Here is a list of questions you may — and should — ask before you choose the best conversion optimization consultant for your online business.

Maybe you have exhausted your resources or maybe you’d rather have CRO experts maximize your profits. Whatever your situation, it’s time to pick a conversion optimization consultant for your online business. No matter the business type – eCommerce, lead gen or subscription website – how do you know which optimization professional is the best? Better yet, how do you know which one is the best fit for your needs?

We rounded up 14 key questions to help you analyze and evaluate your prospective conversion rate optimization (CRO) consultants. Buckle up because here we go!

1. How Much will a Conversion Optimization Consultant Cost me?

Conversion optimization is an on-going process, meaning you can expect a multi-month engagement. Therefore an equally important question here is when will I start to see positive results and a good return on investment. To achieve this, try to compare their experience, the actual time they’ll invest in analysis and research for your project and, again, the return on investment. After all, their job is to increase your revenues.

Still, you want to have an idea of cost. Here it goes. Small conversion rate optimization firms can be found for as little as $2500 per month to run tests. For a full team approach, expect to pay between $5,000 and $15,000 per month. Enterprise-focused firms will charge up to $50,000 per month.

Agencies that specialize in search engine optimization, paid search advertising, social media and media buying are adding conversion optimization services to their line card because clients, like you, are asking for it. They are not necessarily conversion specialists, so they may offer conversion optimization as a part of their package for a small additional fee. So, ponder on this: Can this fee fund the resources necessary for a conversion optimization program that can make a difference on my bottom line?

A word of caution: Know what you buy into.

When it’s time to pick a conversion optimization consultant for your online business, you have to understand what their offer actually is.

Do you know how your conversion rate optimization consultant measures success? A great question to ask when you are trying to choose the agency that best fits your website needs.

Do you know how your conversion rate optimization consultant measures success? A great question to ask when you are trying to choose the agency that best fits your website needs.

2. Do I Need to Have my own Resources? How Much Time will I Have to Invest in this Project?

This will depend on the type of engagement you are looking for. Here’s an example. At Conversion Sciences we offer our clients a couple of service options.

If they prefer to hand over the conversion rate optimization portion to us, we furnish them with a full CRO team. No company resources needed. Just plan to spend an hour with your conversion consultant each week on an ongoing basis and a bit more while we learn about your online business. Feel free to learn more about our Fully-Managed CRO Services or as we like to call it: the Plug-n-Play Approach to Revenue Increase. (Yep, shameless plug)

If they have an internal conversion team already in place, or they don’t have sufficient traffic to warrant full time engagement, our clients can opt for our Conversion Rate Optimization Audit. They will even walk away with a thorough analysis of your customer journey. Discover more about these ad-hoc services here. Do expect to invest time and internal resources for this type of project.

Our advice, always ask this question. It will help you better compare and find the best CRO consultant for your website.

3. How will you Measure Success?

A great question that separates the wheat from the chaff. Let’s explain.

This is the best answer a CRO consultant can give you: “We will improve bottom-line metrics such as leads generated, transactions, or subscribers and that’s how we will measure success.”

It incentivizes your conversion consultant to look at the bottom line as their measure of success. And it also aligns the conversion consultant goals with your business goals.

Be careful of optimizing for secondary measures, such as clicks to a page with a form, bounce rate, the time visitors spend on your site or the number of pages they visit on average. It is often easy to improve these and not improve bottom-line metrics such as leads generated, transactions, or subscribers.

4. Can you Guarantee Results or a Conversion Rate Increase?

Should you pick a conversion rate optimization company that offers a guarantee or one that is willing to work for a percentage of the increased revenue? While these may seem like two very tempting offers, there are some downsides.

The most extreme guarantee is a pay-for-performance basis also called “I get a cut of your revenues”. On the plus side, they don’t get paid if they don’t deliver higher revenues. On the downside, they may get credit for your own promotions and not just for their conversion work. And as revenues increase, their monthly fees will look much larger to you. If conversion rates go way up, that’s good. But it means your consultant is getting paid very high fees. This can make you feel like you’re paying too much.

Therefore, even though these guarantees may feel as if they reduce the risk that you face as the site owner, they can also increase your overall investment.

Would you like a better solution?

Consider asking the conversion consultant to continue working for free if a predetermined goal is not met in a set timeframe. For example, if they can’t demonstrate a 10% increase in revenue in six months, they keep working for free. When they hit the results, they can start billing you again. Do you think they’ll accept?

5. How Much do you Know my Industry/Technology/Platform/Distribution Channel/Market?

If there’s one thing that testing teaches us very quickly, it’s that there is no such thing as a “magic formula.” Ideas that work for similar sites may not work on your audience. An orange button may work for one site, and not for another. Every audience is different.

Having said that, a conversion optimization vendor that has worked with a number of your competitors will have a playbook of ideas to consider. There will be ideas that never would have occurred to the team without the hindsight of having worked in your industry. If they also know your website platform and technology, their learning curve will be limited mostly to your product, service or business brand.

And while a solid understanding of your website platform is always a plus, industry experience can also be a hindrance. If the vendor is overly familiar with websites in your industry, they may not be able to look at your site with fresh eyes. A key advantage of external vendors.

All-in-all, a disciplined optimization process will work in any industry. Ask your vendor for some examples of novel ideas that are specific to your industry, but make sure they have a proven, repeatable process.

So, before you pick a conversion optimization consultant for your online business ask yourself if you are looking for a fresh pair of eyes, or for somebody that can quickly catch up and contribute as if they had always been a part of your team.

6. Can you Share Some Case Studies?

A case study will help you understand how the consultant helped other businesses improve the performance of their website from a lead generation, sales or subscription increase standpoint. Take case studies showing giant performance gains with a grain of salt. This can happen for you, but not always.

A consultant should always be able to facilitate and show you their case studies but you should go the extra mile and also ask to speak with their clients. While they will refer you to clients they’ve had success with, you can ask about situations in which your conversion consultant struggled.

How a consultant deals with adversity is as important as how they behave when things are good.

Should your CRO agency guarantee results or a conversion rate Increase? Discover the answer on the Conversion Scientist blog.

Should your CRO agency guarantee results or a conversion rate Increase?

7. How will you Get to Know my Target Audience and What is your Process Like?

Successful conversion consultants let the data tell them about your audience. Your analytics data, surveys, reviews, and chat transcripts can reveal many issues with you website. If that is not enough, they should resort to surveys, session recordings, heatmap reports, and A/B testing.

Any other answer from a CRO consultant could demonstrate that they do not have the optimization experience needed to perform the job.
Getting to know your target audience will be one of the first steps in the process, so make sure they share with you what the rest of the process looks like, or that is somewhere on their website. You want to know how much of your time will be spent supporting the on-boarding process and if there are any additional fees for software or special ad-hoc work.

8. Do you do Split Testing or can you Implement Personalized AI-Powered Experiences to my Visitors?

A solid conversion rate optimization consultant will be well versed on every optimization technique and tool available and will recommend the one that is the best fit for your business. Stay away from those who try to steer you towards a single solution. Unless you want a one trick pony and not a true blue pro.

Related: AI Optimization Services for High Traffic Sites

9. How do you Know what to Optimize First?

The most common framework for ranking ideas is called ICE, which stands for Impact, Confidence, and Effort. It helps collect and rank all of the ideas that will come up when starting a conversion rate optimization project.

