Hey there! If you're an ecommerce business owner like me, you know just how important conversion rates are. After all, the higher your conversion rate, the more sales you'll make. But improving conversion rates can sometimes feel overwhelming. Where do you even start?
Well, one of the best ways to get inspiration is to learn from the success stories of other ecommerce businesses. When you hear real examples of how companies have increased their conversion rates, it makes the whole process feel more doable.
So in this post, I want to chronicle some of the greatest ecommerce conversion rate success stories I've come across. My hope is that by the end, you'll feel fired up and ready to start testing some conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategies on your own store. Sound good? Then let's dive in!
Overhauling the Checkout Process
One of the most famous ecommerce conversion rate success stories is how Amazon increased revenue by $300 million by testing a single change to their checkout process.
Here's what they did:
Back in 2008, Amazon was looking for ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment. After researching customer behavior, they realized many people abandoned their carts when they had to create an account before checking out.
So Amazon tested streamlining their checkout by allowing customers to pay without an account. The results were incredible:
- Cart abandonment decreased by 10%
- New account signups increased by 45%
- Purchase conversion increased by 15%
- Amazon gained $300 million in revenue
The moral of this story? Your checkout process has an enormous impact on conversion rates. If it's too complicated or requires creating an account, you may be losing tons of potential customers.
Take a close look at your own checkout process. Can you reduce the number of fields? Offer guest checkout? Improve mobile checkout? Even small tweaks could lead to big revenue gains.
Optimizing for Mobile
Another company that increased conversions by optimizing for mobile is SeatGeek. They sell tickets to sporting events, concerts, theaters and more.
In 2015, SeatGeek realized their website looked great on desktop, but wasn't fully optimized for mobile. So they decided to rebuild their mobile experience from scratch.
Here were some of their mobile optimization strategies:
- Simplified navigation with bottom tabs
- Bigger buttons that were easy to tap
- Smart filtering and search so users could easily find events
- Fast load times by minimizing unnecessary scripts
The results speak for themselves:
- Mobile orders increased by 130%
- New users from mobile increased by 190%
- Conversion rate on mobile improved by 40%
It just goes to show that with mobile accounting for 50%+ of ecommerce traffic today, optimizing for mobile should be a priority.
Take a look at your analytics. How much of your traffic is from mobile? How does your mobile conversion rate compare to desktop? Addressing any discrepancies could lead to a surge in sales.
Personalizing the On-Site Experience
Here’s an impressive conversion rate success story from clothing retailer JackThreads. Back in 2010, they realized that people who logged into their website converted at a rate 300% higher than anonymous users.
However, only about 15% of visitors were logging in when they browsed the site. So JackThreads decided to test dynamically changing the site experience based on whether the user had an account.
Here's what they did for logged-in users:
- Changed site messaging to be more personalized
- Prioritized showing items the user had recently viewed
- Displayed tailored product recommendations
- Unlocked exclusive discounts and promotions
For anonymous users, they continued showing broadly popular items.
The results were powerful:
- Logins increased by 40%
- Revenue per visitor jumped 10%
- Site conversion rate improved 25%
This shows the value of personalization and creating a tailored experience. Make users feel like they're getting special treatment just for them.
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Improving Page Load Speed
Another company that boosted conversions by improving page speed is Casper. As an ecommerce company selling mattresses online, they knew load times were critical.
Back in 2015, Casper realized their average page load time was 6+ seconds on desktop and 15+ seconds on mobile. That’s an eternity for impatient online shoppers with short attention spans!
So they made page speed a priority by:
- Optimizing images
- Enabling compression
- Upgrading to a CDN
- Page load times reduced to under 1.7 seconds on desktop and mobile
- Bounce rates decreased by 7%
- Conversion rates increased by 7%
- Daily revenue jumped by $42,500
The takeaway? Page load speed has a direct impact on conversions. Use free tools like PageSpeed Insights and Pingdom to measure your site. Then work to shave off every millisecond. Faster sites equal more money!
Retargeting Abandoned Carts
Recovering abandoned carts is crucial for increasing conversion rates. But how exactly should you go about doing that? Global surf lifestyle brand Rip Curl has a success story worth sharing.
In 2015, Rip Curl realized they were letting tons of sales slip through the cracks. 73% of online shoppers were abandoning their shopping carts!
To recover these lost sales, Rip Curl set up an automated cart abandonment email series:
Email #1: Sent 1 hour after abandonment. Offered free shipping and a 10% discount code.
Email #2: Sent 24 hours later. Reminded customers what they left in their cart. Offered 20% off.
