Establishing trust, optimizing for mobile shoppers and making checkout easy are some of the ways online retailers can convert more browsers into buyers.

Dhruv Saxena, CEO, ShipBob

Dhruv Saxena, CEO, ShipBob

In e-commerce, your conversion rate refers to the percentage of visitors to your online store who complete a purchase. For example, if you have 2,000 visitors in a month and 20 of those visitors complete purchases, your store has a 1% conversion rate.

The average e-commerce conversion rate is between 1 and 2%. While a “good” e-commerce conversion rate varies by industry, we recommend aiming for a conversion rate of 2%. That may seem easier said than done, especially for new or small businesses. However, the key to increasing customer conversions is a simple concept: improve the overall shopping experience. Here are five tips for increasing customer conversions.

  1. Prove credibility
  2. Optimize for mobile
  3. Simplify your checkout
  4. Be transparent
  5. Offer fast shipping

1. Prove credibility

In order for customers to purchase from your store, you need them to trust you. One way to help your customers trust you is through social proof. Social proof can include customer reviews, customer-submitted photos, case studies, and other examples of customers sharing their positive experience with your product and/or company. A study by PowerReviews and Northwestern University found that displaying reviews for a product can increase conversion rates by as much as 270%. Adding social proof throughout your e-commerce store can lead to increased conversion because you’re no longer asking customers to “take our word for it;” you’re letting them hear from their peers.

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Test your store on different mobile device operating systems before launching or when introducing a big update or redesign.

In addition to social proof, there are other “trust signals” that you can add to your website to increase customer trust. Studies have shown that adding these signals can increase customer conversion. These signals can include security badges (such as from McAfee/Intel or GeoTrust, if you have an account with one of them); an SSL certificate to ensure your website is secure and encrypted, so customer data is safe; and/or allowing customers to pay with PayPal and other customer-trusted payment options.

2. Optimize for mobile

Mobile browsing has become increasingly popular in recent years. In 2017, 52% of sessions on e-commerce sites were performed on mobile devices, versus 36% on desktop and 12% on tablets. However, desktop users are 164% more likely to convert than their mobile counterparts. Creating a great user experience for mobile users can help convert browsers to buyers. Many e-commerce platforms are mobile-responsive, meaning the page fits the size of the device. It’s always best to make sure you test your store on different mobile device operating systems before launching or when introducing a big update or redesign.

3. Simplify your checkout

A longer, more complicated checkout means more time and steps for potential customers to change their minds and abandon their online shopping carts. According to Baymard Institute, 28% of abandoned carts are caused by a long or complicated checkout process. Here are some easy ways to simplify your checkout:

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  • Include only necessary information fields, such as card number, expiration date, CVV, and shipping and billing addresses. One way to decrease the number of fields is to allow customers to use the same billing address for shipping with the click of a button, rather than having to type out the address twice.
  • Let customers check out as guests, rather than requiring an account be created.
  • Allow customers to pay with digital wallets such as PayPal and Apple Pay. This allows users to sign in with an existing account and pre-populate all of their payment and shipping information.

4. Be transparent

Honesty is the best policy, and e-commerce is no exception to this rule. Transparency is key across the e-commerce buyer’s journey, from product selection to checkout and shipping; the only surprises that your customers encounter should be pleasant ones. Make sure that you offer detailed product descriptions and high-quality product images (and videos when appropriate) to help your customers feel confident in their purchasing decisions.

You should also be transparent when it comes to fees and policies. The most common reason for shopping cart abandonment is that extra costs are too high. Too often these costs aren’t listed until the final step of the checkout process, which can cause customers to leave the site before completing their purchase. In fact, 23% of abandoned carts stem from customers being unable to see or calculate total order cost up-front. Make sure your shipping and return policies and costs are straightforward and easy to find before the customer goes through the checkout process.

5. Offer fast (and affordable) shipping

Today’s customers expect fast shipping no matter what they are buying, and they expect to receive it without a big upcharge. According to a study by Usability Sciences, offering free shipping tends to increase both conversion rate and average shopping cart size.

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Based on these findings, a shipping strategy that includes both a free shipping option and a separate 2-day shipping option will cater to a variety of customer preferences. Working with a third-party logistics provider that allows your business to affordably ship to domestic customers within two days can help you increase conversions.

As mentioned above, transparency is vital in e-commerce, so make sure you provide clear delivery date estimates and tracking information to your customers. While they have already converted from browsing to purchase, offering an excellent customer experience up through when the product arrives on their doorstep will encourage them to purchase from you again and even leave positive reviews—which will help encourage other customers to complete their purchases.

By following the five tips above, you can move toward achieving the 2% conversion rate benchmark—or even exceed it. Offering a great experience to every customer who browses your e-commerce store will ultimately lead to more sales and loyal customers.

ShipBob is a technology company that helps e-commerce merchants fulfill orders using a network of fulfillment centers and integrated software.


In an ongoing effort to understand the most vital business strategies of merchants that sell online, Internet Retailer is taking a deep dive on conversion rate. Help us improve our estimates and category benchmarks by answering the two questions below. 


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