5 Conversion Killers to Avoid

If you have an online business or you are an eCommerce store owner, then you know that one of the most important measures of success is conversion rate.

That is, turning a curious page-surfer into a sold customer. The world of conversion rate optimization (CRO) is dedicated to achieving this very goal (more on that here).

So while we’d all like to think that every person who visits our website will make a purchase, this unfortunately just isn’t the case.

There are a multitude of “conversion killers” that can cause a potential customer to drop off somewhere in the browsing process before even reaching your checkout page, but with the help page. With the help of this guide, you can avoid these common mistakes and be well on your way to securing more long-term, repeat customers.

What Is a Conversion Killer?

A conversion killer is ultimately a component or experience on your website that is stopping online shoppers from completing a purchase.

They can come in many different forms but it is up to you and your CRO team to identify these killers.

The other tricky part is that a killer on one website might not be a killer on another. Users from website to website are different (age, background, motivation, etc.) which means their response to certain designs and experiences will be different.

In this article, we will discuss common conversion killers, how to find them, and why they are important.

How to Find Conversion Killers

There are a handful of ways to identify conversion killers within your website. The most common signs that you have a conversion killer on your hands are:

  • Large drop off
  • High bounce rate
  • The low conversion rate for the page
  • User movement between the same two pages (back and forth)

Data is a great way to identify conversion killers, but ultimately the best way to identify them is to talk to your users. Reach out and ask them for feedback on how the website experience can be improved.

Data can only provide you with information on common problems, but talking to users gets you closer to the source.

If you decide to chat with them, be sure to talk to a large group of individuals to ensure you get the perspective you need about the presence of possible conversion killers.

Why Is It Important to Find Conversion Killers?

It seems obvious that you would want to find conversion killers that are preventing your business from growing. But how significant can these conversion killers be?

Sometimes, they can amount to anywhere between 1% to 20% increases in conversion rate! We have seen plenty of instances where something extremely simple led to huge gains in conversion rate.

A great example of this is a case study we did on Zig-Zag.

This simple change reduced friction for the user and allowed them to find a design component that increased conversion by 22%.

By not spending the necessary time and resources to find conversion killers, you risk missing large opportunities for growth.

However, spending additional ad dollars to try to ferment that growth may not yield the results you want, and is also very expensive.

To find a conversion killer, you just have to take the time to implement a methodical A/B testing strategy. When you do find them, they will be more valuable than any ad dollar you spend.

Let’s get into the top 5 most common conversion killers.

The Conversion Killers

1. Too Many Choices

2. Unclear Value Proposition

3. Shopping Cart Abandonment

4. Overlooking Data

5. Not Mobile Friendly

#1 Too Many Choices

The first conversion killer when trying to increase your conversion rate is cramming your site with too many choices, and, in effect, overcomplicating your buyer’s journey.

Just like shopping at a grocery store with messy, overcrowded shelves might make you want to run for the hills, visiting a cluttered online storefront can do the same.

Make your focal point so clear that your customers will have no reason not to convert.

Start by removing unnecessary buttons, menus, and banners that distract from the main mission. Then add a clear call-to-action button that pops up, such as “Subscribe” or “Buy Now.”

You’ll want to avoid adding too many CTA’s to a single page, though, as they can create analysis paralysis. This is where customers are so overloaded with the choice that they leave your site altogether.

Remember that less is more when it comes to conversion optimization.

However, you may be a brand with a catalog of 100 or more products! We would be remiss if we did not discuss what to do when you want to present your users with your entire product inventory.

Try making the decision easier by navigating users down a designated path. With the help of clean drop-down menus, product-specific filters, and clear product details, you can guide users down the path they’re looking for.

For example, on a watch website, you might help them filter out the choices by material, such as leather, metal, or cloth. If you’re a skincare company, help customers narrow down the selection by filtering out products such as oils, mists, or lotions.

Have a third party look at your site and give honest feedback about the ease of flow on your website.

Now on to conversion killer number 2.

#2 Unclear Value Proposition

When a user lands on your site, they will ask two main questions- “Does this site have what I want?” and “Why should I get it here?”

It is your job as the business owner to answer these questions through the use of a clear value proposition.

A value proposition tells customers the unique selling points of your product. Think of the old infomercials that ran on late-night TV where an “expert” would tout all the benefits of their product.

