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33% Drop In Conversion Rate for Ecommerce Site
Planet13




msg:4385019
 8:28 pm on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

I really don't know what is going on...

On our ecommerce site, traffic is up BIG TIME (over 25% over last year), but our conversion rate is about to fall through the floor.

From September to October 2011, our ecommerce conversion rate was only .26%, but from October to November 2011, it dropped to a horrific .17% Conversion rate (that's the ratio of buyers to visitors - not the funnel conversion rate).

If I compare this year to the same time last year, the conversion rate is even more of a drop: It is down 59%, from a conversion rate of .43% (which is still pretty dismal) to a conversion rate of .17%

Our traffic is overwhelmingly organic from google (almost 90%), which I understand is not the most qualified traffic, but still, as we approach the holiday season, isn't the conversion rate supposed to be going up?

If I look at the number of transactions, we are down ONLY 11% in the NUMBER of orders.

And it's even worse if I look at the MOST qualified traffic - that from the USA. Down 64% in conversions and down 23% in number of transactions.

Once the customers have started the Checkout Process, the Funnel Conversion Rate is 60%. Is that a normal funnel conversion rate?

Bounce rate is up less than 1% and while time on site is down, it is only down about 15%.

We didn't make any major changes to our shopping cart software, and all our security certs are up to date. I haven't received any emails or calls from customers saying that they were having problems placing an order.

Any suggestions on what to look at? I'm turning blue looking through google analytics and not being able to figure out what is causing the problem.

 

Panthro




msg:4385024
 8:40 pm on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Does the traffic you're getting seem on-target?

onlineleben




msg:4385033
 8:53 pm on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Just a few ideas that came to mind

as we approach the holiday season, isn't the conversion rate supposed to be going up?

in general, this should be true, but it depends also on the industry you are in. If you are talking about the site I know, then I think it is not really something you give away for xmas, so the trend is not with you.

...if I look at the MOST qualified traffic - that from the USA. Down 64% in conversions and down 23% in number of transactions.

Do they make use of a toll free number to call in and place their order? If 'yes', can you attribute these orders to the site?
An other idea is to compare US customer behaviour. Do you have many repeat customers who bought first time last year?

Regarding traffic in general: do you do separate tracking for both parts of the site?

Planet13




msg:4385035
 8:57 pm on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi there, Pantrho:

Thanks for taking the time to respond:

Does the traffic you're getting seem on-target?


That's a good question. What is the best way to determine that?

In general, the pages that HAD the highest "$ Index" (as per google analytics) seem to be the ones that have seen the HIGHEST increases in traffic.

so when I compare the "$ index" of this year to last year, I see things like drops of 90% in the $ Index value for certain popular pages.

When I look at the top keywords that people are using to find our site (through google) there are goose eggs. None of the top 15 keywords people used to access our site generated any revenue this last month.

Actually, now that I look at it, of the top 50 keywords / keyword phrases people used to access our site, only about 6 of those keywords generated ANY revenue!

Certainly that is a bad sign...

Panthro




msg:4385039
 9:16 pm on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Do the keywords and high-traffic pages match each other? ie., is the landing page a good match for the query?

And are those top keywords ones that you want people to be using to get to your site? Or are they unrelated?

jecasc




msg:4385048
 9:33 pm on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

A < 1% conversion rate is quite bad to begin with. But I may be wrong and there might be niches where conversion is that low.

Have you checked your competition? Sometimes it is not about your website, but simply a competitor has improved his website or has some special offers. Most users check two or three websites before deciding where to buy.

So I would check the competition. And I would definetly let a third party take a look at your website with a < 1% conversion rate you have lots of space for improvement - at least in most markets.

Have you checked how visitors from other search engines convert? Any changes there, too?

By the way - you are right, Google traffic converts pretty badly compared for example to Bing. My conversion rate from Bing visitors is double the rate of Google visitors. I wonder why this is.

Planet13




msg:4385056
 9:53 pm on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

@ onlineleben:

If you are talking about the site I know, then I think it is not really something you give away for xmas, so the trend is not with you.


Yes, it is the site that you know. While you are correct that it is generally NOT something that you give away for Christmas, sales and conversion rates DO generally go up for the holidays.

Do they make use of a toll free number to call in and place their order?


Not really, no. The only orders we get on our toll free number are from people who don't have a credit card and want to pay by check... Or we get lots of calls from telemarketers :(

Planet13




msg:4385061
 10:02 pm on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

@ Panthro


Do the keywords and high-traffic pages match each other? ie., is the landing page a good match for the query?


I would say they are a good match, that, yes, the landing page is related to the keyword.

And are those top keywords ones that you want people to be using to get to your site? Or are they unrelated?


Well, I guess not, since the conversion rate is so bad.

The keywords that are the most popular for coming to our site could be considered more generic / more informational (or educational).

For instance, the keywords might be something like "Albanian Widgets" or something like "Metal Widgets," but none of the keywords has the word "buy" in them (nor do they have "cheap" nor "affordable" nor any other word that would be associated with a search for a product).

Because the items we sell are not branded, and there isn't a universal product code / SKU, it is difficult to judge the intent of the user. By that, I mean if one of the most popular keywords used to enter our site was a product code of a well known product, you could guess that the intent was to buy that product.

Planet13




msg:4385067
 10:29 pm on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

@ jecasc

Have you checked your competition?


