10 conversion killers for e-commerce sites (part 2)

Posted in  Blog   on  August 29, 2016 by  Marc

This is part 2 of 10 conversion killers for e-commerce sites. If you have not read part 1 you can read it here.

This post goes trough killers 6-10 and what you can do to avoid them.

Killer 6: Checkout does not look reliable

Shoppers leave a lot of sensitive information behind on your site—not only their personal information such as address and telephone, but also their payment information. When they fill in this information, there is always a hesitation: ‘Can I trust this site?’ ‘What is going to happen to my information?’ ‘What if this is a scam, and I just lose my money?’

That’s why your site has to look reliable, and especially the checkout pages. Those are the pages on which you ask for sensitive information. These are the pages where you pay, and so they must be sure that their information does not fall into the wrong hands, that their data will not be misused, and that the payment takes place in a safe environment, and that they are thus not going to lose their money.

I don’t know what feeling you get from this, but if in the checkout process the payment page has only this on it, and the rest of the page is blank, then I’m not really sure whether I can trust it:


A few tips to improve the reliability of your site—and the checkout pages in particular:

● Professional design. If your site looks amateurish, you cannot expect that your visitors will trust you. Would you buy something on a site where the homepage looks like this:


● Work on your micro-copy. Micro-copy certainly plays an important role on the checkout pages. Micro-copy is copy that is often missed, but that can be enormously powerful. It answers essential questions or doubts of visitors at exactly the right moment. Micro-copy can emphasise that the payment will be completed in a secure environment, as in this example:


● Use https. It not only provides more confidence that everything happens in a secure environment, Google also indicated a while ago that https is considered a ranking factor for the organic search results. Two birds with one stone.

● Add symbols, logos or icons in the checkout that increase confidence. In the example above, use is made of a padlock next to the microcopy. Also, place the logos of the credit cards that you accept.

● Don’t exaggerate: if you place too much emphasis on safety and privacy, it can have the opposite effect. Shoppers who would otherwise trust the page, suddenly smell a rat because there’s a great deal of emphasis placed on safety and privacy….

● Confidence begins before you come to the checkout. Testimonials from customers, reviews, logos of important sites or papers where your shop is mentioned, logos of e-commerce quality labels or certifications, etc. help to build trust.

● Report your contact information very clearly on the site. A site that seems ‘non-contactable’ is, in the eyes of visitors that don’t yet know you, suspicious.

● Work on your branding. Shoppers have more confidence in a large, well-known brand than in a brand that they’ve never heard of. Granted, in contrast with the other tips, you can’t immediately implement this one. But a good brand name can often be of critical importance to a shopper.

Killer 7: Your site is too slow

Speed is crucial for e-commerce sites. A fast site is good for your rankings in the search results, good for the user experience and good for your conversions.

There have been a lot of studies done about the impact of site speed. This infographic from Kissmetrics summarises them nicely:


If there is one number that you should remember from this infographic, then it’s this: for each second that your site loads more slowly, you may lose up to 7% on conversions.

Time to dive into your Google Analytics account. Look in Google Analytics not just at the average loading speed of your whole site. Look at the loading speed of your individual pages. You will probably discover big differences between the pages. First, take on the pages that take a long time to load and that are frequently visited. It makes no sense to first concentrate on slow pages that are not often visited.

In this example, I would initially focus on pages 2, 6, 11 and 12:


In order to discover what you can improve on those pages, you can then go to Google PageSpeed Insights. You give the URL of any page that you want to optimise, and you immediately get a score and a list of improvements for mobile and desktop that you can forward to your developer.

How fast does your site have to be, anyway? Well, in an ideal world, each page loads within one second. But that’s an unusually ambitious goal. Aim in any case for a loading speed that’s faster than 3 seconds.

Another tip: does it sometimes take a while for results to show on your site after you’ve placed certain filters (e.g. for searching for a flight or hotel)? Add feedback while the search results are being retrieved: a ‘progress bar’ with a word of explanation can do wonders.

According to these studies, visitors typically only have a few seconds’ patience before they leave your site. But if you add feedback, they can wait up to 38 seconds for the results of their search on your site.


Add feedback ensures that your visitors will wait much longer for the results.

Killer 8: Lack of clarity about the price

People want to know how much it’s going to cost them. And they want to know right away. They do not want to have to search for a price. In particular, not for a total price after additional fees have been calculated. Actually, this goes completely without saying. Just think about yourself: If you shop online, do you want that? It continues to surprise me that many e-commerce sites don’t make this clear.