Asking this question may weed out the weakest prospective vendors. After all, a solid understanding of methodologies demonstrates the kind of professionalism you are looking for.

10. What would you Like to Know about our Company?

Your conversion consultant will be ravenous any for data you have. Ideas come from chat transcripts, marketing research, surveys, personas, reviews, advertising data and more. Conversion consultants are uniquely able to turn your existing research into test hypotheses.

Be suspect if they don’t want to know more about YOUR business. Optimization professionals have inquisitive minds and they always want to know more. Giving them the opportunity to ask you questions allows you to dig into their curious nature and mental process.

Good consultants will have lots of answers to this question.

11. Do the People I’ll be Working with have Strong Optimization Experience?

More than likely, you had a chance to speak to the top people in this agency. They have positively impressed you. But, what does the team that will be working with you look like? Are they experienced? If they are juniors, what type of supervision will the vendor provide. You want reassurances and you should be asking these questions.

Conversion optimization is a relatively new field. There aren’t a lot of experienced conversion consultants available to hire. And this is not a set of skills that is easy to teach in the classroom.

This is where process comes in. Your consultant should be able to articulate a repeatable, proven process that has a history of positive results.
If you’re working with an agency, there is a good chance you’ll be working with a less-experienced individual. Find out how the agency backs up this individual with analytics, test design and data science. They should also be backed up by someone with strategic marketing experience. Conversion optimization is strategic as well as design-oriented.

12. How Quickly will I Get my Money Back or How Soon will I See Results?

Beware of those who can guarantee a full return on investment within a short timeframe. CRO consultants will be able to make some estimates once they start working with you and they can also share their previous and similar experiences. But that’s all they are. Estimates and experiences. And no two websites or business are completely alike.

13. Do you Work with the Tools we Bought or can Afford?

If you are now working and/or already invested in conversion optimization tools, bring up the topic on your first conversation. You will want your consultant to know you expect them to use your tools proficiently, or to have experience with similar tools from different vendors.

As far as affordability goes, we live in a golden age of marketing tools. There are many options at many price points. The consultant should be able to help you choose a tool that fits their needs and your budget.

Always consider that most conversion consultants will give you a better return on your investment in optimization tools.

Here is a list of questions you may - and should - ask before you choose the best conversion optimization consultant for your online business.

Here is a list of questions you may – and should – ask before you choose the best conversion optimization consultant for your online business.

14. What is the Consultant’s Testing Philosophy?

Each consultant will have a testing philosophy. Some favor scientific rigor. Others favor quick decisions. Here are some questions to ask them and the answers you will want to hear.

How long will you run an AB test?

No AB test should be stopped before two full weeks have passed. If you have a high volume of conversions, one week may be acceptable, but no less.

Will you stop a variation if it looks really negative?

Most conversion consultants will monitor tests and stop any variations that seem to be underperforming to avoid lost sales and fewer leads.

Do you let tests overlap?

If your prospective conversion consultant plans to run tests on multiple pages of your site, there is a risk of polluting the data and making bad calls. They should be able to visitor from getting into multiple tests.

How do you do quality assurance on tests?

The tools that conversion consultant uses give them sweeping powers to alter your site. It is surprisingly easy to break your site, even if they checked it. A thorough Quality Assurance (QA) process includes testing on multiple devices and involves several people before it goes live.

What kind of post-test analysis do you do?

Even if a test finishes and there is no winning variation, your conversion consultant can learn important things from the data. They just have to take the time to do a little more analysis, called “post-test” analysis. This should be part of their philosophy.

Can you perform multivariate tests?

If you have a high-volume site, multivariate testing is an important option. You may also want to find out if they can use machine learning AI tools to accelerate their testing.

How to Pick a Conversion Optimization Consultant for your Online Business

Final word of advice: no matter who you choose, make sure the consultant you hire is the one that is able to deliver on the strategy YOU need.

Solid CRO firms will tell you right out if they are unable to help you and may even recommend alternative solutions to your business problem, Use these questions when the time comes to pick a conversion optimization consultant for your online business. Who knows? It may even be us!

 All you ever wanted to know about performing website due diligence and how to not doo due diligence when buying sites.

I’m at the Ungagged Conference and enjoyed sitting in on a presentation by Bryan O’Neil of Flippa.com.

Are you looking for a Website, or a Web Business?

— Bryan O’neil, Flippa.com

Website Due Diligence Issues to Consider

When considering investing in a web business, consider the following.

  • Traffic source: Is it dependent on free search?
  • Proft
  • On-going development: Does it require additional investment?
  • Dependence on Third-party API’s: Facebook, Twitter and others can change access to data at any time.

There are other considerations for website due diligence as well.

Calculate Revenue per Visit

The Revenue per Visit (RPV) is the revenue generated by a site divided by the number of visitors. If this number is small, you may have trouble building traffic, because the cost of the traffic is higher than the revenue.

For a better analysis, consider measuring Profit per Visit.

Avoid Traffic Arbitrage

If the site is not something you would use, you might have a business built on traffic arbitrage. Arbitrage is acquiring traffic, and then sending it advertisers or affiliates for more than you paid.

This is not a web business.

Does the Website have a Future?

Sites with a limited future are not a good long-term investment. When performing website due diligence, be careful of sites that are at the mercy of time or other businesses.

Websites that focus on a single event have a built in expiration date.

Sites that fix something in someone else’s product can be eliminated by upgrades to that product.

Sites tat provide a product that is simply “better” than the competition can be marketed out of existence

Websites that depend on loopholes should be avoided, as loopholes can be closed.

Avoid trying to figure things out after you buy.

— Bryan O’neil, Flippa.com

Website Due Diligence: 7 Business Buying Myths

O’Neil offer seven myths about buying a business that you should avoid.

Myth #1: The site’s backlink profile is important

Dependence on organic traffic is dangerous.

Myth #2: Financial verification is most important

Businesses with good financial verification can fail if they don’t have a future.

Myth #3: Escrow can save you from a bad decision.

Escrow is where you give money to a third party during a period of inspection and verification.

Do your due diligence before you enter escrow. Don’t make yourself a target for scammers.

Entering escrow also tie up your capital, limiting your options.

Myth #4: Website due diligence is just too expensive.

Due diligence is expensive, especially if done by a third party.

But, when you compare it to the purchase price, it can be quite affordable.

Calculate your Website Due Diligence Percent:

DDP = Cost of Due Diligence / Purchase Price of Website.

Myth #5: Screen shots are viable proof of financial performance.

Business owners can forge screen shots showing success. This is a sign of a scammer.

Make the seller jump through hoops.

— Bryan O’neil, Flippa.com

Myth #6: Your broker can do due diligence.

Avoid any broker that claims they have done due diligence for you.

Brokers work for the SELLER.

Myth #7: You can rely on apps to do your website due diligence.

Nope. You need the human element in the process.

Due Diligence when Buying Websites by Bryan O’neil of Flippa.com

Here is my instagraph infographic of his presentation on due diligence mistakes when buying Websites.

Avoid Doo Due Diligence When Buying Websites - All About Website Due Diligence: Advice from Flippa.com

Due Diligence when Buying Websites by Bryan O’Niel


21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks

Keep these proven copywriting hacks in mind to make your copy convert.

