Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) might seem a bit overwhelming when you’re looking at an entire e-commerce website. Where should you focus your testing efforts and how do you decide what to test first? There are so many opportunities because of the variety of pages to choose from, including the:

  • Homepage
  • Category pages
  • Product pages
  • Shopping cart page
  • Checkout process

What Should You Test

As a general rule, if there aren’t any glaring issues throughout the rest of your site that should be addressed or tested, it’s always a great idea to focus your efforts on the shopping cart and checkout process first. If users get this far, you don’t want them to run into any problems or distractions while checking out that could cost you a conversion.

Today, I’m going to provide 3 tests that we generally perform for e-commerce clients. Keep in mind that even if we continuously see good results, we always need to test because there are a wide variety of e-commerce clients ranging from small businesses to large retailers. We need to ensure we’re going to see the same positive results before we implement. Let’s review the first test.

1) Add A Gray Background To The Payment Section

While this test doesn’t actually change the security of the site, it gives customers the added sense of security they need to complete their purchase. Adding a simple gray background to the payment section of the checkout process gives customers the feeling that their information is secure. Their credit card is the most value information they’ll be entering, so having the feeling that this information is safe will only make them more comfortable with your company. We’ll provide a couple examples – one from a smaller company with a lesser-known brand name and one from a well-known retailer.

Smaller Retailer – 19% Conversion Rate Improvement


If you’ll notice in the screenshot, the original is on the left and the variation with the newly added gray background is on the right. There are already trust markers present as well as credit card logos but we still saw this 19% increase in conversion rate just by adding in a gray background. Another item to note, this checkout page is for a product costing less than $5.00 so it really shows that no matter the cost, customers want that added sense of security.

Larger Retailer – 6% Increase In Users Clicking Through To Review Their Order And 9% Increase In Revenue Per Visitor



Even with a widely known retailer, by implementing a gray background we saw an increase in users continuing to the next step in the process and even more important, an increase in revenue per visitor.

2) Numeric Keypad On Mobile Devices

As mobile devices become more prevalent in today’s society, we want to ensure user shopping capabilities are just as easy from their mobile devices as they are from their computers. How easy is your checkout process? Are there extra, unnecessary steps your customers have to take?

For any field where users will be entering a number (phone number, credit card information), test showing users the numeric keypad rather than the alphabetical keypad. This eliminates a step that users have to take to bring up the appropriate keys. We’ll look at a couple of examples – the first from a smaller e-commerce company, the second from a subscription box based company.

Smaller Retailer – 12% Conversion Rate Increase



We saw this increase by simply changing what keypad users saw when they needed to enter their phone number as well as payment information. Not only does it eliminate the step of clicking on the number section on the bottom left, but it also increases the size of the buttons, making it easy for users to select the correct numbers.

Subscription Box Based Company – 42% Conversion Rate Increase


Similarly, the number of customers who signed up and paid for this subscription box increased just by making the process simpler.

3) Remove Navigation From Checkout

As mentioned earlier, once your customers get to your shopping cart or are in the midst of checking out, we don’t want this section to be where we lose conversions. Therefore, removing as many distractions from this process as possible is something we are sure to test. In the following examples, we’ll see where we tested removing the top navigation in the first example and removing side navigation in the second.

Remove Top Navigation – 8% Conversion Rate Increase And $1,753 Revenue Lift


While we don’t have access to the original version of this page, imagine a full top navigation with drop-down menus. Removing this navigation from the page reduces the likelihood that a user will steer away from the checkout process and ultimately not convert.

Remove Side Navigation – 3% Conversion Rate Increase


As you can see, there’s a lot that could make this page overwhelming to users who are trying to fill out their information and complete their purchase. Therefore, we tested removing the navigation on the left-hand side of the screen to reduce the likelihood that they would leave the checkout process.

Final Thoughts

We’ve provided just a few test ideas and their results for a handful of e-commerce clients. While we provided all positive results today, we can’t stress enough how important it is to test. Just because we see positive results across multiple clients does not mean the test will show positive results for every client.

One last note – it’s always going to depend on your customer base. If you still aren’t quite sure what to test, listen to your users and analyze their behavior. Not sure how to do this? Check out part 1 and part 2 on how to determine your next CRO test for a handful of tools you can use.