Understanding Online Store Conversion Rates
So you have decided to start and online shop or e-commerce site. Most people think it is as easy as installing a program on their PC. But let’s face it: A lot goes into launching and building an e-commerce business. First you have to decide what you’re going to sell.
After you determine how you’re going to source your products, set up your store, and start sending visitors to your site with paid advertising, you may think that’s it – I’m off to the races.
Not so fast. You will quickly find out how expensive paid advertising is. Especially if you look at Google Ads campaign.
In an increasingly competitive digital buying world, there are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to encouraging customers to buy items from your business.
This act is called a conversion, and it’s just about the most important metric you’ll need to watch as you plan on building your business and increasing revenue.
And conversion doesn’t just happen: you need to optimize for it.
This applies whether you are just starting up and running the whole show yourself, or if you are an e-commerce manager or marketing director who has signed up to hit massive goals and KPIs for the year.
First, let’s begin by defining a conversion – which often has a different definition business to business.
Conversion rate is defined as the percentage of visitors that land on your website who complete a desired action.
You need to know your end goal to accurately define conversions that align with business goals.
An ecommerce conversion rate is the percentage of website visitors who purchased something from your online store (in a set period of time).
However, this metric is not the only way to measure success of your online store.
Below are typical conversions for an e-commerce website:
- An online sale.
- A user adding a product to their cart.
- A user adding an item to their wish list.
- Email signups.
- Social media shares.
- Any KPI your company finds valuable.
This e-commerce CRO guide covers how to increase ecommerce conversion rates on your site.
Each of the bullets above are worth a guide all their own (the links of which above will get you on the right track).
“Conversion” is such a broad topic because it can be impacted by every aspect of the user experience on your site.
Conversion rate optimization is the process of improving the shopping experience to drive a specific KPI — usually, sales.
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) can be conducted on landing pages, category pages, or any other customer touch point.
What is a Good Ecommerce Conversion Rate?
Average e-commerce conversion rates are 1% – 2%.
Even if you are doing everything right, you can still expect to win the sale around 2% of the time.
The following 28 steps are what helped me to reach 2% conversion on my own site.
The outcome of these steps is measured by conversion rate, but in reality they all made a small, incremental improvement to the overall shopping experience.
A 2%+ conversion rate should be the baseline goal for your online store.
Once you hit that and are doing all 28 of the below effectively, then you can move onto more advanced conversion rate tactics.
How do you calculate conversion rate for an e-commerce website?
A quick example: If your online store is getting 5,000 visitors and 50 conversions for a set period, that means your store’s conversion rate is 1%.
Simple as that! Divide conversion into visitors and you have conversion rate.
Most analytics tools provide conversion rate in any segmentation of the data, which we’ll get into in the sections below.
Before we go through what to do to increase conversions, we need to know exactly what your current visitors are doing to set up proper e-commerce conversion rate benchmarks for your online store.
Where are customers getting stuck and how are they interacting with your website?
Once you find your benchmarks these should be compared to measure success.
Of course when experts talk about increasing conversions you will hear a common theme: Test, test, test.
I am all for testing.
However, it is important to know what are your current conversion issues are and understand the basics before you can know what you should test.
Utilize the Following Tools To Improve Ecommerce Conversion Rates:
There are some invaluable and useful ecommerce tools to help analyze your current conversion rate issues.
The following five are my personal favorite conversion analysis tools.
HotJar is an excellent tool for understanding from a high level how your users interact with you website. As a heat-mapping tool, you get the functionality of click, cursor movement, and scroll-depth mapping.
Depending on your plan, each heat map experiment will capture between 1,000 and 10,000 page views and compile an aggregate analysis. However, that’s just the beginning of HotJar’s capabilities.
Session recording can be an invaluable tool for analysis of customer behavior in real-time.
With page targeting define, HotJar will record individual user sessions which you can watch at your convenience to understand how users interact with the user-face on a purely organic level.
Further, you can set up attribute-based filters based on visit length, pageviews, country, device, and more – individually, or in combination – to drill down deeply on specific segments and types of users.
Quantcast’s Measure is a relatively new addition to our “analysis stable” of go-to products but has quickly proven itself valuable by several measures. The easiest way to explain Quantcast is that it’s a tag-based analytics tool that fills a niche between Google Analytics and Facebook Analytics in that it measures users’ site usage and provides advanced demographic data on a per-click basis.
The result of this is deep insights into who visitors are on a personal level which have translated into business intelligence for creative teams who can tailor messaging and imagery to resonate more deeply.
Also innovative is Quantcast’s option to view metrics on a composition view (demographics as a percentage of the whole) as well as on an indexed basis compared to the average website based on your country.
What this means practically, is you gain insight into the segments of visitors that you’re reaching disproportionately to the general public.
- Google Analytics: Unified Sessions/Signals, Goal, and Event Tracking
For most websites, I suggest setting up Google Analytics or something equivalent.
This gives you a great view into your website visitors including:
- How visitors found your website: This could be from keyword searches in google, referral websites, or direct visits.
- How long visitors stay on your website.
- Where the visitors are from.
- If the visitors are returning or new.
- What browser, operating system was used and if the visitor used a mobile device or desktop/laptop.
- How many visitors converted (based on goals setup) and the interaction that lead to the conversion.
- Link to your Google Adwords campaign to track paid traffic as well.
Google Search Console will gives you a peek at what keywords users are typing to find your website (if they click on your website or not). It also shows you various errors that may affect your website rankings such as slow loading pages, broken links, etc.
Be sure to verify your site with Google to enable Google Search Console tools.
If you have your store running on BigCommerce, the platform has an Analytics section in the administration panel that shows all abandoned carts including what products were in the cart at the time of abandonment.