  • 43 Pages with Examples
  • Assumptive Phrasing
  • "We" vs. "You"
  • Pattern Interrupts
  • The Power of Three
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

 

If your website has a glorious design and drives huge traffic but you’re still not getting enough leads, you need to get serious about conversion rate optimization and these 46 conversion rate optimization hacks will help you get there.
Conversion rate optimization is a systematic process of increasing the percentage of your website’s visitors that take the desired action on a certain page. This includes optimizing the landing pages and the website overall, using real-time analytics, tested design, and psychological elements, in order to turn your website visitors into customers.
Don’t make a rookie mistake! Not every one of these “hacks” will work for your website.

How to  Apply Conversion Rate Optimization Hacks

There is a very defined process for applying conversion optimization hacks. It goes something like this.

List Relevant Conversion Rate Optimization Hacks

List all of the hacks below that apply to your website. I recommend downloading the Conversion Sciences Hypothesis List Spreadsheet.
Toss out the ones that you’ve already tried or tested (delete them from your spreadsheet).

Do Your First Ranking of Conversion Optimization Hypotheses

Rate each of the remaining ones by level of effort (LOE), expected impact, and traffic affected. Our spreadsheet will calculate a weight for each idea.
Those that lie at the top of your list are ready to be researched.

Fix the Conversion Optimization Hacks that are Broken

Is it clear that some of these conversion rate optimization hacks needs immediate attention?
For example Hack 1: Increase Your Page Speed may be near the top of the list. It can have a high impact (based on other studies), and it affects all traffic.
To collect more data, you could look at your bounce rate. A high bounce rate may indicate a slow website, especially on mobile. You could also visit WebPageTest.org and get a grade on your page speed.
If the data says your site is slow, this would be a hack worth fixing. It will have a high value for “proof” in the spreadsheet.
If the data says your site is loading quickly, then you have low evidence and this idea may drop to the bottom of the ranking. Move on.
Other candidates for “just fix it” include

  • Technical problems on any page
  • Bad layouts due to responsive web design
  • #8 Remove CAPTCHA from forms. Don’t has your customers to manage your spam problem.
  • #16 Let Customers Checkout as Guests
  • #21 and #24 Reduce Form Fields

Research Your Top Conversion Rate Optimization Hacks

Find ways to research each of the hacks that are at the top of your list.
For example, if hack #16: Let Customers Checkout as Guests is high on your list, you could look at analytics to see if the “Login or Create an Account” page is a big source of abandonment. If it is, it gets more proof points.  If not, maybe it isn’t a problem.
You would also implement an exit-intent popup for this “Login or Create an Account” that asked, “What kept you from buying today?” If lots of visitors admit that they didn’t want to create an account, this idea would get more proof points.

AB Test the Most Promising Ones

The most promising ideas that don’t fall into the “fix it” category get an AB test. This will tell you which conversion rate optimization hacks will improve the site and by how much. It is the best data you can collect.
Have a look at Website Builder’s  “46 Conversion Rate Optimization Hacks” infographic below and for a list of effective hacks for increasing your conversion rates.

46 Conversion Rate Optimization Hacks

About the Author

Josh Wardini - 46 Conversion Rate Optimization Hacks

Josh Wardini, Editorial Contributor and Community Manager at websitebuilder.org. With a preliminary background in communication and expertise in community development, Josh works day-to-day to reshape the human resource management of digitally based companies.

Here are 3 conversion optimization examples of how to kill the “slider”.

This is not a post about how carousels kill conversions.  They can, but it’s not about that.

This post is about doing what’s best for the people who want to buy from you on your site.

Every CRO and savvy eCommerce manager I have ever met hates carousels.  In fact, we’ve never actually blogged about it because EVERYONE ELSE already did.  Bringing up carousel flaws would be akin to bringing up the Hindenburg’s.

What we at Inflow will do, however, is document the death of the carousel. But before we do, let’s talk about its birth.

Blame Yahoo! if you want

It seems like the carousel has been around forever, at least in Internet terms. Broad adoption started in the summer of 2009 after Yahoo introduced it on its homepage.

Blame Yahoo if you want

If your site still has a rotating carousel, perhaps you still have a Nokia phone?  You can check your email on it, you know!

From that point on, every website felt free to:

  • Whisk away copy while it was still being read
  • Randomly change calls to actions
  • Remove control from the user actions
  • Create “banner-blindness”
  • Periodically attract attention no matter how irrelevant to the viewer.
  • Slow page load time with multiple big images

So, for some, it might not be a surprise that there is a better way to structure an eCommerce homepage.

The death of the (unnecessary) carousel

In our 2018 Best in Class Comparative Matrix for eCommerce, we saw only 6 out of 10 sites still used the homepage hero carousel.  That number is less than half of what it was 2 years earlier.

The reason why is simple: it was never the best option for most of the sites that did it, and that statement is still pretty much true.

Optimization Away from Carousels

So, how does a site transform its homepage from having a carousel? Here are three conversion optimization examples for removing carousels.

Zappos.com

Before

A year ago, Zappos was sporting a left category nav, hero carousel and a couple of static promo areas to the right.  That made it jam-packed with options.

Zappos

After

Zappos simplified things by ditching the carousel, the left nav on the homepage and instead focusing the homepage on the things customers want most.  They are still testing this bad boy with over 5 major variants identified, so check back in February to see the winning combination. ;)

So apparently, Zappos.com never needed a slider. Note that they kept the slides, but moved 2 of them to the bottom of the site in favor of stuff users most want (a lot of which was not even on the homepage of this eCommerce behemoth just a year ago).

There’s a big lesson here for those willing to learn it and kill their carousel.

Zappos

UnderArmour.com

Before

Under Armour had a carousel last year, alternating between two and three slides.

Under Armour

After

Over the past year, they have MADE ONLY ONE CHANGE on their homepage.  That was to ditch the carousel.


Underarmour

Williams Sonoma

Before

Williams Sonoma made some minor navigation changes over the past year and added lazy-load to the homepage, which widened it a bit.

Williams Sonoma

After

For the most part, the only significant change to the homepage was REMOVING THE CAROUSEL.

Williams Sonoma

Take-Away

If you were to take the lead from these 3 best in class sites, you would blindly get rid of your eCommerce site’s carousel.  But wait!!!

You can see below that there are still 6 out of 20 Best-in-Class eCommerce sites that are standing by their carousel. You bet they have tested their homepage over the past year.

eCommerce sites carousel use

eCommerce sites carousel use

So Why?

The answer is that the carousel, as they have it, is right for them and their audience.  For now, at least, until something tests better.

This is why we test.

keith-haganAbout the author: Keith Hagan is an award-winning conversion optimization expert and Director of Conversion Services at Inflow. Keith’s insights have been featured in well-known publications, such as Moz, HuffPo, Forbes and more.

How do you decide which elements of your site to test? This question is at the heart of website optimization.
A better question is, “How do you determine what NOT to test?”
It’s relatively easy to come up with ideas that might increase your conversion rate. We typically come up with 50, 75, 100 or more ideas for each of our client sites. Filtering through this list is the hard part.
Here’s the approach we take at Conversion Sciences (my employer).

