eCommerce Conversion Rate Optimization Guide – 2020 Edition

The eCommerce conversion rate tells you how well all your digital engines are working to get your customers to buy your products. Your eCommerce conversion rate optimization is the process you need to perform to essentially lubricate the digital engines – keeping your website up-to-date with the latest eCommerce marketing trends and performing some routine tests and checks can help you keep your website running smoothly.

Understanding eCommerce conversion rates

Although it may seem relatively simple, calculating conversion rates properly is what you need to get right before you start optimizing for it. So, let’s start by looking at the basics first.

What is an eCommerce conversion?

An eCommerce conversion is typically any positive action that may be performed by a user on your website. Your user is likely going to land on your page through social media or SEO. But once he’s there what does he do and what are the actions you’ll like him to perform? In descending order of importance, you need to have conversion metrics for these actions on your dashboard to get a clear picture of what happens on your website. Below are the couple of actions a user performs on your website. 

  • Purchase
  • Add to cart
  • Add to wishlist
  • E-Mail signup
  • Social media shares
  • Other KPI your business may want to track (length of time spent on blogs, using the chatbox, click rates, etc.)

How do you calculate the conversion rate for an eCommerce website?

Now that you know what actions you’ll be monitoring of your users, getting the math right is key. And that, of course, comes with a formula.

The formula for calculating the eCommerce conversion rate

Simply put, the conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who enter your website and complete the desired action [(number of buyers/number of visitors) *100] For example, if your website gets 100 visitors and 2 purchase something, your overall conversion rate is 2%. 

Calculating conversions of visitors who become buyers give you the overall conversion rate. Although it is the most important metric, you should note that it takes several steps before a visitor becomes a buyer, and calculating conversions for any or all of the above-mentioned actions can give you very valuable insights.

You can also calculate conversion for individual products, by using comparing product-specific data [(product transactions/product page visits) *100].

What is a good eCommerce conversion rate?

eCommerce conversion rates are complex and vary by industry/segment. Now, 2% is considered a good conversion rate. If you’re doing everything right on your website, you may expect to reach 2% conversions. 

Current statistics

Data points to a global average eCommerce conversion rate of 2.86%. Variables that impact global/regional conversion rates include product type, average order value, traffic source, device, and platform. Keeping an eye on such data can also give you some insight into the way your industry works specifically, especially if your eCommerce site is a seasonal performer.

Tools to improve eCommerce conversion rates

Calculating all these conversion rates are best done by integrating invaluable analytics tools on to your website. Here’s a list of tools you can use to get real-time stats on all the above numbers:

1.  HotJar

hotjar

Whether you are a one-man show or part of a large entity, HotJar brings you all the fun of analytics. HotJar isn’t just about multi-color charts and numbers on a screen. HotJar tracks click, cursor movements and scroll-depth to put it all onto a heatmap. Whether you want to improve your UI/UX you want to see how an individual customer usually moves around on your website, you can find everything you need with HotJar. 

HotJar’s data is adjustable to attributes like visit length, country, device etc. so that you are better able to segment your data. HotJar is probably the best tool available to get an artistic view of real-time data.

2. Quantcast

quantcast

With viral experts like BuzzFeed and Forbes using their platform, Quantcast is an AI-driven audience behavior platform. Quantcast makes use of cookies, tags and SDKs to track user behavior on your website and helps you design mechanisms that can improve customer engagement. The best way to use Quantcast is to integrate the data you derive from it to improve ads and content for your products. 

Quantcast tells you information like browser type, browser time, time of access, screen resolution, IP address, referring site URL, current site URL, and search strings and more to help you understand your user-base better. What is your TG? How did they reach you? Why do they choose you over your competitors or vice-versa? If you want answers, Quantcast can get you the most accurate answers.

3. Google Analytics

google-analytics

Needless to say, Google Analytics is one of the most popular platforms that can give you valuable insights on all the basics. It’s a good starter pack and is almost always reliable for getting your basics right. 

