Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) for ecommerce: the steps to follow

An e-commerce can be called successful if it returns a good proportion between products sold and visits recorded.

In this article we will understand how a website can be improved and how to achieve satisfactory results through an effective optimisation strategy.

If a while ago an e-commerce’s main goal was first making sure that the user’s demand always matched an alluring offer, today things have changed: in addition to providing appealing offers, the structure of your online store must also be accessible, engaging and optimised when it comes to UX (User Experience). All these factors that translate, as far as an e-commerce site is concerned, in conversion rate, that is the percentage of visitors who complete a purchase. To improve the conversion rate, it is necessary to embrace the “CRO” method, or the Conversion Rate Optimisation. What exactly does it mean? Let us understand better the importance of optimising a website’s conversion rate and how to take full advantage of the results it gives.

Your e-commerce’s conversion rate is the metric that reports how many of the total number of users who visit your website have in fact transformed into customers: in short, how much of the total traffic has been transformed in purchases.

This is the percentage of the total that allowing your e-commerce to exist. The first goal of an e-commerce should be precisely this, after all: sales, conversion. The user must have a positive experience both on your site and – in the specific case of e-commerce – after, that is, after the purchase has been made. If the user is satisfied with the purchase or with the ease with which they were able to return the product that did not meet their expectations, your e-commerce will earn trust points and will be able to build customer loyalty. That is why every detail helps to make your e-commerce work and boosts sales.

How to calculate the conversion rate

The formula to calculate conversion rate is really simple. It is a matter of determining the relationship between the number of orders placed and the number of visits recorded. It will therefore be sufficient to divide the number of purchases by the number of visits and multiply the result by 100, thus obtaining an indicative percentage of the “state of health” of the e-commerce.

To find the data necessary to calculate the conversion rate, it is necessary to have access to a traffic analysis tool, such as Google Analytics. It is a tool that Google provides for free and that allows you to install a tracking code on the pages of your e-commerce. From that moment the tool will start collecting all traffic data. It is essential that each page of the site is tracked to understand which section attracts the most traffic and which, on the other hand, needs to be optimised. When it comes to e-commerce, of course, it is essential that the cart step pages, especially the payment page, are tracked.

Once we understand the importance of a tool like Google Analytics, let us see in detail how to get the data we need.

The number of purchases is first calculated by establishing in the “goals” section what should be interpreted as “conversion” by the software, then from the “overview” section you can easily extract the number you need. The number of conversions can also be extracted from the company management system, making sure you set the same time frame used for the calculation of the conversion rate.

As for the number of visits, you will have to access the “acquisition” section, making sure to set the time frame in the menu on the top right. A table will appear with the data related to the sum of the visits that took place in that period.

The average conversion rate: how to tell if you are moving in the right direction

Once the conversion rate has been calculated, how do you know if the percentage obtained indicates a positive result or not? You will know that every business is a world of its own. Understanding the competitive environment in which your business is inserted is the first important step to take if you wish to be successful.

In general, if you deal with the B2B market, you can be sure to you have achieved a good conversion rate if the value is between 1% and 2%. On the other hand, in B2C, the evaluation of the optimal conversion rate also depends on the value of the shopping cart and the industry. There is no fixed rule, but on average, if an e-commerce has a high-value shopping cart, that is, with purchases starting at 300 euros, the benchmark is lowered compared to B2B and a good conversion rate is around 1%. If, on the other hand, the average shopping cart is under 50 euros, the average conversion rate rises to 3-4%.

Clearly these values ​​are indicative and also depend on the industry. In fact, if the “Art and Craft” industry moves up to values ​​like 3.84%, the average conversion rate for “Agricultural supplies” drops to 0.62%. In any case, all the answers you need to understand what the successful path to take is, after a thorough analysis of the competitors, you will find in Google Analytics. By analysing the traffic source on the site, you will also understand how to implement it with specific marketing campaigns. It is all about leveraging the right channel to reach your target more effectively.

Generate the right traffic by targeting the right audience: Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Are you sure the message your e-commerce intends to convey is reaching the right people? Otherwise, it would be a bit like sending your resume to the wrong office of a company. If it does not arrive at the right post office box and is not accompanied by a presentation letter in line with the company’s core values and ideas, it could be immediately rejected. Each industry corresponds to a target type that must be reached through the right means of communication.

The first step is therefore to create buyer personas. Who are your potential customers? Getting an idea of ​​what is their age range, their geographical area of ​​origin and the social media they might use could already be good starting points to understand their digital behaviour, to narrow the field and create a targeted and effective marketing campaign.

Secondly, try to understand how your customers’ shopping experience develops. What are the main steps? Where does the potential customer stop, not proceeding with the purchase? Your e-commerce must be intuitive and easy to navigate. The product sheets must provide useful information in a clear way, the internal links must be perfectly functional, the user’s customer journey must be encouraged through engaging calls to action, and the e-commerce platform must have a perfectly responsive design for an optimal browsing experience from both desktop and mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

The key to minimising the abandon rate and acting on lead generation is to adopt an effective web marketing strategy, with well-defined KPIs and dedicated resources. The user must be clear about what distinguishes your product or service from the competition. For that purpose, in addition to a product sheet edited and optimised from a SEO perspective, other users’ reviews are also extremely useful, as they can provide an extra boost in the purchase phase.

The user must also be able to easily find the product within the e-commerce category pages to purchase it, as well as have clear information on return and shipping policies. Special attention should be paid to the checkout phase: strive to minimize the number of clicks required to complete the transaction and make sure that all the steps work perfectly. Finally, a good strategy cannot ignore the importance of email marketing, with clear and targeted content, to create a touchpoint first with the potential buyer and with the actual customer, after the purchasing stage.

Speed ​​and conversion rate: why a fast site sells more

A user-friendly website is the main factor of conversion rate optimisation nowadays. A user who approaches your e-commerce with ease develops trust and will be more inclined to buy another product in the future, as they will have had a positive and smooth experience. Therefore, it is important that the browsing experience is smooth and the pages load fast to increase the conversion rate.

It is true: fast sites sell more. According to the statistics compiled by, one in four people abandon the navigation on a site if its pages take more than 4 seconds to load.

Accelerating the loading of images and product previews is essential so that the user does not abandon the purchasing process halfway or turn to a competitor. Analysing the page speed thanks to the special free Google tool will allow you to understand where you can improve and what actions to take to ensure that the User Experience is optimal.

Furthermore, the slowness in loading a page would cause a drop in your brand reputation. This means difficulties in establishing a relationship of trust with the user or potential buyer. The conclusion would be obvious: super low conversion rate.

To put this into perspective, according to estimates calculated by Amazon, the online sales giant, a slowdown of just one second in the loading of pages could cause a loss in revenue equal to 1.6 billion dollars.

Working to optimise conversion rate means aiming for continuous improvement. It is about keeping up with the times, always keeping up to date with the developments of the competitive environment, with changes in consumer tastes and with their way of approaching the communication channels.

ISmartFrame is the solution that optimises every technical aspect of the site in the background, increasing its speed and contributing to a better user experience. It is constantly revised according to the latest updates of the Google algorithm to ensure maximum performance and significantly increase conversions.


News, studies and research on the world of Business Performance. Aimed at managers and staff of companies interested in the growth potential that Digital offers.

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