Conversion Friction: This is Why You’re Getting Lousy Online Sales

Conversion friction happens when site visitors hits a page element that throws off their train of thought and experience.

Friction slows (or prevents) an them from taking action… they experienced a disconnect.

Image being pitched an amazing sounding product. You are pumped at the opportunities and value it has to offer, you’re already reaching for your wallet, but then the salesperson does a 180 and begins talking about their family life. Screeeeeeeeeeeech. All that momentum is destroyed.

All of these items that are causing the friction can be alieved with the right testing, tweaking, and application of best practices. Once they have been removed you will see that conversion rate begin to rise, guaranteed.


How to Lube the Visitors to Prevent Conversion Friction

Reducing the conversion friction rate isn’t nearly as hard as it sounds.

Conversion Friction

It’s a matter of doing a couple, minor tweaks the the copy and design — you know… either updating old posts or making site improvements (something you should have in the works, either way).

Identify what’s wrong. Then, fix the problem.

Here are some of the areas/items of you site that is causing conversion friction:


A Lack of Social Proof & Trust Seals

Popularity works in your favor because people are naturally attracted to those that have gained attention (just watch whenever a group of people get together and notice the dominant individual… usually the popular one).


Trust Signals


Social signals like the number of shares and who you’ve worked with will loosen the friction because it shows that you are popular on these platforms and with these clients. Trust seals are valuable because it assures that you are protecting the user data. All of this leads to an increase in trust and brand perception which will work in your favor.


Overcomplicated Processes

From the checkout to getting in contact with customer support.

Everything that requires your visitor to invest in taking a step can be a cause of friction so the less they have to do the better. Ideally you want to get them in and out as quick as possible; this can be done by having easy-to-use navigation, detailed descriptions, and a very simple checkout process.

Shopping cart conversion is what you really want to focus on in all of this; you should learn why people abandon your cart, fix the problem, and consider using retargeting to bring those users back to complete the process.


Too Much Change

People want to feel comfortable once they have gone through the complete experience of your website.




If you are changing the layout and experience frequently then you are creating friction. It’s important that you nail the layout and flow of your website from day one so there are few changes over time. When it does come time to do an update you should test internally and gauge the reactions and feedback.

Only after enough testing should you roll out something new so this way you don’t chance it at alienating your already settled-in customers.



You’ll notice a difference in how you pitch products to business-types and your friends.

When talking with friends you leave out the jargon because you know they won’t pick up on those buzzwords (let alone care for them). Even when talking with the business-types it’s still just for show.


Convey the message in a conversational (but professional) tone so people aren’t lost in overcomplicated copy. The same can be said about the images; keep them relevant and not too far out there else you lose the impact.



How fast does your website load? How quickly can someone checkout in your shopping cart? How quickly do you respond to a phone call or email?




People are using the Web for shopping because they don’t want to waste time idling in traffic, wandering down isles, and dealing with personnel that are slow and not that helpful. Your goal is to make everything as fast as possible if you want to remove the friction. Track every aspect of the interactions and find what is slowing them down; heat maps, analytics, user testing, and CDN’s will all help with this.


Dealing with the Conversion Friction Problem

Organize a list of problems you have found and those received by asking your audience.

Else, pull the conversion friction problems from insights via close business associates & friends.

Take your time to remove them one at a time.

It could be likely that a single area of friction slows an otherwise great process (which then means you aren’t stuck with a laundry list of needed updates).

In time you’ll have successfully removed the majority of these conversion frictions; anything more you need to do can be improved upon through A/B testing. The point is to just do it so you’re not leaving money on the table.