So, your new eCommerce site is off and running? That’s great! Hopefully, you’re off to a strong start and have the resources at hand to keep it that way. Sometimes plateaus or even backslides can happen… Do you know how to reverse those before they start? Worse yet, a string of poor user experiences can hit your conversion rate hard and end up driving potential customers to your competitors’ sites. If that’s the case (or if things are good and you just want to keep the success going), it’ll be pivotal moving forward that you find ways to optimize your conversion rate.
Let’s talk about eCommerce conversion rate: what makes a great eCommerce site? How do you increase your eCommerce conversion rate? And how do you ensure optimized conversion rates moving forward?
First, let’s make sure we’re clear on what it means when we say “eCommerce conversion rate.”
What is the eCommerce Conversion Rate?
Before we dive into optimizing your eCommerce conversion rate, let’s first make sure we’re clear on what it is we mean when we say “conversion rate.” A conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to your site who take a certain measurable action. In the eCommerce world, the “action” that you’re measuring is most likely going to be a purchase (if a person comes to your site and then purchases a product of yours, congratulations! They’ve been converted).
It’s important to continuously track your conversion rate. Why? Well, it gives you a pretty solid measure of the efficacy and performance of your website, apps, and marketing campaigns. It doesn’t matter how people are getting to your site, inbound or outbound marketing. If you’re able to understand what percentage of visitors to your site are taking actions based on your marketing, you’ll know how and when to pivot that marketing or respond to your audience’s needs differently.
Sometimes, your business’s unique growth goals might dictate that you should measure a different action – rather than just purchases – to determine your site’s conversion. There’s a wide range of other actions you might want to look at, all of which can tell you unique things about your audience’s purchase behaviors. They can give you a solid understanding of the strength of your eCommerce site.
Let’s explore some of those actions and what they might mean for building brand loyalty.
Ways to Measure eCommerce Conversion Rate
Beyond the purchase, there are a host of other actions that site visitors can take that might constitute a conversion. If you’ve modeled your site and other marketing content correctly (and if you have a marketing director who’s on top of things and keeping a watchful eye on-site visitor actions), a lot of these actions taken can later be channeled into ultimate purchases.
(Marketers will sometimes call those other baby actions “micro-goals” or “micro-conversions” and the ultimate purchase is the “macro-goal” or “macro-conversion.” We’ll use “action,” “conversion,” and “goal” interchangeably here).
Let’s dive into what some of those actions or micro-goals are and why measuring them could be worthwhile for your business.
Adding products to a shopping cart (even if they don’t end up buying them).
This is a critical metric to watch, especially if you’re unsure about the ease of your purchase process on your eCommerce site. If the conversion is quite good when it comes to shoppers putting products in their cart – but then quite bad when you look at conversion by sales – it means potential shoppers are dropping off during the actual purchase process.
Why? The complication in the purchase process? Maybe they’re seeing taxes and shipping fees totaling a much larger final price than they’d hoped. Whatever it is, if you are paying attention to cart adds as conversion you’ll be able to suss out these important details.
Adding products to a wishlist or “saving” or bookmarking products.
Potential customers are liking what you’re selling, but they’re not compelled to buy those items just yet. Why? Are your initial asking prices perhaps too high and they’re waiting for a discount or promotional offer? Conversion by wishlist will help you understand if your pricing could use some tweaking.
Signing up to receive email notifications or receive your email newsletter.
Customers who are converted to receive your email newsletter or email notifications are intrigued by your brand… and they’re waiting for something else to become purchasing customers. Maybe they’re waiting for a promotional offer to reduce prices. Or they’re waiting for new product colors, sizes, styles, or maybe even just new products. Whatever it is, your brand has them interested, but the stars are not aligned for them to make a purchase just yet. Figure out why and you’ll soon convert these would-be customers.
Sharing product listings on social media.
These site visitors have been converted to get the word out about your product, and that may be just as important as if they were making purchases (they may be doing both). Watch conversion of social media shares to find out how effective your site is in getting visitors to spread the word.
Creating an account for the eCommerce site.
These customers have been converted to hold an account with you, and if they haven’t made a purchase yet, it means they’re at least taking steps in that direction. If conversion for account holders is good but purchase conversions are not so great, you can start enticing your account holders with special offers, sneak peeks, or other goodies to help persuade them to make more purchases.
Downloading and installing your business’s mobile app (if you have one).
Your app was no small investment of time, creative energy, and money. You want to ensure that customers are using it. Watch conversion of app downloads to ensure your site is effectively promoting your mobile app.
Creating a gift card from their account.
