Conversion Optimization

Why is my conversion rate dropping? And how to fix it

10 most-likely reasons why your website's conversion rate is dropping - and what can you do to fix it.

Why is my conversion rate dropping? And how to fix it

The average conversion rate across the eCommerce industry is between 2 and 3%. Even the top 25% of companies only manage 5.31%.

It is crucial for you to keep an eye on your conversion rates because if it starts to drop, it'll directly affect your business’ profitability as well as its ability to grow.

However, while many ecommerce business owners know that a steadily decreasing conversion rate is a problem, they are not sure of how to combat this issue and turn things around for their business.

There are many variables that affect conversion rates. Sometimes, these are obvious ones. Your conversion rate can drop if you made a recent change to the website, landing page, pricing, discounts, etc. So, it’s advisable to check the last few activities you did on the website. It can do the trick in some cases.

But in other cases, where the reasons are not as straightforward, you need to look into other factors that could be holding off your sales.

Table of content

  1. Your CTAs are boring
  2. Not enough social proof
  3. Your website acting fussy?
  4. Mobile Friendly = Conversion Friendly
  5. Your Emails aren't hitting the right note
  6. Complex checkout process?
  7. Your Retargeting needs Rework
  8. Replicate the in store shopping experience
  9. Every site has a 'search', but no one's a Google
  10. Your Exit-intent pop-ups aren't great
  11. Competitors advertising on your website?

1. Your CTAs are boring

Your website’s call-to-action buttons let your audience know what you would like for them to do when they visit your website.

If you start to notice a decline in your conversion rate, one of the first things you need to do is check your call-to-action buttons.

Here are some best practices for creating compelling CTAs:

  • Be specific. Tell people exactly what you want them to do.
  • Be concise. When it comes to calls-to-action, simpler is better.
  • Use action words. Instead of saying “If you click here, you can read our e-book” say “Download our free e-book.”
  • Make sure your call-to-action button is in an easy to find area on your website.
  • Use first and second person terms. People respond better to “Join our team” than “Prospective employees should apply here.”
  • And make them look pretty, like Spotify:
spotify cta ecommerce conversions

But how do I know if a CTA works?

Tools like Google Optimize compare and test out CTAs. For example, you can run a test where some customers see ‘Know More’ while others look at ‘Learn more’ on your website. The test will tell you which CTA performed better.

Make sure to display one CTA at a time. Having more than one CTA can confuse visitors, which can have a reverse effect on conversions, unlike you intended to have.

2. Not enough social proof

When people purchase products from ecommerce websites, they are taking a risk that their product will arrive and that it will arrive in good condition. This uncertainty is one of the main reasons why consumers abandon their carts at checkout, especially when shopping internationally.

You can ease this hesitation and help increase your conversions by using social proof to establish trust.

Here are a few ways to incorporate social proof into your ecommerce website in order to improve your conversion rate:

A. Include reviews smartly

92% of online shoppers look at reviews before they make a purchase. Include customer reviews on your product pages to show potential customers that other people have had a good experience with your brand and your products.

BuzzSumo does this in a clean and straightforward manner. They harness the power of user testimonials to convert visitors into customers.

buzzsumo social proof

B. Use FOMO like a pro

Add an element of FOMO to your social proof by showing real-time statistics on your website. This will encourage your website visitors to convert because they do not want to miss out on what other people are gaining.

Take a look at how BaseCamp offers social proof. A simple graphic tells how many people subscribed to BaseCamp and why you should too.

basecamp user reviews

And then:

Did someone from Montana just add a product to their cart? Show your other shoppers.
Did someone from New Jersey just buy a product? Share this information.
Free shipping for a limited time? Tell them.

ecommerce website fomo

Providing real-time information will help your conversion rate increase because it will allow shoppers to see that other people have made purchases from your website or tried your services first.

You'll love: How to use "out of stock" products as a conversion driver

Add social proof to your site and see how your conversion rates shoot up.

3. Your website acting fussy?

Nothing will make your website visitors leave your ecommerce site faster than frustrating website issues. If your website takes a long time to load, you have broken links, or your website layout is confusing, consumers will leave your website and opt to shop elsewhere instead, causing your conversion rate to go down.