Step One: Look For Evidence

You should never test anything if you don’t have some evidence that it is a problem. These ideas are called hypotheses for a reason. A hypothesis is an educated guess, an informed fabrication, a data-based brain fart.
So you need to educate, inform and find data on your ideas, or they don’t qualify as hypotheses. They’re just happy thoughts.
The first benefit of looking for evidence is that you might be able to eliminate a hypothesis. You might find evidence that it’s NOT a problem.
Here’s an example hypothesis for the product page of an e-commerce site: “If we put an ‘Add to Cart’ button at the bottom of the  page, more visitors will add an item to their cart.”
Sounds reasonable. Yet, if few people are scrolling down the page, this hypothesis won’t hold water.
We can look at attention data, or “heat map” data generated by click-tracking and scroll-tracking software such as CrazyEgg. This will tell us how far visitors are scrolling on the product pages of the site.
If they aren’t scrolling far, then we may save this hypothesis for another time.
When we’re identifying what to test, we give each hypothesis a rating from 1 to 5 for how much evidence there is.
A rating of “1” means there’s no evidence, that the hypothesis is just an idea. A rating of “5” tells us that there is overwhelming evidence that there is a problem this hypothesis could address.
I’ve written and talked about the sources of data that are available to help you with this.

Step Two: Rate The Traffic

We want to avoid optimizing the wrong parts of the site. Our hypothesis list should have ideas for site-wide improvement, as well as page-specific enhancements.
Changing the order of the site’s navigation, for example, is a site-wide change. Adding trust symbols to the checkout page is page-specific. If we were to rate the value of the traffic on a scale of 1 to 5 again, what would we give these two scenarios? They both might get a 5.
A site-wide change, such as adjusting the navigation, has an impact on 100% of the visitors. That’s a 5 in my book. Accordingly, changing a page that is only seen by 20% of visitors or less gets a 1.
Visitors to the checkout page often account for a small percentage of viewers. Why give them a 5? Because what this traffic lacks in volume it makes up for in opportunity.
Visitors who are checking out have demonstrated significant buying intent. These visitors are very valuable to us.
Other pages may not get much attention. The “About Us” and “FAQ” pages may not be so interesting to us. They might get a 2 or 3.
Favor hypotheses that have an impact on the most, or most interesting, visitors.

Step Three: How Hard Is It To Test?

For each of our hypotheses, we want to understand what the level of effort might be. It’s easy to change the text of a guarantee or offer. It’s much more difficult to add live chat to a site.
If we use our 1-to-5 scale again, we might give the change in the copy a 1 or a 2. Adding live chat requires hiring a live chat vendor, doing integration and staffing for our chatty visitors. This is a 5 in my book.
You don’t want to favor simple tests for simplicity’s sake. Don’t rush off and test button color just because it’s a 1 on your level-of-effort scale.
Likewise, hold off on swinging for the fences until the low-hanging fruit has been found. Leave your 5s for another time.

Step Four: What Does Experience Tell You?

Finally, gauge the impact you think this hypothesis will have. This is based on your knowledge of your prospects. It is based on what you’ve learned from previous tests you’ve done.
It is based on your experience as an online marketing team. It is based on research you’ve done, such as reading this column.
How about a scale from 1 to 5 again? If you rate a hypothesis as a 1, you’re saying that this is an arbitrary idea. If it has a big impact, that will be a surprise.
If you rate your hypothesis as a 5, you’re saying you believe this change will have a significant impact on the visitors and the site. You’re expecting a big win.
Our intuition can often lead us astray. You will find yourself rating hypotheses higher on this impact scale, not because of your experience, but because you want to try them. Or you might favor one because you like the idea.
These kinds of sentiments don’t belong in a scientific environment like the one we create. However, we cannot ignore the intuition of experienced business people.
This is only one of the four factors we weigh, the others being proof, traffic value, and level of effort. A high impact score may tip a hypothesis into the top 10, but only if it has good ratings in other categories.
Once a hypothesis has been proven or disproved, there is no more role for intuition. When the data is there, we favor the data. However, when deciding what to test, we like to mix in a little gut.

Step Five: Bucket The Winners

Once we have ratings for each of the five areas, we can weight a hypothesis. We simply add together the values for Proof, Impact and Visits/Buyer Affected. Then subtract the level of effort (LOE). Here’s what part of a hypothesis list may look like:

The top ten hypotheses reveal an interesting pattern when you bucket them.

The top 10 hypotheses reveal an interesting pattern when you bucket them.

We take one more step and put each of our top hypotheses into one of five buckets:

  1. User Experience: For hypotheses that would alter the layout, design or other user interface and user experience issues.
  2. Credibility and Authority: For hypotheses that address trust and credibility issues of the business and the site.
  3. Social Proof: For hypotheses that build trust by showing others’ experiences.
  4. Value Proposition: For hypotheses that address the overall messaging and value proposition. Quality, availability, pricing, shipping, business experience, etc.
  5. Risk Reversal: For hypotheses involving warranties, guarantees and other assurances of safety.

It’s important to have these buckets because when we look at the top ten hypotheses shown in the figure, we see that six out of the ten are “User Experience” issues. This gives us a hint about the overall challenge with the site. It’s not well-designed for conversion.
We may spend our initial efforts finding out what kind of user experience these visitors want since our analysis says that the site doesn’t seem to be giving them what they want.
This is a simplified version of our process. If you’d like a copy of the “ROI Prioritized Hypothesis List” spreadsheet we use daily, send me an email at TheLab@ConversionSciences.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Massey is the Conversion Scientist at Conversion Sciences and author of Your Customer Creation Equation: Unexpected Website Formulas of The Conversion Scientist. Conversion Sciences specializes in A/B Testing of websites. Follow Brian on Twitter @bmassey

You want to optimize your ecommerce site, but where do you begin? What do you look for? What page elements are worth evaluating? This Uber complete 110-point ecommerce conversion optimization checklist holds the answer.

At Conversion Sciences, we have an ecommerce conversion optimization checklist that our team goes through when evaluating a new client website. And today, we’re going to share that ecommerce CRO checklist with you. This checklist includes virtually everything you’ll want to consider optimizing. And because we know you’ll want to test what’s working and what’s not, here’s the ultimate A/B Testing Guide to help you put together your very own A/B testing campaign.

This is not a list of everything you should test. It’s a list of everything you should consider testing. Optimizing an ecommerce site requires testing strategy and prioritization. It would take an eternity to test every single item on this list using proper testing procedures and this CRO checklist will help identify and prioritize conversion optimization opportunities.

If there is anything on your site worth testing, I can tell you with 99% certainty that it’s on this list. So, go through it, take your pick and start your ecommerce site conversion optimization work.

Ecommerce Conversion Optimization Checklist Navigation

To make navigation easier, we’ve broken our ecommerce conversion optimization checklist into 8 sections. Select one or simply scroll down to start with #1.

The Complete 110 Point Ecommerce Optimization Checklist

110 Point Ecommerce Optimization Checklist Download

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#1. Ecommerce Sitewide Conversion Optimization

Let’s take a look at some sitewide elements on your ecommerce site and make sure they don’t hinder conversions. We’ll cover sticky elements such as, dropdown menus, supernav dropdown menus, navigation order, links and copy, visual cues, value proposition, dropdown or model shopping cart. sitewide search, related items, header and footer content, channel-dependent pages and elements, modals for email collection and discounts, and live chat. Quite a jam-packed section but we did promise a complete 110-point ecommerce optimization checklist.

