Ecommerce Best Practices: 25 Advanced Ideas To Improve Your Customer Experience

Whatever you do to make your web store profitable, there's always more ways to do it even better, to increase your conversion rate and to turn even more visitors into customers. In this post we'll provide you with 25 tips on how you can further improve the effectiveness of your e-commerce site. All of them were collected during the last five years of delivering and updating over 50 online stores by our RubyGarage team.

Improve Your Site’s Performance

Consider a few facts provided by Kissmetrics, a top analytics tool for online marketing:

  • 64% of online shoppers do not purchase items because the website is too slow
  • 79% of shoppers not satisfied with site's performance are less likely to buy from that same site again
  • Back in 2008 Amazon discovered that with every 100ms of load time they see a 1% decrease in sales

Here’s a list of things our Rubygarage team recommends to do in order to improve your store’s loading time:

  1. Check the performance and review third-party scripts that you most probably use for social media, live chat, analytics. Sometimes they are a bottleneck of your site’s performance, and optimizing their loading order may help users get the desired information on the page more quickly.
  2. Oversized or hidden images can easily double the payload of a page. See if you can compress them or use a JavaScript image loader along with the transcoding service that would compress them on the fly to perfectly fit the current user’s screen.
  3. Find out if you can improve the latency between server requests. Improving the server infrastructure can sometimes be expensive, but the costs will be covered in the long term.
  4. Review the experience you offer to your users: do they need each and every element of your store, such as subcategories, tag clouds, promo banners? Removing only one such element can improve your loading time by a tiny fraction of second yet it will be enough to get a couple percent more customers. Consider the next: once removed subcategories from their homepage, which increased their RPV (revenue per visitor) by 53.8%. For VeggieTales this indicator grew by 14% after removing navigation during the checkout process.
  5. Make the scripts you use asynchronous and split CSS files by breakpoint to conditionally load the required content and functionality.

Here’s what some known companies got after improving their site performance:

  • After decreasing their loading time from 6 to 1.2 seconds, Shopzilla got 25% more page views. Their revenue also grew by 12%.
  • For every 400ms of loading time decrease Yahoo got 9% more traffic.
  • A single second of loading time improvement led to 2% increase in conversions for Walmart.

Analyze Usability Patterns

Study your analytics to learn when your existing customers drop off. That may be caused by poor user experience or user scenarios you have not thought-through well.

It’s not your fault: for instance, 74% of shoppers abandon their shopping carts and this percentage is growing. However, if you’re savvy enough, you can provide your customers with the interface that will make your conversion rate at least higher than average. Here’s how:

  1. If your store design is still not responsive, you lose over 11% of purchases according to the Aberdeen Group study.
  2. Check if your customers use search effectively. If they require to specify their search queries again and again, try to improve your search algorithm. An online music store Insound once done it and saw 39% conversion rate increase. For Bigstock this measure help grow downloads by 3%.
  3. Review if all interface elements you offer are important. This tip seconds the #4 tip about site’s performance, but here we’re not saying about removing site pieces, but also about adding them if needed. For instance, Roller Skate Nation once added answers to frequently asked questions on their product pages and got 69% increase in conversion rate.
  4. Do you help your customers find what they want and save money? Suggestions and bundles are a great way to increase conversion rates since many users often not sure what exactly they are looking for.
  5. Suggestions and recommendations are based on the user’s browsing history and thus help personalize their experience. Think how you can go even further. If you offer clothes, you can split your collections for men and women from the very beginning just like Jabong did. You can also ask registered users to complete a survey and create even more sophisticated algorithms.

