Why 95% of Your Visitors Don’t Buy – The Secrets of CRO

22 June 2022 • 8 min read

Getting traffic to your website is somewhat straightforward, and can be increased with good SEO. But getting website visitors to take action and purchase on your site is the hard part. As a result, a website’s ‘Conversion Rate’ is one of the strongest metrics for measuring success, as it measures the rate at which visitors make a purchase on-site. Conversion Rate Optimization, or CRO for short, is the practice of taking steps to improve this rate. But first…

To measure your conversion rate you take the number of conversions (sales) and divide that by the total number of website visitors for a given time frame; then multiply it by 100%. By the way, WebSell merchants can check their conversion rate at any time via the webstore portal.

Like getting meaningful traffic to your site, measuring is the easy part, but improving it is the crucial part; which is where CRO comes in.

The average global ecommerce conversion rate is 4-5%, meaning for every 100 site visitors, only 5 will make a purchase. However, there are tactics and strategies for ensuring you convert more of that 95%, and crucially, to continue to convert that key 5%.

Read on to discover what you can do to increase and optimize your conversion rate.

1. Discover where your site drops visitors

You already have a wealth of website data resources available to you through popular free tools like Google Analytics. This is your key to unlocking what your site visitors do, and at what stage they are leaving your site.

Compare and contrast data like mobile journeys as compared with desktop visits for example. The first step to conversion rate optimization is identifying where visitors are leaving your site, the next step is understanding why they are leaving.

A high bounce rate means customers are landing on one page of your site and leaving without taking an action. A high bounce rate means your site isn’t serving the purpose that your visitors taught your site would solve.

Check for your pages with the highest bounce rates in Google Analytics by going to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages and then clicking on ‘Bounce Rate’ to see your pages with the highest bounce rate first.

2. Know why visitors are leaving your site

Data sources that track traffic to your site will show you where your visitors are dropping off, but it will not tell you why they left – this is where you need to really think about user journey. Only when you know why they have left, can you go about improving your website’s user experience.

One effective tactic for gathering this “why” information is to ask a question on your webpage with tools like Hotjar about the user experience. Something on your checkout page like: “Did anything on the site impact on your shopping experience?” This could give you some good answers to start your conversion rate optimization with the help of your buying customers.

This is one of the quickest and most direct ways to get information to start your CRO strategy.

3. Don’t make your products hard to find

It goes without saying, but e-commerce sites should never hide where products are on-site. Product categories should be listed in your main navigation menu and be easily reachable. Products need to be sorted logically into how a customer would use the product, like men’s or women’s clothing.

Customers won’t be able to find a product if it is not listed in your main navigation or connected to one of your product categories, otherwise there is no way a new visitor will know that you sell that item.

You should also remember to simplify the naming of your categories and items in your navigation. Don’t use the stock number or product code for an item, be as clear and concise as you can with your product naming conventions.

4. Your site needs to be fast and responsive

Not only does your site need to be fast, but it needs to be fast on every device.

In the age of the smartphone, your website needs to mobile responsive to ensure customers can shop on any device. Almost everything in your life is mobile ready currently and your e-commerce site should be no different. If a customer can’t shop on your site from their phone, you may lose their business forever.

You also want to remove friction at the point of purchase. This means having a smooth checkout process that presents few roadblocks for the customer and allows them to complete their transaction quickly.

Making your site fast and responsive is also a major part of improving your SEO rankings, as Google crawls your mobile site too when determining the value of your site.

The best way for WebSell retailers to upgrade site speed and performance is with Next Gen. Next Gen E-commerce is the biggest investment we’ve ever made to our core webstore experience, delivering major upgrades to both global site speed, and user experience, where we’ve focused on simplifying and speeding up the checkout process.

Next Gen webstores allow you to achieve measurable improvements to your core e-commerce performance metrics including:

  • Next Gen webstores load in just 1 second. That’s 1.2 seconds faster than the current average WebSell site!
  • Increase the rate of site visitors who purchase from your online store by 5.30% (increased conversion rate)
  • Almost 20% of site visitors will stay on your site for longer (reduced bounce rate)

Book a demo of Next Gen by speaking to your account manager or watch the Next Gen webinar.

5. Make your website secure

If your website doesn’t start with HTTPS, then visitors may not be willing to enter credit card information or checkout online as their browser will be telling them that your site is not secure.

Communications over HTTPS are encrypted between the user and the server, so data cannot be interfered with. This is essential for any e-commerce site.

If your WebSell site doesn’t have an HTTPS url, contact us today to get your custom security certificate installed.

6. Your site may need better sales copy

Customer behavior is hugely influenced by the words used to entice them into making a purchase. Consequently, you need to ensure your sales copy on your site is compelling towards a central call-to-action: making a purchase.

The type of language you use will be determined by your brand positioning and your tone of voice, but always remember that WHAT you say will always matter more than HOW you say it. So make sure you are getting across the vital information that needs to be conveyed first, then you can begin to add in your key emotional phrases.

Auditing your sales copy with the above in mind will improve your overall conversion rates and lead to larger revenue.

Read more about writing the perfect product descriptions.

7. Consider offering shipping benefits or first-time offers and promoting them

The importance that shipping benefits play to conversion rates cannot be understated. A staggering 77% of online shoppers feel that free shipping is the most important option when checking out, with 60% of shoppers adding items to their shopping cart just to qualify for free shipping.

If you do have free shipping criteria, make sure you are communicating this to the customer at every chance you get. However, you might also have another shipping benefit like “next-day” or “48 hours” or similar, whatever the shipping USP (Unique Selling Point), advertising this is a sure-fire way to increase your conversion rate.

Here’s an example from WebSell retailer Central Sports:

As well as their 10% discount for new customers offer, they also promote their ‘Free Shipping Over €75’ offer. When you go to checkout you’re also reminded of the free shipping threshold:

Advertising your free shipping threshold here will increase your conversion rates and help you improve your average order value too.

8. Always encourage return site visits

Rewarding customers that have taken a meaningful action on your site with a voucher or discount code for their next visit incentivizes them to bookmark your site and return to buy again.

Most people don’t buy on their first visit to a website as they will usually be in the research phase on their first visit to your site. You need to do everything you can to ensure they come back to yours. That’s what conversion rate optimization is all about.

Encouraging your visitors to sign-up to a newsletter when they visit, maybe with a pop-up (like Central Sports have done), and then sending a voucher straight to their inbox can have some great results and help to build brand loyalty and encourage repeat site visits. For more on how to make the most of your email marketing, check this out.

A staple of e-commerce marketing for our conversion rate optimization is also your cart abandonment email. While it may be annoying at times, it’s standard practice now so make sure you don’t miss out on this proven method of getting interested visitors back to your site.


Conversion Rate Optimization is the key to turning your site visitors into paying customers. The above tactics will ensure you’re doing everything you can to boost revenue from your webstore.

To really test how effective your visitor to customer journey is, do it yourself. Complete a full purchase process from discovery through to checkout and note what you don’t enjoy about the process. If you find something you don’t like, then take steps to change it.

Never miss a future post or update from WebSell.