Things you can learn from Google Analytics include:

  • Where your visitors came from
  • Keywords that work for your website
  • Average time spent on your site
  • Region of origin of users
  • Your return rates
  • Browser and OS data
  • Basic conversion data

Most importantly, integrating Google Analytics allows you to understand how your Google AdWords campaign worked and what changes you could make to your ad content on Google.

Strategies to boost your eCommerce conversion rates

Now that you have a basic idea of what conversion rates are and how you can track them, it is time to get started on optimizing. eCommerce conversion rate optimization is the vital component to work towards on your digital marketing campaigns. Use this checklist of 20 things to ensure you’re at the top of your game:

1.  Homepage

The homepage is the space that invites your potential customer onto your platform. It sets the ethos for everything that comes about next, and optimizing this page is very important to ensure that you don’t scare anyone away. If looks didn’t matter, no one would dress up their storefronts with fairy lights!

  1. Simplify the experience: The most important thing of all, having a homepage that looks like a barrage of information all cluttered and disorganized is not ideal, at the very least. There’s this constant battle between the bosses in the organization who want all the USP out in front and the UI/UX guys who want to keep things short and sweet. With the homepage, let your UI guys go wild and just do the basic minimum for SEO when it comes to homepage content. A simple header with a clear CTA can never go wrong as the first impression.
  2.  Coupon codes, real-time purchases and more: If you have an eCommerce marketing strategy, then suggest coupon codes in exchange for providing an e-mail ID. This strategy works best for FMCG goods and educational content. If you want to go with discounts however, don’t just say “use coupon code XX50” on your homepage. For one it’s difficult to remember, and second, it’s a nightmare for mobile users to go back and forth to find the coupon code. Simply use real-time purchases and give surprise discounts at the end. That way you’ll keep the valuable customers returning, rather than bringing yourself the burden of an abandoned cart.
  3. Add testimonials to build trust: Whether you’re using an influencer or you have a famous client using your products, get it up on the homepage. Testimonials are like a solicitation. You can use quotes, audio, video, case studies or social media to include testimonials on your site.

2. Product Discovery

Okay, so they see your store-window and they like it. They walk in. They look around and towards the aisles. Where do they want to go? How do they go there? 

  1. Use the intelligent search: Often ignored, on-site search serves two very important purposes – they allow enthusiastic consumers to find what they need easily and they allow you to understand visitor intent. Don’t hide it – if not the bar, make the search icon visible right next to the cart symbol. Make relevant results of frequent searches visible to users using predictive search. Use apps like Findify and Instant Search to power up the search bar with a predictive search. 
  2. Organize your categories effectively: The worst that could happen when you visit a supermarket is to have irrelevant unrelated items placed together. Same way, you must categorize your website effectively. Keep the categories small and make use of sub-categories. If your catalog is wide, then you must provide a sort and filter option. Most importantly, keep the category names simple and straight to the point – don’t be evasive with it.
  3. Take advantage of your 404 pages: 404 pages are quite a turn off, but it does happen doesn’t it? So how do you take advantage of the oopsies? Apologize sweetly, say something funny and direct them elsewhere immediately. Provide relevant links on your 404 pages that might be relevant to your consumer.
  4. Add a shoppable Instagram feed: While you’re out there trying to optimize everything on your site, Instagram gives you an easy-way-out. An instant upgrade to your eCommerce conversion optimization rate, Instagram shoppable ads allow you to make best use of your website, your influencers and the native social media page. Shoppable Instagram ads take away the hassle of navigation from the shopper. Impulse purchases rarely get turned out if you have a shoppable feed.

3. Product pages

Neatly arranged aisles not showing anything sordid in nature is the experience we all look forward to. Product pages perform this function on an eCommerce site. More importantly they also perform the role of being the cover to the book your consumers are buying – and believe it when they judge with utmost precision.

