What Is eCommerce Conversion Rate & Why You Should Care

A beginner’s guide in layman’s terms for retail & eCommerce marketers & business owners.

If you’re a small business owner or marketer in the Retail & eCommerce space, the words ‘eCommerce Conversion Rate’ should ring a bell. And, in case it doesn’t, we’ve included a brief definition below in layman’s terms:

Mathematically, your eCommerce conversion rate is the percentage of the total number of transactions over the total number visits over a given period of time.

To illustrate this, let’s say that in January 2018, you had a total of 5,000 visits to your organic dog food website, The Prideful Pooch. During that same period, your site processed a total of 128 transactions. Your eCommerce conversion rate would then be factored as:

If you’re using Google Analytics (which you should be), your eCommerce conversion rate is automatically populated provided that you have eCommerce tracking enabled. Pretty simple, right? If you’re still with us, your next question is probably: why should I care and where should my eCommerce conversion rate be? We’re glad you asked.

On the topic of why you should care: your eCommerce conversion rate is a key performance indicator (“KPI”) associated with how effective your website and marketing is at converting site visits to actual purchasers.

Here’s a real-life use case:

Let’s say that you own Stick It to Me, a brick and mortar retail store that sells customized post-it notes. Let’s also say that in any given day, you have 50 people visit your store. And, of those 50 people, only 2 people end up buying anything. It’s the end of the month and you’re processing payroll, paying taxes and tackling all of the other unsavory things associated with running a business.

In taking a look at your books and quickly realize that you’ll be out of business in a few months if your business doesn’t process at least 7 transactions per day. Perhaps you panic. Perhaps you make frantic calls to the bank asking for a small business loan. Perhaps you start to drink, who knows?

After the dust settles, you take a deep breath, take an honest look around your store and come to the conclusion that with some careful planning, you can increase your revenue with some creative thinking. With sales stagnant, you don’t have the money to renovate your store, but you do have some control over what your customers see and what they interact with when they enter your store. With a new sense of determination, you’re committed to ensuring that one out of every five customers that visit your store end up leaving with something.

After a period of testing sales promotions, sending email newsletters, trialing different in-store displays, and placing merchandise strategically, you’ve done it. Suddenly, it’s April and you’ve exceeded your expectations! Now, one out of every three people that enter your store end up purchasing something. Enthralled with your progress and extra zeros in your bank account, you plan a nice vacation for you and your partner and start planning an in-store remodel.

Overly elaborate anecdotes aside, let’s take a look at the math:

January 2018

  • 50 potential customers per day = 1,500 shop visits per month
  • 2 transactions per day = 62 transactions per month
  • Average transaction value = $126.25
  • Total monthly revenue = $7,827.25
  • Conversion Rate = 4.13%

April 2018

  • 50 potential customers per day = 1,500 shop visits per month
  • 5 transactions per day = 150 transactions per month
  • Average transaction value = $103.77
  • Total monthly revenue = $15,565.50
  • Conversion Rate = 10%

That’s nearly a 100% improvement in monthly revenue without costly advertisements and other promotions to get new shoppers in the door.

Why the lengthy example? Because in a digital world, it’s easy for us to forget the fact that our website visitors are people, and should be treated as such. For those of us that don’t devote most of their careers to drawing parallels between what happens on the web and real life, a certain cognitive dissonance between what happens online and offline is normal.

With a firm understanding of eCommerce conversion rates and why they’re critical for your business, it’s time to take a look at how you can go about to introducing some process to monitoring and improving them.

1) Establish a benchmark: You can’t know where you’re going unless you know where you are. Take a look at the last 365 days of your business using the math outlined above and outline our eCommerce conversion rate by month. We’ve already mentioned this, but Google Analytics is an excellent, industry-preferred tool for measuring all of your important web analytics, including eCommerce conversion rate. Get started by integrating Google Analytics on your website and ensuring that you have eCommerce tracking integrated.

2) Set some goals: With your background research finished, it’s time for you to dream a little bit. Take a look at your historical data and set some goals keeping in mind the (lengthy) example outlined above. Come up with some baseline and stretch goals for your eCommerce conversion rate. As a benchmark, we recommend 10% to 20% growth on the benchmark and 30%+ for your stretch goal. The stretch goal should be aspirational…shoot for the stars. You can do it. While every business is different, take a look at these eCommerce conversion rate benchmarks to gain some insight on where your business ranks.  

