6 Tricks to Improve Your E-Commerce Checkout Conversions before the Holidays

Samantha Pena

October 22, 2014

6 Tricks to Improve Your E-Commerce Checkout Conversions before the Holidays

With the holidays fast approaching, is your e-commerce site designed and optimized for conversions? Implement these six tricks to improve your e-commerce site and increase your online sales. 

Trick 1: Optimize for mobile

Mobile optimization is one of the biggest success factors for e-commerce businesses. Here’s why. According to 2014 mobile e-commerce statistics:

  • 79.5 million U.S. Internet users will buy goods or services via mobile devices at least once this calendar year (click to tweet)

And this trend isn’t going away.

  • By 2017, mobile will account for 26% of U.S. retail e-commerce sales (click to tweet)

People will find your business online via computer, tablet, and smart phone. Therefore, optimizing your online presence for a cross-channel marketing campaign must be included in your strategy.  You have two options: create a responsive design website or build a mobile app (can’t decide which? Read this).  However, regardless of the route you go, it’s important to keep the user always in mind.

Minimize user frustration and decrease your mobile drop-offs by including mobile-friendly features, like tap-friendly buttons, minimal content, and a fast loading time.

Tap-friendly features, like large checkout buttons and input fields, help users navigate your site with ease, even if they’re viewing it on a small screen. Look at this Starbucks mobile app:

mobile tap friendly features

The buttons are not only beautifully simple but they’re huge. Regardless of the size of your fingers, you won’t accidentally hit the “Pay” button when you really wanted to hit “Reload.”

Minimal content, like American Eagle’s responsive site, minimizes distractions. Your eye is drawn to their product pictures and you see everything you need to know in one view.

Mobile ecommerce minimal content    Mobile Ecommerce Product Pages

People neither have the time nor the patience to hunt for information or wait for your site to load, especially if they’re on mobile. Therefore, make it easy on them, and they’ll be more likely to stay long enough on your site to buy something.  

Trick 2: Make it urgent

Urgency is an old but effective way to increase your e-commerce sales. Urgency appeals to that small part in every one of us that’s a bit impulsive and wants things now, forcing us to make a faster decision.

Look at what Secret Sales does.

Ecommerce CRO urgency

They not only say when the sale ends but they have a live countdown, showing you how little time you have to get the deal you want.

Michael’s also adds a sense of urgency to their sales, like this email.

Ecommerce CRO Urgency

Adding the time and the discount to the email subject line is a nice touch. Even before you open the email, you already feel like you need to go to Michael’s now, lest their sale ends.

If they were planning on going away first to think about purchasing, they might be better persuaded to buy now if they see that your sale ends tomorrow or the product they want might go out of stock.

Trick 3: Prominently display your benefits

FREE shipping? 30% discount? 2-day shipping? Yes please! Discounts, convenience, and expedience are the benefits people immediately look for when choosing where to shop online.  

Secret Sales shows this banner on their main page, which tells consumers that they’ll always get their products shipped in 3-5 days, no caveats attached.

Ecommerce CRO benefits

Amazon does a great job with their enticements as well.

Mobile Ecommerce Benefits

Yes, now I need to buy these pens, because it’s not only discounted, but I can also get it in 3 days and if I just spend a little more, I can get free shipping. It gets me every time.

Trick 4: Simplify your checkout process

Your checkout process will make or break your sale. If it’s too complicated, customers will just leave and find your product elsewhere. To avoid that, here are some pointers:

Only request essential information from the user, like what Banana Republic does. You only really need their name, email address, payment information, and shipping address. Everything else is just extraneous fields that complicate the checkout process.

Ecommerce CRO Checkout Process

Show users how many steps there are in the checkout process and give them easy access to the previous steps in case they want to change anything. Take RossBackup’s checkout page. This makes me more likely to finish, because I know I’m only 3 steps away from finishing.

Ecommerce CRO Checkout Process

People get turned off if they have to create an account, because they think you’ll bombard them with emails, so let them checkout as a guest, like DSW so kindly allows customers to do.

Ecommerce CRO Guest Checkout

Trick 5: Set up a drip email

Email marketing is absolutely key to increasing e-commerce conversions, because it reminds customers that you still exist. Here are just some ways to use email to your advantage:

Abandoned shopping cart

ModCloth is a fantastic example of an incredibly effective abandoned cart email. Got distracted from your shopping? ModCloth is there to remind you what you wanted to buy. 

Ecommerce CRO Abandoned Shopping Cart

Now I remember how much I really wanted this Downton Abbey cookbook. I better get it before it sells out! See how effective that was?

Promote timely specials and discounts

Nothing will persuade your customers more into purchasing than offering free things or a big discount. Take Shutterfly for example.

Ecommerce CRO Discount Promotion    Ecommerce CRO Discount Promotion

These emails not only keep me loyal to Shutterfly because of all their free gifts but they also remind me that they’re there with discounts in case I want to buy something from them.

Trick 6: Build trust

What with all the security hacks that have been happening online, people are really wary of sharing private information online, especially if they’re adding any credit card information. Therefore, add security seals to your site, like authorize.net verified merchant or paypal verified, like this DSW checkout page.

Ecommerce CRO Secure Checkout

Another way to build trust is by adding customer reviews and star ratings directly on the product page itself, like what Etsy does, because people use them to judge the worth and trustworthiness of a product.

 Ecommerce CRO Social Trust

Congratulations!

Now you know exactly what you need in order to prepare for that holiday rush and increase your e-commerce conversions. 

Samantha Pena

This article was published by Samantha Pena.

Samantha Pena is a Content Strategist at Hudson. Her main focus and passion is creating amazing content that is accurate, up-to-date, and (most importantly) interesting. Her main obsessions are social media, trending topics, and anything web-related. When she has the time, she likes to read, write, and travel. Follow her on Twitter.