Much like social media shares, gift card conversions are a good sign: it means your site visitors are working to spread the word about your brand or products. If gift card conversion is high but purchase conversion is low, don’t fret: those gift cards are out there, and some serious purchases could be happening very soon.
Signing up to get updates about Out of Stock items or back-ordered items.
You sell the products that will convert site visitors to buyers… but you don’t have them on hand right now. Out of Stock update, the conversion will let you know that. If your Out of Stock update conversion is high, it might be time to reassess the way you’re managing product supply.
Signing up to receive updates from your blog.
Visitors who’ve been converted to receive blog updates want to know about your brand and your product. If blog update conversion is high and purchase conversion is low, it might mean that you’re not providing enough information about products in the product listings themselves.
Or maybe you need to give greater information about your brand and mission on the landing page so customers know who you are and what you’re about right away… and can then make a more informed purchase decision.
Signing up for discounts or other unique offers.
Finally, if your conversion is high when it comes to signing up for discounts, but low when it comes to purchases, your customers have spoken. Your pricing has been set too high, and customers need a price point reprieve before they’re inclined to make a final purchase.
These micro goals can give you a lot of detailed information about your site and its efficacy; you just have to pay attention to the stats. Depending upon your growth goals and what brand loyalty looks like for your business, “converting” a customer could come down to any one of these unique metrics.
Curious what is the average eCommerce conversion rate? When the action being measured is purchases, the average eCommerce website typically generates a 2-3% conversion rate (with anything over 2% considered “good”). And if you’re already at 2-3% with your site, that’s great! Still, let’s explore some things we can do to ensure we keep that number up (and then drive it even higher).
Requirements of a Successful eCommerce Business & a High eCommerce Conversion Rate
So, your conversion rate is 2%? Good! You’re on the right track. But is that really the only measure of whether or not your site is successful (and will remain successful in the long term)? You’ll likely have consulted with UX/UI designers and brand/messaging experts, so your site may look like a million bucks. But is it really working to convert audiences in the way that you need it to?
On a very fundamental level, you can boil down the “success” of any eCommerce site into three key points: 1) is it driving the right traffic and speaking to the correct audiences, 2) do you have a good conversion rate, and 3) are you delivering a high-quality product with support? Let’s consider each of these points for a moment.
Does it drive the right traffic (or visitors)?
Getting people to visit your site is one thing. But if they’re not qualified buyers (or at least likely to buy in the future) there may not have been much value in attracting them to your site. So how do you ensure that the people you’re bringing to your site have a high likelihood of ultimately buying your product? There are a couple of key things you can do:
Keep a steady supply of fresh, relevant content.
Consumers today aren’t impulse-buying like they used to: they want information on the products they’re buying. Keep the content flowing with a regularly updated blog, detailed product descriptions, product use vignettes, or whatever else might appeal to your ideal target audience.
Keep your website SEO optimized.
The “how’s” of SEO optimization are vast and complex, so we won’t get into them today. Regardless, you need to have a marketing director or vendor that knows how to SEO-optimize your website and content effectively and will do so regularly. That way, the audiences that are looking for you (and are thereby most likely to convert) will find you easily.
Use paid search campaigns to boost your eCommerce conversion rate
The paid search campaign (also commonly referred to as “pay-per-click” or just PPC), is a great outbound marketing tool that’s becoming increasingly popular. Advertisers are paid to place your clickable ads on search engines or social media so they’re easily found by your target audience.
PPC campaigns can leverage geo-targeting and other clever targeting strategies to ensure that your ads will be found by exactly the type of audience you want to sell to. PPC is also great because it’s trackable: you’ll get reports on exactly when and where customers are clicking into your site so you can change up your strategy as needed to get the best results.
Leverage social media.
It’s important to have a well-planned social media strategy and calendar and to keep up with it. Conduct some research on what sites your target audience is most likely to use, and then start generating a whole heap of powerful, appealing, and SEO-friendly content that will speak to them. Set up a calendar so content is released frequently and at regular intervals. And be sure your social media marketing director develops cohesive content across all sites (it’d be unnerving for customers to find one type of messaging on your Instagram, but a completely different message that same day on your Facebook page).
You can also establish connections with social media influencers who’ll promote your product to the precise audiences you’re wanting to reach (they won’t do it for free, though).
Rely on the power of video.
Finally, learn to love video marketing. Videos have become absolutely pivotal in helping potential customers come to appreciate your brand story, your vision, your goals, and what makes your products truly unique. Marketers are using videos for everything from “how-to” informational clips to product demos to “About Us” brand stories.
