3 Common Pitfalls in Conversion Optimization for E-commerce

October 10, 2014 Val Zamulin


In my previous Dx3 Digest post titled “3 Easy Ways To Optimize Landing Page Conversion” I wanted to focus your attention on the most practical generally applicable methods for conversion improvement (or optimization).

After publishing excerpts from it on our corporate social media, we received quite a lot of response from online retailers who wanted the next article to be focused on our experience-based tips and conclusions tailored specifically to the multiplex and wondrous world of E-commerce. It took me some time to squeeze years of research into the three most common problem areas but here we go:

1. Irrelevant site search

Unfortunately, very often the built-in default search engines in major SaaS or independent e-commerce platforms fail to display relevant results or provide for custom searchandizing. Multiple tests that we ran using the Google Analytics Site Search feature have proven that very often the search results page is an “exit page” for a user. Depending on the platform, the exit rate varied from 42% to as high as 76%! Split testing between various custom search extensions for Magento identified Solr Bridge Search as the clear winner. We tried it for both GET and POST search and every time it came up first, consistently having the lowest bounce and exit rate.

A lot of course depends on how you configure all these plugins, but in our isolated experiment we used the same rules for all. Needless to say, with a proper search configuration, you start seeing the search results page as entry point in the sales funnel more often, which boosts your overall conversion rate.

2. Easy, Trust-Inspiring and Compelling Checkout Procedure

Common mistakes here include:

  1. Lack of trust marks and security certificates (incredibly important to make an online customer feel safe and confident)
  2. No sweet and clear summary of product benefits, competitive advantages and buying incentives (this person may have made the first move but he isn’t yet fully decided, so showing somewhere high and clear what sets you apart for this product, and offering an additional incentive like store credit towards the next purchase is a very good idea that may tilt the scale in your favour)
  3. Unnecessarily long checkout procedure that spans multiple steps and takes multiple actions on behalf of the customer. My personal preference for Magento is the “One-page Checkout” solution from either Amasty or AITOC, both work equally fine for our customers

3. Poor product presentation

Poor image quality, especially for apparel and accessory businesses. Unbelievable but true. Many of the product images, even in the areas where people make their decision based on the first impression (like clothing or accessories) are of mediocre to poor quality, both for the resolution and aspect. Moreover, very often there is just one image per product. So if you want to check if that expensive Hermes belt indeed has a “trust mark” of being made in France and all you get on the website is just the front shot, that may be a major turn-off! Adding product images shot from different angles in high resolution and custom made for mobile is very nearly a must now.

Based on our analysis and real life tests and stats, these are the most commonly occurring problems which, when fixed, will significantly improve the efficiency of any e-commerce marketing initiatives.

Special thanks and kudos goes to Anton Entin of DeepDish SEO for assisting me with comments and real life stats to prove several points in this article.

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