Considering that more than half of consumers will leave a website that takes more than three seconds to load, it is critical that you are looking out for these potential website issues.

Check your website frequently to make sure that it is working properly and be sure to conduct A/B testing before and after you make any changes to your website.

You also need to look at site navigation to understand how your customers engage with the website. A good navigation has:

  • Clear categories
  • Smooth filtering & sorting
  • Effective search function

Look at the example of this website below:

website conversion issues

Shoppers on this website can easily sort through multiple parameters: price, sizes, categories, and brands, making it easy for them to shop what they want.

Check another website below, Chewy’s, which has defined product categories that make navigation easier for shoppers and the overall experience seamless.

website for great conversions

Here’s what you can do:

Analyze how users interact with your site to dial back the conversion rates.

For instance, on Google Analytics, if you see the shoppers bouncing off a particular webpage, you can consider revamping the design or copy of the page.

If you see customers abandoning their orders at the billing stage, you can introduce discounts and deals, engage in email marketing, and make the checkout experience seamless to drive more sales.

Also: check for browser compatibility

Ever wondered your conversion rates might be dropping because customers are viewing the website on a particular browser? It is possible that your site takes longer to load on Safari as compared to Google Chrome. Or the fact that average redirection and server connection time is more on one browser as compared to another. These factors affect customers’ experiences which can lead to a higher bounce rate than usual.

What can you do? Look at Google Analytics. Go to Audience > Technology > Browser for an ecommerce report which will show which browsers are underperforming.

Test the checkout flow, forms, exit intent pop-ups, and landing page on the browser. In many cases, the problem could also be an internal bug or glitch on your tablet or laptop. Consider getting that checked before making a decision to change anything else on the website.

4. Mobile Friendly = Conversion Friendly

Mobile ecommerce is growing at a massive rate, and it shows no signs of slowing down. 79% of smartphone users make a purchase online using mobile devices. If your website is not mobile responsive, or you are ignoring your mobile users, you are going to miss out on several customers who would otherwise convert.

Here's what you can do:

If you are noticing that your conversion rate is decreasing, check and see if there have been any changes to your website that makes it difficult for your mobile users to browse.

Are your call-to-action buttons to small to click, is your font too large to read, can your mobile visitors still navigate your page?

The key here: Use responsive design. It makes customers’ experiences seamless, which makes it easy for them to convert, and to increase your sales.

Responsive design is basically enabling the website to fit into any size's device.

To check how your website scores on mobile-friendliness, use Google Mobile-Friendly Test Tool. Here are a few things the tool will tell you:

  • If your site is mobile-friendly
  • How your site looks on mobile devices
  • If there are any mobile usability issues

Check out this example of Macy’s below. Macy's webpage is optimized for mobile users and does not have usability issues reported from the users.

As a result, their ecommerce business grew by a whopping 53% in 2020.

macy mobile friendly
mobile friendly macy website

Make sure your eCommerce website is optimized for mobile users, and your conversion rate will increase.

5. Your Emails aren't hitting the right note

Email marketing is one of the most effective methods of connecting with your target audience and encouraging them to visit your website. For every dollar spent on email marketing, the average eCommerce business sees as much as $38 in return, which is a 3,800% return on investment (ROI).

If you have been sending email newsletters less frequently, or your email content is not engaging, then your website traffic and conversion rates will decrease.

If your conversion rate is dropping, that is a sign that you need to step up your email marketing. Right from the welcome email series to the sales emails, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

A. Personalize your email campaigns

No one likes to read a generic copy that doesn’t resonate with them.

Segment your target audience and look into their buyer personas to understand how you can personalize a campaign that might get them to click.

You can also separate your email subscribers into lists based on their interests, previous purchases, location, or other demographics.

Look at this example of Grammarly which sends a personalized weekly update adding value to the customer while contributing to their brand recall.

personalized ecommerce marketing

Another simple but great example came from one of our employees at ConvertCart. He regularly orders from Starbucks on an India based delivery app - Swiggy. After a few days of ordering, an email that popped up in his inbox. The results? He ordered again, this time a lot more than usual.