Email #3: Sent 1 week later. Made one final plea to complete the purchase. Offered 25% off.
This simple automated email campaign produced phenomenal results:
- 18% of abandoned carts were recovered
- The company saw $368,000 in sales directly attributed to the emails
- For every $1 spent on the campaign, they made $19 in revenue
Setting up cart abandonment emails is one of the quickest ways to boost conversions. Make it easy for people to pick up where they left off and incentivize them to come back.
The Power of Reviews and Trust Badges
Portuguese jewelry brand Monetta is a great example of how building social proof can increase conversion rates.
Back in 2017, Monetta realized their product pages lacked third-party validation. They had gorgeous jewelry images, but no signs of trust or credibility.
To fix this, they added:
- Customer photos showing real people wearing the jewelry
- Video reviews showing the jewelry in detail
- Customer review snippets praising the product
- badges showcasing security, awards, and certifications
This helped visitors feel more confident in the quality of the products. The results were clear:
- Conversions on product pages with reviews increased by 4.4%
- Adding video reviews boosted conversions by 6.2%
- Products with trust badges converted 7.1% higher
The takeaway? Leverage social proof like reviews, testimonials and trust badges wherever you can. The extra credibility they provide leads to higher conversions.
Optimizing Product Page Content
Online musical instrument retailer Sweetwater realized their product pages had serious issues. The copy was thin, specs were missing, and they weren't showcasing the instruments well. They knew they had to optimize their content.
Here are some of the changes they made:
- Added detailed product descriptions highlighting features and benefits
- Included multiple high-res photos and videos showcasing the instruments
- Added a tab with complete technical specifications and details
- Populated the page with rich engaging content around that instrument type
The improved product pages built trust and helped people understand why that specific instrument was right for their needs.
Sweetwater saw fantastic results from optimizing their product content:
- Time-on-page increased by 35%
- Pages-per-session rose by 25%
- Conversion rates increased 19% across the site
This example highlights the importance of product page content. Make sure yours answers all visitor questions and sells people on choosing your product.
Adding Live Chat Support
Cosmetics retailer Kiehl’s was dealing with low conversion rates on their website for years. In 2016, they finally decided to test adding live chat support.
Here's why they felt live chat could help:
- Customers could get answers in real-time without emailing or calling
- Visitors could be converted by chatting rather than bouncing
- The company could provide personalized service at scale
Kiehl's saw tremendous results after rolling out live chat support:
- 25% increase in conversion rate from users who engaged with live chat
- 55% of live chat users said it gave them more confidence to purchase
- 8% bump in average order value compared to non-chat users
- Live chat boosted annual revenue by $2 million
This proves how much of an impact real-time communication can have. Live chat is perfect for answering questions, building relationships, and removing roadblocks during the buying journey.
Optimizing Site Navigation and IA
Wayfair, the popular online furniture store, knows a thing or two about the value of site navigation and information architecture.
Back in 2010, Wayfair realized their site navigation was confusing and disorganized. With products spread across multiple unintuitive menus and categories, people struggled to find what they wanted.
To fix this, Wayfair completely redesigned their navigation and IA. Here's what they focused on:
- Simplified main menus and category structures
- Improved internal site search with predictive suggestions
- Added visual guides like breadcrumbs
- Created clear category pages with refined product sorting
- Launched a mobile app with intuitive navigation
The impact of better navigation and IA was clear:
- Conversion rates increased by 25%
- Revenue from mobile orders doubled
- Average order value rose by 15%
- Customer satisfaction NPS scores improved 22%
The Wayfair story demonstrates how important site navigation and findability are for ecommerce conversion rates. If visitors can't easily navigate to the products they want, you'll lose sales.
Testing Pop-Ups and Overlays
Electronics retailer Newegg has tested just about every type of pop-up and overlay you can imagine. From exit intent pop-ups to cart abandonment overlays, they've managed to use these “last chance” tactics to drive big conversion gains.
Some of Newegg’s top performing pop-up and overlay tests include:
- Exit intent modals offering discounts to users who hover over the back button
- Cart abandonment overlays offering a coupon code if users return
- Scroll stop pop-ups triggered after scrolling past a certain point
- Wheel of Fortune spin to win pop-ups with various discounts
- Holiday countdown overlays creating urgency to purchase
Newegg has increased conversions by more than 200% using strategic pop-ups and overlays. Of course, you need to be careful about being overly aggressive with pop-up strategies. But used selectively, they can be very effective.
