11 Examples of eCommerce Conversion Rate Optimization Success
Is it really possible that your website could get A LOT more sales, without having to get more traffic?
Are you in fact wasting time and money trying to generate more traffic, when you could instead be making small changes to your website that will have a dramatic and lasting impact on your sales?
We’re not talking about sketchy hacks or changing button colors either. We’re talking about proven techniques, recommended by ecommerce thought leaders in trusted authority websites and publications.
What’s the point of making these small changes?
I’m referring to conversion rate optimization (aka – CRO).
First, a Conversion is very simply when a website visitor takes an action that you want them to take.
Second, Conversion Rate is the percentage of website visitors that take the desired action.
Third, CRO is the act of improving a website’s conversion rate. More completely, CRO encompasses a systemized approach to increasing the number of website visitors that take the desired action.
CRO is precisely how you can get more sales without needing more traffic.
And why is that so important? Because improving sales means you make more money with the same amount of effort and expense. It means that every dollar you are currently spending to acquire more traffic will now go further. And it means that once you do spend more to increase traffic, that traffic will be exponentially more valuable.
Let’s illustrate how CRO applies to an eCommerce store with the following 11 examples. These case studies demonstrate how valuable CRO can be for an eCommerce site, and how varied the opportunities for improvement can be.
Case Study #1: Outdoor home security retailer boosts sales 89% by bringing clarity and value to the way products are described.
Kuna sells smart home security solutions on their website. They approached their agency (Fake Crow) with dreams of a full website redesign project. Fake Crow had other plans.
The agency correctly decided to focus on performing small experiments that would guide their design decisions, rather than spending time and resources on a full redesign which may or may not have resulted in better customer experience and improved conversions.
This strategy of website improvement is becoming more popular. Instead of completely redesigning a website all at once, the idea of continuous small improvements, which are the result of hard data, just makes a lot of sense in many cases.
They decided to focus their conversion improvement efforts on home page bounce rates, purchase conversions, and total sales.
Here’s what they did and how it turned out…
Starting with qualitative data gathering, they conducted a simple survey. This helped them understand their customers’ primary motivators for purchase, and the way in which customers perceived and talk about their products.
They performed a series of updates, testing their assumptions and addressing feedback from their qualitative data.
In their first series of improvements, they updated the home page with a red BUY NOW button, moved a product demo/lifestyle video loop above the fold, and added wording that the customers use to the main paragraph.
These three changes resulted in a whopping 89% overall increase in sales after three weeks, confirming their assumptions that above the fold content needed to be more clearly descriptive and visuals needed to tell a story that demonstrates the product’s value.
They went on to perform more tests and updates over the next four months. These efforts paid off big time, resulting in a 265% increase in monthly revenue. Not too shabby!
You can check out the full case study here. But in summary, they Kuna acheived these high increases by focusing addressing needs and concerns of customers, by improving the checkout experience and by improving site speed reliability.
Their testing and improvements proved 3 key points and any eCommerce site can take to the bank:
- Home page language needs to concisely bring clarity and value to product descriptions, and visuals should support that message.
- The home page should tell a compelling story and intrigue visitors.
- The shopping and checkout experience needs to be as easy and issue-free as possible.
Case Study #2: 34% Increase in Add To Cart rate by moving and improving product navigation
In this case study, an eCommerce seller of PowerPoint templates set the goal of increasing visitor engagement on sub category pages and improving navigation flow from parent categories to subcategories.
Their approach was to analyze heat maps and click flow data to understand why visitors weren’t particularly engaged with the category and subcategory menu options placed at the top (under the header) of their site. And also, why their right-side promo area wasn’t getting much love.
Source: https://pixelter.com/blog/ecommerce-on-page-optimization-case-studies/ – Case Study 8
Based on their analysis, they reworked the site navigation, moving it over to the left side bar, and making it a bit more organized. And, they got rid of the right side promo area altogether, which freed up more space for larger product thumbnails.
These changes resulted in a nice 8.9% increase in user engagement, meaning that users were interacting with the menu options more and getting to more category and subcategory pages. What they didn’t expect though, was that all of this added engagement also pushed their Add To Cart rate up by 34%.
What we can take away from this example is that improving and simplifying the user’s experience, encourages the user to engage more, get further down the conversion funnel, and become more likely to convert into a paying customer.
