When it comes to selling online, you don’t just want people to click on your store and buy something. The money is nice, sure, but that’s not the entire experience you’re going for. The better an experience you provide for each and every person who stumbles across your site the better off you’ll be…and the more customers will recommend your store and buy from it.

This is called Conversion Rate Optimization. The higher your CRO the more optimized your site is for providing a “sales rich” experience. Basically, the more you know your customers and what they want, the higher your conversion rate, which means more money in your pocket.

Unfortunately, there are several things you’re doing right now that are actively hurting your conversion rate. With a few tweaks you should see a big increase in sales and positive customer comments.

1. Nobody Could Find You

Seriously, where’s your website? How do people get to your store? If people can’t click on your store and buy something quickly they’re not going to give you much time. Web users are very busy and fickle and if something goes wrong they’re going to bail.

Make sure you have presence everywhere that makes sense: website, social media, blogs, and even on physical media like business cards and billboards. The more exposure the more likely people will find you and click “buy.” I know this may sound obvious, but many sites still lack a social sharing plugin.  Is yours one of them?

2. It’s Impossible to Check Out

You’ve no doubt been to an online store where you basically had to jump hurdles to buy the item you wanted. Did you ever go back there? Unlikely. The internet is vast, and you can usually find what you want somewhere else.

If your checkout process is complicated in any way, you’re toast. Simplify it as much as possible. For example, don’t force customers to fill out a lengthy login form to simply purchase one item. CRO involves making the checkout experience as clean and smooth as possible.

As an example, check out Nike.com. The color scheme means that your “add to cart” call-to-action and checkout buttons are extremely easy to find and tempting to click, and once you’ve added an item to your cart the process is simple, clean and streamlined.

3. Your Pictures are Awful

Good grief, you just lost another sale. The user took one look at your product photos and closed the browser in disgust. How someone views your product(s) will determine if they buy, or not. Would you bid on a TV on eBay of there were no picture included?  Probably not!

Invest in a decent camera and a lightbox. It’s worth it to have good pictures since humans are visual and often shop with an eye toward beautiful images. Also, a good picture could draw the eye of someone who may not have previously been in the market for your products.

4. Your Copy is Even Worse

While the next potential customer is able to look past the pictures, your copy is making their head spin. Nothing you describe about your products sounds appealing and some of it doesn’t even make sense. Eventually they’ll just go to your competitor’s website and shop there.

Priceline.com has often been cited as an example of bad copy. The copy - when present - is small and hard to read, and Priceline’s unique bidding process has sent many a potential customer away from the site scratching his head.

Not exactly a wordsmith? Find a local freelancer who can help you beef up your descriptions. While they’re at it, they can help you fix up the rest of your website including the “About” and front pages to draw people into the rest of the store.

DreamBeardOils.com is a prime example of a website that appeals to it’s audience with concise, to the point and original copy.

5. A Static, Generic User Experience

Even after you spruce up all your copy with clear and concise value propositions, you probably have too many of them. By trying to appeal to everyone, promoting many different products and services, you make it harder for your visitors to find what they are specifically looking for or would be interested in.

With today’s web personalization technology, there is no excuse for offering up static, impersonal experiences.

At minimum, you should be delivering personalized messaging based on the referral source of each visitor. For instance, for traffic coming from a website for lawyers  you could promote your product as the perfect “X solution” for lawyers. More advanced behavior-based personalization will result in even more conversions, or you can just be happy with less sales than you could be getting.

6. No Obvious Contact Info

If customers can’t contact you they may quickly become ex-customers. PayPal - with it’s convoluted process of sending customers through help menus before allowing them to contact customer service - is one of the most well-known culprits, but your site might inadvertently be chasing customers away, too.

This is because absent or hard-to-find contact info makes your website and store look a little “spammy.” It makes them wonder why you don’t want to give out your info – is it because you’re trying to take their money and run?

Customers shouldn’t have to track you down through a WHOIS search of your domain name. At the very least, add your name and the name of your team to the site, along with a company email address, a physical address, and social media accounts. A live chat function where customers can reach you instantaneously gives them even more confidence in purchasing from you. For added credibility, include pictures of your team, your headquarters and even your offices or workspaces. Humans are visual creatures and instantly identify with other human faces.

Though customers may never avail themselves to any of these touch points, they will appreciate that your company is easy to contact should the need ever arise.


Looking for more CRO advice? Check out this checklist of 91 things you can do to make your site as customer friendly as possible.

About the Author

Matt Oberman is a product marketing manager at WePay. He is passionate about leveling the playing field for small businesses and giving them the tools they need to succeed. Matt graduated from Emory University with a Bachelor of Business Administration.