Improve Your Conversion Rate: Keep Your Eye on the Funnel

conversion rateOnce you have established consistent traffic to your ecommerce store, the conversion rate should become a statistic that you invest to improve.  According to the Monetate Quarterly Ecommerce Report Q1 2014, the average conversion rate for US ecommerce stores is 3.05%, meaning that only 3% of all shoppers that visit an average store will end up making a purchase. I’ve worked with businesses whose stores brought in a large amount of revenue with a 1% conversion rate. What would it look like for these businesses to bring that conversion up to the average 3.05%?  It would immediately TRIPLE their revenue!

So what’s the checkout funnel and what does it have to do with my conversion rate?  Fortunately, Kyle has laid it out for us in his post, Using Google Analytics to Understand Your Site’s Performance. This is the funnel that you should keep your eye on. Sure, a good metric of site performance is the increase of sales from month to month and year to year, but that won’t show you how to make more with what you have.  That’s the beauty of the checkout funnel.  By using and applying the funnel, you can actually generate more business with no increase to traffic.

The checkout funnel allows us to analyze the success of the checkout process and see where you lose shoppers. You can view your overall success rate from Shopping Cart to Order Receipt as well as the success rate between each individual step. With this information, you can quickly see where you’re losing people.  For example, if your average success rate from step-to-step is 85%, but the Delivery step to Payment step is 55%, there’s something significantly wrong with the Delivery step.

Once you have problem steps identified, you can begin to dig into the usability of that page to find loopholes.  Have a friend or family member that’s inexperienced with the site walk through the steps with you and explain what they’re thinking or feeling while going through the process  (You could also get advice from an expert 😉 ).  You’ll probably learn things about your shopping experience that you’ve never considered.  Maybe the button isn’t located in a spot that’s easy to see.  Perhaps there’s a form value that everyone misses and the site isn’t doing a good job of telling them what’s missing.  Maybe the phone number field is cumbersome.  There are more business related things that could be contributing to the poor success of the step as well.  Maybe your shipping charges are higher than your competitors, or the payment information step doesn’t appear to be secure.

There are endless possibilities for what subtle things could be turning people away from purchasing, but using the checkout funnel correctly can be an invaluable tool to identify problem areas of your store.  Remember, by the time a customer enters the checkout flow, they WANT to buy the items in their carts.  We need to make that as painless as possible so they don’t change their minds.

What’s your conversion rate?

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