Every eCommerce store’s sales and marketing meeting begins and ends with discussions on conversion rates.
eCommerce industries constantly see ups and downs. Therefore, the online retail conversion rate can drop due to various gaps on your eCommerce website/store.
In this blog, we’ll explore:
What does 'conversion rate' mean?
The number of purchases is divided by the total number of sessions. While most website visitors will take more than one session to decide to purchase, this is the standard measure of conversion rate.
What is a good conversion rate in 2022?
This a question every eCommerce business owner needs an answer to.
The average conversion rate in all segments of all ecommerce markets increased by 2.87% in May 2022 compared to May 2021.
As the world recovers from the pandemic reversals, the market is seeing better results too. However, the numbers will hugely differ based on your industry.
While these eCommerce conversion rate benchmarks can be a good starting point, the numbers will hugely differ based on which niche you specialize in.
So to answer the question, there’s no ‘good’ or ‘right’ conversion rate. Eventually, you’ll need to start looking at internal data rather than external data.
What causes low eCommerce conversion rates?
There are various reasons that affect the eCommerce conversion rate.
Sometimes, these are obvious reasons. The average conversion rate can drop if you made any changes to landing pages, pricing, discounts, etc. So, it’s advisable to review the last few activities you did on the website. It can do the trick in some cases.
Research shows these are the top reasons why customers abandon carts and decrease conversion rates:
Hey, you’ll love this: Check out some *underrated* conversion rate optimization ideas for eCommerce
A low conversion rate can be caused by all or a mix of the following points, so we suggest going through it thoroughly.
Even if they don’t directly affect your conversion rates, they’ll provide insight into the things you can do to improve them.
1. Your checkout process could be complicated
17% of US online shoppers have abandoned an order due to a “too long/complicated checkout process”.
Research shows that a 5-step checkout process was the most common among eCommerce store owners.
The ideal checkout process for a customer looks like this:
Shopping cart > billing details > shipping info > preview order > payment > confirmation
Here’s how you can fix low conversion rates:
- Offer guest checkout so to make it more accessible and faster. See how Crate & Barrel does it — that makes for a lightning-speed checkout experience.
- Autofill and address validation ensures the accuracy of the address but also saves the customers from wasting time filling it up.
- A progress indicator is a great way to motivate customers to complete the process rather than abandon it. It tells them how many more steps are there and how much longer it may take.
- Order summary offers customers a preview of their order before the final payment. This includes product details, payment, and shipping information. Bellroy nails this by offering a lucid preview page that’s neatly segregated to include all the essential information.
Hey, you’ll love this: How do I increase my website’s checkout rate? (27 brilliant insights)
2. Your website could be lagging (happens more often than we’d like)
Research shows that:
- A load time of 0–4 seconds was ideal for conversion rates
- The first 5 seconds were the most crucial and had the highest impact on web conversion rates
- For every additional load time—between 0–5 seconds—the conversion rate drops at an average of 4.42%
Here’s how you can fix low conversion rates
- Check your site navigation to understand how customers engage with the website. See how Adidas has clear categories smooth filtering & sorting effective search functions. Shoppers can easily sort through multiple parameters: price, sizes, categories, and brands, making it easy for them to shop for what they want.
- Check for browser compatibility as it’s possible that your site takes longer on one browser than the other, or that users with older versions of browsers may not be able to access all features. These factors affect customers’ experiences which can lead to a higher bounce rate than usual.
- Reduce server response time by choosing a faster hosting provider and optimizing your content management system (CMS).
- Delay the load time for images and content that are below the fold. By loading images and content of the accessible part of the screen, it’s possible to reduce the first-server request and boost overall load time.
3. You might want to revisit mobile optimization
Check how your website scores on mobile-friendliness, use the Google Mobile-Friendly Test Tool to gather important data, such as:
- if your site is mobile-friendly
- how your site looks on mobile devices
- if there are any mobile usability issues
Here’s how to fix low conversion rates
- Make sure your mobile CTAs pass the thumb test. Also, experiment with Sticky CTAs so it’s top of the mind while customers are scrolling through the product page.
- Add digital payment options such as PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Android Pay can help reassure customers and offer them a secure payment experience. See how H&M’s checkout page does it:
- Typing on a mobile device can be annoying. Your customers won’t want to keep typing to find what they’re looking for. Using autocomplete can make their search more accessible and they’re more likely to convert.
- Shorter screens increase text fatigue. That’s why you should try replacing the texts in areas such as product descriptions with relevant visuals. Be it images of customers using the product or icons to explain benefits.
- For the sake of simplicity, stick to including only the most important pages on your mobile site. You can avoid the clutter and your customers can stick to exploring only the most important pages.
