A Complete Guide to Ecommerce Conversion Rate

For many ecommerce brands, conversion rates are more than a little complex. Amid the bustle of introducing new product lines, there’ll likely be some budget allocated to analytics and split testing. Maybe conversion rates will go up by a little, then down again. Either way it’s often difficult to pinpoint precisely why, given all the potential elements involved.

Understanding the bigger picture is key. Everything your business does relates in some way to your conversion rates. And if that sounds like too big a mouthful to swallow, don’t worry. Broken down into bite-size chunks, the world of conversion rates has a beautiful logic. And when combined with adopting a next-generation approach, it’s easy to apply this knowledge to your own business.

In this guide, we’ll go in-depth into definitions, calculations, and truly getting your head around the whole shebang. Then we’ll show you precisely how to give your own conversion rates a growth spurt that lasts.

Sitting comfortably? Then let’s dive in!

What is ecommerce conversion rate?

Ecommerce conversion rate is the percentage of your website traffic that makes a purchase or completes one of your pre-determined ‘goals’.

Goals can be set up in Google Analytics to help you monitor this. Any ecommerce site will include product purchases as a particular goal, but you could also include the likes of social media shares, newsletter sign-ups, or specific page landings.

What is a good ecommerce conversion rate?

Ah, the one million dollar question!

Don’t think we’re sitting on the fence by avoiding a specific answer. Whilst it’s possible to give an average conversion rate—which sits around 2.5%–it’s important to be aware of the wider context behind such a percentage. And anyway, who wants to be average?

In truth, ‘good’ conversion rates differ wildly, depending on industry, target audience, the size of your business, and your intended goals. Even a good rate for one particular company may not hold true for one of its competitors.A good conversion rate should be specific to an individual brand. Every firm has a different business plan, budget, and philosophy. All of these should have an impact when setting a conversion rate benchmark for your own enterprise.

How to calculate ecommerce website conversion rate

To simplify matters, let’s focus on your purchasing conversion rate. However, for any of your established goals, the calculation remains the same.Simply divide the number of sales your online store makes, by the number of visitors to your site. Then multiply by 100:

Equation: (Conversions/traffic) x 100= conversion rate %

It’s advisable to do this within a set period, and to compare figures year-on-year. That way you’ll be able to see if your business is ‘on the up’, as well as spot patterns such as seasonal trends.

Let’s imagine we’re in the month of August. Your site enjoyed 1000 sessions, and made 100 sales:

(100/1000) x 100= 10%

It’s also worth calculating conversion rates for unique visitors, as opposed to sessions. With sessions, the same user may have made multiple purchases. But with the following calculation you’ll discover how many individual customers have converted:

(Conversions/unique visitors) x 100 = conversion rate % for individual customers

Understanding ecommerce conversion rates

As we mentioned earlier, the 2.5% average ecommerce conversion rate may be an unhelpful figure to aim for. As we’ll see, different industries, countries, and channels all have their own conversion rates. And many of these are wildly different from the overall average.

Ecommerce Conversion Rate by Industry
  • By industry

A June 2021 study on industry conversion rates showed arts and crafts to have the highest at 3.06%. Pet care came second, and the baby and child industry was lowest at 0.39%. Such figures are invaluable to marketers as they show that user intent differs from one industry to another.

Industry-specific stats are useful to know when it comes to setting your own conversion rate targets. And PureClarity’s platform can take your data to the next level, through in-depth product analysis.

Through our insights and analytics functionality, you can see your top-viewed and top-bought products, along with the related revenue, purchase dates, and times. Using this information allows you to create digital marketing strategies related to specific product groups and really make the most of your brand’s biggest assets.

  • By country

Consumers in different countries shop in different ways. There are cultural reasons, different trends, age groups, population numbers, and wealth to consider. Simply aiming for a 2.5% conversion rate across all of your international markets won’t wash.

As with any company goal, it’s worth having targets to aim for. Research your existing conversion rates, country by country, and set realistic expectations. Utilise the value of local knowledge wherever possible.

  • By channels

A 2019 study in the B2C sector showed referral traffic to have the highest conversion rate at 3%, just ahead of paid and organic search, which both hold 2.6% success rates. Lowest at 0.3% was display advertising.

It’s incredibly useful to break conversion rates on your site down into channels. This way you’ll be able to see which of your campaigns are performing the best, and also set realistic targets for your brand when it comes to setting your various key performance indicators (KPIs).

Important ecommerce conversion rate statistics in 2021

  • The top 10% of biggest selling websites have conversion rates of 11%+

Now, don’t panic. And don’t bother aiming for an 11% conversion rate on your own site, as it’ll only end in tears. 

