The conversion rate in e-commerce: averages, advanced strategies and tactics.

Each step of the “customer journey” on your website is a critical opportunity to make their path to purchase smooth and seamless.

In this guide, we'll take you through some of the proven tactics and strategies for improving conversions on your ecommerce website.

What is "conversion rate" when we talk about ecommerce?

Before we discuss how to improve conversions, it's helpful to know how we're defining conversion rates (CVR). Google, for example, defines conversion rates as "the ratio of transactions to sessions, expressed as a percentage":

[number of transactions] ÷ [number of visitors or sessions] x 100 = CVR

So if you had one transaction for every 10 sessions (or 10 users), this would have a 10% conversion rate.

But while "conversion rate" generally refers to the number of visitors who convert into buyers , you may have other actions you'd like them to take, such as signing up for a newsletter or joining a loyalty program.

What are the average conversion rates in eCommerce?

According to IRP Commerce data, the average conversion rate as of July 2021 (based on total transactions across number of sessions) is 1.81%, but typically ranges from 2-2.5%.

For each merchant, the average CVR can vary based on a number of factors, including the category of goods you sell, the cost of your products, and your average order value (AVO).

Here are some averages by category:

Arts and crafts: 3.39%
Babies and children: 0.89%
Clothing and fashion accessories: 1.63%
Food and drinks: 1.58%
Health and well-being: 3.05%
Home and gifts: 0.99%
Pet care: 2.85%
Sports and recreation: 1.37%

Advanced strategies to improve the conversion rate of your ecommerce

Use analytics data to benchmark and become familiar with CRO testing

Your customers are more than just numbers. That's why one of the first steps is to take a holistic, user-centric approach to discover where the site's downsides exist. By identifying functionality issues on your site, you'll be able to see what's causing visitors to abandon their carts or abandon your store entirely.

To track visitor behavior there are hundreds of tools available. User behavior tracking tools (such as LuckyOrange, CrazyEgg, and HotJar) tend to examine how users interact with your site through one or more of the following:

1. Heat maps.

This visual representation captures users' mouse movements, with the hottest spots glowing red, so you can determine what grabs users' attention and what goes unnoticed.

2. User recordings.

These reports can only be generated if they are done in compliance with privacy guidelines. However, they do allow you to record and view a user's session, which provides rare insight into how users navigate your page and any barriers they may encounter.

At Epilot we can help you install these tools or create heat maps and recordings for your e-commerce.

Improve your navigation

Anything that causes friction in a buyer's journey reduces the chance that they will convert. Your site navigation should be smooth, intuitive, and fluid, and it should help customers find and buy more products.

Two of the most important places this happens are the entry point of your site (the main navigation) and the checkout page (when you seal the deal and convert).

However, according to the Baymard Institute, which conducts large-scale usability testing on e-commerce sites, 18% of websites do not display product categories in the main site navigation, leading to "serious navigation problems for the users".

EPilot can help you restructure the navigation of your ecommerce site.

Employ Ecommerce SEO Best Practices

SEO = Search Engine Optimization (Google Optimization)

At first, it may seem like SEO has little to do with conversions. But SEO doesn't just drive visitors to your site, it also helps them stay there.

Don't you believe us? According to Forrester, 74% of consumers research and compare products through search engines before completing a transaction.

To improve your search engine rankings, write your product descriptions for SEO, keeping in mind that humans are the ones buying.

EPilot can help you improve SEO. In other words, improve how your page and products are displayed in search engines like Google.

Create excellent “copy” for the product description

According to Baymard's research, 10% of e-commerce sites have product descriptions that are insufficient for the needs of users. As we mentioned earlier, great product descriptions aren't just written for SEO. They should be persuasive and detailed, but easy to read.

Sounds like a difficult task? It's easier than you think:

  • Write in a language that is designed to appeal to your target demographic, not just search engine crawlers.
  • Address your customers' biggest pain points. You are not just selling a product, you are selling a solution, a lifestyle or a feeling.
  • Use sensory words, but avoid superlatives unless they can be proven. (Think of all those pizzerias that claim to have the best pizzas in the world. Unless they have the actual award to prove it, you're unlikely to believe them.)
  • Be sure to include key information such as dimensions, size (with links to sizing guides, if applicable), materials or ingredients, compatibility information, included accessories, and corresponding photos showing the scale of the product.
  • Good product descriptions not only improve the user experience, they can also reduce the rate of returns. This is important as conversion rates often don't account for high return rates, which can mean your actual conversion rate is much lower.

Make your product pages actionable

Imagine that your product page is the moment when a customer has chosen a product from the shelf and is considering putting it in their shopping cart. What if they have a last minute question and can't find a sales associate to help them? Or what if they want to buy a product, but a particular color or model isn't on display, so they turn to the competition to make their final purchase? Or maybe they put it in their cart but can't find the checkout or find that the store only accepts a particular form of payment?

The exact same things can happen when someone shops online. Visiting a product page is the moment when a customer can make the purchase, but any friction can cause them to turn around and walk out of the store.

The solution is to create more actionable product pages. If your shoppers aren't clicking Add to Cart , it might be time for user testing to see the page through the eyes of your users.

Use high-quality product images

According to Shopify data, 33.16% of customers prefer to see multiple photos, while 60% prefer images that allow them to have a 360-degree view of the product.

Producing your own photography in-house, rather than relying on vendor images, allows you to set yourself apart from your competition. It also gives you the opportunity to consistently and literally display each product in the best light, allowing shoppers to easily scan the page and find what they're looking for.

As a general rule of thumb, use four to five shots per product, both the “hero images” (which focus on the product) and the lifestyle ones. Be sure to display different colors or styles of products, different angles, and if possible give users the option to zoom in. By using clear, well-lit, high-resolution photos, you'll minimize your bounce rate and improve your conversions.

Create discounts and offers for website visitors

Shopify store owners are eight times more likely to make a sale when using coupons.

Promotions, such as free shipping, can also be a major factor in converting a website visitor into a sale. In a 2019 survey of nearly 1,000 American online shoppers, 68% said they didn't make a purchase at least half the time when the retailer didn't offer free shipping.

Offering discounts and promotions through email and SMS campaigns helps improve CVR, especially when it comes to abandoned carts. According to Omnisend, merchants could improve orders by 69% by sending three abandoned cart emails.

Tip: If your ecommerce is hosted on Shopify, EPilot can teach you how to easily create coupons and apply specific discounts based on the customer journey.

Improve post-sale experiences

The post-sale experience is a key part. Take the welcome campaign emails, for example. They have a particularly high open rate of around 50%.

Optimize for mobile devices

Research indicates that in 2020, 67% of global online retail traffic was generated via mobile devices, and it was even higher for some categories like fashion (76%).

However, mobile shoppers aren't just browsing. They are buying. According to a 2021 Statista study of US online shoppers at 250 retail brands, 5.7% convert on mobile (2.2% on tablets; 3.5% on mobile), compared to just 3.9% on desktop. The stats are clear: if your store isn't already mobile-optimized, you're missing out on an invaluable opportunity to improve your CVR.


This blog post is an excerpt translated into Spanish, from the original article by Jessica Wynne Lockhart , called Ecommerce Conversion Rate Optimization: 19 Advanced Strategies And Tactics For Ecommerce Sites and published as part of the Shopify Plus Blog on September 1, 2021.

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