4. You’re probably not optimizing product images
Beyond image quality, providing context is very helpful to your customers. So you need to ditch the solo picture shots and show your products in use.
Search engines also don’t see your images but match the results to queries. You can use alt text such as relevant keywords to help the search engines cover multiple bases from the queries and show your product image as a result.
Example: Neiman Marcus championed customer needs with a new visual search feature
Chain store Neiman Marcus upgraded to a visual search-friendly space by launching their new feature Snap. Find. Shop. With this, customers could search for their products by entering a 3D image. Met with insane customer demand, they extended this feature to all their products.
5. Your site search could be a bit unintuitive
Consider millennials: short attention span, high expectations. They shop on the go with their ever-present smartphones. If they’ve to spend several frustrating minutes searching your site for that product they saw on Instagram, they’re gone.
The solution? Enable voice search
How to use voice search to increase your eCommerce conversion rates
Here are a few ideas on how you can leverage voice search to boost your online retail conversion rates:
- Update your content as per voice search. Try adding the questions your customers are asking to your blog content and product information pages.
- Claim your business listings: Ensure you claim your business listings on Google, Apple, and Bing. This will help you to voice search technology to map users’ locations to relevant search results—including those with your business.
6. You're probably not keeping it real with shipping costs
Fact: your customers are ready to take multiple actions to get free shipping.
Is free shipping still a conversion driver? Here’s how to strategize shipping options:
- Offer multiple shipping options including regular shipping as well as paid options that offer faster delivery
- Display the shipping cost before the checkout page and repeat it across the product pages and add-to-cart page.
For example: Placing a free shipping message below the add-to-cart button increases conversion by 19%. When the message was displayed on the promo bar, it didn’t get much result due to banner blindness and competing messages instead of below the add-to-cart button placement.
7. Your email campaigns could be uninspiring (too salesy)
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 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:
Here’s how you can fix low conversion rates:
- Personalize your email campaigns through segmentation of your target audience and look into their buyer personas to understand how you can personalize a campaign that might get them to click.
- If your copy doesn’t 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.
- Keep a tab on the frequency and relevancy. 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 aren’t 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.
BTW: Engage can help you personalize the email copy for *each* customer. (Some brands that are using Engage - drive upwards of 30% of their revenue from email marketing.) Take a peek!
8. Your exit-intent popups could be too intrusive
Here’s the deal: Exit-intent popups work really well.
While many marketers hesitate to include exit-intent popups because they believe that popups are annoying to customers, the data shows the opposite. When used effectively, popups can help you see a 5-10% increase in conversions.
Here’s how to fix low conversion rates wrt exit-intent popups:
Here’s how to fix low conversion rates wrt exit-intent popups:
- Make a contextual offer by making sure the popups are targeted to the right set of audiences. For instance, you run an eCommerce business that sells clothing for kids, men, and women. On the page where men’s products are listed, showing a sale on kids’ clothing is not going to be effective.
- Reducing popups, especially on mobile devices, can be extremely intrusive. Use it only if it’s absolutely necessary. If you have to have one, make sure it’s small and easy to close.
- Use engaging images to increase interest. And then entice customers to stay on your website and convert by offering a discount code, coupon, free shipping, or a free download.
- Fine-tune your CTAs to resonate with an audience who will instantly click on them. Employ psychological hacks such as FOMO or a sense of urgency to keep them engaged, drive more sales, and shoot up the conversion rates.
- Address potential concerns by offering a 100% satisfaction guarantee or some other reassurance for your website visitors to increase trust.
When it comes to exit-intent popups, keep one thing in mind: they can’t hurt! While there are countless upsides to using exit-intent popups, there are practically no disadvantages.
Remember, the people who view these popups 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.
9. You may not be monitoring competitors close enough
It can be frustrating — especially if you put a lot of effort into your marketing — to see your competitors overtake you.
Here’s the thing - unless you were first to market to your industry, chances are you have some pretty tough competitors. These competitors spend hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to plow their way to the top of search results, coming in ahead of you.
Here’s how to fix low conversion rates wrt competitors:
- Switch on Google Alerts to track your competitors. When signing up for Alerts, edit settings to track any number of competitors or keywords that are important to you. You’ll be sent a notification every time there is a match. The possibilities of what you can track are endless, and it doesn’t take long to set up.
- If you’ve been paying attention to your competitors, you know how important backlinks are. Measuring your competitors’ backlinks could give you insight into what they’re doing right and what isn’t working for them.
10. You probably offer too many product options
Ever heard of ‘The Jam Experiment’?
“In California, researchers ran an experiment in a local grocery store with a jam stall. On days where they sold 24 flavors of jam, the results showed only a four percent conversion rate. But when they displayed six flavors, the conversion rate increased to a staggering 31 percent.”
