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Guide: Enhancing Conversion Rates

[A content brief for a client]

The temptation is to create a websites by adding products and writing some interesting ‘about us’ text and expect customers to be willing to open their wallets and spend wit you. The reality, however, is starkly different. At every step of the buying process visitors are subconsciously looking for reasons not to transact with you. They’re looking for evidence that they trust you, that they won’t find a better offer elsewhere, that the products will be as described and you will deliver in a timely fashion. All of these factors cannot be quantified using traditional web traffic analytics tools, but those tools can easily be highlighted and then lead you towards a solution.

The issue is that you will have to, at the very least, set up Goal conversion tracking this is incredibly simple to do. When you have the code login to your Kong store and proceed to the Settings and then Analytics section, scroll to the bottom and place the code into the bottom box: “Before closing </body> tag of just your store’s order confirmation page.

Doing this will show you data like this which records the number of sales for a particular product (it has a unique landing page to report sales for).

This sort of data should always be the first you look for - have sales stopped or slowed? The first thing you should do is confirm that you have visitor data for this period. If you have then you will need to check to see if the sales confirmation (goal) is still tracking the correct page - have your developers changed the sales confirmation URL, if they haven’t check to see if the tracking code is still in place. If it is then you will need to put through a test transaction and then weight for an hour, refine the date selection to today and then see if it is recorded.

The next stage should be to benchmark your inbound traffic data, identify issues and set goals.

Where does most of your traffic come from? How well does that traffic convert and what sort of revenue does it offer? One of the mistakes that ecommerce store owners make is to believe that all forms of traffic will naturally convert better or worse than others. For this website “Organic Search” traffic (free traffic from the search engines obtained from Search Engine Optimisation) shows the conversion rate at 0.34% for this goal, which is much less than we expect from ecommerce stores which would on average you would expect to be between 1% to 2%. This website has a lot of content that isn’t focused on obtaining quick sales but more of a branding exercise so you would expect the conversion rate to be lower. Whilst the ‘referal’ form of traffic here is paid advertising from highly relevant and often ‘pre-sold’ visitors so the conversion rate is naturally higher.

What’s more, the ‘social’ form of traffic is consistent with the conversion rate we would expect. This may, however, change if any social-based competitions or marketing campaigns are used.

The next stage is to work out if any of your pages convert significantly lower than the rest and work out a solution. To do this, click one of the the ‘channels’. In this example we will use ‘organic’. Clicking on ‘Landing Page’ just below the chart will show a list of your most popular landing pages for SEO traffic. It will be organised by the number of visitors and this is a good place to start. Scroll down the list and take a note of any of your top 25 pages that don’t convert at all.

It often the case that pages that you place on your website as you’re in the ‘blogging’ or ‘providing information’ frame-of-mind will be getting traffic, but you have no ‘call-to-action’. These are clear recommendations to take a course of action such as ‘click here to view our blue widgets’ or ‘click here to save 20% off blue widgets today’.

A quick way to find out what users are doing on your page is to use the Google’s ‘In-Page Analytics’ tool (remembering to use your required segment such as ‘Organic’) which shows you where people click next when they visit a page. An advanced option would be to use a service such as which offers a great deal more flexibility in highlighting problem pages and what actions you can take to improve conversion rates.

Another reason that pages have low conversion rates is that all of the information a visitor wanted to find out about is contained on that page. They may, for example, be looking for ‘what are the most popular colours of widgets’ and your page adequately answers that question. They just weren’t interested in buying any widgets. If this is the case, consider opportunities to get people to sign-up for newsletters, or follow you on social networks as they may be interested in buying widget-related products in the future.

When you have looked at your top 25 most trafficked pages to get more out of them you should look at your top 25 converting pages. Often these will be pages that don’t get a lot of traffic but will often highlight niches that could be better exploited. You may have some blog content that isn’t well-optimised for search engines, but when people land on them then they’re very likely to buy. In this instance you should work out how to improve your SEO to them. This may be linking into the pages from your site more often, it may be changing your title tags etc. - none of these will directly effect the conversion rate potential of the page.

One, often missed, report to work out how  you can improve conversion rates is to look at them split up between desktop, mobile and tablet users. Depending on the nature of your industry the conversion rates for mobile may naturally be lower than desktop. This may be the case for more complicated, expensive products such as configurable computers or cars where you can choose the specifications and additional features, but lower for garden future. What is important is to benchmark your conversions and establish if any form of device has a zero conversion rate. Often checkouts that use third parties to process credit cards may not be optimised for mobile and this can put a barrier in the way of converting on that device.

You should run the reports above with a ‘mobile’ segment and see which pages don’t convert or have a high bounce-rate for mobile users. This may indicate that the information you have created isn’t easily consumed on a mobile device. Also check to see if the product imagery is of sufficient quality. At Kong we go to great strides to make sure that your site is ‘mobile optimised’ [Link to the mobile SEO page], however, people on legacy ecommerce platforms may have these issues do to the non-responsive nature of their platform.

The next stage would be to look at your product landing pages and find which don’t convert. You can find this data in Behaviour > Site Content > Landing Pages and then filter (the white box next to ‘advanced’). Kong users will need to filter on ‘/products/ and then extend the page by 50-or so lines and look for all the products pages with very low conversion rate - this may be <0.2%.  

You will have to decide what is causing the lack of conversions. Is it because the price is too high, do the competition offer free delivery, have you mistakenly labelled it as ‘out of stock’, is the product photograph detailed enough, is the product description full of errors are are you saying something that is putting people off? You’ll have to look at all of these options and decide how to remedy the situation.

Don’t ignore your Collections either. Often these pages will show up some important information. If you’re using the ‘In-Page’ analytics you can easily get an ordered list of which products your customers find most attractive - so you can tweak prices or product descriptions or promote them on Facebook or Twitter.  If you organise products into types such as dark, white and milk chocolate you can also see which are more engaging and you can even try different collection photographs.

One thing you shouldn’t get hung up on is the length of time people take to buy. The number of minutes, hours and days it takes for people to buy will be different by industry. Within the Conversions > Ecommerce > Time to Purchase report you can not only see the number and percent of people that may take five days to purchase, for example, you can also see the percent of people that buy on the first session. As you work through all of your conversion reports above and try to improve the conversion rate, this is another metric you should be looking at and how it changes over the course of  your conversion campaign.

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