Yes, and for the ORGANIC listings, we seem to sell our products for 10% to 20% LESS than those that appear in the top serps.

But it should be noted that what we sell is more along the line of arts and crafts, and they are somewhat unique, so it is hard to make an Apples-to-Apples comparison.

Sometimes it is not about your website, but simply a competitor has improved his website or has some special offers.


I can certainly understand your point. I don't really see any special discounts or value adds that they are providing. Our prices tend to be the same or lower. They probably have better brand name recognition, but it is not a niche where there is much (if any) brand awareness,

Also, we have recently added some new photos of our products to present them a little better. We've also taken steps to make the site more user-friendly, and made the calls to action more prominent.

"Most users check two or three websites before deciding where to buy."


I definitely do that when I buy something that is something of a commodity (like a digital camera). In our case, it might be a bit difficult for customer to compare across websites due to the individuality of the products.

Having said that we compare evenly or favorably to other sites that near or above us in the organic SERPs, there are indeed lots of people selling the products via adwords at cheaper prices. It is hard for ME to really determine if they are stealing our business though, because most of those SMALL companies that advertise seem to come and go after a few weeks, and the larger companies (ebay, amazon, etch) have landing pages that aren't even for the particular category of products. it is usually just a generic search page when the lander has to type in the search phrase.

Planet13




msg:4385076
 10:52 pm on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Here's another question:

What is Search / Organic in the Medium mean (when I look at the traffic sources)? It is listed as the third biggest sender of traffic.

Is it possibly froogle / google merchant center?

Here is a breakdwon of the conversion rate for the top sources of traffic:

google / organic: 0.20%
(direct) / (none): 0.64%
search / organic: 0.58%
search.mywebsearch.com / referral: 2.33% (I have no idea what search.mywebsearch.com is though - anybody know?)
yahoo / organic: 0.28%
bing / organic: 0.14%
Third Party / Referral: 16.67%
facebook.com / referral: 1.89%
aol / organic: 0%
ask / organic: 0%

So for me, no, bing is NOT better than google at generating converting traffic. and while yahoo traffic converts better than googles, I only get 1/20th the amount of traffic from yahoo that I get from google. Bing also generates only about 1/20th the traffic that google does.

Planet13




msg:4385102
 12:35 am on Nov 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

One other thing:

We get a fairly decent number of "tire kickers": People who add a product or two (or three) to their baskets, and then they leave the site, without actually starting the checkout process, never to return.

We get a fairly high ratio of tire kickers to actual buyers - maybe 6 to 1. but some days it is as low as 2 to 1 and some days it is as high as 10 to 1.

Here is what our "Visits To Purchase" looks like:

1 visits: 89.47%
2 visits: 5.26%
3 visits: 3.51%
5 visits: 1.75%

so you can see that only a very small percentage of visitors come back to buy something if they were just tire kicking or browsing the first time around.

mchowdhary




msg:4385268
 3:05 pm on Nov 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

Conversion rates are down across the board. Consumers are making a lot of comparison before purchasing these days.

What kind of products do you sell? What's your website URL? It would help to investigate further.

Planet13




msg:4385337
 6:40 pm on Nov 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

@ mchowdhary:

What kind of products do you sell?


You could probably describe them as decorative, but they are also religious / faith oriented in nature.

I think it might be hard for customers to do a direct comparison, because they tend to be individual in their designs, but in cases where others are selling the same items, we tend to have lower prices.

What's your website URL?


I will Private Message you with that. I would rather not make it public. I hope you understand.

Panthro




msg:4388684
 9:22 pm on Nov 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

Any change in the last couple weeks Planet13? Sorry I didn't get a real chance to look at anything, I've been pretty busy.

If no change, maybe it's time for an overhaul or test with a new site altogether. What's your bounce rate and pageviews like?

RedHelper




msg:4388819
 9:31 am on Nov 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

If I understand right, you sell something unique. In this case, your customers may be not so sure, what they are exactly going to buy. In this situation live chat could improve your conversion rates. The benefits are the following:

1. User can find anything he wants (and even that he hasn't known he wanted!)without troubles. You can explain him everything and even make a direct sale like in a usual offline store

2. Live chat is the fastest way to connect you. Nobody will call you to tell about problems with your site or products, cause people are lazy, and dialing a number is slow and boring. But live chat is accessible in one click - much better. BTW the lackage of attention is a common internet illness, that means it's easier for a user to jump to the other site, where he can possibly find more consumable information. However, if a visitor sees a chat icon, he hopes to get information quickly at the place.

3. Direct sales. You can track visitors' behavior and offer help when needed, send direct links to your pages etc.

[edited by: lorax at 3:01 pm (utc) on Nov 19, 2011]
[edit reason] removed promotion [/edit]

Nuttakorn




msg:4388820
 9:47 am on Nov 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

Do you have break down of conversion by source of traffic of last year (same period)?

Can you share the product category or industry, from what you mentioned your organic (Google) traffic conversion, Have you compared with industry benchmark? There are many factors to impact the conversion.

RedHelper




msg:4388844
 11:54 am on Nov 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

There a number of ways to find out the reason of the fall, but you need to experiment. Google trends still give a good view of industry falls and rises. Google website optimizer is a good option to work with - it lets you set the goals and check what's wrong.

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