Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of increasing the percentage of people who take a desired action. There are various conversion rates that you can measure. As an e-commerce business, one of the most important will be your checkout page or sales page conversion rate.

This guide will discuss five vital CRO tests that every business should perform. That list will include sales page and checkout page optimization tests. Let’s jump right into this comprehensive guide.

1. Improve cart abandonment rate

According to Baymard Institute, almost 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned. That means that for every ten potential customers, seven will leave without completing the purchase.

Think what it would mean for your revenue if you could turn a quarter of them into sales. It would make a massive difference. This is why focusing on cart abandonment is one of the most testing areas you can focus on to boost profitability.

Consider the following when it comes to your checkout process:

  • Do new customers need an account? Most people want a quick, hassle-free purchase. Don’t make signing up to your site a mandatory part of the checkout process.

  • Are the fields that you’re asking people to fill in essential to the purchase? Adding unnecessary fields can increase cart abandonment. No need to know their DOB or gender at this point, unless relevant to your product or service.

  • Is the checkout process too long? Try to cut your checkout process down to one page or add a progress bar so a customer can see what steps need to be completed.

  • Are your shipping costs too high? Try checking what your competition charges for similar products.

  • Does your site look trustworthy? Showcasing warranties and adding trust signals can make a difference and boost sales.

An excellent example of how small changes to a checkout page can have a huge impact is the e-commerce site DealDey. The consultant working with the e-commerce site used CRO tests to redesign the checkout page and simplify the checkout flow.

Source: Remy Clarkson

The new design used a progress bar to show the order flow and had an easy-to-navigate interface. The newly designed checkout page featured above resulted in a 34% reduction in the cart abandonment rate. You can read more about how the brand achieved this through CRO testing in this case study.

Adding a cart abandonment follow-up sequence can also help improve sales. If you have collected the email address of a potential customer, you can send a series of cart abandonment emails.

2. Add social proof

Adding social proof to your e-commerce store can result in a significant boost in sales when done correctly. You can display testimonials and reviews on product pages, the homepage of your site, or even the checkout page.

Amazon was one of the first e-commerce stores to popularize the use of user-generated reviews. It’s something that many e-commerce stores now use.

From 2015 Amazon began the weighting stars system using a proprietary machine-learning model. The model considers how recent the ratings are and whether they come from “verified” purchasers.

Remember to encourage your subscribers to leave reviews subtly. Here’s a five-step guide on how to gather customer feedback. Apart from testimonials and reviews, try placing different social proof statements in different areas across your website:

  • total number of customers who have purchased from you

  • number of customers who purchased from you last year, or last week

  • number of products sold or shipped

Lastly, you can experiment with social proof pop-up notifications.

There’s an excellent case study by Use Proof, for example, about the impact pop-up notifications can have. You can see the social proof notification they added to their site below.

Source: Use Proof

Here’s the impact adding the social proof “hot streak” notifications had on conversion rates.

There are different display pop-up notifications you can install. For example, you can have notifications that show recent sales, product reviews, among others.

Testing social proof notifications is one of the more straightforward CRO experiments you can run. You can also run A/B or multivariate tests to see how adding social proof to various pages of your site impacts your conversion rate.

3. Focus on website performance

Website page speed optimization should be a priority for any website owner. The longer a page takes to load, the more likely users will get impatient and go somewhere else.

Page speed and other user experience impacts SEO and bounce rate. To make your page load fast, review the following:

  • unoptimized images

  • file size minification

  • web host efficiency

  • the use of apps, such as Flash

  • embedded media such as videos being pulled from another site

  • heavy widget usage

You can use Google Pagespeed Insights to check the load speed of your site. The tool provides you with a list of recommendations for improving load speed on desktop and mobile.

What else should you test?

As a rule of thumb, if there aren’t any apparent issues throughout your website that you should address, focus on the shopping cart and checkout process itself.

Is the main call-to-action button on your homepage easy to spot? The CTA’s primary goal is to get people to do the action. It could be displayed as a personalized banner, pop-up, and most commonly, button.

If you use buttons as your CTAs, experiment with the size, color, and shape.

4. Streamline site navigation

From a user’s perspective, a website should be easy to navigate. Avoid complicated structures. The best e-commerce websites have everything laid out within three clicks from the homepage.

It’s crucial to invest in a great user experience. Your navigation menu should contain links to relevant category pages. It’s good practice to add links to the essential pages on the left-hand side of the menu and the least important on the right.

Consider the overall page design too. Perhaps the current one is over-complicated or doesn’t follow the way we visually consume content. For example, you might want your page design to follow the F Reading Pattern.

Source: Wired Plus

Bear in mind that a minimalist web design can improve the customer’s experience.

One more thing to stress is the importance of the checkout flow. People should be able to land on your homepage, find the product they want, and check out quickly. The longer this process takes, the more chances you will lose sales.

A tool like Google Analytics will show user flow across a website. You can use screen recordings and heatmaps to track user flow across your website too. Such tools provide additional insights to help you make more informed decisions about what changes you should make and the CRO tests you should run.

5. Use scarcity to create urgency

You can use scarcity to boost sales on your e-commerce store. Adding scarcity indicators to help boost sales is a tactic widely used by hotels, travel agents, or airlines. The screenshot below provides an excellent illustration of how you might add scarcity indicators to your store.

Highlighting scarcity makes people think that the product is popular and increases its perceived value. It also reminds the customer that a product will run out, which urges them to buy it straight away.

Bottom line

Every business should always be looking for ways to improve its website by testing different aspects of it. It might be a good idea to have it tested by different parties. You could ask people involved in your business or an external agency to run some tests.

Consider sending a questionnaire to your subscribers with questions about the usability of your website. Alternatively, you can hire professionals who are trained and experienced in testing and providing solutions.

Once you identify the factors that have a potential for improvement on your website, you can focus on building your Conversion Rate Optimization strategy. It will be different for every business. Bear in mind that your CRO strategy should be constantly looked at, adapted, and developed.