3) Get real about your business: Having a firm understanding of what’s important to the customers currently visiting your store is critical to coming up with strategies for how to get them to purchase. Ask yourself: are my customers price sensitive? Do they come to my store because I offer something that no one else does? Is the shopping and purchasing process easy?

4) Promote a sense of urgency: Perhaps one of the biggest kept secrets in the world of marketing is promoting a sense of urgency among your customers.

5) Measure, cycle, rinse repeat.

 

Completely lost? Contact us for a consultation on how we can help.

The Secret to High-Converting, High-Value Products Is…. Copywriting?

Are your products not selling? Are they sitting on the shelf just waiting for someone to buy them? I’ll let you in on a secret: it’s probably because of your copywriting. Your product copy is one of the most important aspects of your business. It’s the sales pitch that turns dithering consumers into converting customers.

High-converting and high-value products are achievable for any store — if you get your words out right. Read our handy guide for some secrets on how to achieve quality copywriting for your eCommerce store.

Identify who you’re writing for

The likelihood is that your product isn’t targeted for all and sundry. Different people have different tastes, so first and foremost, you need to find out exactly who it is you’re writing for. Once you’ve identified the customer segment you’re selling to, you need to tailor your copy to their tastes and interests. Catering to these specific needs is perfect for hooking your customers and reeling them in.

For example, if you’re selling cushions with cats on them, then your target customer is probably going to be an avid cat lover. That means referencing our feline friends in a way that relates to them, maybe even dropping in a purr-fect pun or two.

Do some research on your target customer by using sites like Quora or Reddit to get an insight into what they talk about and how they talk about it. As a rule of thumb, think about how you’d speak to your customer if you met them in real life. Once you’ve got that down, apply that to your copywriting. Personalization sells, so target your product descriptions and you’ll see your conversions shoot up.

Stick to your brand voice

Dull copy is a cardinal sin when it comes to your product descriptions. No matter what you’re selling, you need to write about it in an engaging, lively way. Uninspiring copy repels customers because it doesn’t stimulate them, and they ultimately just switch off. To avoid this, don’t be afraid to inject a little character into your copy. Your brand voice lets you convey this personality to your customers, and turns a basic sales pitch of a product into an animated and appealing description of it. Check out the example below from AYR:

Image via AYR

Their brand voice is edgy and conversational, and it makes the description pop. It really conveys their brand personality, making them stand out against their competition.

Tell a story around your product

One of the best ways to sell something is through storytelling. It’s subtle, indirect, and lets you talk about your product to your customer in an engaging way. To get started with this, think about your product and its genesis. Maybe the idea for your boutique vodka came about during your struggles to find a delicious drink that suited your palate? Or perhaps you couldn’t find a coffee that’s strong and tastes good, so you started your own online coffee shop?

That’s how Death Wish Coffee got their start:

Stories are a great way of compelling someone to take action and can breathe new life into your product. They make it real and tangible and will help engage your customers and persuade them to make a purchase. You can add value to even the most simple online store with high-quality product copy. Your copy is the glue that holds it all together, and without thoughtful and well-written product descriptions, you simply won’t make any sales.

Use sensory language to hook and persuade

When you’re selling something online, it can be difficult for your customers to really ‘feel’ what you’re selling. In a brick-and-mortar store, shoppers can pick up a product, experiencing it first-hand. Not so with an eCommerce store.

Instead, savvy copywriters need to use language that recreates that experience in their mind. This means using sensory language that seduces the customer into buying. Words like crispy, gooey or smooth can help your shoppers connect with a product, motivating them to make a purchase. You should also extend your eCommerce content strategy to writing great product blogs that help ‘fill in the gaps’ when it comes to how your products help people navigate their lives.

Talk about benefits, not features

This is a simple one that lots of people are guilty of at times. When you’re selling something, it’s easy to talk about the hard facts about the product. Color, size, functionality — these things are all relevant, but they don’t let the customer connect with the product. Customers want to know what they stand to gain from your product, how their life will be better because of it. Instead of focusing on the features, you should focus on talking about the benefits that those features offer.

For example, let’s say you’re selling a car that has a rearview camera installed. Simply stating this isn’t enough. Instead, elaborate on how the camera will prevent rear-end accidents, or how it’ll make parking so much easier. These benefits appeal to the concerns and pain points of the customer, and focusing on these in your product copy will help give them value.

