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ecommerce conversion varies widely
by browser type

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 4486564 posted 7:19 pm on Aug 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

I need to bounce something off you all.

Explaining all this is a real bear - please let me know if you need me to clarify a particular point.

I see ecommerce conversion rates varying by huge percentages. Some of this seems to make sense - but is this really "normal"? Maybe some of this is expected, but are there technical ways to improve on some of these lower conversion rates?

The objective, of course, is to optimize the system so as to maximize the profit and minimize the shopping cart abandonment.

Our highest volume visitor (as defined by browser type) is well below average (1.44%) at about .5%

Our next highest volume visitor is almost 3X that, right at average.

In the Top 10, 8 are better than the 1% range, and the remaining 2 are .5% and .3%.

The highest volume browser accounts for 20% of traffic but only 12% of revenue. The next highest volume browser accounts for 9% of traffic but 15% of revenue.

I know these high traffic / low converters are mobile browsers.

Is there a way to modify the cart so that we can get a better or more consistent conversion rate on these mobile customers?

I also see that some flavors of Chrome are converting at 1% - but one particular flavor is converting at over 2%.

Overall, of the 200 types of browsers tracked, about 90 convert at better than 1% - and the remaining 110 are less than 1%.

So my question is this - should ecommerce conversion rates vary so widely?

It seems to me if, say the top 10 were more closely clustering around an average of 1%, we'd be making much more money.

We have engaged in some rather sophisticated conversion improvement testing and we are seeing good results, but only in certain sectors.

Before I even go down the road on this with the client and the developers, I need to get a sense from WebmasterWorld if this even makes sense to pursue.

As always, thanks so much.



5+ Year Member

Msg#: 4486564 posted 12:45 pm on Aug 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

Mobile - well unless your site is fully mobile optimised I doubt many people want to complete your checkout process on their 3 inch screen. Also a lot of people will research from their mobile, or read your email newsletters from their mobile, and then buy on another device later which is a little easier to form fill from.

Other reasons - maybe parts of your site don't work so well on other browsers / devices? Test as much as you can.

Could be finer reasons than that - maybe your products attract more Mac users - arty / wealthy types - I know a horrible generalisation but on a fine art site I built it's 100% true!


WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 4486564 posted 12:59 pm on Aug 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

We get a surprising high conversion rate on iPhones.

And we know we appeal to a very certain demographic, for sure.

But then Safari is more traffic than IE but basically half IE's conversion rate - is this maybe because Google Analytics doesn't like some flavors of Safari?

Why would one flavor of Chrome convert at twice the rate of another flavor?

And while these aren't huge numbers, they are quite big.

We test quite fully so I'm starting to think there is reporting bias coming from Google.

Anyone got any real benchmarks they'd like to share?

We'll know more soon as we'll get a metric buttload of data over the next few days!


5+ Year Member

Msg#: 4486564 posted 3:55 pm on Sep 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

The Safari issue had me tearing my hair out for some time...platform testing, comparison, studying...until I discovered one VERY IMPORTANT thing...

Just as Firefox has the pre-loaded popular sites when a new tab is opened, so does Safari. The difference is that Safari does not use a cached version of your page like FF does - it re-loads it EVERY TIME the user attempts to open a new tab. This counts as a unique (and non-converting) visit. When digging into Safari users, I found some very strange things - lots of very high screen resolutions, lots and lots of people visiting and re-visiting. I discovered these were "power users" who had us saved in their tabs. They didn't necessarily visit the site every day (being ecommerce and all), but wanted to know where to go for their purchase. Our Safari conversion rate is ~1/2 of FF and ~35% less than IE. Not too bad, considering the circumstances.

Disappointing to find out there wasn't a "magic bullet" to fix with Safari users, but relieved that there was an explanation behind the lower conversion rate.


WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 4486564 posted 2:47 pm on Sep 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

@p5gal5 Excellent!

Thanks - this is the kind of insight that helps considerably.

Many more tech questions but I'll digress for a moment.

Has anyone had any luck using browser types as a targeted segment - where certain users as defined by browser type get served different content, offers, etc?

There was an anecdotal story of one of the airline portals doing this and showing higher prices to Mac users vs PC users - and apparently they got caught.

Sounded like not-quite-clever-enough targeting to me.


WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Msg#: 4486564 posted 3:17 pm on Sep 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

Sounds like a good way to get a "cloaking slap" from G..

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