When we talk of the top 10% biggest selling ecommerce stores, we’re talking some serious big hitters. Think Amazon. Think eBay. Think Shopee. Think Etsy. These brands have been around so long they’re pretty much household names. And it’s well-known that you can buy pretty much anything from any of them. 

  • Average tablet conversion rates are higher than desktop or mobile

We’ve been hearing about the rise of internet use on mobile devices for several years. A study in 2020 showed tablets (2.92%) to have superseded both desktop (1.98%) and mobile (1.81%) as the number one source when it comes to conversion rates.

  • Average tablet conversion rates are higher than desktop or mobile

We’ve been hearing about the rise of internet use on mobile devices for several years. A study in 2020 showed tablets (2.92%) to have superseded both desktop (1.98%) and mobile (1.81%) as the number one source when it comes to conversion rates.

  • 40+ landing pages provide 12x more leads than one

Those working in search engine optimisation (SEO) have been promoting the value of providing quality content for years now, and with this stat we can see why. Good quality, relevant pages vastly increase your chances of making sales. Especially if your conversion rate optimisation (CRO) team has also gotten involved.

Of course, it’s not enough to simply create additional pages for the sake of it. Your content needs to be relevant to your targeted audience, match search intent, and offer solutions in the form of information and products. Using PureClarity’s software allows you to take this approach even further, by creating truly personalised content.

We can inspire more conversions with personalised banners, targeted at individuals and based on their past and present buying behaviour. Banners can be placed on any area of your website, helping to keep customers on track and their journey from landing page to checkout as tailored as possible.

  • Using videos increase conversions by more than 80%

It’s common knowledge in the SEO world that videos mean more visitors, and figures show they lead to a lot more conversions, too. 

A short, one-minute video can explain information that it would take several hundred words to describe. And for ecommerce, the opportunity to see products in action prior to purchase is invaluable. It’s the closest a website can get to the ‘try before you buy’ in-store experience.

  • Personalised calls-to-action (CTAs) increase conversions by over 200%

Personalisation is one of the most important new trends in marketing, and this stat proves it. Personalising your CTAs can help you to convert as much as 202% more visitors.

A major buzzword in marketing, ‘personalisation’ is a trend that’s set to stay. Brands that can replicate an in-store experience—with helpful, knowledgeable, and smiling assistants at your beck and call—are set to dominate the ecommerce playing field of the future.

  • A one second page response delay can lower conversions by 7%

We’re talking a single second here. Website users are obviously extremely busy people. Or simply don’t have a drop of patience. Either way, that’s how the internet shopping world works. Best to make sure your site is fast.

15 hacks to increase ecommerce conversion rate

Don’t worry, you won’t need an axe, a saw, or a hatchet. Increasing your ecommerce conversion rate might be less complex than you think.

The following hacks are all related to website behavioural trends and matching the expectations of customers in the modern era. Provide a great customer experience across the board, and you’ll be going some way to pushing up your percentages. 

  • Use high quality images and video on products 

Those old enough to remember the very first online retailers will delight in telling you what a torrid affair they were. Kind of like looking at an HTML sheet without all the tagging. Yes, as grey and bland as a January day in the United Kingdom. 

Things have changed immeasurably since then, thank goodness.

Not only do us humans like colourful, fun stuff to look at, but visuals can get a message across in a fraction of the time it takes text to do the same. Keep things interesting by including a mélange—images, infographics, videos, and interactive product demos.

  • Offer free shipping

Free shipping has such an appeal to customers that it’s well-worth introducing it to your own site, even if it means putting your product prices up. It’s nothing more than a marketing ploy at the end of the day, as users love the idea that they’re somehow getting a ‘freebie’. The bottom line is, they’re not—it just appears that way.

Other great alternatives to shipping costs are to offer in-store pick-ups, or incentives to ‘win’ free shipping. This is an approach that the likes of Amazon have written the rulebook on. Want your product tomorrow? Then you can pay the shipping costs. Happy to wait four days? Then your shipping is free.

Make sure to keep a close eye on what your competitors are doing. A better shipping offer could make all the difference to securing a sale.

  • Provide limited time coupon codes

Users love special offers. Why not give them a gentle push to use them, by making them time-sensitive? Fail to make a purchase by Saturday and you’ll lose your 10% discount code. For best results, mix these up. Don’t just stick to the same discounts, personalise them wherever possible.

  • Optimise ecommerce checkout process

If it takes 30 seconds to find a product on your site and press the ‘Buy Now’ button, make sure it doesn’t take 10 minutes to get through your checkout process. You may have security legislation to comply with, but make the form filling as easy as possible for customers. 

There should be a good range of payment options, from credit cards to PayPal, and no need to register an account in order to make a purchase. Ensure all additional costs such as shipping or tax are announced well before a customer inputs any information, as well as timescales for delivery. 

