If you find yourself wondering: “What’s a good conversion rate for my eCommerce store?” then heads up: You’re asking the wrong question.
Nowadays you’ll see tons of brands creating original research that provides benchmarks, averages and best practices for conversion rate optimization. If they’ve done a good job, they’ll segment these benchmarks by industry or audience demographic information so that you actually get value from the content.
This information is useful and interesting. It makes for a great read and can definitely spark the right kinds of conversations. Perhaps you’ll notice that for eCommerce businesses in your sector, your eCommerce marketing conversion rates are higher than average. Who wouldn’t want to learn that they’re outperforming the competition?
You can absolutely use these benchmarks to guide you as you set your goals for the quarter, this year and the years to come—you have to start somewhere. But you can’t rely completely on this type of broad data to drive your eCommerce marketing or determine what’s a good conversion rate for your eCommerce store.
The reason? It has to do with a misunderstanding of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.
But before we get into the physics of eCommerce conversion optimization, let’s level set on how we actually define eCommerce CRO. Then, we’ll figure out how to calculate your eCommerce conversion rate, what strategies and tactics you can use to optimize your eCommerce store and the tools you need for better conversion tracking.
- What is ECommerce Optimization?
- The Physics of ECommerce Conversion Rate Optimization
- Calculating ECommerce Conversion Rates to Set Goals
- How to Optimize Your ECommerce Site for Conversions
- ECommerce Optimization Tools
- ECommerce CRO is Critical to Increasing Sales and Repeat Sales
- Learn How to Implement an eCommerce CRO Process Today a
What is Ecommerce Optimization?
ECommerce optimization is exactly what you’d think: It’s the practice of executing various marketing, UX, design and content changes in order to slowly but surely improve how easy it is for prospective buyers to become customers.
It starts at the top of the funnel with acquisition tactics to build your brand— like social media marketing—and travels all the way down to the bottom of the funnel, with tactics like abandoned cart emails used to increase sales.
ECommerce optimization requires a holistic view of your business and your goals in order to be effective. It also requires an understanding of relativity—that’s where Einstein comes in.
The Physics of Ecommerce Conversion Rate Optimization
Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, simply put, states that nothing can exist or be measured in isolation. Instead, it must be measured relative to something else to make the data valid.
So isn’t that where benchmarking comes in? Yes! Most eCommerce businesses will turn to industry and competitor benchmarks to determine what a good conversion rate is relative to others.
The problem here is not the act of comparing one’s conversion rates relative to another. The problem is with how the comparison is conducted.
When asking the question “what’s a good conversion rate for my eCommerce store?” you’re actually asking a set of three questions:
- How’s my eCommerce business doing?
- What do I need to improve?
- By how much do I need to improve?
Unfortunately, when eCommerce businesses ask these three questions, the benchmark data they rely on is too broad and too diverse, or alternatively too small and too much the same. The result? Wildly misleading and inaccurate conclusions that set your eCommerce store up for disaster.
Calculating Ecommerce Conversion Rates to Set Goals
Your eCommerce conversion rate is a percentage that demonstrates how well prospective buyers (AKA your eCommerce store visitors) convert into customers (AKA make a purchase). It’s simply calculated using the following formula:
Source: SEO Nick
Now that you understand where you’re at, you can calculate exactly where you want to be.
But rather than turn this post into a math lesson on how to calculate the perfect conversion rate goal, let’s just use common sense.
To answer the questions: “How’s my eCommerce business doing?”; “What do I need to improve?”; “By how much do I need to improve?” you simply need to rephrase them so they’re grounded in reality.
- How’s my eCommerce conversion rate in comparison to the competition? Here’s where you can look to benchmarks to help you determine relative performance.
- Then look inwards: How does my conversion rate compare Year over Year and Month over Month? Here’s where you couple your own insights and data with benchmarks to get a more holistic vision of your conversion goals.
- What am I willing to do in order to improve? Here’s where you evaluate your appetite for risk and ability to manage risk in order to improve performance. It’ll also ensure you keep in mind the resources you have right now to help you achieve your goals.
- By how much can I feasibly improve this quarter or year, based on the above information? Here’s where you take your targets and match them to your view of your eCommerce business. Maybe a 1% increase is all you can and need to achieve this quarter—that’s realistic, and that’s okay.
How to Optimize Your ECommerce Site For Conversions
As you set your conversion goals and evaluate internal resources, you’ll be able to understand what your eCommerce business can do to optimize your eCommerce site for conversions. Here are three ideas and strategies to help you get started!
1. Optimize Your Product Pages
The success of your eCommerce business comes down to how attractive prospective buyers find your products. Therefore, you should focus most of your conversion efforts on product page optimization.
Here are some ideas:
- Use the breadcrumb technique. Breadcrumbs are navigational links that show a visitor how deep within the site the actually are. Shoppers will land on your site from a variety of different channels. Using breadcrumbs allows them to easily shop around, find more related products within that product category and add more products to their cart.
