eCommerce vendors who aren’t actively improving their landing pages to convert more visitors are almost certainly leaving money on the table.
As of 2018, the average eCommerce website — both globally and in the US — converted less than four percent of its visitors.
So even if you’re already converting at an above average rate, more than 90% of your audience represents untapped market potential.
Now, some of the suggestions below will work for your products or brand, and some may not.
Any Conversion Rate Optimizer worth his/her salt knows that there is no absolute, golden tactic guaranteed to improve conversions on all of your pages.
Effective results come from consistent testing and getting to know your audience.
But that doesn’t mean you should test every little aspect of your landing pages aimlessly.
If you want to avoid ‘blind optimization’ (also known as “changing things just to see what happens!”), you’ll need to track how your changes perform when your site visitors interact with them.
Testing: The One Tactic To Rule Them All
Before we get into tactics to try, let’s take a step back and acknowledge how you’ll know if these tips are effective on your landing page:
When you apply some of the recommendations below, you’ll need to test the performance of the updated version of your landing page against the original version.
There are lots of tools and methods you can use — metrics from Google Analytics, split tests, and heatmaps, just to name a few — but the key is that you’ll need data to support your results before committing to the update.
With that said, let’s look at some ways to optimize your eCommerce landing page for more conversions.
1. Categorize Your Products
Our first tactic for optimizing your eCommerce landing page is a structural one.
Your site visitors will have a much easier time navigating your products if you categorize them in a simple, clickable hierarchy.
Like the aisle signs in your local grocery store, eCommerce categories make it easier for your visitors to peruse your offerings, run searches, and find more products that might fit their needs.
Categorizing your products can also make it easier to organize supplementary content, like videos and educational information, if they are tagged with the same keywords.
2. High-Quality Product Images
This might sound like eCommerce 101, but shoppers today expect high-quality images of your products as a standard part of the online buying experience.
Since your visitors can’t physically pick up what you’re selling and examine it, detailed images are the closest alternative you can provide.
Subpar images, on the other hand, can sour visitors both on your landing page and your brand as a whole.
Sometimes an image of just the product does even better than a shot of the product in action, as we found out with this variant test:
The hypothesis was that the “action” shot would produce more conversions, but the original image of the iron by itself actually outperformed the new version by 44%.
We suspect that because the action shot offered less visual detail of the product itself, users weren’t as interested.
3. Audit Your Checkout Process
eCommerce vendors everywhere share a common enemy — the cart abandoner.
Online sellers in every market typically lose at least half of all shoppers before they complete their purchases.
In some industries, abandonment rates hover around 80%.
And while each shopper has his/her own story for not sealing the deal, shops that make their checkout process too long or complicated will inevitably lose customers who would have converted otherwise.
There are plenty of tactics you can test to improve your checkout process (some of them are listed below), but first you need to take a long and hard look at your current system to see where the biggest obstacles are.
If you address those problems first, you can work backward through your conversion funnel to close more gaps and make your entire process more effective.
4. Simplify Your Headlines
There’s an old saying in marketing that you may have heard before:
“Be Clear, Not Clever.”
This might go against our creative instincts as landing page designers (and blog writers), but remember that most people will leave your landing page in less than 15 seconds.
That doesn’t leave much time for slow-loading animation, witty copy, or confusion of any kind.
Instead, keep in mind that your visitors are looking to solve a problem. Your headline (and subheadings) need to communicate how you’ll solve that problem, clearly and quickly.
This landing page for Square is a good example:
With a simple, three-word headline, Square identifies its audience’s core need and presents a solution.
More information is available further down the page, but everything their site visitors need to know is contained in that headline and the two sentences beneath it.
Writing new, simplified headlines can be easy with the right formula, and this type of change is easy to A/B test.
If your headline is more clever than clear, consider testing a simplified alternative.
5. Social Proof
Social proof means using third-party sources to indicate trustworthiness in your product or brand.
In the eCommerce space, you can use social proof on landing pages to:
- Show off product quality
- Highlight customer experiences
- Promote further engagement
- Reduce friction in your conversion funnel
Social proof can appear anywhere and everywhere in your conversion path.
You can add customer quotes near the top of your landing page, or a social share option after your users complete a purchase.
Just remember that you aren’t trying to show off — your social proof should provide value and persuade would-be customers to take the next step in your process.
6 Common Forms of Landing Page Social Proof
1. Reviews. Most eCommerce platforms include functionality for customers to write reviews. You can pull snippets of relevant reviews for your landing page copy, display star-based user ratings for your products, and more.
2. Testimonials. Testimonials are different from reviews in that they usually offer a more complete, experience-based description of a customer’s interaction with your business. Video testimonials can also engage shoppers who aren’t willing to read through a backlog of written reviews.
3. How-To Videos. Seeing your product in action — in videos created by your customers or via tutorials produced in-house — can reassure potential buyers that their purchase will provide value.
4. Case Studies. Case studies are especially useful for products or services with a long or complex onboarding process. You can detail the timeline of the work and the results you produced, and supplement the explanation with data and a client quote.
5. Social Media Presence. You don’t need to be a Twitter or Facebook fanatic to engage your customer base, but establishing a presence on social media reinforces your credibility online and provides another platform to speak with your audience.
