images, descriptions, reviews, and customer service team can help overcome any hesitancy to make an online purchase―but having a no hassle return policy is best.

Keys to Success:

  • Offer no hassle return policy.
  • Avoid a restocking fee or some other friction point for returning products.

 

10. Include Text Summary Descriptions & In-Depth Details

Product images are more important than text descriptions, but you should still make sure your descriptions are strong.

Keys to Success:

    • The quick summary should make clear who the product is for and show basic details.
    • Show product reviews, even negative ones.
    • Emphasize the Call to Action.

 

conversion rate optimization

11. Make Products Easy to Find

If someone lands on your website, you need to make it simple for them to find the product they’re looking for. Otherwise, they might go back to Google to try to find the product there and land on a competitor’s site.

Keys to Success:

  • Make Your Navigation Clear and Easily Filterable.
  • Structure Your Top Navigation Carefully Using Dropdowns.
  • Make Filtering Products Within a Category Easy.

 

12. Optimize Your Site Search

Some visitors opt to use your product site search if they can’t quickly find products another way.

An eConsultancy study found that 1 in 3 visitors use site search. If the experience is poor, they might go back to somewhere they’d expect a better search experience—Google, which may send them to a competitor.

Keys to Success:

  • Regularly Monitor and Tweak the Quality of Search Results.
  • Emphasize the Search Box.
  • Make Accessing Recently Viewed Products Easy.

 

Want to learn more? Check out the full CRO guide HERE.

How Shoppers Browse and Buy CPG Products Online And Offline

The Consumer Packaged Goods Shopper Survey 2017
 

About the AuthorTara graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Journalism / Business. Her passion for creative publishing and quality reporting landed her work opportunities at several companies in Massachusetts, New York and California. She is a leading voice behind CPC Strategy’s Blog. See all posts by this author here.