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  • Writer's pictureBoris Mustapic

7 Issues That Cause Low Ecommerce Conversion Rate

Updated: Dec 9, 2020

Conversion rate is the measure of how good your website is at converting visitors into customers. It’s one of the most important metrics for ecommerce businesses.

While ecommerce conversion rates vary between different industries and devices, there are industry benchmarks that are a great starting point when judging your website’s performance when it comes to turning traffic into sales.

Ecommerce conversion rate benchmarks

When looking to set your own benchmark for conversion rate, you should take a look at your competitors and try to find out how they’re doing. In case you’re unable to gain an insight into your competitors’ conversion rates, use your industry average as a starting point.

If you seem to be significantly lagging behind the average for your industry, you should take the time to try to find out what’s causing such bad performance.

You can find seven common issues that cause low ecommerce conversion rate below. Read through them and see if you’re making any of these mistakes yourself.

1) Low-quality product photography

Customers will be judging your products and your brand by the quality of your product photos. If you use low-quality photos on your website, shoppers will feel less inclined to purchase your products, which will lead to a lower conversion rate.

If you want to present your products and your brand in the best possible light, as well as improve your overall conversion rate, you need to ensure that the product photos you use on your website are of the highest quality.

A good camera will certainly make the biggest difference in photo quality. Find a good DSLR camera that you can use for product photos, and leave your smartphone camera for personal use only.

White backdrop product photography

Use a tripod to ensure that all your photos are clear and in focus. Take advantage of natural lighting and try to take your product photos either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Use a white backdrop to help show your product’s colors as accurately as possible.

Don’t settle for taking only simple product photos either. Create a few lifestyle images that show your products in use.

Remember that most of the photos you take won’t come out perfect. Take the time to retouch them using Photoshop, Lightroom, or any other photo-editing software you’re comfortable using.

2) Poor product descriptions

A lot of ecommerce businesses don’t put much thought into their product descriptions. They use copy supplied by their manufacturer, or even worse, use no copy at all. This stems from a lack of understanding of the importance of product descriptions.

The purpose of product copy isn’t just to describe the product. It should also persuade shoppers into making a purchase. In fact, as much as 95% of shoppers state that product descriptions have an impact on their purchasing decisions.

So, how do you write a persuasive product description?

First, you need to understand who your target audience is. It’s impossible to write a product description that will be universally persuasive, so you need to focus on a specific segment and craft your copy to appeal to it.

Innocent drinks product description

Focus on the benefits your product can provide to customers, as well as the problems and pain points it can solve. Write your product description in such a way as to enable shoppers to imagine how their life would look like if they owned your product.

Avoid using jargon and empty phrases (such as high-quality) in your product description. Use simple language that every member of your target audience will be able to understand.

Make sure that your product description is easy to read. Most people won’t take the time to read a very long description, so try to keep it fairly short. Use bullet points and short paragraphs, as well as plenty of white space. This will allow shoppers to learn everything they need to know about your product quickly.

3) Lack of a mobile-friendly design

62% of smartphone users have used their mobile device to shop online. Research has also shown that 34.5% of ecommerce transactions are completed using mobile devices. Considering these stats, you’d think that all ecommerce businesses would take the time to optimize their website for mobile devices.

However, this isn’t the case. There’s plenty of ecommerce websites out there that make it difficult or almost impossible to shop and check out using a mobile device.

If you want to improve your conversion rate, you need to make sure that your website works flawlessly on smartphones and tablets.

Ecommerce website optimized for mobile devices

The first thing you’ll need to keep in mind is that mobile users won’t be using a mouse or a touchpad to navigate your website - they’ll be using their fingers. This makes it crucial that all the important elements of your website can be reached by using thumbs only.

Other things you can do to make your website easier to use on mobile devices include implementing larger buttons and input boxes, as well as using a bigger font size. There also needs to be enough space between different links, buttons, and boxes to prevent misclicks.

While optimizing your website for mobile devices, be careful not to make it too different from the desktop version since this might confuse shoppers.

4) Not enough payment options

With 50% of shoppers abandoning their shopping cart if their favorite payment option isn’t available, it’s crucial that you work on implementing more payment methods on your ecommerce website.

