How to Identify and Fix eCommerce Conversion Killers

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by: John Surdakowski10/08/2021

Quick Summary Currently, the average eCommerce conversion rate sits at 1.81%, a slight decrease since the start of 2021. What does such a low number mean for your site? Learn more below.


Lower conversion rates directly affect your brand's revenue, especially if you're selling inexpensive products. Conversion rates don't just apply to sales, though. They can also refer to other metrics like email sign-ups or account registrations, depending on your goals.

No matter your goal, if you find yourself with a lower conversion rate than normal, you may have conversion killers on your own eCommerce site that you are unaware of. Fortunately, there are a few ways that you can identify what may be harming your conversions. You can then use several different strategies to fix the conversion killers and enjoy greater conversion rate optimization overall.

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How To Identify Conversion Rate Killers

Identifying your possible conversion rate killers starts with examining the eCommerce metrics of your sales funnel. For instance, you may be receiving a lot of awareness via website traffic and views, but visitors abandon your site right before they enter the last stage of the purchase. Look at the following metrics to get an idea of where and when your conversion problems are happening:

  • Bounce rate on the homepage: The average bounce rate for all websites is 61%. See how your bounce rate compares to this percentage. Is there a high number of visitors clicking out of your site after viewing only one page? If so, your problems may be related to your site's landing page.

  • Abandoned cart rate: All eCommerce companies have faced the wrath of the abandoned cart rate at some point. In fact, 2020 saw a cart abandonment rate of 88%. Keep in mind that not all abandoned carts are your fault, but you can still take steps to minimize this number.

  • Abandoned checkout rate: If customers add items to their carts, enter their payment information, and still leave, you'll see an increase in your abandoned checkout rate. Abandoned checkout rates tend to be lower than abandoned cart rates, but they are still very possible if there is a conversion killer in the way that stops customers from finalizing their purchases.

  • Conversion rate: Finally, calculating your overall conversion rate will show you where you stand as a whole. You can do this by dividing the number of conversions by the number of site visits and multiplying that by 100. For example, if you receive 30 conversions per 500 site visits, your conversion rate formula would look like 30/500 x 100 = 6%.

Utilize A/B testing

The best way to get a deeper understanding of how your customers interact with your site is to perform continuous A/B testing. A/B testing involves testing out two versions of a website or web page to see which one brings more conversions. For instance, if you observe that the bounce rate of your homepage is high, you may want to test out two versions of your homepage to see which one is more successful. The options for what you can test out on your homepage are varied. However, common examples include a different homepage layout, call-to-action buttons, and the addition or subtraction of images, videos, or graphics.

Once you've looked at your metrics, it's time to look at the "why" behind them, or the reasons people stop converting. Only when you've pinpointed your reasons can you begin to solve them.

Why Your Site Visitors Aren’t Converting (And What to Do About It):

Conversion rates can be affected by a wide range of factors, but some of the most common offenders include:

1. Slow site speed

Nothing is more frustrating for a site visitor than a slow-loading web page. In fact, it's one of the top reasons that visitors leave. Google even found that 53% of visitors will leave a mobile site if it takes longer than three seconds to load, making site speed one of the most important factors to focus on.

At the same time, fixing your site speed doesn't have to be overly complex. In many cases, all it takes to make your site load faster is to optimize your site images. It may just be that you are uploading images with incorrect dimensions. Go over your images, resize as needed, and double-check your image compression rate, which affects how images appear on your page.

If you find that all of your images seem to be optimized, consider other speed issues like unnecessary code. You can go through your code and remove any duplication, unnecessary indentation, or unneeded variables or titles. Lastly, consider hosting any videos you put on your site externally through sites like YouTube. Hosting videos on your own servers can eat up bandwidth, costing you precious loading time.

2. Lack of free shipping

If there's one thing customers love, it's free shipping. In fact, over 60% of online shoppers are somewhat likely to cancel an order if they aren’t offered free shipping during the checkout stage. 