Personalize email campaigns like Starbucks and Swiggy

Its really cool to see how two minor factors - the subject line & the exclusive coupon - can make a massive impact on conversions. Additionally, your customers will get closer to the brand as you keep impressing them with more personalized communications.

B. Make your content stand out

If your copy does not engage in a few seconds, you’ve lost a potential customer. But a compelling copy is one part; you must also pay heed to design and formatting, and keep it as clean and simple as possible. Take this beautiful example of Lush that makes you want to stop and take notice.

email marketing for combating low conversions

C. Keep a tab on your frequency & relevancy

Are you bombarding users with emails? How many times a week are you sending out these emails? Is what you are sending relevant?

These are some questions you need to ask yourself if you’ve opted for email marketing and if you see people disengaging.

The real culprit, more often than not, is irrelevant emails.

If you treat your audience as one big list with no segregation based on what they like, where they live, age group, and behavior patterns, the email campaigns are not going to resonate with them, and in all likelihood, they won’t click.

Make sure that your email copy is designed with your target audience in mind. Whether it's educational content, discounts, or coupons, you should always provide value to your readers.

When you consider these best practices, you will definitely see more conversions from your email subscribers.

6. Complex checkout process?

Baymard’s research suggests about two-thirds of visitors abandon their cart because of the complicated checkout process.

Make sure your checkout page is optimized so that customers can check out quickly and with ease. Remember, too many steps will deter buyers, and this will decrease your website checkout rate.

Need help with that? Check out this blog - How Do I Increase my Website’s Checkout Rate? (27 Brilliant Insights)

Look at this example where checking out looks like a breeze:

ease checkout for conversions

If your goal is to have as many people as possible purchase products from your eCommerce website, then you should make this process as easy as possible.

7. Your Re-targeting Needs Re-work

The majority of shoppers will leave a website without making a purchase on their first visit. Many times it’s not intentional; they tend to get distracted and leave items sitting in the cart.

This is why retargeting strategies are so vital to eCommerce businesses. It’s one of the best ways to close the sale that never happened.

Retargeting allows businesses to re-engage with consumers after they have left their website, encouraging them to return and to convert. This can take the form of abandonment emails, targeted advertisements, and offering incentives.

Here’s how you can go about it:

A. Retarget specific URL visits

You can retarget all your audience but it’s not necessary that it will lead to higher conversions. It may also not be the smartest way to go about it.

One of the better strategies is to retarget specific URL visits on the website. By doing so, you are targeting a specific group of users with a message that is relevant to them. Relevancy increases the chances of people clicking on the ad which can lead to higher conversions.

Look how Shopbop retargeted a user who evidently looked at dresses on their website. They threw in a discount to make the offer more lucrative.

retargeting for more conversions

B. Retarget existing customers

Someone might have bought something from your website but where is the incentive to buy again?

That’s where retargeting existing customers come into play.

These are customers who may have become unresponsive to the website and haven’t purchased anything in a while. Of course, you can't show them the same ads that you show your potential buyers. These customers are not on the same stage of the buyer’s journey as those you’re looking to convert for the first time.

But you can keep them engaged by providing discounts, upselling new products, free-day shipping, and more.

Look how ModCloth does it:

modcloth retargeting for conversions

‘We miss you like crazy!’ is a perfect way to capture people’s attention you haven’t interacted with in a while.

And it works. Asking existing buyers to come back and explore your products further will surely work in your favour.

8. Replicate the fabulous in-store experience

The one perk of in-store shopping is to be able to physically interacting with the item. Picture this, you walk into a store, can't find what you or are looking for more options, what do you do? That's right, you just ask the store's employee for help and pick what you want. Your website needs to recreate this moment.

When customers aren't able to find what they want on your site, they'll probably jump onto another one and buy something there. offer the right assistance.

Provide live chat assistance at the right location of your website and make use of Facebook Messenger marketing opportunities. By being instantly available to answer questions and to send information like sizing charts or related items, you can give your customer the same exact store like support they need. Adding a live chat feature can boost your visitor conversion rate by up to 40%.

