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Complete guide: boost your conversion rate

Our detailed guide will allow you to concretely boost the sales of your Shopify store

In e-commerce, the conversion rate is the crux of the matter. In any case, it is the main KPI (key performance indicator). Everyone has these words on their lips, and rightly so: this is what greatly contributes to the success of an online store when it is optimized, but unfortunately it is also what can lead to its failure, when it is not.

What is conversion rate?

Concretely, out of 100 visitors who arrive on your platform, we calculate those who actually make a purchase. If 3 visitors out of 100 make a purchase, your conversion rate is 3%. Logic.

More generally, it is possible to calculate it by dividing, over a given period, the number of visitors by the number of orders placed.

Little bonus tip: how to calculate the turnover of an e-commerce store based on the conversion rate?

Simply multiply the conversion rate by the average basket and by the number of visitors, for a given period. CA = Conversion rate x Average basket x total number of visits.

We come to the central question of this article: how to improve the conversion rate of your e-commerce store?

We have tried to build our guide in the most logical and complete way possible, that is to say, starting from the traffic that arrives on your platform up to abandoned cart reminders.

Traffic quality: central element to optimize your conversion rate

This is one of the most important elements, and yet we tend to completely forget it: the quality of traffic greatly determines your conversion rate .

The traffic that arrives on your site must be qualified, that is to say that visitors must initially be interested in what they will find there (content, products, services, etc.).

Some examples of problems that can explain why your traffic is not or poorly qualified

  • You have not correctly defined your buyer personae (the buyer profiles that constitute your target) and therefore your acquisition strategy is counterproductive;
  • You do not understand the expectations of your target;
  • Your advertising campaigns are irrelevant;
  • The audience of your influencer campaign does not match your target;
  • Your SEO strategy targets off-topic keywords;
  • Your blog posts have nothing to do with what you sell;
  • Etc…

This will have the effect of increasing the bounce rate (visitors arrive and leave immediately) and lowering your conversion rate.

The advice we give you here is to clearly define your acquisition strategy in order to optimize your conversion rate

  • First define your buyer personas;
  • Carry out a study of your target to understand their purchasing behavior (needs, desires, average basket generally spent on this type of product, purchase frequency, etc.);
  • Benchmark your competition and observe what well-established players do to generate qualified traffic to their site;
  • Select your acquisition channels by prioritizing them and possibly defining a budget for each. There is no point in wanting to develop a strategy on lots of different channels if you don't have sufficient resources.
  • Define the concrete actions to be implemented for each channel (e.g.: “write a blog article per week” or “Launch a new Instagram campaign for my new collection”).
  • Do “test and learn”: try different things in order to keep what works best each time.
  • If necessary and if you have the budget, get support from experts.

The speed of your site: how it directly affects the conversion rate of your e-commerce

When we talk about the performance of a site, we refer to the loading time to display the elements of each page.

There are a whole bunch of statistics highlighting the fact that a loading rate that is too long drastically increases the bounce rate and lowers the conversion rate. We will only cite those from Google , which show the relationship between loading time and bounce rate:

  • A page should load in less than three seconds, and ideally less than one second;
  • From 1 to 3 seconds of loading, the bounce rate increases by 32%;
  • From 1 to 5 seconds, it increases by 90%;
  • From 1 to 10 seconds, it amplifies by 123%.

Optimizing performance on mobile is one of the keys to optimizing your conversion rate

If your computer is apparently capable of loading items quickly, this may not be the case for smartphones when they are not connected to wifi. As mobile e-commerce traffic is now predominant, you need to think about your platform for these devices.

To improve the performance of your platform, here are some interesting ideas:

  • Avoid lengthy pages (some sections are sometimes completely unnecessary);
  • Reduce the size of images and videos by compressing them;
  • Limit the use of plugins and properly remove unused ones;
  • Preferably use common “web safe” fonts (otherwise the visitor’s browser will have to download your font, which will inevitably have an impact on loading time);
  • Optimize the code (“minify” and compress resources);
  • Use cache memory;
  • If you have control over your hosting, opt for a powerful solution.

Knowing the needs and expectations of your target also affects your conversion rate

Another element that is too often underestimated! You have structured your offer, created your site, imagined the benefits and advantages of your products, but you have not really asked yourself the question of what your customers expect.

This does not mean that you will have to change your products, just the way you promote them. What are the most important benefits for your customers? What aspects do they like the least? What makes them hesitate? What problems do they encounter in their everyday lives that your products can solve?