6. Trust Icons. For some specialized fields, including certifications or client logos on your landing page is a quick way to establish that you’re a credible vendor who will provide products or services that meet industry standards.
6. Out-Of-Stock Products
Keeping out-of-stock products on your page might seem like a faux pas, but it can actually spark more interest from potential customers who want what you’re offering.
People are more likely to return if they know that you carry what they’re looking for. Also, keeping out-of-stock items on your site shows that you’re a trusted source for other buyers, which can influence future purchases beyond the item in question.
Finally, you can offer automated notifications on your landing page so visitors will get a reminder when the product is back in stock.
And as an added bonus, you can use this tactic to collect email addresses to further your lead nurturing via email.
7. Include A Disclaimer
Customers making larger purchases — especially online — often want a trial period to make sure they’re happy with their investment.
To ease their fears, you can add a brief disclaimer near your CTA.
You may have noticed this in the “High-Quality Product Images” tactic we mentioned earlier. Below the “Try For 30 Days!” CTA button is a subheading that says “free shipping + 30-day return policy”:
In the example below, Bavsound’s in-car audio upgrade also comes with a disclaimer. People who purchase it can try the system for up to 100 days and still return it for free:
If your prospective leads need reassurance or a built-in opt-out to convert, disclaimers can be an effective way to close the gap.
8. Offer A Discount
Discounts are one of the oldest tricks in the sales book for a reason. The feeling of getting something special or exclusive is often enough to entice a visitor to take the next step.
You can use discounts to acquire new customers, show your appreciation to existing customers, or create an incentive to increase spending per order.
In this example, Q-See added a discount to their headline, swapping the generic “Save On…” with “Get 15% Off…”:
Adding the discount led to a 4% conversion increase. Not bad for a simple text change!
9) Create Urgency
There’s a reason third-rate electronics stores have giant “Going Out Of Business” and “Everything Must Go” signs up all the time.
These signs might seem tacky, but they’re a proven method for creating urgency around an offer. Passersby are more likely to come into your store if they think it won’t be open this time next week.
You can create the same sense of urgency on your eCommerce landing page in a few different ways:
Time-sensitive sales are one; announcing limited product stock is another.
If you go this route, however, make sure to clearly define both the value and the parameters of the deal so that shoppers don’t feel ripped off.
10. Clarify Shipping Info
Speaking of clear definitions, there’s another piece of information that eCommerce shoppers can be sticklers about: how their new purchase will get to their location.
Because Amazon and other large online sellers offer free shipping on most of their products, customers have come to expect zero or minimal shipping costs on their orders.
While you might not have the sales volume or infrastructure to offer free shipping, you still need to provide buyers with shipping costs and information at the right moment in the checkout process.
Saving it for the last step can feel like trickery when the final price goes up, but placing shipping information at the beginning of the transaction can turn some buyers off too.
11. Live Chat
Live chat systems, operated either by staff or artificial intelligence, are an increasingly effective way to support and assist eCommerce buyers.
Further, any worries about people rejecting these ‘chatbots’ appears to be overblown. A 2018 Salesforce study found that 69% of consumers prefer chatbots to applications for answering both simple and complex questions.
Accounting software company Intuit tested a live chat pop-up on their checkout page to help get people in the “review your order” stage over the finish line:
After a round of testing, the chat prompt had generated a 20% conversion rate increase and a 43% higher average order value. (I’m no accountant, but I’m pretty sure that’s an improvement.)
12. Micro-Conversion Tracking
Micro-conversions are actions visitors take before completing a transaction on your landing page.
A few examples of trackable micro-conversions include video views, partial form completions, cart abandonment, and time spent on site.
While these actions don’t directly connect to ROI, you can still use the information they provide to improve your landing page.
Le Tote, a clothing subscription service, started tracking micro-conversions before scaling up their advertising efforts:
Thanks to the micro-conversion tracking, Le Tote made landing page updates that led to a 250% conversion boost and a 60% reduction in cost per conversion.
BONUS TACTIC: Remarketing
Since remarketing doesn’t start until a visitor leaves your page, it’s not technically a landing page tactic — but it’s still a great way to improve conversions.
Remarketing (or retargeting, depending on who you’re talking to) drops a tracking pixel or cookie into a shopper’s browser to follow what products and content they look at on your site.
When they leave, the tracking element connects with platforms like Google Ads and Facebook to show personalized ads based on the person’s browsing history.
The statistics supporting remarketing’s success are substantial:
- Conversions for remarketing ads are 10x higher than normal display ads (0.7% vs. 0.07%).
- Google’s Display Network, one of the top platforms for remarketing, can put your ad on more than two million websites, comprising more than 90% of all internet users.
- Retargeting ads are 76% more likely to get clicks than regular display ads.
If you set up remarketing for your eCommerce landing pages, you can directly target shoppers who abandoned their carts, re-engage past customers, push upselling and cross-selling opportunities, and more.
Remarketing can also help increase your top-of-funnel leads by catching searches or browsing sessions for general terms related to your business.
You’ve probably figured out by now that some of these tactics will be more effective than others for your specific eCommerce outlet. Hopefully you’re already excited to try a few out!
Just remember that your optimization goals begin and end with more conversions, not a more visually appealing page or more comprehensive copy.
Your tactics and testing should produce measurable results that you can build on in subsequent versions of your landing page.