Case Study #3: Increasing eCommerce conversion rate by 37% via checkout optimization.
Next up is a unique online retailer of full body spandex costumes, called Morphsuits. They detected underperforming checkout pages through Google Analytics and began a series of conversion optimization strategies to determine exactly what the specific underperforming pages and and page elements were.
With a thourough optimization process, including A/B testing, usability testing and conversion audits, they were able to pinpoint exactly where the big problems were.
Once they understood the specific elements on the checkout pages that really needed attention, they got to work testing various proposed improvements.
What they discovered was that the biggest shortcoming in their checkout process was at the review cart stage. They call it the Order Review page. You know, the familiar section where you get to see what’s in your cart to make sure everything is correct before you complete your purchase.
What they originally had was a very basic, all white, interface with no pictures. Not exactly appealing or a good user experience.
I think you’ll agree that what they came up with for the new Order Review page is much more visually appealing. And more importantly, it was much more helpful for the customer.
This new design resulted in a 37% improvement in conversions over the original page.
What I take away from this case study are a couple of things.
- It pays to drill down and find the specific elements of your checkout process that are turning customers away.
- Relatively easy styling changes can have a really large impact on your customer’s experience, and your conversion rates!
Case Study #4: Focusing on best practices yields a whopping 250% lift in conversions.
An environmentally responsible party supply company, called Susty Party, was doing well in terms of generating traffic. However, they weren’t happy with the number of sales this traffic was converting into. They knew they needed more engagement and sales from this traffic and reached out to a CRO agency for help.
They began pouring through analytics and uncovered two broad areas that needed improvement.
- The home page was suffering from a poor bounce rate.
- Conversions at different stages of the sales funnel were less than desireable.
So clearly they were missing out on a lot of potential sales. Many visitors were leaving before starting or completing a purchase.
So what did they do?
They focused on best practices that they hadn’t been following up to that point.
For the home page, they focused on:
- Presenting a clear USP (Unique Selling Proposition). They added a statement with the intent of helping visitors understand the benefits of Susty Party instantly, and nudge them toward engaging more on the site.
- Adding testimonials from actual paying customers.
- Adding a Call To Action on the site banner image.
- Reducing distraction: They had a few product videos at about the fold area of the home page and hypothesized that they were a distraction. The videos were removed.
For the checkout page, they simply added some security affirmation to the checkout page, assuming that would likely encourage more visitors to checkout. Sometimes you’ll see this in the form of security ‘badges’. Other times you’ll just see the use of a statement that aims to put the customer’s mind at ease. They went for the latter in this case, simply saying “Susty Party will never sell or disclose your information to anyone.”
Let’s see how things turned out.
Here’s the before and after of the home page.
As you can see, the changes to the home page were fairly significant, yet simple. Just some basic best practices to give the visitor more information and encourage them to complete a desired action.
Visitors could now immediately understand what Susty Party is all about and how their offering is unique. They could see feedback from happy customers. And, they could interact with the page, clicking on the CTA to learn more about a featured product or promotion.
The home page updates resulted in a huge 250% jump in conversions. Now, granted, they didn’t have any clear call to action previously, so this number was bound to be large. But it’s clear they made some good decisions in going with best practices in this case.
They added some comfort and trust with this simple addition to the top of the page.
And that’s all they did. You see, this stuff doesn’t have to be complicated. It is a best practice to add trust signals to your checkout pages. This definitely qualifies as a trust signal. And, it’s probably one of the easiest updates you could make to your checkout page(s).
To me, this case study demonstrates a fundamental principle of CRO. And that is, ‘start with common sense’.
They made a series of relatively minor changes to their site, all of which are rooted in common sense ideals of having a clear value statement, prominent calls to action, and adding trust signals. They all also happen to be best practices.
If your website traffic is too low to do effective A/B testing, you can make an educated bet that these kinds of changes will still boost your conversion too, as long as they make sense for your particular website.
Case Study #5: Removing subcategories from homepage results in 53% revenue lift per visitor.
This is an interesting one in that it’s not a traditional eCommerce store. It’s unique in that it only sells products that are FSA eligible, and allows folks to purchase with their FSA cards.