9. Every site has a 'search', but no one's a Google

Consider millennials: short attention span, high expectations. They shop on the go with their ever-present smartphones. If your site loads slowly or doesn’t show up when they enter what should have been the right search terms, you lose a sale. If they have to spend several frustrating minutes searching your site for that product they saw on Instagram, they’re gone.

Enable voice and image search. Voice search is becoming increasingly popular, especially among young adults aged 18-29, who talk to their phones and use digital mobile assistants. A surprising number of 44-53 year-olds do, as well. Enabling voice search for your customers will reduce sales friction and contribute to conversion rate optimization.

10. Your Exit-intent pop-ups aren't great

Cash in on the pivotal moment. As your visitors leave the website, hold their attention with an irresistible pop-up banner, which can be a discount, promo code, product demo, or just about anything else.

Why? Because exit pop-ups work really well.

Your customers only take a minute to slide off to another website with lucrative deals and discounts. You need to engage them and tell them why they should stay. Pop-ups can do that for you.

While many marketers hesitate to include exit-intent pop-ups because they believe that pop-ups are annoying to customers, the data shows the opposite. When used effectively, pop-ups can help you see a 5-10% increase in conversions.

Look at this handsome banner by JarJackets which is so fun and engaging that anyone would look to subscribe:

exit intent pop up for ecommerce conversion

Take a leaf out of this banner from Le Creuset which has a truly persuasive copy (and free shipping!):

macy know what's cooking

The attention span of web users is less than 9 seconds. And even lesser for exit pop-ups which interrupt while they’re leaving the site. You need to win them over in the short window.

Here are some best practices for using exit-intent pop-ups for your website:

  • Target the right audience: Not all visitors browsing the website are looking to buy. Some are with an intent to purchase while others could be browsing through. Segment your visitors and target those with a high chance of converting. Lock them in with discounts, coupons, and other attractive deals, every time they leave the website.
  • Make a contextual offer. Always make sure the pop-ups are targeted to the right set of audience. For instance, you run an eCommerce business that sells kids', men’s, and women’s clothing. On the page where men’s products are listed, showing a sale on kids’ clothing is not going to be effective. Look into this before you make an offer.
  • Use images as a hook. Engaging photos will draw the eye and help increase interest. And then entice them to stay on your website and convert by offering a discount code, coupon, free shipping, or a free download.
  • Write a compelling copy: Make it short, crisp, and worthy. Be clear about how it is adding value to the customers. Fine-tune your CTAs to resonate with an audience who will instantly click on them. You can employ psychological hacks like FOMO or a sense of urgency to keep them engaged, drive more sales, and shoot up the conversion rates.
  • Address potential concerns. Show a 100% satisfaction guarantee or some other reassurance for your website visitors to increase trust.

When it comes to exit-intent pop-ups, keep one thing in mind: they can’t hurt! While there are countless upsides to using exit-intent pop-ups, there are practically no disadvantages.

Remember, the people who view these pop-ups were about to leave your website anyway. It doesn’t hurt anything to try to reach out to them one more time before they leave.

11. Competitors advertising on your website?

You might think that you know how shoppers experience your website. But that’s not true. Many times, adware gets injected onto your site in the form of pop-ups: competitor ads, price comparison ads, spam, cashback ads, etc.

Remember watching movies on those websites before Netflix and other streaming platforms dropped? There would be affiliate ads on the side and sometimes even adult content, which is exactly the kind of pop-ups we’re talking about here.

They appear for two reasons: to make shoppers’ experience less pleasurable and to lure customers to their websites. More often than not, these are direct competitors stealing your customers.

Check the ad on the right-hand side on Cole Haan’s website. Look at how the competitors are advertising for the same product the website is showing.

cole haan low conversions

Here's what you can do:

Keep these unauthorized ads from hanging out on your website. Softwares like BrandLock Shield look into adware stains to hide all kinds of distractions that reflect on your website. Different extensions on customer’s browsers can cause different distractions. Once these distractions are removed, you can expect conversion rates to increase, some claim even by 10%.

Ready to increase your ecommerce conversion rate? Just put these tips into practice, and you will see an improvement in your site’s conversion rates.

If you're looking for an in-depth analysis of your website from the best in the ecommerce industry, Sign up for a Website Audit. Don't Worry, it's absolutely FREE!

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