To do this, carefully study all direct and indirect feedback from your customers:

  • The comments that accompany their opinions on your site, those of Google Reviews, Trustpilot, those present on marketplaces if your products are marketed there, etc.;
  • The contents of the emails you receive from them;
  • Objections and questions in live chat;
  • Reviews and mentions on social networks (Facebook, Instagram, etc.);
  • If your competitors offer similar products, also analyze everything that can be said about them.

The structure of the site and the different pages helps increase your conversion rate

There are certainly a number of elements to optimize on your site to achieve a better conversion rate. So let’s get to the heart of the matter right away!

Make navigating the platform as simple as possible.

  • The header must make it possible to quickly distinguish transactional links from content pages. You can use different colors, separate the two types of links (transactional links on the left, content links on the right), play with typographic rules (bold, italics and underline), etc.
  • Reduce the number of content page links in the header. Use the footer to present them.
  • Set up a search bar with auto-completion and possibly suggestions (best-selling products, product selection, new products, etc.).
  • Reduce the number of products offered to visitors in the menu and on the home page: it is proven that too many choices harm conversion. It is preferable to make a relevant selection or to focus on the bestsellers.
  • Integrate effective filters into category/collection pages, especially if you have a lot of products.
  • Opt for a “side cart” (basket that opens from the right of the screen), which allows you to see at a glance the elements present in the basket, recall certain essential information, offer complementary products and above all do not interrupt navigation by completely changing pages.
  • Make breadcrumbs appear to make it easier to navigate between pages and subpages, especially if your catalog is large and there are many subcategories.

Reduce unnecessary steps in the purchasing funnel to boost your conversion rate.

  • Don't force your visitors to systematically create an account in order to make a purchase;
  • Enable payment with one-click solutions;
  • Have forms pre-filled at check-out.

Improve your conversion rate with an optimized product sheet.

Here is a complete article that explains how to boost the conversion rate of your product sheet .

Bring out relevant elements of reassurance throughout the navigation.

  • Highlight your contact information (email and telephone number) to reassure your customers: if they have a problem, they know that they will be able to contact you quickly;
  • Add a live chat to answer all your visitors' doubts and questions immediately;
  • Include an FAQ in your product sheets. We also suggest creating a dedicated FAQ page.
  • Integrate reassurance pictograms (fast delivery, exchange and refund, secure payment, etc.): in the top bar, in the footer, in the product sheets under the add to cart CTA and in the side cart.
  • Communicate delivery costs well in advance and specify whether you offer free delivery above a certain amount. Any unpleasant surprise during checkout risks scaring away the visitor and convincing them not to return later.

Make the most of social proof.

  • More than 80% of online shoppers say they read reviews and testimonials before purchasing a product. It is therefore in your best interest to exploit them. Make sure you have enough, otherwise create campaigns to collect some.
  • If you have expert words, give them special space on your platform.
  • Add a “Press” page in case you have interesting publications, which you can also relay in a section on the home page.
  • Set up a referral program.

Design, UX and UI

Even if certain subjects have already been covered in part in this article, we would like to emphasize the following points:

  • Align the design of your site with that of your brand: this generates trust, boosts purchases and promotes loyalty.
  • Opt for quality photos, which will allow you to imagine yourself with the product and which will make you want to purchase it.
  • Avoid cognitive overload, due to poor page structure and an excess of elements of all kinds (texts, images, photos, illustrations, CTA, etc.)
  • Take care of your CTAs! They must be clear, understandable and invite action.

A well-designed mobile version will have a very direct impact on your conversion rate

Your platform must be optimized for mobile, just as it is for desktop. I personally have doubts about the “mobile-first” strategy, because I have sometimes observed a disastrous user experience and design on desktop (since the platform had not been designed for this medium). No device should be neglected: optimize your platform for all devices!

Here are some tips for optimizing navigation on smartphones

  • As already mentioned above, reduce the loading times of your pages as much as possible;
  • All elements must be designed to be used with the thumbs (menus, CTAs, carousel, etc.).
  • Limit the size of texts on all pages: in any case, long texts are statistically never read, or almost never. Use accordions if you cannot do otherwise: the visitor will have the choice of unfolding them to read their content.
  • Prioritize information: there is no need to have a lot of sections and repeating elements. You need to work on the relevance of these, so as to only display what is essential. Remove sliders: they tend to make navigation cumbersome, and it is also likely that none of the messages you want to convey will be transmitted correctly.
  • Limit the number of fields in forms: you've probably already had the experience of giving up on filling out a form on mobile because of its length. Keep it short! And set up auto-completion of fields.

Copywriting allows you to further refine your conversion rate

Your texts will make all the difference if they are well written, if they convey the tone of your brand and emotion. They will have a direct impact on your conversion rate.

