This is a quick post to try to layout everything that effects the conversion rate within an ecommerce website.  There are a lot of moving pieces and often times retailers think that conversion rate is a facet of marketing, I’m here to tell you that it is as much technology and creative as it is marketing. Great conversion rates are achieved when creative, marketing and technology meet. Here is the list…

  • Site Speed: Site speed is critical. There are very few ecommerce sites that we run across that can’t be faster.  We see an increase in conversion rate for every .25 seconds of improvement in site load time. You can run a site test for speed at GT Metrix now, if you’re load time is slower that 4 seconds, you are losing money, hands down.
  • Mobile user experience: Over 50% of most companies traffic is mobile traffic. The majority of all traffic from email or social media is mobile, if you’re running any TV or Radio ads, you get mobile traffic. This will continue to increase. Not addressing this bleeds money.  Google Analytics will allow you to compare the conversion rate between desktop, tablet or mobile to determine how you’re converting. We see mobile converting at about 100% less than desktop and tablet 50% less than desktop.  If you’re not experiencing these numbers, reach out and we can analyze your business for free and provide you recommendations.
  • Product Pricing: Every retailer has a price that is perfect to sell the most amount of products for the best margin. Finding this sweet spot is critical.  You can analyze your competition to understand where you should be at. Additionally the better your branding the higher your pricing can be.
  • Product Merchandising: Understanding where your products should be placed within your site is critical. Analyzing user personas, buyer paths and how to map context of product placement to the buyer at the right time within their shopping experience is an art and takes a lot of testing, but is a major contributing factor to ecommerce conversion rate.
  • Traffic Sources: Bad traffic consisting of visitors that do not aline with your brand will lead to a bad conversion rate. Finding good traffic sources will improve your conversion rate. Every industry is different, but as a general recommendation, SEO traffic will convert best, Facebook ads are converting well for direct to consumer and business to business ecommerce and adwords still has niche. Once you scale these traffic sources, it’s important to continually test new traffic sources to scale your business. This can be through a display program or even affiliate marketing.
  • Site Scalability: Site scale as you grow is an important factor.  If your site slows down as more users are on the site at the same time, you will experience a drop in conversion rate.  This is critical to understand.  Cloud hosting and dedicated services are both valid options to scale an ecommerce business, but if you’re on a VPS or shared environment and expect to scale your business, you will experience low conversion rates.
  • Brand execution: Creative effects conversion rates. Having a great style guide and brand direction that is executed well and evolves into a content strategy that supports both brand and sales is huge. It’s often missed or undervalued, but an important element.
  • Product photography: I am starting to see some studies where retailers are testing the effect of product photography on conversion rate. I am starting to see this as well.  Great product photography will lead to increased conversion rates. Results will vary based on the type of product and the purpose of the photos.
  • Product descriptions: Product descriptions can be long, may retailers try to limit the length of their product descriptions to maintain “design aesthetic” on their website.  Customers are reading descriptions, especially on mobile. As more people shop online, they really want all of their questions answered on a product detail page in an easy to read format.
  • Checkout process: This is a whole blog post in itself and typically the first thing people look at for “conversion optimization”.
  • Cart abandonment: Cart abandonment campaigns will be a new blog post in itself, but we see 3/4 carts abandoned on most ecommerce sites and we see abandonment campaigns capture 12%-25% of all sales.  This is a big lift in conversion rate and sales for any retailer.
  • Retargeting: This is an entirely different post as well. Retargeting helps. Retargeting places a cookie on the browser of a visitor and then shows that user ads for your company as they browse the web.  Recent studies show a new customer needs 4-5 brand impressions minimum before they make a purchase. Retargeting is a major component of it.

There are even more factors, but we’ve found if you reach decent execution and performance from the above dynamics, you should see an immediate improvement of .5% to 1% regardless of your industry.

 

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