Analyzing and Improving Conversion

Image by LollyKnit via Flickr

Image by LollyKnit via Flickr

Conversion is one of those core metrics that every business depends on and strives to improve. Improving your conversion rate (while maintaining a consistent traffic level) is the single most important goal any business should have. Not only will your sales increase without adding additional load but your marketing will be more efficient so you can spend more money driving more sales. All to often people get caught up with improving conversion rates. It is important to recognize that improving conversion is not the goal, increasing sales is. Improving conversion is one method of increasing sales only when it isn’t the result of lower traffic (lower traffic / same sales = improved conversion).

The key to conversion

Improving conversion is largely an exercise of taking an honest evaluation of your marketing, messaging and merchandising. The following questions will help you to do so.

  • Are you bringing the right visitors to your site that are interested in purchasing the inventory that you are selling?

  • Are you selling the right inventory that people would come to your site to purchase?

For an ecommerce business conversion means sales per visitors to the site. It is important to look at a few different key components when analyzing conversion.

Merchandise

  • Is your inventory compelling and priced at the right level to facilitate sales?
  • Do you have a good mix?
  • Since we are on the internet and all of your competitors are a mouse click away, is your inventory either unique or your prices unbeatable?

Onsite Conversion

  • Is your site enticing?
  • What exciting differentiators does you site have that make it unique? This is especially important when selling commodity products.
  • Does your site add unnecessary friction?
  • How easy is it for a user to find what they are looking for?
  • Is the checkout process easy and seamless?

User Testing

There is nothing quite as valuable as watching actual users stumble their way around your site. Live testing can quickly help you identify where the friction areas on your site are. It is a critical exercise which will either result in confirming your site is functioning well and you should turn your attention elsewhere, or it will identify the problem areas. Either way it will quickly pay for itself.  UserTesting.com is an excellent resource for doing this.

Offsite conversion

Strive for qualified traffic. All traffic isn’t equal. Analyze your traffic by acquisition sources. Segment the traffic and figure out where your quality traffic is coming from. Invest more into those sources.

3 key metrics to look at..

There are 3 metrics that can provide insight into how successful your site is. While it is important to compare your metrics against themselves to demonstrate progress, it is also important to see how well you match up against industry averages. These three metrics will help to demonstrate how engaging your site is. The more engaging a site is the higher the conversion rate will be.

Visitor Loyalty

How many visits a given user has to your site in a given amount of time. Another related metric could be return visitors which is what percent of your visitors have been to your site before.

Depth of Visit

How many pages the average user views before leaving your site.

Bounce Rate

A bounce is defined as a visitor that only viewed one page and then left. A high bounce ratecould indicate that you don’t have the right message on the landing page. It’s important to understand which pages are your top landing pages as well. It’s very common that most of your users never see the home page. Are your internal pages (which are also landing pages) inviting and compelling. While bounce rates vary dramatically industry to industry, one should know that a bounce rate of 50% isn’t uncommon. Anything much higher than that should investigated further.

Industry Comparison

Lastly it is important to have realistic expectations. If you are in electronics, don’t expect to have a conversion rate of 10%. Compare yourself with others in the same industry.

The Fireclick Index is a great resource for site conversion rate data. I was very happy to find it! Use it to benchmark your site’s conversion rate.

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