You can increase your conversion by adapting the content in your online store to better meet the needs of your customers. To understand how to increase conversions, you first need to understand how the conversion funnel works.

There are three steps to the conversion funnel, also called the buying cycle, once a potential customer has entered your site.

  • Awareness: In the first step, customers become aware of the products in an ecommerce store and recognize a need.
  • Evaluation: In the evaluation stage, customers have discovered that a product in your store may meet their needs but they want more information to determine whether it's the best option.
  • Purchase: The prospective customers become ready to buy.

Conversion is defined differently depending on the action you want visitors to take. For an ecommerce store, conversion is defined as making a purchase. Understanding the conversion funnel will help you build an ecommerce store that meets customers' needs at each stage of the cycle. The majority of the content in your ecommerce store should be focused on evaluation - providing information that shows that your products are more valuable than a competitor's, but elements related to site usability also influence purchasing decisions. The position of content can also impact purchasing decisions. For instance, if you place a "buy now" button at the bottom of the page, customers are less likely to see it than if it's placed at the top.

What is conversion rate optimization?

Conversion rate optimization is the process of analyzing your ecommerce store and making improvements to maximize sales. There are different elements in an ecommerce store that influence the customer's decision-making process and each one can be optimized for better performance. On-page elements that contribute to conversion can include headlines, descriptions and the placement and color of call to action buttons.

A/B testing is a common conversion rate optimization tactic because it allows merchants to systematically test and analyze different on-site elements to determine which version is performing more effectively. In A/B testing, when a merchant changes an element on their website, like including a more thorough product description, the merchant will also maintain the old version to compare the difference in conversion rate, if any.

Which page elements can be optimized for conversions?

There's an extensive list of page elements that you can change to improve performance. Here are some to start experimenting with:

Elements that provide information
  • High-quality photographs: Ecommerce stores typically experience low conversion rates when they aren't displaying their items effectively. Incorporate several high-quality images that enable potential customers to view the product from multiple angles and zoom in to view details.
  • Product descriptions: When customers shop online they aren't able to handle the product directly. The more accurate the description is, the more likely it is to sell the product. Avoid sales language and write copy that helps customers develop a clear idea of the product.
  • Videos: Videos provide a more in-depth look at a product and give viewers a better idea of its dimensions or how its used. In fact, 73 percent of U.S. adults are more likely to make a purchase after viewing a video (1).
  • Product reviews: Including reviews can increase conversions by increasing consumer trust. Customers are more likely to trust peers than brands.
Elements that enhance usability

These help improve customer service in and personalize each experience in a way that encourages visitors to return.

  • Personalized recommendations: Suggest products a customer might like based on his or her shopping history. Including a feature that recommends similar products can increase conversion and average order value (2).
  • Optimize for mobile: Customers are increasingly making purchases on mobile devices. If a store isn't optimized for a smaller screen, they are likely to abandon the purchase.
  • Incorporate wish lists: A wish list or "save for later" function helps customers remember a product they liked but couldn't purchase right away. If they can get back to those products easily, they are more likely to finish the transaction later.
  • Live chat: Incorporate live chat to provide real-time customer assistance. Customers are more likely to return to stores that offer this service (3).
The checkout process

Merchants frequently lose out on possible sales and face issues with shopping cart abandonment when the checkout process isn't optimized. A poorly designed shopping cart or lack of information can prevent them from completing a transaction even if they're ready to buy. Check these elements to make the final conversion easier:

  • Reduce the number of steps: Get rid of unnecessary steps to speed up the transaction.
  • Include transparent pricing: One of the most frequently cited reasons customers abandon carts is because of unexpected charges. Display extra charges and shipping charges early on so that customers are well informed before beginning the transaction.
  • Send reminder emails: Set up your store to send automated emails to customer who leave items in their shopping cart without finishing the transaction. This strategy can convert 15 percent or more of abandoned carts to sales.


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