The total sales over online channels last year is estimated to be around $3.5 trillion.According to some estimates, the average eCommerce conversion rate globally is 2.86%. Even a slight increase of this metric to 3% could mean an additional sales of over $170 billion annually. For perspective, this is more than the GDP of Hungary.

To put this in other words, conversion rate is an extremely valuable metric that can compensate for lesser traffic or lower advertising budget. Increasing your conversions can quickly escalate the ROI of your campaigns and improve profitability.

Poor conversions

Understanding why your campaigns are faring poorly is thus critical to the survival of your business.

Look at the traffic source

The first step in the process is to look at the traffic source and understand where your visitors are coming from. Direct visitors are typically those who are already aware of your brand in some form and know your offering. This is also true with other sources like email newsletters and social media pages since the prospective buyer does not need an introduction to your brand.

Conversion rate from such channels is typically higher than other sources like PPC advertising or SEO. A poor conversion metric from such visitors indicate an underlying issue with your website.

This could be a result of many factors like high downtime, sluggish website, poor branding outlook, and so on. If your website is sluggish or faces frequent disruptions, you may consider migrating your server to reliable alternatives like Amazon hosting.

Sometimes, the underlying cause is not immediately apparent. This is typically an issue where the customer faces a branding confusion. For instance, if your Instagram feeds present a ‘modern outlook’ about your business; yet your website looks like it was built in the nineties, your customer may hesitate processing a transaction because they are unsure if the website can be trusted. In such instances, look at hiring a branding agency to create a seamless experience across all your online channels.

I want your email
photo credit: 28 Dreams / Flickr

Synchronizing your messaging

If your visitors are coming from targeted ads and marketing campaigns (over email, social media or other channels), then one of the biggest reasons for a poorly converting landing page is the lack of sync between your marketing message and the landing page content.

For instance, imagine an email marketing campaign where you advertise discounts on a specific product. However, upon clicking, you take the visitor to either the website homepage or to a category page. This creates a dissonance since the visitor expects to be taken to the product page – and not to a generic landing page. Creating additional steps in the purchasing process is a sure-shot way to bring conversion rates down.

Sometimes, dissonance can appear much before this step, or after this. For instance, if an email marketing campaign advertises heavy discounts in the subject line and does not adequately communicate this message in the body of the message, then it brings down the click-throughs from the email to the landing page. It is good practice to set up an A/B test to experiment with different subject lines and body to optimize for high open rate and click-throughs.

In other cases, an interested buyer may fail to proceed with a purchase even if you get everything right till now. In such cases, the lack of conversion might be due to inherent fears that a buyer might have about the purchase. Studies show that demonstrating social proof can help alleviate these fears and increase customer conversion. This can be testimonials, third party reviews, case studies or media mentions that extols your brand and customer satisfaction from other buyers and trusted sources.

Securing ecommerce transaction

Securing your transaction

In addition to all this, the final barrier to successful conversion is setting up a payment process that instills trust and credibility. Internet fraud is highly pervasive and online buyers tend to be wary of any website that does not have a robust payment integration in place. In addition to using popular gateways like Paypal or Stripe and prominently showcasing your security certificates, it is also important for your business to make it easier for your buyer to trust you.

You may, for instance, offer ‘Payment on Delivery’ channels that let the buyer pay for a product upon receipt – this strategy can dramatically increase conversions, although they also leave room for abuse. You may hence adopt such strategies if your organization can handle the added overheads.

Conversion rate optimization is a science and can be mastered with the right strategy. Understanding why your customers leave you is the first step in diagnosing the problem that can then be fixed.