Running A Business

Converting Site Visitors to Customers for Your Online Store

Mar 01, 2023 • 6 min read
Female small business owner packaging a shipping box
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      Chris Brown is an eCommerce manager at Smack Apparel, a small sports t-shirt company that has been in business for more than 25 years. In recent years, their business has become more reliant on direct-to-consumer online sales.

      With sports apparel being a highly competitive space, Chris said they need to convert as many visitors as possible into customers. One of the best ways Chris found to do this was by adding reviews to product pages.

      They were able to increase conversion rates by more than 75% within the first three months after adding reviews. Chris said, “customers are looking for social proof and validity when shopping online, and displaying real, authentic reviews from other customers is a great way to build trust.”

      Adding reviews to your eCommerce store is one of many ways businesses can help convert online traffic to customers. If you’re a small business that sells products online or is considering setting up a web store, here are a few techniques to help you turn traffic into loyal customers.

      Take Pride in Your Virtual Storefront

      If you have a physical store, you probably make an effort to keep it clean—sweeping daily, making sure your aisles are clear, and organizing your shelves. So, why wouldn’t you take that same pride in your virtual storefront?

      If you want to convert more online traffic into customers, it starts with a well-maintained virtual storefront that is organized, optimized, and user-friendly. Consider prioritizing some of the following techniques:

      • Make it Mobile Friendly: Reports estimate that 41.8% of eCommerce sales in 2022 came from mobile devices with that number expected to rise to 43.4% in 2023. Many of your online visitors are using a mobile device, so make sure your website is responsive in order to deliver a similar experience across any device.
      • Streamline Your Navigation: No matter the size of your product catalog, you want visitors to quickly find whatever it is they are looking for—meaning streamline your navigation.
      • Keep the Design Simple: A great-looking website may not drive sales alone, but a cluttered and distracting design can definitely hurt your chances. Simplify your design and avoid adding too many competing elements on your pages—especially around areas where you want the potential customer to perform some action (i.e. add to cart). Eventige increased conversions by 232% by simply removing clutter from around its call-to-action (CTA) button.

      Get Visitors to Trust Your Brand

      Trust is a large part of customer acquisition for any business, but it can be especially important for small businesses selling products online. In most cases, you’re competing with global brands and marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, or Etsy. In addition to the competition, online shoppers are often wary of purchasing from unfamiliar websites because of the risk of being scammed.

      So, how do you convince visitors that you’re legit and better than the competition?

      • Communicate Your Selling Points Clearly: Communication is key when it comes to building trust and converting traffic online. Not only do you want to write compelling and convincing product descriptions that outline why your products are worth purchasing, but you also need to tell visitors why your company is trustworthy.
      • Use High-quality Photos and Videos: Beyond product descriptions, you can also use photos and videos to increase visitors’ confidence in purchasing your products. Building trust is often about setting clear expectations, which videos and product photos can help you do. Not only can visual assets help you build trust and convert more visitors, but it can also reduce returns and exchanges—creating a better customer experience.
      • Add Reviews Throughout Your Site: Reports estimate that 95% of online shoppers read and consider reviews before purchasing a product. Adding reviews to your product pages and throughout your site can build trust and provide assurance to potential customers. Not only should you be adding reviews to your web store, but you should be incentivizing new reviews from customers because 83% of customers say reviews must be relevant and recent in order to be trustworthy.

      Optimize Your eCommerce Store for Action

      A great-looking virtual store with reviews and videos will go a long way to converting more visitors to customers, but there are some more advanced techniques you can also implement that have been proven to lead to higher conversion rates.

      These tactics should only be considered after you’ve checked the boxes with some of the more basic techniques mentioned above.

      • Create a Frictionless Checkout: Friction in the eCommerce sense means additional steps that make it harder for a customer to complete their purchase. If a customer adds your products to their cart and begins to checkout, you don’t want any unnecessary obstacle that could cause them to stop that process. Potential friction points in the checkout process to avoid include:
        • Too many required fields
        • Redundant questions
        • Limited payment options (i.e. credit card only)
        • Unexpected fees (shipping, handling, etc.)
      • Try Popups and Other Call-to-Actions: We’ve all seen pop-ups (and have probably rolled our eyes at them), but did you know that pop-ups are actually one of the most tried-and-true methods for increasing conversions on your website? In fact, exit popups (when a user is trying to leave your store) can save up to 15% of visitors. Beyond popups, consider trying other tactics like:
        • Adding a limited offer countdown widget to increase the urgency of purchasing.
        • Using a cross-selling or upselling feature to show other products that shoppers may be interested in.
        • Setting up an abandoned cart email to go out to customers who started the checkout but have not completed it.
      • Incentivize Repeat Customers: A lot of focus is placed on converting first-time customers, but building customer loyalty is equally important. Consider adding loyalty programs to your eCommerce store to help you incentivize and reward repeat customers.

      Now You Can Invest in Bringing More Visitors to Your Webstore

      After you’ve built a solid foundation for converting online traffic into customers, you can now begin investing offsite to drive more targeted visitors to your web store. Whether you’re sponsoring influencers to post about your products or running targeted advertising on Google, Facebook, Instagram, or other channels, you can rest assured that you’re maximizing the return on every dollar you spend. Remember, the key to success is not just driving more traffic to your site, but converting that traffic into loyal customers.

      About the author
      Derek Miller

      Derek Miller is the CMO of Smack Apparel, the content guru at, the co-founder of Lofty Llama, and a marketing consultant for small businesses. He specializes in entrepreneurship, small business, and digital marketing, and his work has been featured in sites like Entrepreneur, GoDaddy,, and StartupCamp.

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