The Essential Ecommerce Website Checklist for Optimizing Conversions

Ecommerce Best Practices | 7 mins

As consumer behavior shifts towards digital channels and the ecommerce market grows, it’s becoming more important than ever for businesses to optimize their website for conversions. That’s why we’ve compiled this essential ecommerce website checklist with the top 11 best practices for turning clicks into customers.

1. Enhance Your Checkout Design

If shoppers can’t see their cart or easily check out from every page on your website, they’re more likely to leave empty-handed. The impact of a few adjustments to the site design can be significant. According to the Baymard Institute, an optimized checkout design has been proven to increase conversion by 35% at average large-sized ecommerce sites.

To simplify your checkout process, eliminate long forms and unnecessary distractions. With 21% of shoppers abandoning the checkout process if it’s too long or complicated, creating a better user experience should be top of mind.

Additionally, 28% of users will exit if they need to create an account before purchasing. This means keeping the checkout quick and concise is key. An example would be to enable auto filling wherever possible, and continuously update your website speed. Our ecommerce website checklist for checkouts can teach you even more about how to optimize for conversions.

Baymard institute reasons for abandonments during checkout

2. Capitalize On Your Home Page

Within the ecommerce sales funnel, the home page is typically the first place customers will land when going to your website. This prime piece of real estate is where you can really peak consumer interest and communicate the core aspects of your brand.

Ensure your copy, colors, tone, and content are all consistent with your brand image. Use eye-catching banner ads and pop-ups to tell users about promotions and financing options. Include call-to-actions and buttons to encourage customers to explore the website. While implementing all of the above, avoid clutter to make the customer journey as clean and painless as possible.

Bread sales funnel

3. Simplify Site Navigation

According to Clutch, 94% of shoppers say easy navigation is the most important feature on a website. New customers will briefly analyze menu options to understand what the brand offers before clicking. On top of that, organized ecommerce categories allow Google to better index your website’s information and decide how to rank it within search results pages.

Use names that clearly communicate the category in two words or less, staying away from fancy or overly creative titles. Write compelling category descriptions that make customers want to click and learn more. Design intermediary categories that allow shoppers to preview product types. If you have three or more category levels in your store, be sure to add a breadcrumb navigation so shoppers can understand where they are and how to move backward.

clutch top 7 website features

4. Display Social Proof

Consumer confidence can be captured by integrating customer reviews, testimonials, and privacy policies throughout your ecommerce website. According to a Nielsen global study, 92% of people will trust a recommendation from someone they know.

By placing product reviews and testimonials at key points in the ecommerce sales funnel, customers will see proof of quality and reliability prior to purchasing. In addition to reviews, display the number of visitors who are viewing or have purchased an item and use trust badges to show the legitimacy of your store.

Nielsen trust in advertising

5. Grab Shoppers’ Attention With Pop-ups

With the right messaging, pop-ups can boost conversion rates dramatically. Create pop-ups with engaging copy, highlighting important elements with bright colours. Using images in your pop-up design could increase conversion by more than 80%, while incorporating a countdown timer in pop-ups could boost conversions by over 110%.

Discount pop-ups are especially popular as a way to target and engage first-time customers, encouraging them to explore the site and purchase. On the other hand, including a giveaway in your pop-up can inspire FOMO and increase click-throughs to submit an entry. For an even higher click-through rate, turn your pop-up into an experience by incorporating a game element, like a wheel spinner.

sleeknote popup images graph

6. Optimize Your Site for Mobile

In 2021, smartphone retail ecommerce sales in the United States are projected to surpass $345 billion, up from $148 billion in 2018. It’s evident that consumers are becoming more comfortable with using mobile apps to make their purchases. In a survey of US consumers, Statista found that 57% used a mobile device to gather information about a product or service. Another point to consider is that shoppers who have a negative mobile experience are 62% less likely to purchase from that shop in the future.

To take full advantage of this shift in consumer behavior, work with your host or development team to ensure the functionalities of your ecommerce site work seamlessly on mobile. Adjust layout designs to match a variety of mobile device sizes and simplify navigation even further to reduce clutter on small screens.

Think with google negative mobile experience

7. Personalize Your Calls-to-Action

Adding personalized calls-to-action to your ecommerce website could increase conversion by over 200%. These CTAs are tailored to the individual shopper through their location, browser history, or shopping history on your site.

To create more effective CTAs, determine the audience you’re targeting and write copy that speaks to them directly. Add enticing buttons to your CTAs, as they typically outperform image or text-based CTAs by more than double.

CTA Conversion HubSpot

8. Write Clear Product Descriptions

Why is it important to have well-written and concise product descriptions? Because more than 20% of all abandoned purchase transactions can be attributed to incomplete or unclear product information. Meanwhile, 91% of shoppers find both product descriptions and visuals equally useful when making a purchase decision.

The most important requirement for a product description is that it answers all, or at least the most important, questions posed by the customer. This includes the classic 5 Ws and How—what is the product, who is it for, when is it used, where is it used, why do you need it, and how is it used? Shoppers only realistically read about 20% of the copy on the average webpage, so keep your descriptions straight to the point and easily scannable. One tip is to list key features and benefits in point form.

Clutch product descriptions and visuals callout

9. Make Sure Your Site is SEO Optimized

By enhancing your SEO strategy, you give potential customers more opportunities to find you. In fact, 70% of marketers see SEO as more effective than PPC for increasing website activity.

There are a number of best practices to boost your SEO. As a starting point, use relevant keywords and link building throughout your website content. You can also implement an organized structure with high-quality HTML code to make it easier for search engines to index your site. It’s also important to write clear and compelling title tags and meta descriptions, paired with short URLs. To capture organic traffic, build backlinks outside of your website by building content partnerships with other websites that are related to your product or service. Also be sure to stay on top of your website speed by enabling compression and minimizing the size of website files.

SEO Vs PPC Databox

10. Offer a “Buy Now, Pay Later” Option

Give your customers flexible payment options through ecommerce-first financing plans. Communicating on your website that consumers can pay over an extended time period can help to increase conversions. The added option helps reduce the mental hurdle a consumer might have over committing to their purchase, particularly if the shopping cart value is high.

Payment plans have been proven to increase incremental sales by 17%. In fact, our own data shows that consumer financing can triple average order values. Flexible financing is especially effective for ecommerce websites in higher-priced categories, such as home furnishings, high fashion, or electronics.

11. Send cart abandonment emails

As you think about how to implement the items on this ecommerce website checklist, one of the easiest changes you can start with is to send cart abandonment emails. Although the average cart abandonment rate is 69%, there is still a lot of opportunity to get consumers back to your site. Cart abandonment emails have been shown to yield an average open rate of 45%.

By using text and images to highlight the products they missed out on, you can retarget those customers within 24 hours of abandoning the cart and increase their intent to buy.

cart abandonment rate by sector

Get More Conversions Using This Ecommerce Website Checklist

As the COVID pandemic continues to impact consumer behavior and cause shifts in purchasing patterns, ecommerce is becoming a staple in most people’s daily lives. Consumers are increasingly turning to digital and mobile channels so by putting into practice the items on this ecommerce website checklist, you’ll set yourself up for success in vastly improving website traffic and conversion levels.