The key is pinpoint targeting. Displaying the right offer at the right time to the right user is crucial. When done well, pop-ups and overlays will boost conversions without annoying visitors. Start testing your popup strategy today, try Prooftiles' pop-ups service for free!
Optimizing Pricing and Promotions
Figuring out the optimal pricing strategy is hugely important for conversion rates. Outdoor apparel company Moosejaw discovered just how big an impact pricing can have on conversions.
When Moosejaw first launched, they used a premium pricing strategy to reinforce their quality. But they found adoption was sluggish, especially for new product launches.
So in 2017, they decided to test a lower pricing strategy:
- They reduced prices 20% across their entire site
- They offered limited time sales around major holidays
- They created tiered pricing for product bundles and packages
The combination of lower prices and promotions produced outstanding results:
- Average order value increased by 30%
- New customer acquisitions were up 42%
- Repeat purchases jumped 57%
- Sales of new product launches doubled
The Moosejaw story reinforces that pricing has a major influence on conversion rates. Make sure you test different price points, promotions across holidays, product bundling, and package deals to find the optimal approach.
Optimizing Email Capture
Collecting email addresses from visitors is crucial for future marketing. But not all email sign-up offers are created equal.
Running gear company Brooks Running learned this first-hand when they redesigned their main email capture offer.
Previously, Brooks simply asked visitors to “Join our email list” without explaining any benefits. This lackluster call-to-action only converted about 18% of visitors.
They tested a new email offer with:
- More benefit-focused copy: “Sign up for training tips and running advice”
- A picture of a runner getting coaching
- Social proof of 193,000+ subscribers
This new email sign-up converted 28% of visitors – a 55% increase!
Brooks set up similar optimized email capture offers across their site. As a result, their subscriber list grew by 230,000 in just 6 months.
Don’t squander potential email subscribers with a weak call-to-action. Create value-driven offers that clearly explain why visitors should join your list.
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A/B Testing Like a Pro
Of course, none of these conversion rate optimizations would have been possible without a solid A/B testing approach. And no one knows the power of testing like leading ecommerce retailer Nordstrom.
Nordstrom has developed a company-wide culture of data-driven testing. They run thousands of A/B tests per year on everything from copy changes to navigation to promotions.
Some examples of successful tests by Nordstrom include:
- Changing “Sign In” to “Account” in main navigation: 20% increase in account creation
- Adding reviews to product pages: 18% lift in conversion rate
- Testing 4 different swipe file names on mobile: The winner converted 25% better
- Changing the order of payment options: Increased mobile payments by 10%
Nordstrom has grown into a $15 billion ecommerce powerhouse in large part due to their obsession with testing. They credit their data-first approach for much of their success.
The key takeaway? No matter how small a change may seem, test it! Over time, those optimization wins compound. Build a testing culture at your company to maximize conversion rates.
Reviewing Past Purchase Journeys
One innovative way to uncover optimization ideas is analyzing your own customers’ past purchase journeys. By seeing exactly how real users reached the checkout, you can identify potential areas for improvement.
For example, take a look at a sample purchase journey:
1. User searches “red dress” on Google, clicks your PPC ad
2. Lands on your category page for red dresses
3. Sorts from low to high price
4. Opens product page #3 in results
5. Adds it to cart
6. Proceeds to check out
7. Purchases using PayPal after 25 minutes on site
For this particular journey, you might test:
- Optimizing the “red dresses” landing page for conversions
- Making sure low to high sort is default
- Improving conversion elements on product #3
- Promoting PayPal in general checkout flow
Do this exercise at scale, and you’ll spot all kinds of tests to improve future customer journeys. Review analytics and heatmaps to understand your successes (and pain points!).
Retargeting Site Searchers
Here’s a ingenious retargeting tactic used by major retailers like Target and Best Buy.
When someone searches for a product but doesn’t purchase, they drop a cookie. Later, that user will see ads across the web specifically promoting the item they had searched for.
- User searches “ps5 console” on your site but leaves
- Your ad appears on Facebook: “You searched for PS5 - buy now from our store!”
This tactic works incredibly well, with 49% of users more likely to purchase after seeing retargeted search ads.
Make sure to take advantage of search retargeting. Dynamically generate ads promoting the products people searched for but didn’t buy. It’s a proven way to increase conversions.
Wow, we covered a lot of ground! As you can see, there are so many creative ways ecommerce businesses have increased their conversion rates. The key is picking one strategy at a time, testing relentlessly, and expanding on what works.
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Hopefully hearing these real-world examples has sparked some ideas you can try on your own store! Let me know in the comments what conversion rate optimization tests you’re excited to experiment with first.