I recently received an email from Internet Retailer promoting a piece of research which suggests that online shoppers that received a catalog in the mail spent on average 163 percent more than those that didn’t.
One hundred sixty-three percent? That’s a big difference.
This prompted me to go back to the research SeeWhy did into the Lessons Learned from the Top 10 Converting Websites, which revealed that 9 out of 10 of the top converting websites in the U.S. also have catalogs. These companies have visitor–to-sale conversion rates averaging 23 percent, compared with an industry average of 2-3 percent. However, this cannot be attributed solely to having a catalog.
Most online marketers strive to maximize their website conversion rates. When setting out on this path, the usual starting point for conversion rate optimization is data. Now, I’m a data-driven guy who lives in the analytics world, but it’s important to remember that conversion rate optimization is about getting more sales online.
It’s not about data, web analytics reports, conversion funnels, website tuning or anything else. These are all tools at your disposal to help you optimize your conversion rate, and it is important not to become overly fixated on the tools, but to focus on the goal: drive more online revenues. It’s not about whether the checkout button should be in green or on the right hand side.
So take a step back for a moment, and look afresh at your website. Think about your buyers—who they are, what they are like, and in a moment of escapism, become one. Visualize how they arrive at your site, where they come from, who influences them, and what makes them visit you online.
Sooner or later, we all realize that the quality of traffic to a website is absolutely critical when it comes to conversion rate optimization. (…)
Website conversion rates are bandied about the ecommerce industry all the time, and despite many being familiar with the concept, I consistently find that a lot of people are a bit fuzzy on their website conversion and abandonment rates. This blog is intended to define the different website conversion rates and explain how to use them—and how not to.
Whatever your particular goal, getting visitors to engage and follow a path to conversion is at the heart of driving value from your website. While most web teams track website conversion, the diversity of potential factors that affect conversion (and its evil twin, abandonment) makes this a very hard process to manage.
The biggest of these factors is promotions, which can cause massive changes to your website conversion rate. Equally, your competitors’ promotions can also have a big impact on your website conversion rate. Seasonally, customers have become conditioned to expect promotions at certain times of the year; as a result, looking at your conversion rates without considering these factors is a bit like stumbling around in the dark looking for the light switch.
In the early days of the web, we focused first on page views and bounce rates, and finally on the website conversion rate, which has become a core method of measuring site success.
Website conversion is usually defined as a percentage as follows:
Desired Actions / Unique Visitors * 100
Of course, there isn’t just one website conversion rate. There are several, and this is one of the challenges when it comes to comparing your website conversion with other sites’ website conversion rates.
Here are the three most common website conversion rates:
Visitor-to-Sale / Visitor-to-Goal
The visitor-to-sale website conversion rate currently averages 2-3 percent for most ecommerce sites. It’s a simple measure of the percentage of visitors that land on your website and purchase in the same session. (…)
‘Have we conditioned most customers to the point that they expect discounts and won’t buy without one?’
This is a great question, and it’s worth considering in more depth. Recent research shows that coupon redemption is at an all time high, and at the same time, Ben Bernanke warns that the economic recovery is fragile and taxes will inevitably have to rise. It’s no wonder that customers are nervous and cautious.
This is evidenced in a recent Forrester Research report that found that some 136 million people abandoned shopping carts in the U.S. last year, a full 88 percent of the online shopping population. The number one reason why people abandon shopping carts is price, specifically the cost of shipping and handling (44 percent), rapidly followed by ‘Not yet ready to buy’ (41 percent) and ‘Looking for a better deal’ (27 percent).
These numbers would suggest that many, but not all, customers are deal hungry—scouring the internet for the best price, free shipping offers and voucher codes.
Amazon has announced that it has implemented a range of social commerce features based on Facebook Login and Facebook Recommendations. This is a significant move for Amazon, with implications for the ecommerce sector. Amazon has for some time had its own social features (such as reviews), but this new move signals a strategic recognition of Facebook—and the importance of social commerce.
We’ve called for a while now for tighter integration between Facebook and ecommerce sites, because it is just common sense. When Facebook rolled out its range of social plugins at the F8 developer conference this year, it became not just common sense but easy to do as well.
Despite more than 100 million fans using Facebook Login, the ecommerce sector has been slow to adopt it. Early ecommerce websites tended to be in gaming and fashion, targeting the teen market. But there is one massive and compelling reason to implement Facebook Login.
Visitors like it. And they use it.
According to Facebook, three times more visitors will login to their Facebook account on an ecommerce site than would create an account/register. That’s significant.
Visitors don’t like creating accounts everywhere. They forget how to login and don’t like sharing personal details unless they are willing to trust the site.
In the last few months, we’ve seen a growing appetite from the ecommerce sector to look afresh at social media integration, and in particular, Facebook Like and Login. Facebook Like has been a runaway success, with almost 70 percent of emarketers planning to—or have already—implement it on their ecommerce sites (data from SeeWhy, here).
Only fifteen percent of emarketers have implemented Facebook Login so far, with a further eighteen percent planning to do so. That’s one third of ecommerce sites—much more than you might think. But Amazon’s move is set to change that for good and has put Facebook Login firmly on the ecommerce map. (…)
Normally, when companies announce a 40%+ increase in costs and miss analyst expectations, their stock takes a hit. Last week, Amazon was no exception with its stock dipping by 15% immediately after the news, but it has subsequently recovered to $118-$120 where it has been for the last month.
The earnings miss was probably more sensitive this quarter because of the launch of Apple’s iPad. Ever since the iPad launch, Amazon’s stock has been trading 20% lower than its high this year at around the $150 mark—assuming that Amazon’s Kindle reader would be negatively impacted. Amazon did not disclose its Kindle sales but is seeing strong growth for Kindle and Kindle-based ebook purchases. Kindle is becoming to Amazon what iTunes is to Apple.
Long time watchers of Amazon will recall that we’ve seen this before. Amazon is not afraid of short term blips in its stock price, accepting them as a necessary evil when it comes to building a stronger, more competitive business.
Remember the market reaction when they announced free shipping?
Over the long term, Amazon has not disappointed by being focused on doing what’s in the best interests for its business long term. By investing heavily in sales and marketing, free shipping, and tech infrastructure, Amazon is confidently building an ever bigger business. Oh, and don’t forget that Amazon grew by 41 percent year over year in this last quarter, achieving $6.57 billion in revenues.
Amazon also stated that more than $1 billion in sales had been achieved via mobile devices over the last 12 months. That includes book downloads by Kindle and iPad users, of course, so it doesn’t (yet) signal the arrival of mass mobile commerce.
While Amazon hasn’t disclosed what made up its $1 billion of mobile sales, it’s a pretty safe bet that ebooks purchased using Kindle and the free Kindle reader for iPad and PC make up the bulk, and most of these will be repeat purchases. (…)