However, the moment we tell eCommerce businesses to limit their product list to avoid decision paralysis, there’s instant hesitation. It’s hard to digest that less is more.
Here are some ways you can fix conversion rates to avoid choice paralysis:
- Show the number of search results on top
- Hide some product stock and show more exact-match results
- Add the most popular products to the side banners
- Add prompts under the products in search results like “Selling Fast” or “Only 3 products left”
- Maximize product images when customers hover over the product
11. You may not know WHO you're selling to
Here’s something that may not come to you intuitively: most websites are selling to their target audience, but those people aren’t the ones buying from them.
Let that sink in.
Very often, you may have this idea of your target audience in your head BUT sometimes, those people aren’t the ones buying from you.
So, naturally, when you do something you think will win over the ideal customer, it may not work for the real customers you have.
Here’s how to fix low conversion rates
- Talk to your customers. Get an understanding of what they like and don’t like. Study past buying behavior, understand Customer Analytics and follow the customers to see where they come from, what they do, and what you can do for them.
- Pay attention to customer testimonials— the negative ones even more so. Understand why they’re saying that, and then make changes as required.
- Develop multiple overlapping buyer personas through the keywords people use to search for your eCommerce store. Not only do they reflect their personality but also give you relevant content that you can sprinkle across your website to connect with them. You can use the Google Webmaster Tools to narrow down your keywords into themes and personas, and then build on that across your website, social media, emailers, etc.
12. You’re not looking into SEO and website visibility
There is a chance that your conversion rate is dropping because you’re no longer bringing your best to the table.
Would you put in more effort earlier? Has your content not been updated for a while? Have you not upscaled your catalog? If you answer yes to any of these, then it’s probably time to do just that.
Here’s how to fix low conversion rates
- Update your brand keywords with Google Keyword Planner
- Refresh your content regularly to create a better user experience each time but also to make your content more and more in line with your true audience.
- Update your catalog to help customers discover products and categories.
- Optimize your image filenames and alt tags.
13. Your brand messaging is not consistent
You’ve worked hard to create a perfectly crafted marketing message.
But that effort seems lost if you don’t have consistent messaging across various channels and locations.
Customers may think your company is not legitimate or real.
A good thing? You’re not alone. An inconsistent tone or message makes it hard for the target audience to connect with the brand.
It’s totally preventable.
Here’s how to improve low conversion rates
- Sync all your assets so it becomes easier to bring your offline and online marketing teams together—they have a common starting point to begin their collaboration. By making all content accessible, your information is shared seamlessly between teams. The teams can create offline advertising and promotions can easily align with web-based campaigns, and web-based teams can use print work as a jumping-off point.
- Build a solid brand experience that includes every touchpoint consumers have with your brand across numerous channels, from your website to online UGC (user-generated content) to any other means by which they might interact with your brand digitally or offline.
14. You're probably underutilizing social proof
We conducted a poll on our LinkedIn page asking our customers how much they depended on online reviews for their purchases.
81% of them declared they depended on customer reviews all the time before making a purchase. That’s how important social proof is.
Here’s how to ease hesitation and help increase your eCommerce conversions by using social proof to establish trust:
- 92% of online shoppers look at reviews before they make a purchase. Plus, the probability of sale for a product with more than 5 reviews is 270% greater than one without it.
- Testimonials from your existing customers act as the face of your business. Video testimonials are even more powerful. Patagonia makes sure they take their customers’ trust seriously. They value quality over quantity and show important reviews, with an option of filtering through size, dimensions, etc.
- 89% of marketers believe that the ROI from influencer marketing channels is better than others.
- Trust badges: 48% of shoppers feel reassured with trust badges on an eCommerce store. Norton is one of the most popular trust seals to use, but you can test out whichever works for you.
- Since most of your customers are on social media, UGC can be a great way to boost your brand and improve the conversion rate of your eCommerce site.
15. You’re not using FOMO right
“5 people are looking at it" and "running out fast" work—but they’ve also been done to death.
Grandmas who sell flowers use the same strategy.
Time to get smarter with what the world calls “FOMO”.
- Highlight value packages so that customers find an extra impetus to add to cart. Discounted bundles always provide an extra reason for shoppers to keep browsing and if they like something, in greater likelihood, they’ll add to cart.
- Offer similar products as suggestions while using this technique (because you really don’t have any control over whether the shopper will return at a later date or not.) Here’s an example from Overstock to show you what we’re talking about.
- Using a pre-order format can help limit the number of orders and also create hype. Let’s say you want to open it up only to the first 100 people. Mention that clearly in your copy and see if you can re-emphasize it in your CTA.
Hey, you’ll love this: How to use "out of stock" products as a conversion driver
16. You may not be highlighting what's unique about you
If people can’t find what makes you stand out in the crowd, then how can they come to your site for an experience?