1. Sticky Elements

Sticky Header

Sticky Header

Sticky elements are items that remain fixed on the screen as the users scrolls up or down. The most commonly stickied page element is the header navigation bar. It definitely helps navigate your ecommerce site.

Stickied elements tend to attract focus and distract from other page elements, which means they can work both for and against you. Therefore, they should be included in your testing – especially on your mobile or cross-device testing.

Elements to Consider in a Sticky Header or Footer

In case you were wondering what to turn into a sticky element, here are a few to consider:

  • Website Top Navigation Menu
  • Directional Navigation (Main Shopping Categories)
  • Search Icon or Search Field
  • Add to Cart / View Cart
  • Click to Call button / Subscribe / Live Chat
  • Company Logo
  • Social Links

Elements that can be added to mobile and desktop stickies.

2. For Best Ecommerce Site Navigation, Check your Dropdown Menus

Dropdown Menu

Dropdown Menu

Dropdown menus are pretty straightforward and a staple of ecommerce sites and websites in general. They offer a quick understanding of the site’s information architecture and ready access to subcategories.

3. “Supernav” Dropdown Menus on Ecommerce Websites

"Supernav" Dropdown Menu

“Supernav” Dropdown Menu

If you look at many of the largest online retailers, you will notice that certain dropdown menus expand into large fields with more items and added visual elements. We called these “supernavs” here at Conversion Sciences and they can be a powerful tool for highlighting specific offers, deals and product categories. They could be difficult for a visitor’s eyes to parse, so test carefully.

4. Site Navigation UX: Hover or Click?

Should your ecommerce dropdown menus open as soon as the user’s mouse cursor hovers over them? Or should they activate upon an actual click? It may not seem like a big difference, but it’s a potential item to test for. If poorly implemented, they can be a barrier to site navigation.

5. Test Navigation Order on Menus and Sub-Menus

One of the most common problems we encounter is sub-optimal navigation ordering. Categories aren’t properly selected and ordered. Menus and menu item placement seems almost random. There is an argument for placing the most clicked navigation items toward the left or top. You can determine this using a heatmap report from CrazyEgg, HotJar, ClickTale and similar user and a/b testing tools.

6. Don’t Forget to Add Navigation Links

Another common problem we encounter is a lack of obvious navigation links to popular products or product categories. Ecommerce stores include feature images and headlines somewhere on the front page, but forget that they need to be added to the primary menus as well. Redundancy is not a vice, and when discussing your bread and butter products, it’s typically a virtue.

7. Change Link Copy

Your main navigation communicates your offering. Choosing the right words helps those who never click on your navigation. When testing navigation language, it is common to see an increase in conversions but no increase in clicks on the navigation elements we’re testing. Thus, ecommerce site navigation is a way to communicate your value proposition and offering.

After determining that all the right links are present, look at the word choice for each link. Is there a more accurate or intuitive way to define that category or other link heading? Could you be more specific? More general? Are certain categories selling like crazy when the user enters the website directly via the product page but rarely being clicked on via navigation?

8. Visual Cues

Visual cues are visual elements that point the eye in a specific direction. When optimizing your ecommerce website, make sure that your visual cues are working for you rather than against you.

Visual Cue

Visual cues are visual elements that point the eye in a specific direction. Make sure that your visual cues are working for you rather than against you.

9. Add a Value Proposition to your Ecommerce Site

It’s amazing how many ecommerce websites completely lack any discernible value proposition. While creating a unique value proposition can be a bit more difficult for stores offering numerous products, it doesn’t mean you should skip it altogether. Look for ways to define your value and pitch why visitors should continue shopping on your site at every opportunity.

Check out these 10 value proposition upgrades that increased conversions by at least 100%

Value Proposition Quiz

Are you quickly giving the visitor a reason to stay?

  • Are you the cheapest, highest quality, or do you have the biggest selection?
  • Do you have a generous return policy or warranty?
  • Do you serve a niche in the marketplace?
  • Do you have a unique brand voice?

10. Shopping Cart Dropdown or Modal

Should you use a shopping cart dropdown or a modal window on your ecommerce site?

Shopping Cart Dropdown

When a customer clicks on that shopping cart icon in the navigation bar, what happens? Are they taken straight to the checkout page or does clicking trigger a dropdown or modal window display? Customers wishing to review their shopping cart might prefer a dropdown. Customers wishing to get straight to checkout might be annoyed by the extra click. You’ll need to test to know how your visitors are responding.

Pro tip: Be sure to instrument your cart dropdown or overlay for tracking by analytics. It’s part of the purchase funnel.

11. Sitewide Search

Similar to navigation dropdowns, the search bar is a huge part of how visitors interact with an ecommerce website. Should yours be bigger? Should the written prompt be different? How should it fit into your layout? These are all important questions to ask when evaluating your overall navigation layout.

What to consider when optimizing your ecommerce sitewide search.

What to consider when optimizing your ecommerce sitewide search.

12. Related Items Based On User History

Upselling will definitely help increase your average order value. Test suggesting alternative or related products to your visitors. Where and how are you suggesting those products?

Ecommerce Related products: Upselling will reliably increase your average order value. Related Items Based On User History.

Related Items Based On User History

13. Online Store Header Content

If a visitor doesn’t find what she’s looking for in the body of a page, she will return to the top of the page. Your header should provide a next step.

Elements to consider in the Header

  • Company Logo
  • Value Proposition
  • Return Policy (if it’s part of your unique value proposition)
  • Navigation
  • Phone Number
  • Search
  • Click to call (Mobile)
  • Subscribe
  • Live Chat
  • Checkout/Cart
  • Clearance
  • Login
  • Sitewide Promo / Offers / Specials

14. Don’t Forget to Optimize the Footer Content for Conversions

In its lonely home at the bottom of the page, footer elements don’t get seen as much by visitors. Unless they know that’s where they’ll find the link to the information they’ve been searching for. Consider all of the elements you would consider for the header plus contact methods, privacy policy and DMCA, social media accounts, among others. Check your heatmap reports as well. You might be surprised by the number of clicks you’re getting in your footer.

15. Channel-Dependent Pages & Elements

A group of power shoppers was recently discussing one major apparel retailer’s retargeting ads campaign. They unanimously condemned those ads that featured a product that would lead to a page where that product was not even displayed. Keep the promises you make to your visitors.

What can you offer visitors coming in from different traffic channels? Are they directed to channel-specific pages? Are they served dynamic content? This can have a massive impact on your success in converting users from each channel.

16. Email Collection Modal

Email subscribers purchase from your online shop at a significantly higher rate than social followers or new visitors. The question is how do you plan to attract new subscribers? While users claim to find them annoying, popup modals tend to be very effective at converting visitors into subscribers.

Email Collection Modal: Attract new subscribers with a modal window.

Email Collection Modal: Attract new subscribers with a modal window.

17. Discount Modal

Discount Modal

Discount Modal

For ecommerce sites, one of the most effective types of modals is the discount modal. Users are already there to buy. Accepting a discount is a no-brainer. This 110-point ecommerce conversion optimization checklist is getting better by the minute, right?