Now, it’s a stinker when your checkout pages are suffering from high bounce rates. Getting so close to a sale, and then…bosh—bye-bye conversion. PureClarity’s personalisation platform can be employed anywhere your site needs it, but it’ll really come into its own when it comes to pushing conversions over the finishing line. 

With the likes of pop-ups offering incentives such as free shipping, additional product recommendations, or further discounts for purchases over a certain monetary value, there’s all manner of tricks we can employ to keep the customer’s mind on the task in hand and reduce cart abandonment.

  • Create customer personas

Well before you’ve written a single line on your website, you should create customer personas. These are semi-fictional character sheets reflecting your target audience. They should include the likes of age, demographic, geographical location, family size, income, interests, and hobbies. 

We’ve talked about personalisation, and basing your content and product offering on your targeted audience is essential here. If you can understand how your customers browse, shop, and live their lives, you can provide solutions on your website to match their needs, wants, and pain points.

As time progresses and you have traffic and purchase data available, you’ll be able to refine these sketches and even group them into customer segments. We’ll go into greater detail on this below.

Image source

  • Ensure your site has clear navigation

Website usability is a must, and site navigation needs to be clear and simple to follow. If users can’t find what they’re looking for on your site, they’ll simply go elsewhere. Ensure that your product categories are logically laid out and everything can be accessed in a click or two.

If you have a physical store, you wouldn’t put an assault course between customers and the checkout till. So why do it online? Make the buying process as easy as possible and you’ll earn more conversions.

  • Create excellent content

Answer every potential question a customer might have about a product, even if it seems obvious. You want to replicate an in-store experience, where a customer can virtually get their hands on the item.

Include some dreamy prose to get their mouths watering, then hit the nitty-gritty. Research keyphrases using the likes of Google Adwords and base your content round these. They’ll help you rank on the search results and potentially attract click-throughs from potential customers.

Include the likes of size, colour, weight, material, and any other specifics. Images or videos showing products from a multitude of angles are super-helpful. 

  • Add customer reviews & testimonials 

Customer reviews and testimonials are an excellent way of upping your trust factor. And customers who are confident in your brand are far more likely to part with their hard-earned cash. It’s essential to make your product descriptions sound fabulous in your own content, but the addition of customer reviews and testimonials add some serious weight to your claims.

Don’t sit around twiddling your thumbs, waiting for customers to review you in their own time. Follow up all conversions with a personalised email feedback form. Actively seek out reviews and offer incentives (‘10% off your next order, you gorgeous creature!’). Your attempt to secure a second sale should start the moment a first sale lands on a customer’s doorstep.

  • Make your shopping cart visible everywhere 

Just as a checkout till should be visible (or clearly sign-posted) from anywhere inside a physical store, your shopping cart should be on display, no matter which page a customer is on. This shouldn’t get in the way of anything else—all it takes is a bijou trolley symbol in the corner of every page.

  • Suggest additional products

We don’t mean going for big bucks at all costs, like some psychopathic salesperson. But offering additional product suggestions—or cross-selling—can actually be of great benefit to the customer.

Suggestions should include items that a customer might logically want to add to their basket, and so save them browsing time. For example, if you run a home appliances’ site, a customer buying a new cooker may want insurance, oven cleaner, or even a set of copper-bottomed pans to go with it.

Offering well-matched products keeps your customer in the checkout area and increases the chance of a conversion being consummated. You could also introduce bundle discounts, should a customer purchase multiple items.

With PureClarity, you can also go the extra mile by adding upselling to your box of magic tricks. 

Offering an alternative, higher-priced product has to be done with a delicate air, so our automated tools help you choose your opportunities wisely. Targeted customers will likely be from your most loyal pool.

As with cross-selling, pop-ups would only display products that would be of benefit to a user, based on their previous on-site behaviour. 

PureClarity Popups
  • Keep pop-ups small & non-invasive

Now, we all want customers to sign up to our newsletter in order to target them with special offers in future. But don’t let your ‘Subscribe!’ pop-up obstruct the customer journey.

There’s little that’s more annoying in the ecommerce world than visiting a website with intent to buy, only to be walloped in the chops by a screen-dominating pop-up.

  • Make page loading speed super-fast

A real biggee, this. Ecommerce website users have tiny attention spans and even less patience. 25% of users will leave a site if a page takes longer than four seconds to load. Time is money, and every second counts.

Be sure to conduct regular site speed tests and fix any problems without further ado.

  • Utilise artificial intelligence (AI)

Site owners should be looking to make the journey from landing page to checkout as effortless as possible. Using AI based on previous user behaviour, search history, and products purchased can allow you to direct customers to the areas of your site they’re most likely to desire.

This can work in a similar fashion to making additional product suggestions—you’re pre-empting the reasons behind a site visit, and increasing the chance of a conversion. 

