Unveiling Ecommerce Conversion Rates: Insights from Recent Studies

Nov 11, 2015

Everybody wants to know "what should my conversion rate be?" Although there's no way to provide a specific answer, three recent studies offer some perspective and guidelines for e-commerce retailers.

According to this large-scale e-commerce study, the average conversion rate (measured by sales) is 1.40%. Looking more closely we see about 5% click through rate on website-to-basket and 30% on basket-to-checkout. This suggests a big opportunity to improve the final stage in the conversion funnel.

Mobile and tablet together accounted for nearly half of website traffic (43%) and contributed to just over a quarter of revenue (26%). Mobile alone accounted for 26% of traffic but only 10% of revenue.

Conversion rates vary by device: Desktop 1.8%, Tablet 1.37% and Phone 0.61%.

Of course the study doesn’t indicate to what extent the sites are mobile-friendly and fast loading. Common sense user experience tells us a site that’s slow and difficult to navigate is going to perform poorly, especially in terms of conversion.

Another study by Adobe Digital Index aggregates data from 300 websites and sets the average conversion rate for ecommerce sites at 1.8% and for U.S. retail sites in particular at 3.2%.

The Marketing Sherpa E-commerce Benchmark Study shows that over 70% of the 4,346 ecommerce sites in the survey have a conversion rate greater than 1%.

Two factors have been shown to reduce the overall conversion rate. Websites that have a brick-and-mortar store tend to have lower conversion rates, presumably because shoppers may do research online and then visit the store to complete their purchase. Likewise, if you take phone orders from your website your conversion rate may be lower.

Other key performance indicators (KPIs) include "time on site" and "pages viewed."

Both have positive correlations with conversion rate, so we recommend you look at these metrics for your site and come up with a strategy to improve them.

We can distill these studies down to three important lessons:

  1. Whatever your conversion rate is, it could be higher. Small incremental improvements add up.
  2. Increasing the time on site and pages viewed will lead to a higher conversion rate.
  3. If you don’t have a mobile-friendly site or if your site is slow, you’re losing money.

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