Apart from accepting credit card payments, you should also look into offering PayPal, Apple Pay, and Amazon Pay as payment options on your website.

Ecommerce payment options

PayPal is by far the most popular payment wallet among consumers, and has an 82% higher conversion rate compared to other payment options.

PayPal’s Express Checkout option allows shoppers to check out quickly by using the billing and shipping information from their PayPal account. It’s been shown that websites using PayPal Express Checkout experience 47% higher conversion rates compared to websites that don’t use it.

ApplePay, on the other hand, is a great way to speed up checkout for shoppers accessing your website on iPhone and Mac devices. It’s been shown to decrease checkout time by up to 60% while increasing mobile conversions by 20%.

Similarly to PayPal, Amazon Pay allows you to simplify checkout for your shoppers by using shipping and billing information from customers’ Amazon accounts. Associating your website with Amazon will also help to build trust and make shoppers feel more confident about making a purchase from you.

5) Lack of product reviews

Another issue that can cause a significant decrease in your conversion rate is a lack of product reviews. As much as 70% of consumers look for reviews before buying a product, with 90% being influenced to make a purchase (or give up on it) based on reviews.

This makes it obvious that ecommerce businesses should work hard on gaining more reviews for their products. Luckily, 70% of customers would gladly provide a review if they were asked to do so. So, all you need to do is ask.

Thursday Boots product reviews

Email your customers 15 or 30 days after shipping their order and ask them to review the product and the overall experience they had with your company. Offer an incentive such as a discount or a freebie in exchange for customers leaving a review.

Make sure that you simplify the reviewing process so that customers can complete it quickly. This will increase the chances of customers taking the time to write and submit the review.

Keep in mind that not all the reviews you receive will be positive. Once you receive a negative review, don’t try to hide it. It’s much better to address the customer’s complaints and resolve their issue.

That will allow you to turn a negative review into positive social proof and show shoppers that even if they experience an issue with one of your products, you’ll always be there to help them.

The most effective product reviews are those that include an actual photo of the product and show the state in which the product was received. An app such as Loox can help you collect photo reviews on autopilot and display them in a number of ways on your website.

6) Unoptimized thank you page

If you think that the only way to improve conversion rate is to address pre-checkout factors, you’re wrong. Your relationship with a customer doesn’t end after they make a single purchase. You should be doing whatever you can to turn each customer into a longtime fan that will keep shopping with you for years.

The first experience a new customer will have with your business after they make a purchase is landing on your thank you page. This makes it crucial that you optimize this page to encourage customers to make another purchase immediately (or in the near future).

There are two main ways you can do this:

a) Offer a discount

75% of shoppers expect brands to provide them with discounts. A time-limited discount is also a great way to incentivize customers to make another purchase straight away. You can set up a time-limited discount pop-up on your thank you page by using ReConvert. This will allow you to extract more value from each new customer.

Thank you page discount pop-up

b) Recommend related products

Most customers would be delighted if you can show them other interesting products that might suit their needs. You can show customers products that are related to the ones they already purchased, or products that they previously viewed but didn’t purchase.

Amazon thank you page cross-sell

Providing customers with a great experience on your thank you page will give you the best chance of selling to them again.

7) Inadequate return policy

66% of shoppers check a company’s return policy before making a purchase. Customers want to know that they can easily return a product if they’re not satisfied with it. If customers aren’t happy with the terms of your return policy, they’ll be less inclined to shop with you.

A good return policy, on the other hand, will make shoppers feel more confident about buying from you.

Make your return policy easy to understand and avoid legal jargon. Set customer expectations from the start and let them know if you offer exchanges, store credit, or refunds. Strive to simplify your return process as much as possible and make it easy for customers to get what they want.

IKEA return policy

It’s also important that you keep your return policy in plain sight and make it easier for shoppers to access it. Since a lot of people will be looking at your return policy page before making a purchase, you might also want to include a few testimonials or reviews on the same page to help you build trust more easily.

Have you been making some of these mistakes yourself? Have you made any other changes that turned out to have a significant impact on your conversion rate? Let us know in the comments.



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