The best way to increase your conversion rate is to highlight your USP — what you do that makes you different — what the point of your business is. This answer is incredibly qualitative and has enough depth to really get people to convert.
Here’s how to show off USPs to improve low conversion rates
- Find your primary specialty and bank on it. By finding your area of specialty, you’re able to create more effective marketing materials and draw customers with a better understanding of what you do and why you do it better than anyone else in your field.
- Stay updated with trends, but don’t lose your own voice. You should be aware of your industry and you should stay on top of new trends, but you shouldn’t follow every fad that comes along.
17. You're (unintentionally) making shoppers work too hard
It’s important to know who you’re selling to, where they’re coming from, and how to work with them BUT you can’t put them in a frenzy.
Remember: your online store is supposed to be a user-friendly resource, not a jumble of elements that leave your shoppers in a maze of options.
Surveys are a great way to gather information about customers and get their feedback. The best part about them is that they allow customers to opt-in whenever they want and are not forced upon them. See how Beautycon does it:
18. You may not be showing sincerity or authenticity
We’ve all been there – a website with interesting products, excellent deals, and fabulous prices.
But the navigation is off, the content structure looks wrong, and the grammar is questionable at best. Those are the general signs of an illegitimate website.
Search engines think you could be phishing. While customers think you may be illegitimate.
Truth is there are a lot of things that make a website look bad, some of which include:
- Disconnected CTAs
- No social proof of any kind
- Far more keywords than required
- Spammy, or even missing contact details
How to improve low conversion rates
- Use a reputable domain to serve as a unique identifier for your brand.
- Ensure you have an authentic SSL certificate to show safe and secure communication between your website’s server and the browser.
19. Something you’ve changed could be counterproductive
Want to know a secret? People don’t always like change. They like familiarity.
That said, sometimes change enhances that. Sometimes, a new feature or a new layout wins over the audience and increases your conversions.
As an eCommerce business owner, you have to keep experimenting with your UI to see what works and what doesn’t.
Confusing, isn’t it?
Here’s what you can do to improve low conversion rates:
- Use the eCommerce store on your own. This way, you put yourself in your customer’s shoes and understand usability firsthand.
- Explore BETA testing programs. They offer an exclusive pass into new features before they’re even launched, making it a win-win for both parties.
20. Your A/B testing may not be on point
A/B testing gives you the chance to test two different elements in real-time and understand what works before you make the change final.
And nothing better than A/B testing to do that. It’s still one of the most popular ways to improve your conversion rates—as you can see below.
To get the best results, start with the most impactful elements and go down in priority:
- Headlines are one of the most important aspects of your web pages. Check for user interactions with headlines to identify the most impactful ones. Another element to test is CTAs and anchor texts. You can also test content lengths and reactions to persuasion.
- Images, audio, and video all are important elements that impact conversion. Try testing video testimonials to text ones. Or infographic lengths. Check whether product videos or stock images get you more conversions.
- Email subject lines directly impact your open rates. Your aim should be to beat the average percentage of 25–47%. Try testing various formats such as power words, statements, questions, and emojis.
- Product descriptions: Ideally, your product description length should be guided by the awareness level of your customers. Check this insightful chart by Joanna Wiebe of
- Landing pages directly drive sales. Use heat maps to check which part of your landing pages people click on. This is valuable data to have before finalizing an A/B testing hypothesis. You should try reaching beyond the average landing page conversion rate of 2.35%.
How can you improve your website's conversion rates?
The average conversion rate for eCommerce is 1.78%
Even if the average conversion rates are lower in your industry, the top advertisers are outperforming you by 3-5x or more.
The best part? It's not rocket science. Just ditch the older tactics.
Instead: Focus on understanding your customers' psychology and you'll sell like a dream.
Here are some ways to increase conversion rates:
- Ask for simple favors at first. You can request favors at multiple interaction touchpoints and use automation tools to make the process smooth. For example, a popup to encourage email signup or automated email confirmation for product delivery.
- An overdose of choices leads to decision fatigue. Offer personalized recommendations for customers so that they don’t have to go through the decision-making part.
- Guest checkouts help reduce cart abandonment — a study shows that 23% of buyers will abandon the cart if they have to create a new account.
- Online buyers trust product reviews 12-times more than the product description and sales copy. 70% of teens trust influencers over traditional celebrities and 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations.
- Offer shoppers instant gratification through mobile app-enabled shopping, instant downloads, a fast-loading website, and responsive and fast customer support.
Hey! You’ll love this: 15 scientific strategies to increase your eCommerce conversion rate
A low conversion rate can be caused by all or a mix of the points above, so we suggest going through it thoroughly. Even if they don’t directly affect your conversion rates, they’ll provide insight into the things you can do to improve them.
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 today!