Of course, free shipping is not always possible for every eCommerce site. Luckily, you still have options to incentivize customers. You can offer alternatives like a free shipping threshold, where customers have to meet a minimum price to qualify. Not only will this increase conversions, but it can also increase your overall revenue and average order value. Another popular idea is to offer free shipping during designated times, such as the holidays.

3. Forced account creation

Forcing account creation prior to checkout is another huge determent for customers. After all, customers want the checkout process to be as fast and efficient as possible. Adding another step to the process detracts from the experience. Plus, customers may not want to add yet another user account to their list and may be afraid that they will get spammed with unwanted emails or notifications.

Moreover, many customers may also be understandably concerned about potential threats to data privacy. To avoid alarming your customers, offer account creation only after the checkout process is complete. You can do this directly on your site or with a confirmation email. If customers enjoy the checkout experience as a whole, they'll be more inclined to sign up afterward to receive incentives.

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4. Not optimizing for mobile

Mobile eCommerce sales are expected to reach $3.5 trillion by the end of 2021. If you aren't optimizing your eCommerce site for mobile users, you're missing out on big financial opportunities.

An unoptimized mobile site can contain incorrect formatting, cut-off text or images, or pages that are hard to navigate, forcing users to zoom in or out while navigating your site. Improve your mobile site by optimizing your formatting and speed for mobile, as well as checking for any pop-ups that may appear. If you're tackling mobile optimization for the first time, you can use Google's Mobile-Friendly Test to see how your site appears on mobile and target any problem areas you notice. 

5. No live chat option

No matter how smooth your checkout experience is, questions are bound to arise from customers from time to time. If customers can't get their questions answered, they are more likely to give up and leave, further affecting your CRO. That's why having a well-structured live chat option is fundamental to the customer experience.

One of the most popular live chat functions is Gorgias, as SaaS platform for customer support. Not only does Gorgias help with answering customer questions promptly, but they also offer a completely personalized experience for the shopper, further increasing conversions. Customers can ask for recommendations or advice on your products and services through your live chat, which can act as a personal shopping assistant, much like a salesperson in a physical retail location.

6. Lack of trust during the payment process

Every part of the eCommerce experience should instill trust in the customer, particularly the payment stage. Though technological advancements in online payment have evolved tremendously in recent years, many customers fear having their card information or even identity stolen.

To help your customers feel secure, you'll need to provide numerous payment options. In addition to credit card payments, you can also accept popular options like Apple Pay, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, or PayPal.

You should also add security and trust badges when possible. Adding card badges, such as Visa or Mastercard, can help customers spot which payment options you take. Security badges, such as McAfee Safe or Shopify Secure, can also help customers feel more secure about their financial and personal information.

7. Not enough social proof/reviews of products

With 9 out of 10 customers reading reviews before buying a product, failing to provide social proof on your site can hurt your conversion rate optimization. After all, customers are more comfortable buying products knowing that other people have, too. It's the same offline — people are much more likely to visit a restaurant that seems to gather a large crowd over one that never has any patrons.

Incentivize loyal customers to leave reviews by asking them to write a review of the products they purchased from you and post photos of them on social media along with a specific hashtag. You can then offer incentives like discounts or social media reposts to those who do.

8. Not offering any discounts

Discounts aren't just popular with customers — they're expected. This is especially true when customers sign up for your newsletter or create an account on your site. This doesn't mean that you have to offer a discount at every step of the journey. You can offer them at one part of the checkout process or during a set timeframe, such as the holidays.

If you can't currently offer discounts, you can make this up in other areas, such as providing free returns on products or adding value to your current products. For example, if you sell any type of technology, you can throw in a free PDF that acts as an eGuide for the product. Alternatively, if you sell any food or beverage-making items, you can offer a free online recipe book.

Enjoy a High Conversion Rate From Now On

While finding out what's killing your conversions takes a little bit of time and research, the results are worth the effort. Identifying the bottlenecks on your site will help you increase your revenue while creating a site that engages visitors and satisfies customers. And, with continuous A/B testing to identify conversion-killing variables, you’ll ensure that your site only continues to meet and exceed customer expectations in the future. 

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