  1. Use high-quality product images: Goes without saying, but bad quality images immediately detract the trust component of your site and product. A hero product photo and clickable thumbnails with different angles and detailed views are important too. It is also important that you show your product in use. You can make use of a photo or a video for this. Videos are ideal if your product requires some sort of installation or demo for use. 
  2. Be upfront about price, delivery time and out of stock products: Don’t ignore or mask the hard stuff. Be confident about it. If your product says X value on the ad they clicked on, and what the user sees on the site doesn’t match, you are likely to face immediate rejection. If the product is out of stock, use the opportunity to get them on a mailing list and let them know that they will be notified when it’s available again.
  3. Showcase your product reviews: While testimonials are great for first-time visitors, individual product reviews that are visible on product pages also improve how your products are digested as the buy button gets more and more enticing. Don’t use drab reviews that simply use over-the-top adjectives. Keep the reviews that provide product information like size, color, etc at the forefront.
  4. Add a curated Instagram feed: An interesting option instead of product reviews, curated Instagram feeds work well because of the level of confidence. Real-time reviews can affect consumer behavior significantly. Apps like Foursixty and Like2Have.it allow you to integrate these feeds easily into your site.

4. Checkout experience

The final steps on the conversion ladder, this is the final countdown and is the most crucial. The last leg of the run must be seamless. A flawless checkout counter with a lady who’s got the biggest smile – nothing better than that is it.

  1. Pre-fill your customer’s information: While providing guest checkout is extremely important, provide the customer with an option to prefill for returns. A simple “remember me” button can help you get closer, turning a customer into a “loyal customer”. It is also very important that they are able to integrate their social media to the checkout process for easy registration and sign-in.
  2. Send abandoned cart emails: The average abandoned cart rates are at about 76%. This means more than 3/4th of visitors end up leaving without a purchase. But don’t give up. When it comes to cart abandonment data, collect information regarding the device used. If you see most of your mobile consumers leaving, maybe it’s time to do something about it. But most importantly, integrate abandoned cart emails to your marketing strategy and be wary of the time you choose to send it out.
  3. Optimize your thank you emails: On the brighter side, there’s a lot you can do after purchase too. Your thank-you emails should look cheery and make your customers feel like they’re now part of an exclusive club! While they’re sipping tea in this exclusive club, allow them to look around for more and send some recommendations along with the mail. 

5. Shipping and returns

Now that the hard work is mostly done, it’s time to relax. But if you do feel like earning extra credits, here’s how you can make use of the time you have before the package reaches the destination. We suggest that you don’t send out a survey along with a thank you because frankly – it feels like homework! Do it later, some other time. But do send out survey emails as well. Sometime before the package comes in is ideal.

  1. Offer free shipping: Too many times, the abandoned cart phenomena are blamed on the exorbitant shipping prices. To get around this issue, you can do either one of two things – integrate the shipping cost in the basic pricing or offer free shipping for first-time buyers. Whichever is ideal for your organization, make sure that you at least check if your abandoned cart phenomena are because of shipping costs.
  2. Have a clear refund policy: When it comes to goods with variable sizes, capacity, and more, customers look around for a refund policy. No matter what it is, don’t make them search around for it. Make it clearly visible on the product page itself or on the billing page. If not, you may land in trouble with bad reviews on social media.

6. Additional Information

With most of the work done, collecting data using the additional information segments can give you a lot of insight through direct input.

  1. Tell a story with your about page: A video or a short message, make use of your about page to appeal to your audience. The page provides validation to your brand’s online personality. It can really help your customers understand how you set yourself apart from competitors.
  2. Create a comprehensive contact page: Another one that will get you in trouble on social media if you don’t have one, contact pages are extremely crucial to build trust.

7. Website speed and performance

The page speed of 3 seconds or more will reduce your conversion rate by half. Pay attention to this crucial metric and you’ll see very significant changes on your site.

  1. Make sure your site is mobile responsive: Most social media users come from mobile apps and if your site doesn’t render well for mobile, your conversion rates will be quite poor.
  2. Optimize your website’s loading times: The golden rule for optimizing loading times is to compress high-quality images. Use Google’s Pagespeed Insights, WebPageTest or Pingdom to keep this metric in check.

Conclusion

Once you’ve got these pointers covered, you can be sure that your digital marketing and social media campaigns are supercharged and have all the support that is needed to make them succeed. Start the experiment and test every small change so that you are aware of what works and what doesn’t work for you and your consumers.

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