But the lesson here is fairly universal.
Simpler is usually better when it comes to a user interface. Let’s see how that is demonstrated for this case study on FSAstore.com.
They wanted the users to focus their attention on the featured products on each category page.
You generally have two options when it comes to directing attention to something on a page.
- Make that element more prominent.
- Make the other elements on the page less prominent.
FSAstore.com chose the latter in this case, by eliminating a sub-category menu that was above the product listings. This simple change reduced clutter on the page, and moved the important product listings further up on the page.
The results? 53.8% increase in revenue per user. That’s pretty dang good, no?!
To recap, a simplified page makes it easier for a customer to complete the desired action. (and more likely to do so)
Case Study #6: A surprising result from removing social sharing buttons
Or is it really that surprising?…
Taloon.com, an online retailer of outdoor equipment, had originally placed social sharing buttons on their product detail pages.
You might ask, what’s wrong with that? Aren’t social sharing buttons a good thing? Don’t they help to drive traffic and conversions?
Maybe, in certain strategically located places on a site. For example, if your site has blog posts or other useful and shareable content, it might be beneficial to have social sharing buttons on those.
But on a product detail page? If you think about it, it’s actually pretty reasonable to assume that they would actually lower your conversions.
On a product detail page you typically have one desired outcome… one action you want the user to take. That would be to click the “Add to cart” button, right?
And what does every other link on that page do? It decrease the likelihood that your desired action will be taken. In this case, the social sharing buttons serve as a distraction, and a leak in your shopping cart funnel.
If they click on one of those buttons, they’re going to be taken away from your site, and are therefore less likely to click the Add to Cart button.
In Taloon’s case, removing these buttons resulted in a nice 11.9% increase in Add To Cart conversions.
- According to the case study, the site’s owner said the number of social shares on most produce pages was Zero. That is negative social proof. So not only are the social buttons a distraction, they actually instill distrust in the company and the products.
- Again, eliminate distractions & leaks, and your conversions will rise.
Case Study #7: Adding a simple urgency queue resulted in a 27% uplift in orders.
Through careful qualitative analysis, it was discovered that visitors to flower retailer daFlores.com were worried that flowers would not arrive on time, and were not aware that same-day delivery was available.
A very simple, yet effective solution was tested, with great results!
They added a graphic of a clock which included the message: “Order in the next n hours for delivery today.” The number, n, was dynamically updated as the deadline approached.
This created a sense of urgency while also alerting visitors to the availability of same-day delivery.
The outcome of this easy update? How about a 27% lift in orders! That’s huge!
What can we learn from this one?
Addressing your visitors’ concerns and adding an element of urgency can have a bit impact on conversions. And it’s pretty easy to do!
Case Study #8: Another example of how a slight wording change can significantly increase sales.
Canada’s largest sporting goods retailer was doing what everyone else does. Offering free shipping for any order over x value. That’s great. But that’s also what’s expected. It doesn’t exactly move the needle these days.
So, they wondered if they might be able to present this very typical offer in a less than typical way. And they stumbled upon something pretty cool in the process!
The focus of this test was on their Shopping Cart / Order Summary page.
Here’s the origiinal:
Notice in the right sidebar, Order Summary area. Below the order totals, they state “FREE SHIPPING* ON ORDERS OF $25 OR MORE”. This is a very standard message that we see on almost every ecommerce site we visit.
So, they hypothesised that if they increased the visual prominence of the text ‘Free Shipping’ and increased the relevance of the overall statement to all visitors, they might see a lift in purchases. They took the advice “don’t make your user’s think” and integrated an automatic calculation of their order value, the display text accordingly.
If your order value was at or above the minimum, they displayed “Congratulations, you qualify for free shipping!”. But if they were still under the free shipping minimum, they displayed “Just $xx.xx more for free shipping!”.
Here’s the result:
As you can see, the free shipping message stands out much more now, and the meaning behind the message is much more relevant and enticing.
They enjoyed a nice 7.3 boost in purchases as a result of this change. 7.3% might not seem very exciting in terms of most conversion boosts, but when you’re talking about actual purchases, that’s a lot!
What did we get out of this one?
We can see the benefit of making an important, yet common message stand out more. And whenever we can make the visitor’s life easier (in this case, by calculating for them) we are doing the right thing for conversions.