What’s more, they’re shareable everywhere, from Facebook to Instagram to Youtube. If you’re not already posting videos regularly to speak to the right audiences for your brand, you may be falling behind (but it’s not too late to catch up!).
Do you have a good eCommerce conversion rate?
We’ve talked about measuring your eCommerce conversion rate, but we haven’t really addressed why it matters so much. Studies show that eCommerce sites that constantly monitor their conversion rates and pivot their strategies accordingly see – on average – an increase of 223% ROI from their pay-per-click campaigns.
Conversion rate optimization has a statistically significant correlation to an eCommerce business’s increased revenue, improved user experience on their sites and apps, and improved ROI from remarketing.
Are you delivering a high-quality product with support?
Your website is a product unto itself – it’s some visitors’ first experience with you as a business and a brand. Will they like what you’re selling them (before you’ve sold them anything)? No matter how great your products are, think of your eCommerce site as the first product customers are buying.
Put serious thought and energy into the UX design of the site, and keep updated regularly on-site functionality so you can avoid any issues. You can use CRO Tools to identify – and quickly fix – any usability issues that your site may have. You can also rely on the Site Content reports that Google Analytics provides to help you find important statistics like bounce rate. Use these tools to ensure your site visitors are not running into any issues while they shop.
Hacks to Increase Your eCommerce Conversion Rate
We now know what it means when we talk about a good eCommerce conversion rate, and we’ve discussed how to measure that. But how do you increase the conversion rate? It can seem like an overwhelming task. Fortunately, today we’re going to explore how to increase the conversion rate for eCommerce. Here are seven of the key areas (and some pretty sweet hacks) where you can increase the eCommerce conversion rate.
Hacks to build trust as a new eCommerce site (and a rising business).
Now, let’s move on to some hacks for gaining trust with consumers as a new eCommerce site.
Use trust badges.
Trust badges (sometimes called Trust Seals) are little logos or symbols displayed somewhere on your site. They signify to site visitors that your business and your eCommerce website are legitimate. Trust badges can identify for site visitors the cybersecurity-readiness of your site. Or, that you do have the vendor relationships or business affiliation that you’ve claimed. They might also help site visitors identify your business as part of particular associations or trade groups. Whatever it is, trust badges do exactly that: they instill trust (and help convert).
Use safe checkout icons.
Like a trust badge, these little icons or symbols on your checkout page let the shopper know that their online payment is secured through a known – and trusted – payment platform like PayPal.
Highlight any safety or warranty information (on your Homepage).
Warranty and safety info and other product protection information let the consumer know their purchase is not in vain. That you stand behind your products and you’re willing to back that up with a promise. Somewhere on your homepage, let consumers know that they can trust the quality and integrity of your products and that they’ll be protected against any issues (this can be a footnote – doesn’t have to be huge).
Increase your return window.
Today’s consumer is smart – they’ll be wary of a 10-day return window. Make return information crystal clear on your site and give shoppers a large window to allow for shipping delays and other issues.
Use media features and showcase any public relations highlights on your homepage.
If you’re new to the game, customers won’t know your brand – but they’ll want to know that others know and trust your brand. Showcase PR spots on your homepage or About page so that they can see the word is getting out!
Show influencer reviews on your homepage and product pages.
It’s in the name: influencers are influential. If you can contract with some well-known names who’re willing to tout your product, don’t keep that information relegated to the social media scene: show it on your site! Customers will want to know that A) your product is well-like and well-use, and B) that it’s popular among some known names (who know their way around a good product).
Use micro-influencer relationships (and show them on your homepage and product pages).
Micro-influencers may be lesser-known, but good ones will have a solid grasp on the role they play in digital marketing. They’ll know what to say, how to say it, and who to say it to (and they’ll say those things about your stellar products). Use them.
Hacks to convert first-time visitors into customers.
- Showcase your brand and offer a first-purchase discount. Discount codes are often the deciding factor in making sales conversions. Shoppers who are new to your site and your brand could very easily be tipped by a first-purchase discount – it lets them try the product and get to know your brand with less risk and makes them feel welcomed.
- Use an exit-intent popup with social proof. Exit-intent popups can be used to find out when exactly your customer is sending their cursor up to “exit out” of the current webpage and will intervene before they’re able to click. Popups that communicate social proof (recent reviews, customers with this item in the cart, etc.) demonstrate to your potential customers a sense of popularity and urgency with your products (if they leave now, the product may not be here when they come back!).
- Offer payments in installments on product pages. Payments by installments are becoming wildly popular – they show your customers an alternative route to getting that product that they want… but just don’t want to pay for right now. Seeing that smaller figure can often entice wary shoppers (who won’t spend the time on your site doing fast math).