- Optimize your product titles and descriptions for search. SEO works hand-in-hand with CRO. When you’ve made sure your product pages are optimized for search, you have a better chance at attracting visitors with buyer intent. Then, you can convince them that your product is exactly what they’re looking for, because you’ve used their exact search keywords throughout the page.
- Focus on visuals. Imagery is as important as the copy on your product pages to convincing visitors to buy from you instead of the competition. Some eCommerce shops showcase both polished, branded imagery of the product along with customer photos. This gives prospects a true visual of how the product compares in reality.
2. Optimize Your Checkout Pages
After optimizing your product pages, the next area you should focus on is checkout page optimization. Once a visitor places a product into their online cart, you want to ensure it’s as easy as possible for that prospective buyer to complete their purchase.
Here are two conversion-focused concepts you should always include on your checkout page
- Let visitors create a wishlist. Not only is a wishlist a user-centric choice, as it allows visitors simply browsing to save their products for later, but the conversion optimization potential is huge.
First, a wishlist automatically improves the conversion flow because a visitor’s search history is saved. In other words, the amount of clicks needed from a visitor to find the products they want again is significantly reduced as the wishlist drops them directly back on the conversion page: the checkout.
Second, a wishlist gives you data on those buyers. You’re able to see which products they’re interested in, and craft campaigns that nudge those visitors to come back and complete their purchase.
- Cross-sell similar products. As a conversion play, a cross-sell might seem like a barrier to completing the sale as you’re introducing something new right before a prospect is about to make a purchase. The fact is, cross-sells and upsells at the checkout can significantly increase the average order value (AOV), and when handled well, can work to sweeten the sale for prospects.
Try offering products that are similarly viewed by other shoppers, and if possible, offering those products at a discount when purchased with the current product their viewing. What’s more? If they don’t take you up on the cross-sell offer right then and there, use the wishlist play. Allow those visitors to save those products for later, and then you get another opportunity to campaign them to make a purchase.
3. Consider building a mobile appYou’re probably thinking: why build a mobile app when I already have a mobile-optimized website?
This is a valid point and with a mobile site, you’re already on the right side of the future. With that said, a mobile website has its drawbacks: It’s slower than a mobile app and is often less user-friendly. The ultimate reason you should build a mobile app: it can increase conversions.
The reason it can increase conversions is simple: it reduces the amount of clicks a user needs to make in order to get to your store and make a purchase.
What’s more? With mobile apps you can use Push Notifications to capture attention and drive more traffic to the app. This has huge conversion potential: you’re effectively creating an entirely new marketing channel for your business when you create a mobile app.
Ecommerce Optimization Tools
Now that you’ve set your conversion goals and implemented new ways to increase conversions across your eCommerce shop, you need to make sure you’re tracking everything. That’s where eCommerce optimization tools come in.
Here are three of the tools we use at Campaign Creators when working with our eCommerce clients:
- HubSpot. As an all-in-one marketing solution, HubSpot gives you a 360 overview of everything you need to successfully increase eCommerce conversions. From reporting, to workflow creation, to A/B testing almost anything, it’s the best tool for building a marketing engine for your store. It also integrates with basically every marketing tool you’ll ever need, making it easy on you to implement and make the most of it.
- Google Analytics and/or Google Analytics 360. Google Analytics is table stakes for every business. 360 is the enterprise version of Google Analytics and it gives you everything you need plus a little extra—like advanced reporting options and better funnel analyses.
- HotJar. Not only does HotJar’s user interface make it a nice tool for you to use, it’s actually extremely valuable. They offer a mixture of user behavior tools, like heatmaps and conversion funnels, as well as tools for sourcing user feedback on your pages. All in, it’s a great tool that can help you immediately improve the design and layout of your site based on real data.
Ecommerce CRO is critical to increasing sales and repeat sales
ECommerce conversion optimization is an area of marketing that you should not ignore. But as an area of marketing that relies heavily on real, concrete, reliable data, it’s also an area that many eCommerce businesses can get wrong.
So, make sure you’re setting goals based on varied data sources. Follow Einstein's law of relativity, but make sure the benchmarks and averages you look to are reliable (and definitely make sure they’re not the only source of data you’re using). Ask the right kind of conversion optimization questions.
From there, execute a series of conversion changes to your store. Prioritize the optimization of your product and checkout pages, and make moves towards become a mobile-first business by building a mobile app. Then, implement the right conversion tracking tools to make sure you’re constantly evaluating your efforts, and pivoting when necessary.
learn How To Implement an ECommerce CRO Process Today
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is not an easy process, especially for eCommerce brands.
But when you get it right, the results are powerful.
That's why we created this brand new guide How To Implement An ECommerce CRO Process That Drives Sustainable Revenue. Download your free guide to learn how to implement an effective eCommerce CRO process in 8 steps.
Our process has helped an eCommerce brand increase their conversion by 227% in just 5 months. If they can do it, so can you.
Originally published February 4, 2020, updated August 22, 2023
Tags: ECommerce Marketing