Your eCommerce conversion rate is one of the most critical metrics to track when developing an online store. Correspondingly, you can probably already give a solid definition of it off the top of your head.
While conversion rates are a simple enough concept to grasp, they’re not so easy to improve. If you want your eCommerce venture to really fulfill its potential, you’ll need to understand the bigger picture and understand how countless different operations and factors affect your conversion rate.
In this guide, we’ll take a deeper dive into eCommerce conversion rates, their major defining factors, and some of the things you can do to optimize yours.
What is eCommerce conversion rate?
The term “eCommerce conversion rate” refers to a commonly used measure of how well a site is performing, expressed as a percentage of site sessions, or visits, that ended in a completed order. This can be calculated using the formula:
If a site or page had 3,000 sessions in a given period and 120 of those sessions resulted in a purchase, then it can be said to have a conversion rate of 4% for that period. Simple enough, right?
The term “eCommerce conversion rate” was popularized by Google Analytics, but different tools might call the same metric different things. For example, on Shopify, it’s labeled “online store conversion rate.”
Common causes of bad conversion rate data
As you analyze your store’s conversion rate and start taking steps to improve it, it’s important to be aware of some common slip-ups that could undermine the accuracy of your reports.
Mixing up sessions and users
Most good analytics tools will measure a single instance of someone visiting your site as a session. They have a separate categorization for the individual (device/browser account), usually called a “user.” So, if someone were to visit your site today, leave, then visit again tomorrow, this would register as one user but two sessions.
New entrepreneurs and marketers often make the mistake of counting the conversion rate as a proportion of users. Doing so will artificially inflate conversions and potentially hide some glaring errors in your site.
Looking at the overall conversion rate alone
Many analytics tools measure an overall conversion rate by default. This shows the rate of any conversion action completed on the site.
This could be a completed order but could also be a newsletter subscription, account creation, adding a product to a cart, or any number of other things depending on the specifics of the tool you’re using. Mixing your sessions and users can lead to greatly inflated conversion rates that aren’t reflective of how the site is actually performing.
Key influencers of conversion rates in 2022
Now that we’ve had an overview of eCommerce conversion rates, here are some of the key influencing factors that will affect a modern eCommerce site’s conversion rates.
Whenever you’re embarking on a project that’s intended to improve conversion, it’s important to consider how your activities will feed into these predictors. You also need to consider what you can do to better align your strategy with them.
Conversion research uses general analytics suites, like Google Analytics, and supporting tools, such as Hotjar. These are used to study how your visitors are interacting with your site, find the elements that are harming your conversion rate, and create plans to remedy them.
All modern marketing is defined by personalization. This includes the on-site elements you’ll use to convince your visitors to buy your product. Personalized experiences can be a major boon to your conversion rates, so this should be central to any work you do that’s focused on improving conversions.
Though it has a lot of overlap with personalization in modern web design, user experience (UX) is a separate discipline that’s hugely important to your conversion rates. As with personalization, customer UX expectations are higher than ever, and you’ll need to make it a priority if you want your conversion rate to flourish.
High-grade copywriting across your site, along with quality images, videos, and other digital assets, can help to assure your customers of your brand’s inherent value. This keeps them more engaged with your site and improves conversion.
How to increase your eCommerce conversion rate
Now that we have a firm understanding of what an eCommerce conversion rate is and the factors that contribute to it, here are some practical marketing strategies and disciplines you can use to actively improve your conversion rate.
In order for visitors to convert on your site, they have to be able to find your site first! With this in mind, you’ll need to do everything possible to help your site rank higher in Google’s SERPs and encourage people to check out your site to discover how your products can solve their problems.
Make sure your site is optimized in terms of loading speed, mobile-friendliness, and UX. You should also optimize your site with keywords in your copy and create quality, authoritative content that attracts backlinks. By doing these things, you’ll be able to improve your conversion rate by getting more quality traffic that matches search intent and by showcasing a site that provides a real, tangible benefit to your target audience.
SEO is also a powerful tool for improving conversion rates because it targets organic traffic alone. This means that any new sessions generated from your SEO efforts will already be somewhat qualified because they’re already searching for a product or business like yours.
As we mentioned before, personalized experiences now define the way that people interact with the internet. This is true whether it’s for business or pleasure.
No matter if you’re selling a product that’s found in every home or specialized hobby equipment, you need to ensure your content resonates with your audience at an individual level as much as possible. By using artificial intelligence integrations that draw on visitor behavior and purchasing history, you’ll be able to make informed recommendations and present specific pieces of content that will be more likely to lead to a conversion.
On the subject of personalization, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t begin and end on your website. Every facet of your marketing should seek to create a consistent, personalized experience across all channels and touchpoints.
Native social media analysis tools, like Facebook and Instagram’s Audience Insights, can help you personalize your organic and paid social media marketing. Prospecting platforms with powerful audience segmentation, like Outbase, can help you tailor your email messaging to specific demographics and audience behaviors.
A smooth checkout process
One of the biggest threats to a good conversion rate is cart abandonment. One of the biggest causes of cart abandonment is a difficult or inconvenient checkout process.
Take some time to think about your checkout process and the steps that are required of your customers. Is it easy or hard for them to modify their order? Are they able to receive support from you quickly and easily when they need it? Can they submit their details using autofill, a Google account, or similar, or are you making them go through a lengthy registration process just to complete their order?
These questions and others can help you look at your checkout through a critical lens. They’ll help you figure out new ways to iron out the kinks to make using your checkout a swift and easy experience.
Another important thing to do is to make sure your customers can pay in a way that works for them. Many customers will abandon their carts if they reach the checkout and can’t find their preferred payment method, so make sure you cover all bases.
We hope you find this guide to the eCommerce conversion rate helpful as you work towards optimizing your store and external marketing materials for a higher rate of success. Conversion optimization can be tough, but by tapping into the right data sets and making sure every action you perform is geared towards delighting your customers, you’ll soon begin to see your conversion rate move in the right direction.
Published September 6, 2022