When you’re running a business website, Google Analytics can be one of the most useful tools in your arsenal.
GA can monitor and track your customers and products. It can help you improve traffic and conversions while getting you more customer data.
But above all else, Google Analytics enables you to improve on the overall customer experience.
Customer experience is a big deal when it comes to Google-based SEO. Google wants to make sure that the sites it recommends to users are easy to use and provide a positive online experience.
If you’re an ecommerce business, a better customer experience will help you increase your conversion rate. As anyone who has ever sold anything online can tell you, conversion rate optimization is the bread and butter of an ecommerce store.
By what is an ecommerce conversion rate? What kind of conversion rate should you be shooting for? And once you know all of that, how can you use Google Analytics to optimize your ecommerce’s conversion rates?
What is a Conversion Rate?
If your business relies on online sales, you’re going to hear a lot of talk about conversion rates. It is, by far, the most critical metric for ecommerce stores.
A conversion rate measures what percentage of the traffic that comes in through your site is converting. If you get 1,000 visitors in a day, how many of them took some action on your website?
It should come as no surprise that many online sales professionals see conversion rate as priority number one.
But what is a website conversion?
That’s entirely dependent on the nature of your business. Website conversion can mean many different things for different companies.
Unsurprisingly, the purchase of a product or service is seen as the most common website conversion for an ecommerce platform. However, depending on your ecommerce’s business model or marketing campaign, a conversion could also be signing up for an email list, downloading an email-gated buyer’s guide, or any number of other actions.
How Do You Check Your Conversion Rate in Google Analytics?
We’ve established why conversion rates are so important. In many ways, they are the measure of success for your business. Tracking your conversion rate over time is essential to gauge the success or failure of particular business ventures.
Conversion rates can easily be tracked through Google Analytics ecommerce tracking. If you want to see how your business is faring over a specific period, there are a few easy steps that you can take to see what’s been going on with your site’s visitors.
Step-by-step walkthrough to reviewing your ecommerce conversion rates:
- Go to the section of the Google Analytics dashboard marked “Conversions.”
- From there, select “Ecommerce” and then “Overview.”
- Check out the chart featured on this page. It will detail your site’s performance over time.
- The actual conversion rate will be listed underneath the chart.
Ideally, you should be checking your conversion rate regularly. We recommend looking at Google Analytics every week to see how you’re doing compared to past performance. You should be doing a more in-depth analysis at least once per quarter.
Why is this important?
Let’s say that you’re an online retailer running some aggressive marketing campaigns in an attempt to get users onto your site. Your SEO is on point, you are running ads on Google and Facebook, and you’re drawing in massive amounts of web traffic.
Your number of visitors is through the roof, but you’re not converting.
This means that all that ad budget — all the salary spent on a content writer and designers — is wasted.
That’s why you want to know your conversion rate at all times. When something like this happens, you’re going to need to examine where your prospects are bouncing from and why (and how to fix it).
What’s Impacting your Ecommerce Conversion Rates?
As we mentioned in the last section, knowing your conversion rate ensures that you have the opportunity to make use of the traffic you’re getting. A super low conversion rate is indicative of a significant problem at play somewhere on your site.
If something is wrong on your site, you’re going to have to fix it if you want your business to stay afloat.
One of the reasons your conversion rate is so important is that it can help you determine if you have a clear conversion path for potential customers.
When it comes to the conversion path, there are three primary (website-based) reasons you’d be losing conversions:
- Poor site navigation
- Un-optimized checkout process
- Payment process and security issues
That prompts you to ask three questions:
- Do visitors easily understand where they have to go to make a purchase?
Your users should be able to immediately know where they have to go and what they have to do to purchase on your ecommerce website. If they get confused, you’re likely going to lose them.
It’s akin to a customer walking into a store, browsing the products, but not being able to find a point of sale to check out at.
- Is your checkout process optimized, with features that simplify the process?
Your shopping cart is your check out counter, and since there is no human clerk there to facilitate the checkout, you should have a simple cart that makes the sales process easy.
- Are there payment process or security issues?
Finally, your payment options should be standard and straightforward. Creativity is, in fact, your enemy here. Online shoppers are familiar with the traditional checkout process; veering too widely from it will cause a drop in conversions.
Review your competitors, or larger corporate ecommerce sites (like H&M’s checkout below) to make sure your process lines up with what your visitors will expect:
Cybercrime, also, is a huge issue right now.
If your ecommerce visitors don’t feel safe entering their credit card information on your site, you’re going to lose them.
That’s why trusted third-party checkout systems like PayPal come in handy for a lesser-known online store. They might not trust you yet, but they trust a name like PayPal.
Remember, the all-important user experience that we touched on before matters a lot in the customer journey and could lead to issues with your conversion rate.
Consider your low conversion rate to be like a warning sign, symptomatic of a more significant issue with the site that has to be corrected quickly.
What is a Good Conversion Rate?
Now the question quickly becomes, what is a reasonable conversion rate?
The answer to that question is frustrating: It depends.