For example, if they were selling a vacuum cleaner they’d mention that it’s lightweight, has powerful suction, can be used on multiple surfaces, and so on and so forth.

Do the same on your site. Spell out exactly which needs your product will fulfill by listing its specs and features.

Potential customers are far more likely to purchase from your site when they know what it is you’re selling and why yours is the best of the best.

Having a clear value proposition is also related to the concept of “user-centered design,” which is discussed in more detail here.

In a nutshell, user-centered design is the process of building your website in a way that provides the most value and information to your website visitor. As a result, your conversion rate should increase over time.

Conversion killer #3 is not to be ignored either.

#3  Shopping Cart Abandonment

Even if you’ve established a strong value proposition on a clean website, you can still experience user drop-off if you have a confusing or lengthy buy flow.

When the checkout process is not simple and intuitive, users will abandon their carts. We all know the feeling of adding an exciting purchase to the cart just to be met with a long, frustrating checkout process.

This is where consulting with a UI/UX design team will come in handy. They will be able to tell you if your buy flow can use a few simple tweaks, or if it will need a complete overhaul. Examples of cart fixes could include making registration optional instead of required, removing registration altogether, reducing form fills, and keeping the checkout process down to a maximum of 3 to 5 pages.

According to Statista, having to re-enter credit card info or shipping info is two of the top five reasons shoppers abandon their cart, with high shipping costs, long shipping timelines, and non-functional discount codes making up the other three.

Imagine the checkout process as a marathon. When a customer is this close to the finish line, the last thing you want to do is to stand in their way.

Keep reading for conversion killer number 4.

#4 Overlooking Data

So by now, you know you should have a simple, straightforward, and clean website that reduces friction for your users. But did you know that the best way to optimize your site is through rigorous testing and the implementation of data?

When you don’t measure user behavior patterns, you have no way of knowing what is truly working and what is not.

That’s why it’s critical to take a data-based approach. A platform like Google Analytics will help you gather data and run A/B tests.

To start, identify your business’s overarching goals. What is your mission and what are the steps you need to take to get there?

Once you know this, you can work backward to identify key metrics that will help you build toward that goal. Metrics might include scroll depth, email sign-ups, average order value, revenue per session, conversion rate, etc.

As long as you’re measuring the right metrics, the data will highlight hot and cold spots on your site. From there, you can emphasize what’s hot and reduce or remove what’s cold.

Additionally, A/B testing will allow you to test various versions of your website so you have a clear picture of what is engaging your users and guiding them toward the ultimate goal: conversion.

And now on to our final killer.

#5 Not Mobile Friendly

Now ask yourself, should easy shopping be exclusive to someone visiting your site on a desktop computer? The answer should be no.

Once you dig into your data you will most likely see that the majority of your traffic is generated through mobile devices. After all, over half the world’s website traffic is mobile.

So if your goal is to increase conversions overall, then a crucial step would be making sure your website’s mobile experience is seamless.

Once again, you can consult with your team of engineers and designers to ensure features such as drop-down menus, forms, and images are all clickable, responsive, and optimized for mobile users. This is especially important if you have an e-commerce site where users are inputting information such as credit card numbers and shipping addresses.

Providing a smooth checkout process on mobile as well as on desktop will let your users convert with confidence.

To that point, you’ll also want to make sure that the user experience is optimized for every possible browser your audience may be using. For example, Safari, Chrome, and Firefox should all be in tip-top shape so that users are getting the best version of your site regardless of the browser they’re on.


Ultimately, CRO is an effort to find conversion killers. It should be the responsibility of your CRO team to be constantly identifying areas that may be causing friction and drop-off of your users.

Use the tips in this article to find your conversion killers:

  • Identify areas of large drop-off
  • Identify landing pages that have a high bounce rate
  • Identify low conversion rate pages
  • Identify user movements that go back and forth

In our increasingly online world, users have their pick of litter regarding online storefront options. That’s why it is a must to ensure your website is set up to provide a seamless browsing experience both on desktop and mobile devices.

The cleaner and more data-backed, poignant, and mobile-friendly your site, the higher the conversion rate you will achieve. Be sure to avoid the top 5 conversion killers discussed in this article.

  1. Too Many Choices
  2. Unclear Value Proposition
  3. Shopping Cart Abandonment
  4. Overlooking Data
  5. Not Mobile Friendly

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