How to Increase Your Ecommerce Conversion Rates


If you are either currently running an online store or thinking about opening one soon, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to understand what affects your eCommerce conversion rates. Ultimately, converting visitors to customers is what your eCommerce store is all about. In this article I’ll discuss some ideas on how to make that conversion as effective as possible.

Why New Customers Will Buy From Your Store

It’s a fact of life that people visiting your eCommerce store won’t always buy from you. No matter how good your products are or how competitive your pricing is, there is always more to the story. Working out exactly how to maximise your visitor conversion rate can be a difficult problem, but there are some simple steps you can take to improve your chances.

If you were to ask your customers why they bought products from your store, most of them would say that they came to you because you offered them value. That could be monetary value (the cheapest price they could find) or some other measure of value (perhaps a bespoke item, or something not easily obtainable elsewhere). That’s a perfectly reasonable argument, and one that appeals to most people because it sounds very logical. The thing is that the decision to buy isn’t ever as simple, logical or straightforward as it first appears.

It’s true that your customers need to see your offer as something more valuable than the cash you’re asking for in return, but before they buy from you they need something else. They need to trust you. I’m sure we’ve all received unsolicited emails or seen websites making offers which sound too good to be true. Most of the time in those situations, we don’t buy. If the only thing affecting our decision to buy was purely a question of value we’d buy every time the offer matches something we want. However, most of the time we don’t trust the person or store in front of us and we instead look to buy from somewhere more reputable.

So, assuming you are already offering good value to your prospective customers, let’s look at how to maximise the other side of the equation. Here are three ways you can build trust.

1) Give Freely

Give Freely To Increase Your ECommerce Conversion Rates

This might be counter intuitive at first but giving freely can increase your sales and can ultimately boost your bottom line. I’m not necessarily talking about giving away your products for free (although offering free samples and tester products is a strategy which has been used by loads of stores for a long time). When I talk about giving freely, I’m talking about sending the message to your prospective customers that you are not a ruthless money grabbing machine looking to profit out of everyone you come across, but instead that you are looking to help the people you encounter and will go out of your way to ensure they enjoy the experience of dealing with you. It’s about going the extra mile. It’s about doing something not because you have to, but because it delights your customers. There are loads of different ways to do this, and an increasing number of eCommerce stores are waking up to this approach.

One store that does this really well, and has a great reputation because of it, is Zappos. The overall feel of the Zappos store is friendly, warm and personable. Rather than just showing customers their products, they’ve taken the time to write copy which sets people at ease. Trust clearly matters to Zappos and their likeability oozes out of the screen as you browse their store. Perhaps the most significant step Zappos have taken is in their returns policy. Their handy FAQ’s page lays out the rules:

If you are not 100% satisfied with your purchase from Zappos you can return your item(s) for a full refund within 365 days of purchase

That, right there, is a great example of giving freely. A full refund within 365 days – that’s a really long time! Zappos go one further though and make the process incredibly simple. They’ve even made a video showing customers exactly how to return unwanted items.

Zappos - Give Freely

Zappos go above and beyond with their generous returns policy


2) Personal Recommendation

There is no better way to build trust that by your customers recommending your store to their friends and family. Personal recommendation is the most effective form of marketing. This strategy rides on the back of the trust people already have with each other and diverts some of that goodwill onto your store. After all, knowing that your friend has bought something they are completely happy with would quickly alleviate any concerns you might have about buying something from the same store. Word of mouth marketing and personal recommendations will happen naturally anyway, but there are things you can do to get the ball rolling more quickly.

Referral Candy - Personal Recommendation

Referral Candy make it easy for your customers to recommend their friends

Referral Candy offers a great service for rewarding customers who recommend your store. Using Referral Candy you can give discount coupons to your customers to pass on to their friends. When their friends use the coupon to make a purchase, your customers are given a referral reward of your choice. This is a great way to incentivise personal recommendations – your existing customers earn rewards and you gain more customers.

3) Social Proof

Going along with the crowd is usually the easier option, and that is no bad thing. If lots of people have done something before us, we tend to feel more comfortable about taking the plunge ourselves. That is still true when it comes to shopping online and is something you can take advantage of with your eCommerce store. Social proof is about showing your prospective customers that lots of people have bought your products before, that they trust you and that are happy with the service you provide.

Amazon are the kings of social proof. Everywhere you look on their store, there are subtle messages and examples of social proof being shown to their customers. Take a look at this product page.

Amazon - Social Proof

Amazon make it clear that their products are tried, tested and loved by many

The reviews, likes and recommendations all show that Amazon customers have bought the product and are pleased with their purchase. Amazon don’t just use these tactics on a whim. They test everything and the fact that this approach is still used in their store is proof of the fact that it really is effective at building trust with their customers.

What Are You Going To Do?

So there you have it. There are two key ingredients when it comes to selling online – value and trust. Which of these three tactics could you implement to boost the trust prospective customers have in your eCommerce store? Even the smallest improvement could have a huge knock on effect when it comes to increasing your conversion rate.

Photo Credit: JoshuaDavisPhotography and asenat29

2 Comment(s)

  1. November 7, 2013 at 4:24 am

    Hey Chris! Thanks for mentioning us! Love what you’re doing here. :-)

    • January 4, 2014 at 3:27 pm

      Hey Visakan – Thanks for stopping by. I really liked ReferralCandy when I came across it so wanted to feature it here.

      Sorry for taking so long to reply!!

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