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02.10.2021

6 min read

How to Increase Ecommerce Conversion Rates

How to calculate conversion rate

In most analytics softwares including Google Analytics, your website’s ecommerce conversion rate is calculated by the number of transactions divided by the number of sessions. 

Therefore, to calculate your conversion rate:

  • Transactions / sessions = conversion rate

The key thing to remember here is that it is not based on the number of users but rather the number of sessions users have on your website. 

eCommerce conversion rate by industry – How do you stack up?

The average ecommerce conversion rate can differ greatly from industry to industry, though it’s advisable to aim for a 3% conversion rate. If your site is converting around 3%, your website is standing in good domain and you’re making good use of your inbound sessions.

In 2019, VWO (Visual Website Optimizer) published industry conversion rate figures from IRP Commerce:

2021 has seen a rise in average ecommerce conversion rates due to the pandemic. With more people being at home instead of commuting or traveling, their spending habits changed. The DIY and fashion industries saw an increase in revenue during lockdowns.

Unbounce published the conversion rates by industry for 2021 so far, with ecommerce at a higher 5.2% average — for a well optimised landing page.

How do you increase your ecommerce conversion rate?

Increasing or maintaining your ecommerce conversion rate is an essential part of any ecommerce business. Doing so will not only improve each acquisition channel’s performance and ROI, but will also increase the profitability of your business as a whole. 

But where to start? Home page? Product Pages? Checkout? The answer, is in your data. All sites leak traffic at points in their journey as there is no perfect finished website; good sites are those that are optimised for the current climate. Given that purchasing trends are ever-changing, this makes keeping on top of your CRO efforts a huge challenge.

So how do you find your leaks? If you’re a Google Analytics (other web tracking softwares are available) user, look at the following metrics:

  • Conversion rate (no brainer)
  • Bounce Rate
  • Exit Rate
  • Average Time on Page
  • Pages per session
  • Average time on site

The above core site performance metrics can help you find the leaks. Bounce rate is a great starting point – look at your landing pages that have a higher bounce rate than your site average. This will indicate pages that are leaking traffic immediately after a user has clicked through to your site. You earned that click, either through paid or organic means, and then they are gone with no engagement.

Exit rate is useful for finding those pages though the user journey where users leave after they have viewed a few pages. Any page with high PageViews and a high exit rate should be analysed to find out why that’s happening. There could be a logical explanation, for example a /contact-us page will usually have a high exit and bounce rate as customers are looking for your address and leave after they have found it or make a call.

Both of the time-based metrics can give you an indication of where users do and don’t interact enough. A page with a lower than the average for the website could be heat mapped and session recorded to get some visual data as to why. Conversely, pages with a very high time-on-page should also be considered for investigation, as users could be getting lost or confused on them then leaving.

Finding the leaks is all well and good, but what do you do next? There will be an urge to make changes immediately on pages that you identify, hoping that will improve them. Don’t, it’s a trap!

Any changes you make will be based on past experience, guess work or an individual’s idea. What you need here is more data (cue the groans). Not the quantitative type though, qualitative data is needed here and sourced directly from your users. 

Start by heat mapping and scroll mapping your poorly performing pages to find out what’s being clicked on, what isn’t and what’s not being viewed. Furthermore, deploy some using polling and ask your users some questions directly: Why are they leaving? What didn’t they find? Exit polls are a great way to solve leaky site issues.

You’ll be surprised at the insights to be gained from user-collected data. From here you should be able to ascertain specific issues that need fixing and can begin to improve your ecommerce conversion rate. 

Top Tips for optimising your ecommerce conversion rate

Social Proof

Social proof, a method of persuasion psychology that has been made big industry by some now very recognisable brands. We are talking about displaying testimonials and user reviews facilitated through TrustPilot, Reviews.co.uk and Reevo. 

Having reviews and testimonials from your customers is now an essential part of any ecommerce website. Simply displaying your own sourced testimonials can give you a conversion uplift, providing your users with a trust signal. Anyone can place a few reviews here and there on their site, but getting the maximum impact takes a bit more finesse. Here are some hints and tips:

  1. Display a user’s name and location – adding details about the reviewer makes them look like a real person and more relatable. 
  2. Make reviews on product pages specific about the product shown
  3. Accept not having 5 star rating perfection. No one is perfect, but an ideal score is 4.5-4.9 stars to be more believable

Having reviews displayed through a recognised service provider adds another level of trust and credibility by association with another strong brand. 

Authority

Positioning your brand and products as expert and experienced creates a sense of safety for users and reduces user anxiety and friction through your sales funnel. This can be achieved by showcasing your awards, accreditations and partnerships. Unfortunately, many websites still put a small logo of their accreditations in the footer where only a small number of users will ever see them. 

Images

Online has changed our shopping behaviour. Previously we would go in store to view, explore and touch products before buying, now we read, view and explore online in as much detail as we can before transacting, especially if it’s a considered high value purchase. To satisfy the lack of a real buying world experience, your images need to be of a high-quality quality and allow users to view products in detail from multiple angles so they feel they have researched enough and it’s a good decision to purchase.

Using stock images can be detrimental and are now more noticeable by increasingly web-savvy users. Stand out from the crowd with good quality images that you own and are unique to your site and brand.

Payment methods

Making it easy for users to do business with you is essential to maximise your ecommerce conversions. Adding recognised payment methods such as PayPal, Apple and Amazon pay can help boost conversions, giving your users their preferred payment gateway.

Apple Pay can give your users on iOS a much easier route to transact and avoid checkout funnel drop offs.

Amazon pay has the benefit of keeping more users converting through your own site if you also sell on Amazon.