In our post-pandemic world, online shopping behavior is rapidly changing — and modern ecommerce businesses need to adapt to keep up.
Today, we’re sharing five major emerging conversion optimization trends that your online business should incorporate to meet those changing behaviors, increase your online conversion rate and boost your overall revenue.
Note: These findings are excerpted from Inflow’s annual eCommerce Best in Class Report, which reviews 150 data points across 10 top ecommerce websites to identify emerging trends, legacy features and conversion strategies trending downward in 2023. Read more about our research methodology here.
With 50% of studied sites displaying some form of automated chatbot to shoppers, the incorporation of machine learning tools like ChatGPT isn’t too far behind.
When used (and trained!) correctly, these chatbots can anticipate and answer customers’ most frequently asked questions, speak with brand tone and style and help remove barriers to purchase.
That said, don’t rely on an AI chatbot to completely replace your customer service team. We recommend building a chatbot that can handle less demanding questions from customers — and that knows when to pass along a customer to a real, human customer service agent.
Third-party payment options like PayPal and Google Pay have been around for a while (and continue to be popular options for online shoppers). However, in 2023, a different kind of third-party payment option is gaining speed: the buy-now-pay-later option.
Of all the eCommerce sites we reviewed, 40% offered a “pay over time” option for customers. While that may seem like a small percentage, consider that new Gen Z shoppers are much less likely to buy with traditional credit — and that their spending with BNPL arrangements grew by 330% from pre-pandemic levels.
For this reason, we recommend ecommerce brands consider adding these non-traditional credit options to their sites to increase conversion rates, especially among this growing demographic of shoppers.
Thanks to the proliferation of Amazon Prime, today’s shoppers have come to expect some degree of free and fast shipping from online stores.
While the majority of our studied sites (90%) do offer some form of free shipping, most of those (60%) set a minimum order threshold to unlock that benefit.
Not all ecommerce stores can afford to offer completely free shipping on all orders — but this threshold approach is a great compromise to meet your shoppers’ expectations and improve conversion rates.
Let your financial team identify the threshold that makes sense for your shoppers (typically, something just higher than your typical average order value), and then visibly deploy that new offering across your site to reap the benefits.
Showrooming features — typically product information used to compensate for a shopper’s inability to see and touch products in person — have grown in popularity on ecommerce sites over the last few years, indicated by the fact that 70% of our studied brands currently deploy them on their websites.
Some examples of these features:
- Runs true to size/runs small/runs large
- Model height and size worn displayed on product images
- Customer height and weight available in reviews
Because these details often come from customers’ individual reviews, they also deliver a sense of strong social proof for potential buyers.
However, as with any product reviews, we recommend gathering a variety of them before launching on your site. The more examples you can tout of how a product fits real customers, the more authentic your showrooming features will feel to potential shoppers.
While none of our studied sites promote their apps on their desktop sites, 70% of them still offer a branded app for iOS or Android devices.
Typically, the work spent creating and marketing an app is usually only worth it if your business boasts a strong percentage of return shopper traffic and loyal customers. Get customers to sign up for your app and you can easily remarket them with new promotions, sales and other personalized offers — in a way that’s a step up from your usual email remarketing.
Not all of these emerging trends will work for every online business. As with any conversion optimization strategy, we recommend testing each of these tactics before full deployment on your ecommerce site.
Remember that conversion rate optimization is also an ongoing process. While you can certainly start with well-established ecommerce best practices, your shoppers’ unique behavior may impact how much these strategies impact your conversion rate optimization. (That’s why we recommend working with a CRO team, which can build a testing strategy around your goals and needs — without the risk to your conversion rate.)
Of course, not all brands can hire a full CRO team, which is where legacy features and emerging best practices like these can come in handy. For more information about emerging conversion rate optimization trends and legacy ecommerce CRO features, you can download Inflow’s complete Best in Class Report today.
Jen Holzman is the President of Inflow, a boutique ecommerce digital marketing agency. She has more than 10 years of experience in digital marketing with a focus on SEO, UX and conversion optimization. She has served as a strategist and consultant for brands including Volkswagen, Dillard’s Jacuzzi, Dr. Scholl’s and more.