Remember, PureClarity’s AI tools utilise every single customer touchpoint, and such in-depth data can then be employed to offer a personalised experience across content, email marketing, and pop-ups.

  • Get an expert in

Don’t hand CRO or A/B testing responsibility to your SEO team or a general marketing manager. Ensure you have an expert—or two—whose eyes light up at the very thought of setting up an A/B test.

The data you’re compiling in Google Analytics is only useful if you have someone who knows what to do with it. Just as an ecommerce business should boast SEO, PPC, and content gurus, a CRO master is an essential employee to have.

  • Review & make changes

Seeking to improve your conversion rate has no full stop. It’s a constant battle, needing constant refinement. Trends change and customers change, too. Be sure to keep up by introducing a wide range of regular tests, from site speed audits to A/B split testing. Check your bounce rates, what your competitors are doing, and be aware of any innovations regarding more streamlined checkout processes.

How can PureClarity can improve your ecommerce conversion rate?

PureClarity are specialists in creating engaging and personalised content tailored for your customers’ wants and needs. The product is flexible and adaptable based on your overall ecommerce goals. 

For instance, Hot Drinks wanted to increase conversion rate and average order value across their website through personalisation. 

After using PureClarity for eight weeks, they saw an increase in their overall conversion rate of 27.3%. This was achieved through the implementation of AI-driven product recommenders on their homepage, product pages, and basket page, which also increased their average order value by 11%. 

Other PureClarity features that increase conversion rate:  

  • Pop-ups 

With our easy-to-use design tool, you can create pop-ups that are unique to your brand and personal messaging. You can customise the size and design, how often you want the pop-ups to display, and at what part of the customer journey. You can even choose to employ them for some customers and not others. 

When done well, and in keeping with your brand, pop-ups are an excellent way of securing email sign-ups. Registered customers can then be targeted with personalised emails and special offers. Combine these with personalised content and you’ll be able to serve up pages and products that are relevant to a user’s previous search history, browsing, and purchasing behaviour.

  • Recommenders in email 

Blanket emails are ineffective compared to individual recommendations. By utilising our personalisation within email marketing software, you’ll be able to target customers with products that are relevant to their previous online behaviour.

Personalised emails can be fully customised to your brand design and image, and the platform integrates with all major email service providers including MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, and DotDigital. Our email plans come with built-in analytics so click-through rates and related conversions can be monitored.

  • Searchandising  

Searchandising—or personalisation within search—helps to increase conversion rates by presenting highly relevant recommendations within your on-site search results. It’ll display products, recommendations, and offers based on previous user behaviour, encouraging click-throughs and ensuring the customer gets the answers they’re looking for, the first time around.

Audience segmentation
  • Customer segmentation 

We mentioned the importance of creating customer personas in order to target your audience with greater accuracy. Our customer segmentation refines this greatly by serving you even more specific information.

You’ll be able to access the likes of your customers’ locations, their favoured smart device, and their browsing history. From this, your personas can be transformed into niche segments, allowing you to serve up a unique experience for all of your online visitors.

Conclusion

As with SEO, PPC, and the England football team, things have come a long way for CRO over the last five years. The days of calculating your ecommerce conversion rate and then merely tinkering around with your site to gain an extra % or two are set to become just one piece of a much bigger jigsaw.

Creating great content, having easy navigation and a quick checkout procedure…these things will all remain invaluable. But it’s in personalising your whole approach—and taking the in-store experience online—that you’ll set the foundations for great ecommerce conversion rates in the future.

Book a discovery call with PureClarity today

See what PureClarity has achieved with our case studies, and learn how you can increase your own sales by booking a discovery call today.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

  • What is a good conversion rate for ecommerce?

The average ecommerce conversion rate lies around 2.5%. But to set a benchmark figure for your own company, you’ll need to consider several factors. Conversion rates differ wildly, depending on industry, country, marketing channel, your target audience, the size of your business, and your intended goals. In truth, a ‘good’ conversion rate is specific to every business.

  • How do you increase ecommerce conversion rate?

Increasing your ecommerce conversion rate is no easy task. Firstly, ensure you make it a business priority and have a CRO specialist on your team. Secondly, know your customers, then build your website content and product offering around their needs, wants, and lifestyles.

Thirdly, ensure your website is easy to navigate and the journey to your checkout process is clear and fast. Finally, be sure to know that the process never ends! You should be looking to learn from your data on a weekly basis, to test out your findings, and make changes at the drop of a hat.

  • Why should I track ecommerce conversion rate?

Ecommerce conversion rate should be tracked as it’s a vital metric in informing you how your business is doing. Without sufficient sales, brands can’t afford to survive. Tracking your conversion rates is an important health check. It’ll tell you which campaigns are working and which are failing, whether you’re safe to expand or whether it’s time to panic.