18. Live Chat

Live chat and Chatbots have become effective tools to boost sales for eCommerce stores. It can be auto-prompted or offered in the Help section, and it’s definitely on the list of things we recommend to test on this ecommerce conversion optimization checklist.

Live chat for ecommerce stores. Definitely on the list of things we recommend to test on this ecommerce conversion optimization checklist.

Live chat for ecommerce stores.

#2. Ecommerce Site Homepage Optimization Checklist

19. Hero Shot

Your homepage’s hero shot is the above-the-fold area incoming visitors see as soon as they arrive. It’s one of the most important pieces of real estate on your website, and a top priority for split testing.

Ecommerce homepage hero image conversion optimization checklist.

Ecommerce homepage hero image conversion optimization checklist.

20. Dynamic or Static Heroes?

Dynamic Hero Shot

Dynamic Hero Shot

Should you utilize dynamic elements like sliders or other moving graphics? Or should you keep the page static? It’s important that you catch visitors’ attention here, but what that attention catches on is equally important.

Rotating carousels slow load times and only improve conversion rates if ordered properly and times perfectly. Large video backgrounds can bring a page to its knees, making the site seem slow and cumbersome.

21. Homepage Header Navigation

While many sites choose to keep their navigation consistent across the entire website, if there is any page where customization can be beneficial, it’s the homepage. This is the gateway to your business, and experimenting with different looks and functions on this specific page can be beneficial.

22. Homepage Value Proposition

Just like you need to emphasize your value throughout the website, it is especially important that you present unique value on the homepage, and more specifically within the hero shot. Some ecommerce stores emphasize quality. Others emphasize price. Others emphasize special offers like discounts or free shipping. You’ll need to test to know what works best with your audience.

Unique value proposition on an ecommerce site homepage.

Unique value proposition on an ecommerce site homepage.

23. Should You Add A Video?

Homepage Video

Homepage Video

Promotional videos provide a fairly consistent boost to website conversion rates, although I have yet to see many examples of them being tested on eCommerce stores. If you are struggling to differentiate your brand, it’s definitely something to think about and consider testing for. Be cognizant of increases in load time.

24. Primary CTA

Does your homepage have a primary Call to Action (CTA) or a handful that stand out? If so, how can those be optimized? If not, should you have one or more?

25. Should You Highlight Popular Products?

Online retailer featured popular products.

Online retailer featured popular products.

Should you highlight popular products or products you are looking to push? How prominently? Where on the page?

26. Should You Highlight Special Deals?

If you are advertising a promotion in the marketplace, your main landing pages should mention the promotion. You can highlight special deals on the homepage, category pages, product pages, and even in the cart. Consider a small deals bar, big hero shot, or sidebar displays.

Highlight special deals on your ecommerce site to increase conversions.

Highlight special deals on your ecommerce site to increase conversions.

27. Should You Include Testimonials?

Customer or influencer testimonials can build trust and advance the value proposition on almost any page of the website.

Website optimization checklist: Believable testimonials can build trust.

Website optimization checklist: Believable testimonials can build trust.

28. Should You Highlight Top Categories?

Should you promote specific products or highlight product categories? Should they be displayed in your hero shot or somewhere else on the page?

Online retailer category optimization checklist.

Online retailer category optimization checklist.

#3. Product Category Optimization

29. Faceted Search

Ecommerce faceted search. Help customers buy from you.

Ecommerce faceted search. Help customers buy from you.

Faceted search allows browsers to adjust their selection criteria on the fly, allowing for very customized searches. If you offer a large inventory and don’t have faceted search, it’s something worth re-evaluating.

Consider testing the order of faceted search categories. Also play with unrolling some categories in the facet menu by default.

30. Sidebar Navigation

Sidebar navigation is one of those things that can help or hurt. While sidebar lists can guide a visitor to the products they are looking for, the tyranny of choice can make a page overwhelming. Sidebar navigation may help on some pages and hurt on others. Our testing indicates that it really depends on your site and your audience.

31. Adjust Image Sizes

In general, more detailed images perform better than stock manufacturer images. Ecommerce layout is all about maximizing the value of limited space. Are your images too small to make an impact? Are they too big, obscuring other important information?

32. Category CTAs

Should you just list your categories or include CTAs to prompt entrance? Are your category CTAs effective or do they need to be improved?

Are your category CTAs effective or do they need to be improved?

Are your category CTAs effective or do they need to be improved?

33. List View or Grid View?

Product page grid view.

Product page grid view.

Product list layouts are easier for comparison shopping.

Product list layouts are easier for comparison shopping.

On category and search results pages, visitors will have a preference for grid layouts or stacked list layouts. List layouts are easier for comparison. Grid layouts fit more products onto the screen. You may give visitors an option.

34. Modify Row & Column Count?

For sites with heavy traffic, sometimes something as simple as modifying the number of rows or columns can impact your conversion rate. Should you have 8 products per row or 3?

35. Category Page Product Information

Deciding what to display on category pages is critical and worthy of a series of tests.  What product information should you display with each item? The options are almost limitless.

  • Product Image
  • Product title
  • Product description
  • Star rating
  • Price
  • Product options
  • Stock availability
  • Video or animation
  • Badging

Every audience will react differently.

36. What Type of Information Should Be Filterable?

There are many different ways to classify and categorize products. If you don’t offer enough filters, you can make searching difficult for users. If you offer too many options, you can create unhealthy friction in the browsing experience.

37. Endless Scroll or Pagination?

Do you break categories with hundreds of options into pages or do you use endless scroll? Most large retailers currently use pagination, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for every eCommerce business.

38. Should You Include Special Badges?

Consider including special product badges to increase ecommerce sales.

Consider including special product badges to increase ecommerce sales.

Editor’s choice, top picks for 2019, new items, bestsellers etc. Should you include special badges or keep all things equal?
Consider some of  these.

  • New
  • Editor’s choice
  • Clearance
  • Popular
  • Best Seller
  • Limited Time
  • Hot Item
  • Free Shipping
  • Save 25%

#4. Product Page Optimization Checklist for Ecommerce Sites

39. Primary Product Image

Your primary product image might just be the most important single element of your product page. Does the image optimally display the product? Is it high quality? Is it big enough?

Product page conversion checklist: Primary product image.

Product page conversion checklist: Primary product image.

40. Add to Cart Button

Where should the Add to Cart or other CTA button go on the page? How big should it be? What color should it be? What should the copy say?

41. Price Placement

Where should you list the price? How big and bold should it be? Should you make it look discounted even when it isn’t?

42. Product Reviews & Ratings

User reviews have become a core part of eCommerce, as modern consumers place more and more weight in feedback from other consumers. Should you display reviews or ratings? If so, where? How obvious should they be? Should you only show reviews if they meet a certain threshold?

Product page optimization checklist for ecommerce websites: reviews and ratings.

Product page optimization checklist for ecommerce websites: reviews and ratings.

43. Product Value Proposition

Should you dive right into the product description or include a one or two sentence product value proposition?

44. Shipping & Return Policy

Are your shipping and return policies obvious or hard to find? Do they encourage trust in your brand or make users skeptical? Weak policies can result in lower conversions, particularly with first-time customers.

