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7 Ways to Optimize Your Online Store to Boost Conversion, Increase Retention and Build Loyalty

Feb 12, 2020

We want to let you in on a little secret. Your ecommerce site is one of nearly 2 billion websites floating around the internet. 

Billion, with a “b.” 

Not to mention you’re one of nearly 20 million (don’t worry, million with an “m”) ecommerce retailers trying to push products online. The competition for digital attention is at an all time high, and if you want to compete, you need to not only stand out but optimize every bit of attention you get. 

From product merchandising to email marketing, to social media and customer support, there’s a lot to take into consideration as a merchant. To help ease some of the stress of customer journey optimization, we put together 7 best-practices that are designed to help you convert more site visitors, retain more customers and increase brand loyalty.

Let’s go! 

1. Streamline your site for speed 

Bells and whistles may make for an exciting website experience, but they can also slow your site down. If your site takes longer than three seconds to load, 53% of visitors lose interest, and a delay of even 100-milliseconds can impact conversion by as much as 7%. 🤯 Since conversion is the ultimate goal of your site, you can’t give shoppers a reason to leave before they’ve even had a chance to view your products. Use tools like Google PageSpeed or GTmetrix to check how quickly your site is loading. 

  • Most ecommerce sites are image heavy. Shocker, right? Images that are too large are one of the main reasons that your site could be slowing down. There are free and paid tools that can help you analyze and optimize your images. Our favorites are Kraken and

2. Design for conversion

If your objective is to get shoppers to buy, you need to thoughtfully design your website with a clear path to purchase in mind. A few aspects of your site experience to think through include:

  • Homepage: You never get a second chance to make a first impression—that’s why it’s vital that your homepage is thoughtfully designed and ready to convert. Since the homepage will get the bulk of your site traffic, you need to be clear about what you’re selling. Think through your headlines, primary imagery, CTAs and navigation to make sure each visitor knows exactly what they’re getting into within three seconds of hitting your site.
  • Product pages: What do your customers want to know about your products? Do they need a lot of information or simply quick links to buy? Make ‘Add to Cart’ a no-brainer by thinking through your ideal buyer persona for each product and optimizing your specific product pages to match.
  • Get visual. The internet is a visual place, and shoppers want to *see* your products. For example, böhme provides “quick shop” links that provide shoppers with basic info and a quick ‘Add to Cart’ option that encourages conversion without interrupting their visual shopping flow.

3. Don’t overcomplicate checkout

Once you’ve guided visitors through your online shopping experience, it’s time to turn them into paying customers by improving the actual point of purchase. The average online shopping cart abandonment rate is nearly 70%. After you put in all the work to get a shopper to actually buy something, you can’t leave anything up to chance. Some tips to reduce abandonment;

  • Reduce sticker shock – Be upfront about shipping rates/ times 
  • Don’t get greedy – offer guest and express checkout options 
  • Be open-minded – accept multiple forms of payment 
  • Make it easy – Pre-populate shipping/ billing info
  • Make it safe – Offer shipping insurance 
  • Think about offering some sort of financing option at checkout. According to Klarna, 75% of consumers are more likely to select an online merchant that offers instant financing over one that doesn’t.

4. Highlight your return, exchange and guarantee policy 

Many ecommerce stores don’t offer great returns. But you should. 80% of shoppers think about the return experience before buying. Buying something online is inherently risky, and one of the biggest drawbacks is losing the ability to touch or try on the item you’re buying. Will it fit? Will the color match the picture? Am I going to like it?, etc. Your customers want to know that you’ll take care of them if the product isn’t what they hoped for. When you take the time to be upfront about your returns, exchanges and guarantees, it instills trust in your customers, encourages checkout and builds loyalty.

SHEFIT takes communication to the next level by anticipating customer questions and providing detailed articles and answers to various concerns.

  • Save the sale with different return options. There are a handful of companies that can help with this, but Returnly is our favorite. 

5. Keep your customers in the loop

Conversion doesn’t stop at checkout. If the ultimate goal of online retail is increased customer LTV (i.e. customer loyalty), you can’t quit once a consumer clicks ‘buy.’ 

For nearly three decades, the post-purchase journey has started with communication like this, “Thanks for buying our stuff! Here is your tracking number, k bye 👋.” Shoppers are left to their own devices after they make a purchase online—they’re left digging through emails, communicating with carriers, and manually monitoring shipping progress. It’s time for something better. The Route App is designed to bring package tracking into the 21st century. Every order is visually tracked on a dynamic map, and real-time push-notifications keep your customers in the loop every step of the delivery journey.

  • Push-notifications have a 97% open rate—almost 4X the average open rate of emails. If you want to give your customers a better tracking experience, give them something they will actually see.

6. Mitigate risk for your customers

There is nothing that kills a shopping experience like a lost, stolen or damaged package. In fact, 84% of consumers won’t return to an online store after a poor delivery experience.

With a recent rise in package theft and the continued risk of online orders being lost or damaged in transit, it’s no wonder today’s consumers can feel a little uneasy about online purchases. While you can’t avoid package delivery going poorly from time to time, you can ease your customers’ nerves and build loyalty by mitigating the potential risk. 

Giving shoppers the option to protect their purchases instills trust in your brand as well as protects you from the high costs of shipping loss.

  • Turn bad experiences into brand building events. 87% of consumers are more loyal to a brand that remedies a bad delivery experience 🎉. You can’t control everything, but shoppers reward brands that take action.

7. Listen to and implement customer feedback

At the end of the day, no tip, trick or hack is going to matter if your customers aren’t happy, and one of the most reliable ways to inspire trust and build brand loyalty is to ask, listen, and (most importantly) take to heart customer feedback. Asking customers to share their experiences with your brand, and then using that feedback to inform your experience evolution, will ultimately help you improve your end-to-end shopping experience via real-life insights.

By following these steps with the customer in mind, you’ll be in good shape to encourage more sales, see more customers return to shop with you, and grow your revenue numbers up and to the right. Learn more about how to optimize the customer experience to continuously drive revenue with Route’s visual order tracking, shipping insurance, effortless claim-filing, and the world’s first universal order history.

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