October 10, 2023

Everything You Need to Know About E-Commerce CRO

Imagine this. You’re hosting a party. You make the nicest most personalized and well-thought invitations. You pay for them to be printed on the highest-quality card stock available. You send them out to everyone you possibly know to get the most attendees possible.

Then, when they show up to the party, all you have set up is a half-empty, two-liter bottle of Sprite and a rickety folding table.

That’s essentially what building a marketing strategy is like without Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). You optimize your invitations (your e-commerce marketing strategy) to attract more visitors to the party (your online store), but unfortunately, they are all sorely disappointed once they get there and have no idea where to go.

Many online businesses don’t have e-commerce CRO strategies, so their chances of converting are slim.Luckily, we’ve got the strategies that won’t just help you convert. They’ll help you maximize revenue.

In this blog, you’ll learn more about the best e-commerce CRO strategies for your online store. Plus, a few of the fundamentals of CRO that every e-commerce business needs to know. Now, let’s dive in.

What Is CRO?

Instead of giving you the definition of CRO, let’s hear it from an expert. Here’s Zach Pelham, Technical Project Manager at Marketwake with his definition of CRO:

Conversion Rate Optimization is the process of identifying and strategically removing the barriers to conversion on a website to generate and drive overall revenue.

Zach Pelham

Technical Project Manager at Marketwake

In other words, CRO helps you increase the percentage of users who perform a desired action on a website. This means optimizing your website or landing page to better understand user behavior.

A desired action can include many things. In terms of e-commerce CRO, it can include purchasing an item, adding an item to a cart, signing up for a demo, clicking a link, filling out a survey, etc.

Among the many things that make e-commerce CRO difficult is the customer’s willingness to buy. 56% of leads aren’t ready to buy just yet when they get to a website. But, by combining the right e-commerce CRO strategies, your online store can start exponentially converting more customers.

Why Is CRO Important for E-Commerce?

Utilizing e-commerce CRO strategies is pivotal for turning website visitors into sales.

Think about it like this. You’ve been working so hard building out your sales funnel, developing Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media, and paid media strategies, and targeting your perfect sales persona all in an attempt to drive website traffic.

What happens if a user clicks through to your website and they have no incentive or no idea where to go once they’ve arrived? You’ve not only wasted their time but also wasted your budget trying to gain traffic that was never going to convert.

That’s what e-commerce CRO solves for. It turns your marketing strategy into something holistic.

Rather than prioritizing driving visitors to your e-commerce store through organic and paid media channels, you’re now also converting them and turning their presence into revenue.

Remember our party analogy? You need more than just Sprite. You need to build an experience that will convince them to stay, enjoy themselves, and ultimately have them leave satisfied.

To do this, you need to know what the three fundamental barriers to conversion are and how to avoid them.

The 3 Fundamental Barriers to Conversion

To optimize your e-commerce store, you must understand the three barriers to conversion that every website faces. The first of which is usability.


Usability means the level of ease of using a website. Some websites are hard to use because they don’t make it clear what they want the user to do. The user can’t physically figure it out due to unclear commands, poor user experience, vagueness, etc. 

But usability also refers to bugs or glitches on pages that make it hard for the user to operate. One area that has a deep impact on e-commerce CRO is page load time. According to Hubspot, with each additional second of load time between zero and five seconds, there is a 4.42% decrease in conversion rates.

Just to pile on, they also report that the highest conversion rates are on pages with load times between zero and two seconds. 

TLDR; usability is important. If a website visitor doesn’t find your page usable, it exponentially decreases your conversion rate. So, be sure to make your page user-friendly.


Persuasion is the act of getting someone to do something. In order to complete a conversion, we actually have to convince the user that they want to convert.

To do that, we need to examine the content of a page. How is the information organized? Is it easy to read? Is there a clear hierarchy? Does it hit on the user’s core needs and beliefs? 

The key to persuasion: Optimizing the content on your website to speak to your ideal customers’ needs. Without it, we may as well be telling the user “Figure it out for yourselves.”  


The final barrier to conversion is motivation. Motivation is the icing on the cake. This is the time to tell the consumer “You need to do this right now.”

In this stage, we often look at providing incentives to go along with our persuasive content. This could be done by saying an item is low in stock. Or, by giving a deal if you buy in a certain time frame.

Either way, anything you can do to put your foot on the pedal and accelerate the purchasing process is what you should do at this stage. 

