E-Commerce Conversion Rate Optimization Best Practices

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the art & science of designing your website in a way that allows for the maximum numbers of conversions (purchases) from the traffic coming to your site. Many eCommerce businesses make the mistake of blaming their ads for their high customer acquisition costs, but don’t take into account their conversion rate. The reality is that if you’re sending traffic to a poorly designed site, your CPAs will always be high.


So what should your eCommerce Store be converting at? Well, the average is 2-3%; however, we recommend that you look into the averages for your specific industry and use those as your benchmark targets.

Without further ado, here is our list of Top Conversion Rate Optimization Best Practices:


  • Think of your site like a physical store. Just like how physical stores place their most popular products in the areas of the store that get the most foot traffic, you will want your best-selling and higher-priced products to be front and center in order to maximize sales. These products should be extremely easy to find -- ideally towards the top of the homepage.
  • Once your products are organized properly, we recommend including Call To Action buttons everywhere. People should know exactly what to do if they want to buy something.
  • The path of least resistance to checkout always wins. Avoid including too many steps that people have to take to get to checkout. Giving people too many options, having too many pop-ups, asking them to create an account, etc., are all things that distract them from checking out.
  • Try to pair complementary colors next to each other when you can. You can see how we do this on harbormarketingagency.com


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  • Images should be bright, clear and feature people whenever possible.
  • You should try to keep image sizes as small as possible without sacrificing quality. This is to ensure you maintain good site speed. If you have a large image that you would like to use, try using tinypng.com to compress it first.
  • Avoid using .PNG images when you can. .PNG images should only be used if you need to upload something with a transparent background or if you need a particular image to be very high quality (usually when you have text in the image). Use .JPEG images to ensure you don’t slow down your site speed.


  • Font sizes should be large and easy to read. Minimum 16 pt font site-wide.
  • Avoid using fonts that are difficult to read. You can run into this issue with some cursive fonts.
  • A good test here is to send a link to your site to someone who uses glasses (within reason). Ask them if they can read everything on your site without their glasses. If they can’t, you may need to tweak it a bit.

Text Over Imagery

When using text over imagery, you have a few options for legible text. It’s best to try out all of these and see what looks best on your site:

  1. Place the text on a part of the image that has a plain background (a clear blue sky, a plain wall, etc.).
  2. Add some kind of a background underneath the text.
  3. Darken the image so the text pops out a bit more.


People make buying decisions in this order:

  1. Emotion
  2. Logic
  3. Urgency & Scarcity

Knowing this, we recommend constructing the top of the page to touch on the core benefits (the real reason they’re buying) that will produce the emotional buy-in immediately. For our example, let’s say we’re selling a product that helps you sleep better.

This section might say something along the lines of…

Fall asleep FASTER, sleep DEEPER, and TAKE BACK CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE! No more waking up groggy, no more unproductive days, and no more sleep-related health issues. With the Sleeper Product XYZ, you will wake up feeling like the energized, vibrant go-getter that you were born to be!”

Once the customer has emotionally bought in, we’ll need to justify the logic of the purchase decision in their mind. This should be directly under the emotional buy-in section.

This might say something like…

A $337 value for only 149! You can make that back within one DAY of increased productivity! How much longer can you afford NOT to get a good night’s sleep?”

Finally, we need to use urgency and scarcity to drive the conversion NOW. Product pages and the cart page should really push a short time window.

Product pages should say things like…

Hurry, this price goes up at midnight! After that, this deal is gone forever!” (Including a countdown timer works very well here also).  

Social Proof

Social proof consists of testimonials and credibility badges (ie. As Featured In XYZ Magazine!). Credibility badges or features are great to put towards the top of the home page (usually underneath the main hero image) so that cold traffic instantly knows they’re not wasting their time with a brand that doesn’t have it together. When people see that you’ve been featured in big publications, it can disarm objections that would otherwise come with smaller brands like, “Is this going to take forever to ship?” or “Is it really safe to give this website my credit card information?

As a general rule of thumb, we recommend including testimonials on as many pages as you can (if not every page). 93% of consumers read reviews before making a purchase decision.

Product Pages

Product Pages should have clear, high-quality imagery that showcases how the customer will use the product. They should be able to envision themselves using it based on the imagery.

The copy should list the features and then expand into how those will actually benefit the customer. A good way to do this is adding the phrase, “so that you can.”

Going back to our sleeping example, this might say something like…

“Temperature controlled pillow cases that stay cool throughout the entire night so that you can stay asleep and not have to worry about waking up a sweaty mess.”

If you have testimonials to support these benefits, we recommend including them directly underneath your features/benefits section.

As a final housekeeping item on this section, your Add To Cart button should be above the fold.

Add To Cart

  • We recommend incorporating urgency into your Add To Cart phase. A countdown timer to lock in your special offering tends to work well.
  • Ensure that people are able to edit the quantities of items in their cart. A big sticking point can be when people want to check out, but need to edit the quantities in their cart and can’t, so they leave.


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At the checkout phase, we recommend including Trust Badges that ensure customers that this is a safe site. We’ve attached a screenshot of some good ones to include. You only need 2-3 of these.

We also recommend using auto-fill shipping and credit card setting at checkout so your customers don’t have to type as much (remember, path of least resistance). Autofill makes for an easier checkout process.

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