Case Study #9: Demonstration of authenticity and originality raises sales by 107%
When you buy a known watch brand online, does part of you wonder if it’s a knock-off?
Part of me does. Granted, it’s not much of a concern as I am not buy a lot of Rolex’s or other high ticket watches. However, the idea behind this case study can be applied on many types of ecomm sites.
Express Watches decided to test if a statement of authenticity and originality would beat a statement of a low price guarantee.
Well, it did. Here’s the original:
The ‘Never Beaten on Price’ graphic is what was in question.
And the winning variation:
Here they swapped in an official Seiko Authorized Dealer graphic, demonstrating that they are selling authentic and original Seiko brand watches. Not knockoffs!
They saw a jumbo 107% increase in Add To Cart conversions. Hard to argue with that!
That’s a big number for this kind of test. But it makes sense for a site selling items that are commonly counterfeited. It shows you how important symbols/badges of trust and authenticity can be. If they might make sense for the products you sell, you should consider this kind of test.
Case Study #10: Expertise leads to a big 69% jump in checkout conversions!
Roller skate retailer Roller Skate Nation decided to test whether or not they could increase sales by providing genuine expert advice on product pages.
Now, I don’t buy roller skates. I only rent them. At least I did back when I was 10. But people who do probably have questions, right? I mean, there are a lot of different types of roller skates, apparently.
So the site’s owner decided to add a blanket statement about sizing and fit, to the product detail pages. By blanket statement, I mean it was that same statement on every PDP page. This could be taken a step further by providing product-specific advice or tips that’s unique to each page.
Here’s the original:
As you can see, the original utilized the right side for a “Best Price Guaranteed” statement. Similar the what we saw in the previous case study. Maybe this isn’t an effective use of page real estate b/c that is such a widely used phrase?
The first test:
Here they tried adding the advice lower on the page.
And the winning test:
And here they tried adding it to the sidebar, replacing the pricing guarantee.
This was the winner… to the tune of a 69% increase in checkout conversions.
Why? Probably because the message is much more prominent here, and it is a lot different that the common price guarantee statement.
If you’re selling products that customers may have sizing, fit or other technical questions about, give them some advice! And by putting in the form of expert advice from the site’s owner, you can really add a sense of personality and authority to your content.
Case Study #11: Adding product filters is a sure way to sell more kilts!
Yeah, I said kilts!
I don’t own a kilt, but I would imagine that if I were shopping for a kilt, there would probably be lots of options. I mean, how many variations of plaid are there, right!
Kilt ecommerce merchant buyakilt.com recognized this, and went to work figuring out a better way to help visitors find the perfect man-skirt.
No product filtering options on the original Just product listings and Category links.
You can see that on the variation, they added a product filter to the left sidebar, above the Categories. And, they added additional sorting options above the product listing thumbnails.
This is all aimed at helping the user find the product they really want. Make sense right!
The results were an astounding 76% increase in Revenue! Amazing.
What does this tell us?
Helping your visitors find what they’re looking for can pay off in a big way!
There’s a caveat though. I’ve seen cases where the opposite of this is true. Where a site removed product filtering options and saw an increase in conversions.
So I think you have to understand whether or not this would actually help your visitors. Do they actually need it. Sometimes you can only know that if you have done some research into customer feedback and site usage.
What to do next, after looking through 11 case studies which resulted in successful conversion boosts for ecommerce sites?
I think the best thing to do is take a lessons learned approach.
There are some common themes that you can take with you, and apply to your own websites.
I’ll jot down a few for your notes…
- Keep tests simple. In most of these cases, the updates being tested were quite simple. Changing text, swapping out an image, etc. Easy stuff to implement. Keeping it simple makes it less costly and time consuming for you to test.
- Clear and relevant messaging. So many of these studies focus on the right message, at the right time, to the right user. That’s a fundamental that will always steer you in the right direction.
- Focus on Your visitors and what THEY need. CRO case studies are great, but we need to remember that what works for one site may not work for another. What all of these case studies have in common is that their tests focused on things that made sense for their particular visitors’ needs.
This is a guest post from Ryan BeMiller, the Founder of Shopping Signals.
Check out his free checklist on how to eliminate shopping cart abandonment.