Use adjectives sparingly

Overuse of adjectives and phrases like “the world’s best” or “the most advanced” is one of the most common copywriting mistakes in product descriptions. It’s tempting to pepper your copy with lots of adjectives because it makes your product sound great, but more often than not it just sounds too salesy.

Instead, only use them a handful of times and justify those descriptors. For example, if your t-shirts are made of the softest fabric around, explain how and why they’re so soft. Or if your chocolate is silky-smooth, elaborate on what processes went into making them that way. It’ll add value to your product and help convince your customers to buy.

You know your products have value, but you need to convince your customers of that too! Follow the tips above to make your product copy shine, and see your conversions grow with a strong brand voice, benefit-centric copy, and compelling storytelling.

Patrick Foster is a writer and eCommerce expert from Ecommerce Tips — an industry-leading eCommerce blog that offers practical marketing advice so your online store receives the exposure it deserves. Check out the latest posts on Twitter @myecommercetips.

Research Reigns Supreme for eCommerce During the Holidays

We’re huge fans of research; as it turns out, so are consumers today.

Marketing Dive released a study based on some stunning new eCommerce data compiled by Rakuten Marketing. Here are the main takeaways and highlights that every online business needs to know for the hectic season of holiday shopping:

  • Click-through and ad engagement rates jumped 154% and 111%, respectively, during the week before Thanksgiving.
  • 46% of all page views occurred on a mobile device over the week of Thanksgiving. Mobile revenue was up 43% during the same period.
  • Combined online shopping revenue over Thanksgiving and Black Friday this year (2017) jumped 23% from 2016.
  • Online revenue and purchases on Thursday grew 28% and 35%, respectively, over last year, while online revenue on Friday increased 21%.

The article goes on to discuss what this means for digital marketers and advertisers:

Research from Yes Lifecycle Marketing found a notably undermarketed day was Green Monday, the second Monday in December. Just 6% of marketers executed campaigns on that day, but those that did saw a 50% higher conversion rate than business-as-usual email sends. Yes Lifecycle also found that Cyber Monday emails convert about 53% more holiday shoppers than Black Friday ones, pointing to the an opportunity for marketers to leverage in future years of the annual holiday shopping frenzy.

Check out all of the insights on the Marketing Dive site here. 

Need some help re-strategizing for the holidays? We’re here for you.

People Don’t Buy Products, They Buy Ways to Improve Themselves

We explore the marketing strategy made for Millennials

Over the past few months, you may have heard some chatter about how the Millennial generation (people born between the years 1977-1995) value experience over owning things. But just how much of this is true, and most importantly, how has this impacted the way we market goods?

With investment banking giant Goldman and Sachs stating earlier this year that Millennials haven’t inherited the spending habits of previous generations, we look at the way the marketing landscape has been changing up until now and what aspects you now need to prioritize to get those all important sales.

What does it mean to find the ‘why’ of my product and how can I connect to my audience?

To answer this, it’s best to begin with a case study. What better than Apple back in 2010 with the release of its first generation iPod and in 2011 with the release of the iPad. Both took the world by storm with an incredible marketing strategy – here we’ll explain the how and the why.

In early 2010, MP3 players were quite clearly dominating the product market. Steve Jobs had a hard task on his hands considering that Apple as a multi-million dollar company was just mere twinkling in his eyes, and his ‘iProducts’ were virtually unheard of in the tech world. To his advantage, however, he was completely conscious that his target audience would be obviously questioning, ‘What was so different about the iPod?’

What did he do? He became revolutionary. Rather than stating how users have ‘1GB of memory with every MP3’, he composed the infamous tagline:

Apple doesn’t just give you a temporal material product, it also makes you a happier person. They are selling a product which will greatly benefit and improve peoples’ lives as consumers.

Turning our attention to the tagline of the second generation iPad and we see a similar story:

Though focusing on the benefits for the consumer, Apple has encouraged people to excitedly imagine these additions and the accompanying new and improved impact on their lives. They have correctly identified and sold the why of their products.

Why does this copy style work so well?

Many studies state how positive encouragement has a great impact on our happiness levels. In working environments, it has been proven that employers with a higher level of empathy and care for their employees reap the rewards of high levels of engagement, positivity, and performance. Similarly, in a study of interview techniques, questions focussed on current trials and tribulations led to higher brain activity in the area related to negativity.

Contrarily, when asked about their dreams and aspirations, more activity was observed in the brain’s reward circuitry and in areas associated with happy memories and positive experiences. Understanding these results and placing them in the context of the relationship between a retailer and consumer and we uncover how Apple fashioned its USP.