The standard for a reasonable ecommerce conversion rate varies widely. Different business models have different average conversion rates, so it’s essential to do some research on your own to determine what’s average for your branch of the ecommerce market.
It’s rare to have a truly massive conversion rate. Typically, conversion rates average on the very low side. Don’t expect to have a conversion rate even of 10%.
That’s why traffic is so relevant. The more people come to your site, the more opportunities for conversion you have. An average conversion rate of 2% will be a lot more lucrative on a site that sees 100,000 visitors in a week.
The average conversion rate for ecommerce in 2019 as a whole is estimated at 1.7%.
As you can see in the image below, conversion rates (even within the ecommerce industry alone) can vary wildly:
While something like food and drink has a super high conversion rate of up to 7.24% for websites scoring in the top 25%, the furniture industry has a median average conversion rate of 0.68%.
Let’s say you’re an ecommerce company selling toys and games. According to the research, that industry has a median conversion rate of 2.43%. If you have 750,000 visits per month, you’re looking at 18,225 conversions per month on average if you’re keeping pace with the industry.
If you up the number of visitors to 1 million, you’re getting 24,300 conversions without your conversion rate changing.
Equally, if you stick with the 750,000 visits, optimizing your conversion rate (redesigning your site, simplifying checkout, etc) to bring it to 3.2% increases your total conversions to 24,000.
So it’s up to you: what’s easier, driving 250,000 more visitors per month, or optimizing your ecommerce site’s conversion rate?
How has mobile shopping affected ecommerce conversion rates?
The way people shop on ecommerce platforms has changed throughout the years.
When you look at mobile vs. desktop conversions, you’re going to see why most companies are putting a lot more effort into their mobile markets. However, this also differs industry by industry.
Mobile makes up a massive 41.32% of retail ecommerce conversions. However, when you look at the travel industry, mobile is only 30.15% of all conversions.
How Can You Improve Conversion Rates Using Information from Google Analytics?
Google Analytics can be a helpful tool for improving your conversion rate and driving sales. By examining your conversion rate over time, you’re able to see problems occurring. It also helps you by showing you your bounce rate (the rate that people abandon your site). By looking at this data, you can better determine where the problem lies.
Before you can fix a problem, you first need to understand that there is one. That’s what Google Analytics helps you to do.
Perhaps the site or landing page is hard to understand, or the interface is not user-friendly.
Pricing could also be a factor. Visitors may balk at what you’re asking for and abandon your site in search of a more moderately priced competitor.
Using the information you’ve gathered from Google Analytics, you can figure out a game plan on how to optimize your user experience.
Ecommerce conversion optimization best practice #1: Get your copy right
Frequently, the issue is in the site’s text. You can fix those issues by creating a more compelling copy. Remember, product copy should be snappy and persuasive while also remaining relevant to push sales.
Headlines that are bland or unclear might drive customers away. When marketing a problem, it’s important to illustrate the value of your product or service right from the get-go. Check out the image below for an example of quick, snappy copy that will urge a customer to convert.
Ecommerce conversion optimization best practice #2: Optimize your call to action
This is also a great time to look at your calls to action. If Google Analytics shows a large number of customers abandoning your site from its home page, then there might be an issue with your calls to action.
You can optimize these essential site elements by making your buttons larger. Play around with the wording of your calls to action in a way that gets people excited about acting. This is a perfect spot to speak about customer pain points and build trust.
Ecommerce conversion optimization best practice #3: Focus on images
Image quality is another area that might help with your conversion rate.
If Google Analytics shows people navigating away from image-heavy pages, perhaps your images aren’t drawing them in. They might be standing in the way of sales. It might be time to feature more pictures at a higher quality.
Ecommerce conversion optimization best practice #4: Feature great reviews
You should also consider using customer reviews to build trust.
Sometimes, a persuasive testimonial video or product example video can provide social proof to push prospective customers toward a conversion. Reviewing customers often become brand ambassadors and tout your services through social media and user-generated content. These go a long way toward driving sales.
Ecommerce conversion optimization best practice #5: A/B test everything
Consider changing some of your offers around to see what your audience is willing to pay. When you do this, monitor Google Analytics closely to watch for a change in conversion rate.
That’s a spot where an A/B test could come in handy. A/B testing is where you try out different elements on your site to see what combinations drive the most conversions.
Ecommerce conversion optimization best practice #6: Give great customer service
Making customer service more readily available is also something that helps a customer trust you enough to convert. If they have questions but can’t receive answers quickly, they will look elsewhere.
And you should have more than just a contact form. Consider a live chat service, as they have a history of success. In fact, 79% of businesses report that using live chat has had a positive impact on sales and customer loyalty.
For example, Jerome’s Furniture, an ecommerce furniture business, managed to use live chat to improve conversion rates by 10x,
Implement your live chat service and then monitor Google Analytics to see how it impacts sales, user behavior, and conversion optimization.
There is no magical formula for conversion rate optimization. That’s why Google Analytics is such a beneficial tool. It gives you a chance to try out new things, lets you see when problems arise and shows you the results of your efforts to drive sales and make a splash with your ecommerce website.