Lessons from Amazon to Improve Web Conversions – Pt. 1

So you built an ecommerce website to sell your products online. You identified the perfect web builder tool, found the best template, used beautiful photographs of your products, and finally published your store. You even launched social marketing campaigns and drew traffic to your store.

But the traffic didn’t convert into paying customers at the rate you expected. It left you wondering if there was any way you could improve your web conversions.

The answer is — Yes! There’s an analogy of how airplanes prepare for lift off to show how web conversions occur. It considers factors like value proposition, relevance, clarity, and urgency that need to be enhanced, and other factors — like distractions and anxiety — that need to be reduced.

lift-model-of-conversion(source: http://www.widerfunnel.com/lift-model/)

To bring this analogy to life I’ve used Amazon, a company that has mastered the art of web conversions. Here are a few lessons you could pull right out of Amazon’s playbook to improve your own store’s conversion rate.

Factor #1 – Value Proposition:

This is THE most important factor, not just for your website, but for your business. What differentiates you from your competition?  What do you offer that no one else does? And why should someone buy from your website?

In Amazon’s case they focus on providing two things: (1) the widest selection of products online, and (2) at the most reasonable price.

Over the years they have honed in on both. To provide the widest selection they’ve built partnerships with an array of 3rd party sellers.  And to provide the best deals they monitor and beat the prices offered by their competition. Even if it means taking a short-term loss on that transaction, their unwavering goal is to be consumers’ go-to online shopping destination.

For example in my case, I like supporting my neighborhood bookstore. I always go there first to purchase books I want. But if I can’t find them there, I know Amazon is waiting. I’ll not only be able to find the books there (no matter how rare), but also find them at a price lower than my local bookstore.


Amazon has successfully trained me over the years to go straight to their website when I can’t find something in my favorite local store.

Similarly you should think about what you want your online store’s value proposition to be. If you sell t-shirts, why should your target customers buy their t-shirts from your store? This is the most important factor for improving online conversions, and should be the one you spend the most time focusing on.

Factor #2 – Relevance:

The next factor to consider is ‘Relevance’. Amazon uses insights on their customers’ online behavior in features like “Frequently bought together” and “Customers also bought”. They use these features to cross sell relevant products to their shoppers based on what they’ve already shown interest in.


Similarly, you can offer complementary products that are relevant to your customers. You can offer these on your website, or via email newsletters. Many website builder tools allow cross-selling on websites built by them. Some also have features for sending newsletters to your site visitors (e.g. GoDaddy offers a complimentary email marketing service with their online store product).  You can use such features to share relevant offers with your customers.

Factor #3 – Clarity:

At first blush the Amazon website seems pretty cluttered – just look at their navigation bar bursting at its seams:


But once you get below the nav you can see how focused they are on nudging you down the purchase path. For example you’ll see:

  • Product images & descriptions: To give you a feel for the book you’re interested in.
  • ‘Look Inside’ feature: Lets you read the inside pages. So you don’t have to judge a book simply by the cover:


Similarly on your website try to provide as many images as you can, and good descriptions of each product listed on your online store. When selecting a website building tool, make sure that they have the ability to show multiple images for your products (and don’t charge you extra for it).

Wrapping Up

So far we’ve looked at how developing a value proposition, providing relevant offers, and providing clarity can help improve your web conversions. In Part 2 of this blog post, we’ll see how Amazon has mastered factors like Urgency, Distraction, and Anxiety to propel their online sales — and we’ll talk about how we can learn from them.


About the Author


Mukul Sheopory is a marketer passionate about helping small business owners succeed. He loves using data, design and research to improve product experiences. He works at GoDaddy, where he helps SMBs improve their online presence. Feel free to connect with Mukul on LinkedIn.