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How can you improve your company’s conversion rate through E-commerce?

by J Toral
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The writer asks:

How can you improve your company’s conversion rate through E-commerce?

My company is a local department store. We have an online shop using an e-commerce website, but when we invest in ads we get very little return. I have been told that I need to work on my conversion rate. What is the best way to improve our companies conversion rate?


J says:

Here is how you can improve your conversion rate…

Conversion rate optimization should be considered in two ways.

The first is the “Journey” of conversions. It goes something like this:

Stranger => Visitor => Lead =>
Customer => Repeat Customer => Advocate

Each “arrow” implies a conversion rate from one step in the journey to another. Each industry might have slightly different steps, such as e-commerce having more of a “Add to cart” step instead of a “Lead” step, but the overall concept here will remain the same. The reason this is important for this question is because each conversion rate will be affected by different parts of your digital marketing strategy. Finding the bottleneck/ worst conversion rate in this journey will help you determine what things to work on first to improve your overall conversion rate.

The second consideration is the mindset of a user as they convert. They go through 4 “stages” before deciding whether to convert or to pause/exit the Journey. Those stages are:

Discovery, Understanding, Decision, and Observation.

These stages loop back on themselves, so if the “decision” that gets made is to “not convert” you can influence their next Discovery stage with additional marketing, which is why the more users see ads and visit sites the higher their chance for conversion becomes.

Example CRO mindset using these two considerations would be if you had a great Click-Through-Rate (Strangers => Visitors) but a bad Add-to-cart-rate (Visitors => Leads) and therefore low sales, CLV, and reviews/ratings. It wouldn’t help to try to improve your Abandoned Cart email campaign since that is on the other side of the choke point. Instead, you would want to look at things like:

  1. Is your Shopping UX working well and are products easy to find (Discover)
  2. Are product pages clear and rich with content about features and reasons to buy (Understanding)
  3. Is your call to action clear and is everything working on a technical level (Decision)
  4. Does the site help move customers to the next step towards checkout with ease, or allow customers to continue shopping if necessary. (Observation)

Okay, so all of that is to answer the question this way:

Q: “How can you improve your company’s (overall) conversion rate?”
A: By finding the worst conversion rate and looking into which part of that rate is affecting a user’s stages towards converting, then improving those parts until the choke point clears and you can move on to the next part.

There is no “one perfect tip” for CRO because it’s genuinely a process, but it’s not magic either. I am constantly teaching my clients how to think in terms of improving conversion rate optimization and they are growing because of it.

If you are interested in more of my thoughts on CRO here are a few recent articles:
Ecommerce Conversion Rate Optimization in a Mobile Era

Preparing your eCommerce Website for the Summer 2021 Shopping Season

Customer conversion optimization: Where you should start and what you should do when you already have an established website

And a case study of one of my clients in e-commerce:

Case Study: Automated Dynamic E-Commerce Homepage for National Cycle Sports Retailer

-J Toral, Digital Marketing Coach




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