Is Your Online Store Succeeding: What is a Conversion Rate?

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When you first start your online store, your very earliest operational days are spent focused on getting that first sale,and then the second and so on. It can be a bit of time before a store owner can finally start backing out of the weeds and start looking at the bigger picture of exactly how well their store is performing.

At some point, though, you will come up for air and start wondering whether your website design is really succeeding or if you can make it better. And that’s where conversion rates come into play. (Also, spoiler: even if you’re succeeding, you can always make your website better.)

So what exactly is a “conversion rate?”

Glad you asked! Let’s start by defining exactly what a conversion is:

A conversion is when a visitor on your page takes the action you wanted them to take. The ultimate conversion is purchasing. But each of your pages and messages should be created with the intention of encouraging your visitors to do something, and any time some does that thing, it can be counted as a conversion. At the end of the day, your visitors will likely convert multiple times as they lead into the ultimate conversion of purchasing.

Examples of conversions:

  • Adding to cart
  • Clicking into a product page
  • Clicking on a promotional banner
  • Clicking an ad
  • Starting a chat with your website chat

Now, a conversion rate is the percentage of people who actually take the action you wanted them to take.Simply, it’s the number of people who saw the page or messaging divided by the number of people who actually took the action.

One conversion rate all eCommerce store owners should know is their total site conversion rate: how many visitors have been to your site vs how many actually make a purchase? This number will tell you overall how well your site is doing. Then you can look in more detail at each page to determine the conversion rate of each page – or even each aspect on the page. These detailed conversion numbers give you the data you need to improve all parts of your pages, ultimately improving your total site conversion rate.

What’s a good conversion rate?

As of writing this (October 2018), the global eCommerce conversion rate benchmark is hovering around 2.68%. That is, 2.68 people out of every 100 visitors actually make a purchase. This number reflects the number of total site visitors who become customers. Intuitively, the global conversion rates for product pages are a bit higher, hovering around 8%.

That said, though, you shouldn’t necessarily be judging your store by these benchmarks – particularly if you’re already exceeding them. What you should do is create your own store-specific benchmarks by measuring how your pages and calls-to-action are currently converting, so that you can optimize against your own benchmarks.

How to Calculate Your Store’s Conversion Rates

First things first, make sure you have Google Analytics tracking for your store to see how many people are visiting your site and individual pages. Next, you’ll want to make sure you have a good sample of visitors to look at. That means you need a decent pool of people to look at. I would recommend holding off figuring out your conversion rates until you hit at least 500 total site visitors. That said, if you have had more than that 500, you’ll likely want to boil your sample into a certain timeframe – for instance, all visitors in the past month.

Start with taking the total number of visitors and dividing it by the total number of purchases from that same time period. (Then multiply by 100% to get the percentage.) This calculation gives you your total site conversion rate.

You can extrapolate from there, getting the conversion rate from individual pages. If you’ve set your Google Analytics account up to track goal completions, you can also get the conversion rates for particular activities on your site as well as purchases.

Time to Get Optimizing

Once you’ve figured out what your current conversion rates are, it’s time to start optimizing your pages. To do that you’ll need to be able to A/B test. You’ll also need to come up with a list of specific things you want to A/B test. (Stay tuned – we have a post coming down the pipeline of conversion rate testing ideas!)

Ready to start raising your conversion rate? Download our Page Studio app today to start optimizing your pages!

Cara Wood

Cara is the digital marketing manager here at ShopPad. She's passionate about eCommerce, marketing automation, and great wine. When she's not hard at work innoventing new marketing automation techniques, you can find her trying to stop her beagle from getting into the trash.