Price is an important criterion for purchase. Make the price clearly visible. Don’t just put it on the product page, but also on your category page. On a category page, a shopper wants to make a quick choice. And the price is essential for choosing a product that suits the customer.

If you do not put the price on the category page, your visitor has to look at each individual product and look back and forth between the product and category pages in order to find the product that suits him (and his budget). How long do you think it will take before the customer goes from your e-commerce site to that of a competitor.

In addition, be immediately clear about the total price. Avoid Ryanair practices, where you have to go through the entire checkout in order to finally see the cost. Shoppers hate this: more than 70% of all shoppers indicate that these kinds of surprise costs are the reason why they abandon a checkout process. That also makes it the number 1 reason for checkout abandonment.


Surprise costs are a real conversion killer. A Ryanair flight for 33.99 EUR appears in the end to cost 55.07 when you check in your baggage and pay with PayPal.

Killer 9: Bad forms

Forms in your checkout process can be real conversion killers. Unfortunately, these will often be set up carelessly. We assume that consumers will struggle through the form. They have, after all, clicked through from their shopping cart to the checkout process, so nothing will now hold them back from completing their purchase.

Nothing could be further from the truth: 26% of shoppers indicate they have signed off during checkout due to bad forms. Look in your Google Analytics: how many people drop off on the pages with forms. And what if they did not (or in any case, much less often) drop off here? How much more revenue would you be able to generate?

Optimising forms is a subject for a separate article. There are many things you have to take into account, but I can give you a few rules of thumb in advance:

● No one likes forms. The easier you make it to fill in the form, the greater the chance that your visitors will actually do it.

● Ask only what you really need. It isn’t always so, but in most cases it’s true: the less information you ask, the fewer visitors will drop out.

● Be clear: make sure that the fields are unambiguous. If a visitor is not entirely sure what you expect in a certain field, the chance is good that the visitor will sign off.

● Start with the easiest fill-in fields like name or email. When your visitors fill that in, you create momentum, and the chance is greater that they will continue with the completion. Don’t start, for example, with the BTW number or credit card information.

● Nothing is so hated as error messages when you have just completely filled in a form, and certainly if it’s just ‘error puke’: a series of error messages that are all thrown together, not in context—in other words, not next to the field where the error is located. The best way to avoid this is ‘real-time in-line validation’: when you fill in a field and it’s correctly filled in, you immediately see a green check mark, and if it’s filled in incorrectly, a red X.


Real-time in-line validation is the best way to give error reports in forms

Killer 10: No focus

Last in the list, but actually the first thing you have to take into account when you design an e-commerce site: focus.
Determine for each page what your ‘Most Wanted Action’ is. What do you want your visitor to do on that page?

On a category page, you primarily want a consumer to go further in the purchasing process, namely to look at product pages. On a product page, you want the customer to add the product to the shopping cart, and so forth.

Everything on a page must serve the function of the ‘Most Wanted Action’. Your copy must be built up towards that ‘Most Wanted Action’. Your design must be set up so that your ‘Most Wanted Action’ is very clear in the visual hierarchy.

All unnecessary ‘clutter’ has to go. Do you really need those banners on your category page? Must you per se try to convince someone on a product page to subscribe to your newsletter?

That also means that you can’t throw 20 call-to-actions on 1 page and hope that your consumer will do something on your site. If you don’t already know what you want them to do on that page, how can you expect that they will actually do it?

Limit yourself to one or two kinds of call-to-actions on one page. If you have two of them, determine which is more important and make that one more prominent in the visual hierarchy of your page. On a category page, you focus, for example, into one type of call-to-action: ‘View Product’.

On a product page, you focus on your call-to-action ‘Add to shopping cart’. You can also add a secondary call-to-action (e.g. ‘Request Quote’), but it has to look that way as well: secondary. Much more than two kinds of call-to-action is also not advisable.

The page below is a beautiful (well, yeah, beautiful) example of a lack of focus.

There is no clear ‘Most Wanted Action’. I have no access to the Analytics data for this page, but I suspect that the bounce rate would be very high. Anyone who lands on this page will be so overwhelmed by all the elements that scream for attention that there’s only one solution: get away as quickly as possible.



This is only 10 out of all possible conversion killers for your e-commerce site. There are many more. Check out our blog post of 13 proven ways to boost your eCommerce conversion rates to read about more conversion killers.

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