Here is the instructions (in very summary!):

  • Use your customers' jargon because you need to be sure that what you say is understood by them. To do this, examine the opinions left everywhere (on your site and outside), what can be said on social networks or forums, etc.
  • Simplify the language as much as possible: no need to add incomprehensible words, avoid acronyms and anything that requires an explanation…
  • Make anything complex understandable with examples and illustrations rather than just words.
  • Talk to a human: play on emotions. The emotional aspect is an essential component in decision-making. You will much prefer a brand that appeals to you with its particular tone than a completely neutral brand.
  • Don't be in the description only. The visitor must project himself and imagine the use he will make of your product.
  • Do not exaggerate the amount of text and information in the different sections: again the majority will not be read, so be concise.
  • Invite to perform a clear action when it comes to CTA: “Add to cart”, “Discover the new collection”…

Efficient and impeccable customer service reassures and impacts your conversion rate thanks to repurchase

Let's be honest: if you had a problem with your product or with the delivery of it, and the customer service was deplorable, you will not come back to buy on the same platform. This is particularly where customer service has a direct impact on the conversion rate, but not only that. If you respond quickly to your visitors' questions and objections, you will increase your chances of increasing your sales.

Here's what you should do:

  • Be responsive in general: regardless of the channel, respond quickly. If you don't have the answer right away, make the effort to inform your customer that you are doing everything possible to get back to them quickly.
  • Set up a live chat. Please note: this implies being truly available at the times indicated.
  • Find a concrete and acceptable solution to the problems encountered by your customers.
  • Organize your logistics and promptly refund products when applicable. Product returns are part of e-commerce (it is a significant proportion of products that are returned or exchanged), don't forget it.

Marketing levers to boost your conversion rate

Marketing operations will inevitably have a positive effect on your conversion rate, since they will stimulate sales in the more or less short term. However, you will need to be careful to define a strategy, because otherwise you risk creating a dynamic where only marketing operations arouse the interest of your customers: they risk systematically waiting for a special offer to make a purchase, and you risk reducing your margin in this case.

Among the marketing operations to be implemented, here are some examples:

  • Promo codes: you offer a code that can be used to place a first order, or another to be used within a defined time frame, creating a feeling of urgency in order to take advantage of it.
  • Classic promotions: sales periods, Black Friday and others. Simply set discounts to apply to certain items.
  • Flash sales: a countdown accompanies products sold with a promotion, in order, once again, to play on the fear of missing out on a good deal.
  • Loyalty: a program that encourages your customers to come back and buy on your site.

Shopping cart reminders greatly boost the conversion rate

Visitors add products to the cart, and head to checkout, but do not complete their purchase. It's necessarily frustrating to see a large percentage of abandoned carts compared to the number of visits to your site. You can lower this ratio and therefore further increase your conversion rate by setting up an abandoned cart recovery program.

To do this, simply imagine a series of emails that will be sent automatically, inviting visitors to finalize their purchase. It will be necessary to vary their form and content.

Here is an example :
Mail 1: recall what was left in the basket
Mail 2: offer a promotion
Mail 3: offer other products likely to interest the visitor

You can also follow up by SMS and send notifications by installing a module on your store (when the visitor returns to the store, they receive a notification). Finally, it may make sense to allow the automatic saving of products in the basket: this way, the visitor does not have to put them back if he returns.

A/B testing to continually improve your conversion rate

We couldn't finish this article without talking about A/B Testing. Indeed, integrating an A/B testing solution will give you the possibility of obtaining much finer results over time.

A/B testing involves creating an alternative version of a particular page, section or element of your site and observing the results obtained compared to the already existing version*. Traffic comes to both versions of the store in equal proportions. Here is an example to understand:

  • Version A: the page without modification
  • Version B: the page with one or more modifications (example: the color of a CTA, its location, different text, etc.)

If version B performs better than version A, it is in your best interest to apply this modification to your site later. You can then continue to test in the same way and each time select the version that performs the best.

*There are obviously plenty of other ways to use an A/B testing solution, but we have chosen here to present the most common use.


Obviously, we could go into more detail for each section of this article. We will probably do this by writing a specific article for each of them in the future. The main objective was to make you aware of all the elements that will have an impact on your conversion rate.

As I have been supporting clients on these e-commerce themes for many years, I have already had almost all the scenarios presented in this article: we therefore invite you to try to identify which of the 10 points presented are currently problematic. Then, implement the best practices that we have mentioned for each point: you should quickly see an increase in your conversion rate.

Obviously, if you would like support to guarantee you the best possible results, do not hesitate to contact us.

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