45. Product Sizing Chart

Are you including a sizing chart to help potential buyers understand your product dimensions? If so, is this enhancing the user experience? If not, should you add one?

46. Cart Success Modal or Navigate to Cart?

Cart Success Modal

Cart Success Modal

When a customer selects “Add to Cart”, does a modal popup or does it take them off page and directly to checkout? Modals tend to make it easier for users to continue shopping, while direct checkout navigation is more streamlined when you are expecting a single purchase.

47. Related Item Fields

When users are looking at a product, are you suggesting related or alternative products for them? This is Amazon’s #1 methods for increasing cart size.

Related items. Ecommerce conversion optimization checklist.

Related items. Ecommerce conversion optimization checklist.

48. Detail Sections

Truncated Content

Truncated Content

We believe that the Product Page should provide all of the information necessary for the visitor to buy. How you fit this information onto the product page is a question worthy of testing.

The options are many.

Visitors know how to scroll, so it may be find to simply list everything out, like Amazon. The question then becomes, what order?

You may have success with tabs or rollout sections that reveal the information with a click. Heatmap reports will give you an idea of which sections are most important. The most important should be open by default. Sections can be ordered top-to-bottom by visitor interest.

It’s important that key information is displayed pre-click, but it’s also important that non-essential information is available without being distracting.

49. Additional Social Proof

In addition to reviews, there are other forms of social proof that can be experimented with on your product pages. This could look like social sharing, displaying how many customers have already bought the product, influencer testimonials, etc. While reviews are fairly ubiquitous, other specific types of social proof might be even more powerful in your niche.

50. Trust Indicators

Could additional trust indicators improve your product page conversion rate?

Ecommerce product optimization with trust indicators.

Ecommerce product optimization with trust indicators.

51. Add to Wishlist

Wish lists let customers tell you exactly what to sell to them. If you don’t have a wishlist feature on your site, you should probably add one.

52. Additional Image Thumbnails

In addition to the primary product image, it’s important to evaluate additional images and the thumbnails displaying them. Are you including enough additional images? Do the image thumbnails displayed do a good job of showing off the product? Are they in the best possible order?

Ecommerce product information optimization: Additional image thumbnails.

Ecommerce product information optimization: Additional image thumbnails.

53. Project Scarcity

Are you including signs that indicate the product is scarce or in danger of running out? Whether legitimate or not, projecting scarcity on your product page can sometimes increase the conversion rate.

54. In Stock or Out of Stock?

Should you include copy indicating when a product is in stock or out of stock?

55. Image Hover

Image Hover

Image Hover

Should users be able to explore an image by hovering their mouse over it, or should you require them to click to explore the image?

56. Display Shipping Time

Should you display the estimated shipping time on the product page or wait until the customer begins checkout?

57. Promotion Messaging

Should you display special promotions on the product page, and if so, where?

#5. Shopping Cart Optimization

58. Proceed to Checkout Button

Where should the Proceed to Cart or other CTA button go on the page? How big should it be? What color should it be? What should the CTA copy say?

Ecommerce convert from cart: proceed to checkout.

Ecommerce convert from cart: proceed to checkout.

59. Cart Page or Straight to Checkout?

Should clicking on the shopping cart icon take users to a cart preview page or skip straight to the first page of checkout?

60. Continue Shopping Button

Where should the Continue Shopping button go on the page? How big should it be? What color should it be? What should the CTA copy say?

61. Discount Code Validation

Discount Code Validation

Discount Code Validation

What happens when invalid discount codes are entered? Is the automated validation system bug-free and optimized to keep users engaged with the checkout process? Have you tried giving users who enter invalid codes a small, limited-time discount to encourage them to make the purchase?

62. Product Descriptions

Should you include product descriptions on the cart page? If so, how long should they be?

63. Product Images

How big should the product images be on the cart page? Where on the page should they go? Can you use them as a visual cue to draw users’ eyes to your primary CTA?

64. Upsell Items

Should you include related items, recently viewed items, or other upsell-focused items to the shopping cart page? If so, where on the page should you places them?

Test upsell items when optimizing cart conversion rates.

Test upsell items when optimizing cart conversion rates.

65. Visual Contrast & Hierarchy

Shopping cart CRO checklist: What will be your visual hierarchy?

Shopping cart CRO checklist: What will be your visual hierarchy?

You might notice that Amazon’s shopping cart page is very monochromatic. It all sort of looks the same, and while it’s not necessarily confusing, it doesn’t draw your eyes to anything in particular. Meanwhile Yandy.com’s shopping cart has contrasting colors with a very distinct visual hierarchy. The eye is clearly drawn to the checkout box in the middle-right of the page. Which style will work best for you?

66. Payment Options

Are you offering enough payment options? Are you letting your customers know about the options you currently provide? Should you make additional payment options obvious at the beginning of the checkout process like Yandy.com, or should you reveal them more subtlety when it’s time to process payment?

67. Shipping Time

Should you reveal estimated shipping time on the cart page or attempt to use it here as a selling point? Or should you save it for another point in the checkout process?

68. Shipping Cost

Should you display the shipping cost (or lack thereof) on the cart page or save it for elsewhere in the checkout process?

69. Price Display

How should you display product pricing on the cart page? Should it be highlighted? Minimalized? Should discounts be displayed next to the original price?

How to improve shopping cart experience with price display.

How to improve shopping cart experience with price display.

70. Project Scarcity

Are you including signs that indicate the product is scarce or in danger of running out? Whether legitimate or not, projecting scarcity on your cart page can sometimes increase the conversion rate.

71. Trust Indicators

Could additional trust indicators improve your cart page conversion rate?

72. Remove Navigation?

One question you have to ask is where in the checkout process (if anywhere) should navigation options be removed. Having general navigation options can sometimes be distracting and prompt cart abandonment. Should you remove navigation on the cart page or after users begin the checkout process?

73. Promotion & Coupon Entry

Should you allow users to enter promo codes and coupons on the cart page or wait to provide that option on the payment processing page or some other page in the checkout process?

74. Cart Visual Design

Could a redesign improve your conversion rate? Are parts of your cart page visually unappealing? Does the page design reflect your brand? Should it be more design heavy or more minimalist?

Shopping cart redesign checklist: choosing a visual design.

Shopping cart redesign checklist: choosing a visual design.

75. Quantity Change Functionality

Should users be able to change the quantity of a given item in their cart from the cart page? Adding this functionality often enhances the user experience.

76. Multiple CTAs

How many CTAs are displayed on your cart page? How many should their be? Should their be multiples CTAs for the same link? Should their be multiple different CTAs? You’ll need to test to find out.

77. Add to Wishlist

Should you provide users with the option to add cart items to their Wishlist from the cart page?

#6. Ecommerce Checkout Optimization

78. Guest Checkout

Should you require all users to create an account or allow a guest checkout?

Ecommerce guest checkout optimization guest.

Ecommerce guest checkout optimization guest.

79. Add “Use Billing/Shipping Address” Checkbox

Most consumers have a billing address identical to their shipping address. Including a relevant checkbox that lets them copy/paste improves the user experience. At this point, most consumers expect this feature and will be annoyed if it’s not available, potentially even to the point of abandoning the checkout process.

Optimize the checkout process for conversions: Use billing address.

Optimize the checkout process for conversions: Use billing address.