- Ensure pricing is highly visible on product pages. Customers don’t want to be surprised by price tags, and there’s so much comparison shopping nowadays on the internet, price is often a determining factor in their purchase decision. So make sure that the price tag is clearly visible at all times (consider using a larger, bolded font as compared to the rest of the product information on the page).
Optimizing eCommerce conversion rates among returning customers.
- Save users time with a Quick Buy option (on collections pages, as well as your homepage). Returning customers know the drill. They don’t need to read through pages of the product, shipping, and payment information to re-buy the products they want. Give them some sort of “Quick Buy” button that’s visible on both the homepage and individual product pages (adjacent to your cart button). Then, they can jump past the noise and make quick purchases.
- Showcase discounts for special days. Is Memorial Day coming up? Fourth of July? Mother’s Day? Make those discounts easy to find and bold on every page. Use a large banner at the top of each webpage or a popup on every page to make sure those discounts aren’t missed (popups are great because site visitors will have to click away from them to move on with their shopping, making them literally impossible to ignore).
Optimizing the eCommerce conversion rate on each product page.
- Show a higher old price. This doesn’t mean you necessarily have to discount prices over time (you don’t). But you can show “old” price points adjacent to the bold and bright, shiny new prices that customers can pay right now. That comparison will make customers feel like they’re getting savings by buying now – even if they aren’t. You can also show your prices adjacent to competitors’ price points on similar products: it’ll have the same effect.
- On product pages, make size charts easy to find and use. When it comes to apparel in the world of eCommerce, having a handy and easy-to-use size chart can sometimes be deal-breaking. Don’t make customers search for it: display the size chart clearly somewhere towards the top of the product page (near where the size selection drop-down is).
- Give shoppers an option to sign up for Out of Stock products. This is a great way to ensure that you clinch that conversion – your shopper gets the product they want (just not today), but you still successfully convert them while they’re on your site right now. Win-win.
- Provide a payment option that site visitors recognize. This goes hand-in-hand with trust badges: shoppers want to know that they can trust the integrity of this purchase. Showing them options to pay with Paypal or Google Pay not only gives them options but also lets them feel confident in the purchase – and in you.
Optimizing eCommerce collections page’s conversion rate.
Improve click-through rate to products using the Price Comparisons hack. Showing the comparison of prices on similar products helps shoppers who are budget-conscious. It makes it easier to find products they like, even if the product page they’re on now might now be ideal for them.
Optimizing the eCommerce conversion rate on your About page.
Showcase your mission to appeal to the right audiences. Shoppers who find your About Page want to know what makes your business tick. This is your chance to tell them. Communicate your mission loudly and passionately and in a way that resonates with your entire brand story. That way shoppers can learn exactly who you are, and they’ll see that identity carried through as they explore the rest of your website.
Hacks to increase eCommerce conversion rates on the cart page.
Use a progress bar to show “earned free shipping.” It’ll entice shoppers to go ahead and add that one last item before they checkout. Plus, the progress bars are eye-catching. Display the progress bar towards the top of shoppers’ comprehensive cart so they can’t miss it.
We’ve just thrown a lot of hacks your way, but don’t panic! You don’t have to implement them all right now to watch your conversion rate start to climb. Do what you can slowly over time so that return customers aren’t hit with a whole new website when they come back. Make changes little by little and give each one a fair trial window to see how it alone performs (and if it doesn’t, perhaps that site change is not the one for you).
Now You Know How to Increase Your eCommerce Conversion Rate. What’s Next?
Having good conversion on your eCommerce site is pivotal. Especially when the site – or the brand – is just getting off the ground. Knowing how to measure that conversion, what to look for, and how to interpret the behaviors you’re seeing helps you make those necessary tweaks to your site in all the right places. New site visitors will be inspired to become loyal brand followers, and loyal brand followers will be inspired to stay that way. Because you’ll know how to increase conversion rate when it’s needed!
Hopefully, now you feel confident that you know what is a good eCommerce conversion rate. We also want you to feel fully equipped to make those eCommerce conversion rate optimization tweaks when and where they’re needed. But knowing what the plan is and enacting it are two very different things.
We want you to know that you don’t have to go at this alone. Talk to the eCommerce experts at Blue Water Marketing. We can help you understand more about your shoppers’ behaviors. Then, we’ll see where the pitfalls are in your current site, and optimize them for future success. Give us a call – we’ll be glad to sit down with you and consult on the most efficient ways to increase your eCommerce conversion rate!
Or, click here to read about our eCommerce services to find out what’s right for you.