Review Your Product Marketing Approach

Why do people buy things on your estore? Why they don’t? Often, you might think you know the right answer, but the overall picture may appear to be different. Consider the next tips to review your product marketing strategy:

  1. Start with a survey and ask your most loyal clients about feedback. In August, 2015 MarketingSherpa made such survey and found out that what 74% of people lack most in web stores is free shipping. Just imagine how you can make more than two thirds of your customers more satisfied just by adding the shipping price into the cost of your items!
  2. Review how you build trust. Do your products have reviews? You know they should, but do you know how many of them perform best? The study made by Reevoo indicated that 50+ reviews might bring a 4.6% increase in your conversion rate. And the second most required feature according to the MarketingSherpa survey is free return.
  3. Learn why your clients drop the purchase. Whatever reason you’ll find, you can easily address it. They get distracted? Throw them an email about a dropped cart to recover up to 11% of abandoned orders. Looking for a cheaper option? Offer them a discount (possibly in exchange for a shout-out on social networks).
  4. See if you can improve the best-selling element of your product page: the images. Adding a 360-degree overview of the product or a video review will help make a final decision for many customers. For, an online retailer offering items for new mothers and pregnant women, it helped increase conversion rate by 27%.
  5. Find additional ways to retain your existing customers. Loyalty cards, additional cards and special deals will help them turn to you even after they have found the required product on your competitor’s site. For instance, collecting points, according to, increases annual visits of involved shoppers by up to 20%.

Bring Personality Into Your Copies

People don’t like talking with brands, they talk with people. Leveraging that fact not only helps you build relationship with your clients, but also make them more loyal to your brand. As a result, you can 10% increase in conversion rates according to Aberdeen Group.

Consider reviewing next kinds of content your customers get and see:

  1. A thank-you note. Can you make it more personal? Your brand personality shouldn’t necessarily be about your tone of voice, but about the design (for instance, the thank-you card can be handwritten) or even the action itself (e.g., you can add a small gift to the customer’s order and tell about it in the thank-you note).
  2. The “Don’t go” message. While it may contain the discount or other attracting offer, a personified tone of voice revealing your efforts to make them stay may positively affect the return rate even further.
  3. The Buy Again Email. Consider it not a way to take advantage of your customers’ loyalty, but a great and simple opportunity to remind your clients that you want to help them make their lives better.
  4. Site titles. Bringing personality here can also be done through personalization. “Welcome back, John!” is scientifically proved to work better than plain “Welcome back!
  5. Call-to-actions. If you can split your users into a few categories, then you can tail specific call-to-actions for them as well.

If it was proved that personalized subject lines give 42% increase in open rate, and personalized call-to-actions get 42% more clicks, imagine how effective can be your content if you apply all of the tips above!

Update Your Existing SEO Practices

Since over 44% of all users start their shopping experience using a search engine, it’s critically important to have your site optimized for them. How to optimize your ecommerce site for SEO is a subject for a separate topic, but here is a few up-to-date tips you might not yet know about.

  1. Check if all your products are three clicks away from your homepage. Otherwise your product pages will lose too much authority to properly appear in search engines.
  2. When optimizing your content, use modifiers like “deals”, “cheap”, “buy”, “best”, “online” with your keywords in product titles and descriptions to get more long-tail traffic. And don’t forget about latent semantic indexing!
  3. Don't forget about link building. The more sites with great reputation and relevancy have links to your online storefront, the more authority Google sees in your domain. This directly affects the way your rank in search results, so increase your exposure on the Internet whenever possible.
  4. Perform SEO audit with tools like WebSite Auditor or any other to find broken links, pages with duplicate titles, thin content and other troubles keeping your pages away from the first page in search engines.
  5. Use short but keyword-rich URLs. Backlinko’s study shows: the longer the URL, the lower your page is in Google. 1-2 keywords for a category and for a product is an optimum.

One More Thing

It’s up to you which of the above-mentioned tips to use. But note: while you can manually, say, optimize your thank-you note or change a product title, changing the user experience is a task for a designer, not for a business owner or marketer, right? This is where we come into play.

If you want to facelift your existing store, improve its performance or update its functionality, our RubyGarage team of web developers and designers is always here to help you. Just drop us a line and we’ll get back to you with all the information you will have requested.

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