Let’s imagine it. When you as a customer know that a company is listening to your needs, is an innovator themselves and is providing you with the potential to increase your happiness, the product has almost already sold itself. It appeals to us in every way. Through channeling these ideas in their marketing strategy, Apple was and still is, selling an emotional experience, which it is still capitalizing from in a momentous way.

Want to give it a go? We bring you our top 5 tips for making your customers fall in love with your business. After identifying the ‘why’ of your product, you must also:

1. Always listen to your customer.

This sounds like a rather obvious one, but it’s easily overlooked. You can monitor your customers’ all important feedback through customer service, interacting on social media, distributing surveys and focus groups.   

2. Implement away!

Your customers want to know that it’s a two-way street. Listen to their feedback and put the applicable suggestions into practice. This will not only make the customer feel valued that you have listened to their requests and made the changes, but it will also naturally improve your business and/or product to exactly what the users want. Win-win.

3. Understand that customer service is crucial.

With figures showing that 89% of customers began doing business with a competitor after poor customer experience, there really is no excuse not to make this a top priority in your business strategy. Be always ready to answer questions and queries, and try to maintain each relationship through future outreach. Offering them something extra such as company news and discounts in the form of a newsletter and/or drip emails often work well as mediums to retain important custom.

4. Be transparent in your communication.

The focus here is on building trust. Be honest with your customer about your failings, your wins, what you’re really excelling at and what you recognize you aren’t doing so well and need to change. Customers will appreciate your honesty and are more likely to stick with you if they feel you are as emotionally human as they.

5. Humanity and true connection are key.

It has been proven that having a picture of a real person on your landing page could increase your conversion rate by 102.5%, which is outstanding! Changing your landing page we understand might be a hefty task long term, however short term we suggest simply adding a page link to a great ‘About Us’ section with images of the significant players in your company. Don’t only forget that your customers are humans too, but so are you! Show them that you are nothing to be frightened of, and you, in turn, will witness the strength of human connection. People connect to an emotional story and like to visually see who they are talking to from your business. Through this increase in familiarity, customers will likely stick with you too!     

It all sounds dramatic, but emotional connection is all the rage — and, let’s be honest, we can’t let Steve Jobs have all the fun!

What do you think about this new marketing style? Do you have a great example which you are working on and want to share for feedback? Comment below!

Mailchimp Templates We’re In Love With

 

Let’s be real here — we do a lot of email marketing. A lot. 

It’s not just for show, either. No matter the end-goal, email communications and content marketing are hugely effective tools for driving results, especially when implemented in a strategic way.

Don’t believe us? Well, it just so happens that:

  • 77% of ROI comes from segmented, highly targeted email campaigns. (DMA)
  • B2C marketers who leverage email and marketing automation have seen conversion rates as high as 50%. (eMarketer)
  • Revenue for B2B marketing automation increased 60% to $1.2 million in 2014, compared to a 50% increase in 2013. (VentureBeat)

To our pleasure much of our email marketing is done through Mailchimp, a platform that we’ve grown to absolutely love, adore, admire, and any other positive adjective you can think of.

Depending on the specific company or use-case, there are dozens of pre-made templates to get started with, improve upon and optimize for any need — here are just a few of our favorites:

Photo-Friendly: “Avant-Garde”

Photographers and graphic-dependent organizations can find their dream email within Avant-Garde.

Blending a beautiful balance of words, images and a quick (yet mighty) call-to-action, this format is as readable as it is visual.

Plus, the makers of this template made a few variations to fit your photo needs.

Plain + Simple: “Minimal”

The name really says it all – Minimal is a simple template for personal (or corporate) blogs. Perfect for presenting content, this template is ideal for a heavy focus on writing while cutting right to the chase.

If your audience consists of technical pros or other, less visual folks, we recommend testing this one out.

Selling Stuff: “Boutique”

Who needs wordy emails when you’ve got amazing products to show off? With an emphasis on imagery above the fold, with a simple module for other offers below, Boutique is an amazing template that is ideal for your retail or eCommerce needs. Bold, beautiful, clean and straight to the point.

Newsletter-Worthy: “Pop-Up”

Email newsletters are, hands-down, one of the best ways to interact with customers, let them know what’s up and keep them in the loop on important happenings. We LOVE the simple, digestible format of “Pop-Up” to display brand elements, imagery and newsworthy bits.

What are your favorite Mailchimp templates? Send em our way!