If you're not making as much money from your ecommerce site as you'd like, start checking out your analytics reports and identify where exactly the problem exists. If your site sees solid traffic but just isn't closing sales, then it's time to think about conversion rate optimization (CRO). At its core, CRO is the process of making sure your website is easy and welcoming for visitors to navigate and buy from.  

Only 22% of businesses are happy with their conversion rates. And for every $92 that businesses spend on acquiring customers, only one dollar is spent on converting them, so the CRO opportunity is huge. On average, companies spend as much as $2,000 per month on CRO tools, but those that do are targeting returns of more than double that spend.

Of course, conversion rates often depend on the trust you have established with your audience. If people don't trust you, they aren't going to buy from you. Once you're satisfied there, look at your conversion rate, and then go through this list to make sure you've done everything you can to increase it.

1. Trigger Email Reminders to Cart Abandoners

There are lots of reasons people don't follow through with the checkout process. Maybe they didn't have their credit card right in front of them. Maybe they found the checkout process too complex. Maybe the phone rang or one of the kids needed something, and they got distracted and just forgot to come back and finish.

The reality is, people don't necessarily leave in the middle of the checkout process because they've suddenly lost interest. That's why having an abandoned cart email come through to remind them that they've left items in their cart can help encourage them to finish the checkout process.

The average checkout abandonment rate in ecommerce is 25%, and if you're at 13% or lower, you're among the top performers in the industry. You can set up retargeting emails to abandoners with many ecommerce platforms and email providers. Klavio's tools, for example, allow you to implement sophisticated messaging flows with multiple segmentation parameters.

2. Shorten the Path to Checkout

The more steps that people have to go through to checkout, the less likely they are to complete the process. The shorter you can make it, the easier it will be for your customers. How can you do this?

3. Offer Coupons

Why should you deal with tracking coupon codes as part of your CRO efforts? Coupons have more conversion influence than discounted prices do.

Coupons can yield other benefits to your business as well. If you're interested in increasing your social media audience, then you can use a platform like Social Intents to offer coupons and other incentives (such as PDFs, or digital goods) in exchange for posting about your shop, liking your page or subscribing to your email list. Social Intents integrates with many common platforms like BigCommerce, Shopify and Squarespace.

4. Split-Test Everything

Testing variations of your website is one of the best ways to see what your audience responds to the best. Split-testing is the most popular form of conversion rate optimization, with 56% of marketers using this method.

Run one test at a time to make sure you're not getting murky data. Things to split-test include:

You can use a tool like Optimizely to manage your A/B test and multivariate test experiments.

5. Display Product Reviews

Some 86% of consumers say reviews play a critical role in their purchase decisions. This means you must get more reviews from verified customers if you want to inspire trust and close more conversions.

Get more product reviews by:

Tools like Podium can simplify these types of user-generated content (UGC) initiatives.

Bottom Line

You'll never be able to convert 100% of your website visitors, and that's okay. The important thing to focus on is creating the optimal environment for conversion, and then nurture relationships with your audience. You're likely to close more deals and increase loyalty along the way. After all, repeat visitors are more valuable - and easier to market to - than new visitors.

Published on: Dec 2, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.