80. Shipping ETA

Should you display the estimated time of arrival (ETA) before the order is placed? If so, there are quite a few different options and placements for offering shipping options and presenting the ETA.

Test offering shipping options and estimated delivery dates.

Test offering shipping options and estimated delivery dates.

81. Validation Errors

Validation Errors

Validation Errors

Validation errors and their accompanying notifications are a fundamental part of the checkout user experience. Any errors or sub-optimal elements can significantly hurt your conversion rate. Make sure that error notifications are obvious and specific, helping users quickly enter the correct info and proceed with checkout.

82. Checkout Copywriting

The copywriting throughout your checkout process is incredibly important. It’s not enough to just write something and leave it. If you want optimal results, you have to test.

83. Remove Sitewide Navigation?

One question you have to ask is where in the checkout process (if anywhere) should navigation options be removed. Having general navigation options can sometimes be distracting and prompt cart abandonment. Removing them, however, can sometimes annoy customers. You’ll need to test before you make a call.

84. Create Account Prompts

If you make account creation optional, where should you prompt guests to create an account? Should you prompt them multiple times or just once?

85. Add Trust Indicators

Could additional trust indicators improve your checkout conversion rate?

86. Add Risk Reversal Indicators

Money-back guarantees. Return policies. Quality assurance. Consumers fear risk, particularly when they are first ordering from your business. Highlighting policies that lower risk for the consumer is a great way to increase conversions.

Policies that lower risk for the consumer are a great way to increase conversions. Money-back guarantee.

Policies that lower risk for the consumer are a great way to increase conversions. Money-back guarantee.

87. Abandonment Remarketing Strategy

Do you have a pixel collecting data on your checkout page for remarketing ads? If not, you should.

88. Checkout Order Form

When collecting data from users, there is essential data that absolutely MUST be collected to deliver the product, and then there is non-essential data that is helpful for segmentation and marketing. The first category is just a matter of optimization. How can you request that info in the best possible way? The second category requires you to find a balance. How much can you ask for without creating too much friction?

89. Single vs. Multipage Checkout

There are case studies where splitting up the checkout process to multiple pages increased conversions. There are case studies where condensing the process to one page increased conversions. You’ll need to test to find out what works best for your audience.

90. Add Progressing Tracking

Letting users know where they are in the process and how far they have to go can encourage them to stick with you, particularly if your checkout process is longer than two pages. This can take the form of  breadcrumbs or a progress bar or some other form of visual progress indication.

Reduce cart abandonment rate if checkout process is longer than two pages. Progressive tracking.

Reduce cart abandonment rate if checkout process is longer than two pages. Progressive tracking.

91. Custom Checkout or 3rd Party Solution?

It used to be that a custom built checkout was the only viable solution for creating a top-of-the-line checkout experience, but that simply isn’t the case anymore. Nowadays, there are some very high quality 3rd party solutions that have hundreds of built-in integrations for any service or function you could possibly think of. In fact, if your custom checkout was built more than 5 years ago, it is very likely you will benefit from switching over to a 3rd party solution.

92. Separate Checkout Subdomain?

Should you include your checkout under domain.com/checkout or checkout.domain.com?

93. 1 Column or 2 Column?

Is there any significant performance difference between a single column checkout and a double column checkout?

Test your checkout process performance with Conversion Sciences' ecommerce optimization checklist.

Test your checkout process performance with Conversion Sciences’ ecommerce optimization checklist.

94. Sticky Order Summary

Will a sticky order summary enhance the experience for consumers and increase conversions?

95. What To Expect Next

Telling visitors what to expect next at each stage of the checkout process can enhance trust and reduce abandonment. How can you do better at setting expectations throughout your checkout process?

96. CTA Buttons

We’ve touched on CTA buttons a number of times already, but they are just as important to test within the checkout process as they are everywhere else.

97. Promotion Code Entry

If you incorporate coupons and discounts into your marketing, it’s important that your promo code entry field is easy to find.

#7. Account Dashboard CRO

99. Order Status

The goal of virtually any ecommerce business is to create repeat customers. You want people coming back to your site as often as possible, and one way to help facilitate this is with an active dashboard that provides up-to-date information on the status of customer orders. Are you providing your customers with the information they want?

Account Dashboard CRO to create repeat business. Order status dashboard.

Account Dashboard CRO to create repeat business. Order status dashboard.

100. Value Building Copy

The account dashboard is prime real estate for customer retention. It’s the portal through which returning customers will interact with your site or attempt to close their account. It’s a great place to have value building copywriting designed to keep them on your customer list. When was the last time your revisited this copy?

101. Reorder & Upsell CTAs

The dashboard is also a great place to upsell customers with special offers and data-based recommendations. Are you taking advantage of this?

Ecommerce dashboard testing checklist: dashboard upsell.

Ecommerce dashboard testing checklist: dashboard upsell.

102. Bulk Order Options

Would some of your customers buy more if they had a bulk order option?

103. Default Subscriptions

For subscription revenue models, are you providing users with a clear path to upgrade or modify their subscription? Are you re-enforcing the value from within the account dashboard or are you trying to retain customers by making cancellation difficult?

#8. Optimizing your Ecommerce Thank You Page Checklist

104. Add Survey

Converting a visitor into a buyer is really just the first step. What you do from here forward is equally, if not more important. Attempting to collect additional information about your new customer is one way to kickstart that next stage in the relationship with a better understanding of the customer.

Optimizing your ecommerce Thank You page.

Optimizing your ecommerce Thank You page.

105. Immediate Upsell

Is the most profitable post-sale option an immediate upsell? Or will that turn off new customers? This is a MUST TEST. Post-sale customers are already in purchase mode and might be in prime position for an upsell, but upselling can also backfire, so again… MUST TEST.

106. Email Signup

While email addresses are often collected during checkout, that doesn’t mean customers want to get your emails. Following up with an incentivized email signup offer prepares customers to receive future emails from you that aren’t strictly order related.

Thank You page email signup.

Thank You page email signup.

107. Encourage Social Sharing

Certain niches attract highly engaged customers who will happily advertise their purchase to friends, family, and followers. Are you giving these customers easy access to share about their purchases on social media? Is your open graph data setup correctly so that auto-click sharing generates attractive posts?

108. Account Creation

If you offer  guest checkout, the Thank You Page is a great opportunity to prompt customer account creation. Is that the best use of this real estate for your business?

The Thank You Page is a great opportunity to prompt for customer account creation.

The Thank You Page is a great opportunity to prompt for customer account creation.

109. Encourage Referrals

Referrals are THE highest converting marketing channel in existence. If you can get your customers referring your product to their friends and family, you are virtually guaranteed additional customers. Have you tried utilizing your Thank You Page to encourage referrals?

110. Confirmation Email

Confirmation Email on the Thank You page.

Confirmation Email on the Thank You page.

Everything you can do via the Thank You Page you can also do via the confirmation email. Check out our confirmation email writeup here.

Are you still here?

That was a lot to cover, and there is no way you’re going to remember it all. If you think this is something you’ll use in the future, go ahead and download the checklist PDF below.

Download the Complete 110-Point Ecommerce Optimization Checklist

The Complete 110 Point Ecommerce Optimization Checklist

110 Point Ecommerce Optimization Checklist Download

Free. Click to Download