Speaking of, here are some e-commerce CRO tips you can implement today to further motivate the user to convert.

E-Commerce CRO Strategies You Can Implement Today

Message Mining

Message mining is the technique of using customer reviews of e-commerce products to inform how you write about the products you sell. Usually with this technique, you can get a bot to crawl through your reviews and find the true value propositions your customers are talking about.

Like in the persuasion section we were talking about earlier, using this technique to discover what your customers find most valuable about your product can help you understand the truth behind why customers buy your product and how you should market it moving forward.

Later on, you can also test different variations of your copy. Use the copy you wrote and compare it to the copy that was informed by true user stories. Seeing which copy performs better can help you make more strategic messaging decisions about your products and influence your overall e-commerce CRO strategy.


Surveys can be one of the most helpful tools for understanding a customer’s barrier to conversion. Unlike the usability barrier to conversion, persuasion and motivation require qualitative data to inform how you choose to present your products.

Some of Shopify’s most popular plugins are survey plugins, so they can be very simple e-commerce CRO tools to implement on your online store. But, to get the most insights out of your survey, there are a few questions you must ask.

  1. Why did you come to our website?
  2. Were you able to complete the task you wanted when you came here?
  3. Did you have any hesitations toward completing your task? If so, what were they?
  4. If you didn’t complete your task, what more could’ve made you want to?
  5. If you were not able to complete your task, why not?

These simple yet comprehensive questions can give you deeper insights into the behavior on your page and the decision-making process of your customers.

From those insights, you can make changes to your website to fit more synchronously with what your customers want out of the online shopping experience.

Social Proof

As we said in the message mining section, social proof (like reviews) can be essential to creating strong messaging for your products. But, highlighting the reviews that informed your messaging can also help you improve sales.

Here’s how we know: 88% of consumers trust user reviews as much as personal recommendations. Out of that 88%, seven out of ten choose to buy more from brands they trust.

So, as an e-commerce CRO strategy, it’s extra important to add real social proof and customer reviews with your products so consumers can trust and ultimately buy what you’re offering.

Growing Trends in E-Commerce CRO

While these short-term strategies we talked about are a great jumping-off point for many e-commerce businesses, CRO is changing as we speak. Here again is Zach Pelham, Technical Project Manager at Marketwake with his thoughts on how e-commerce CRO is changing:

Today, CRO is not only informing marketing strategy. Now, we’re building a true experimentation culture, discovering customer insights and testing hypotheses to inform how we design and iterate on the product itself.

Zach Peham

Technical Project Manager at Marketwake

What Zach is talking about is quite an interesting change in the e-commerce CRO landscape. Rather than just siloing CRO to how we market a product, we can use the same methodologies to gather insights on the product's actual usage to make it better.

And this isn’t just from an A/B testing perspective. This is from the perspective of asking customers how they feel when using the product, and how can we make the experience of using the product better for you.

All in all, we should treat e-commerce CRO as a tool and a philosophy for how we make better user experiences. With real human insights and empathetic experiences, we can improve not only how the marketing of a product impacts the user, but how the product itself does too.

Developing Your E-Commerce CRO Strategy With Marketwake

Are you ready to break down those barriers to conversions that are preventing you from maximizing revenue? Then let’s get started.

As a full-service marketing agency whose specialties include e-commerce CRO, audits of performance, User Experience, and more, Marketwake can provide you with the tools and strategies you need to start turning your website visitors into champions of your brand.

Call us today to get set up with one of our marketing experts and CRO specialists. We’re here to chat, day or night.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is CRO in Shopify?

CRO for Shopify is a method of convincing website visitors to take a preferred action when they arrive at your online store. There are many ways to improve Shopify CRO, but the most important include optimizing usability, persuasion, and motivation in your store.

What Is Amazon CRO?

Amazon CRO is the process of using two different Amazon listings to sell your products. By comparing which product listing drove more sales, you can determine which pictures, messaging, and strategies work best for the future.

What Is a Good Conversion Rate for E-Commerce?

According to industry leaders and averages, a good conversion rate for e-commerce is from 2.5-3%. The average Shopify store, however, has an average conversion rate of 1.4%.

What Are CRO Strategies for Websites?

CRO strategies for websites convince website visitors to take a desired action. Some e-commerce CRO strategies can include adding human-focused imagery, testing out different Call to Action (CTA) buttons, showing customer reviews, and so much more.

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