Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from

Forum Moderators: buckworks

Message Too Old, No Replies

I've got a terrible conversion rate - what to do?

I mean, we're talking BAD!



3:07 am on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I've found the info I've read in this forum excellent, and the posters here are clearly the experts - which is why I turn to you.

Feel free to check out my site. It's my homepage in my profile.

I have managed to rank quite well for several important search terms in my industry, so I get some steady targeted traffic - say 600-700 uniques a day for a relatively specific field. We make widget software as well as offering the widgets and widget accessories themselves. Our software is quite unique in the market, but our real profit potential is in the widgets and accessories.

Of our 600-700 uniques per day, we sell about 2-3 copies of the software - that rate I'm not worried about. However, since most of our traffic is actually looking for the widgets and accessories and doesn't even know the software exists, I'd expect a higher rate for these, even though the widgets cost $400-550 (and up to a couple thousand). However, we only sell roughly one widget or accessory every other day. So we're looking at about 0.5% on the software and 0.08% on the widgets and accessories!

We just started an Adwords campaign. We get about a 1.4% CTR and that's with the price in the ad, so we're happy about that. The ads have as their keywords our two best selling widgets (I'm talking real specific), and have generated 827 clicks. Of these visitors, none have purchased the widget. In fact, our only purchase was for the software - and we've only had 1 such purchase.

Our site is relatively fast, you typically (always in the case of Adwords), land on the most pertinent page (or one click away), and navigation is pretty standard. I think our design looks professional, though it does need to be cleaned up in some cases. I'd like some more experienced opinions, though. Why wouldn't you buy from us or why do you think others aren't. Keep in mind, our prices are at worst, competative, and in some cases, the best you can find - period.

What should I change?
1) Can I expect more conversions by adding a merchant system?
2) I will be dumping the Paypal shopping cart soon (plan to write my own for ease of customization and integration), so I'll be able to track the purchase process as closely as I'm able to track my visitors.
3) Add contact info? Where?
4) A more taditional store? I don't like them, but do my customers?
5) More thumbnails and less product descriptions on the main pages?
6) Anything else?

Thanks a lot everyone. With the traffic I get, I should be able to quit my day job, but I'm not there yet... I'd like to be.

-Jon Piper


3:08 am on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I meant to mention that we only accept Paypal payments right now. We'll take a MO from our international customers who can't use Paypal, but we don't advertise that fact.


3:39 am on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Without even looking at your site, I can tell you the "PayPal-only" thing is a problem.

Anyone can get a PayPal account, and everyone knows this. They also know that there are no real verification procedures. Man, if I told you how EASY it was to fool an address verification system your head would explode. (You know, the systems that determine whether the address you enter matches the billing address for your credit card or not).

Anyway ... you're probably losing a lot of business on that alone. When I see a site that only accepts PayPal, I surf elsewhere. There is just nothing that tells me they're legit. Granted anyone can get a merchant account and having one doesn't prove they're a legitimate business, but at least it's a step - they have to have an address, social security number, tax ID, etc. That's more than PayPal asks for. Plus you have certain protection with your favorite credit card that you don't have with PayPal.

I suggest getting a real merchant account and taking credit cards in ADDITION to PayPal. Check out Wells Fargo, they're a real bank and use the Authorize.Net gateway (the best IMHO) - since they're a national you cut out the middle-man that you have to go through for most other merchant accounts.

For me personally, my PayPal account is my "Extra money". I usually have anywhere from $10 - $200 in there from selling stuff on ebay and what not. If I come to a site that only accepts PayPal, I run the other way. If I come to a site that accepts both, I'll usually go for PayPal first if I have money in there just because it's convenient.

Just my 2 cents.


4:47 am on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I dig... I know it's a problem for some (perhaps many), but is getting a merchant account good for increasing my conversions by a factor of 10-20? There's gotta be something else.


4:51 am on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

> There's gotta be something else.

Perhaps your product doesn't lend itself to impulse buying.

For instance, let's say its targeted to business. Now, before Joe Salaryman can whip out the company CC, he's gotta run it by his boss and accounting, and .... well, then there's the Paypal factor.


5:06 am on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'll give you that - these aren't impulse buy products. In fact, our software is simply a tool to help you pick the right one! Only some of our business is B2B, and the amount of it is is small companies where it's the boss who lands on our site.

Is the conversion rate on a non-impulse buy product that much lower? After all, the people landing on my site are invariably at least considering purchasing one of these widgets. Sure, some of our traffic is information gathering, but lots of it has got to be oyrchase oriented.

Thanks for the ideas... keep them coming.


5:35 am on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I think PayPal is definitely a problem but not the complete one. The biggest problem is that your stuff sells for $400-550.

This is just not the stuff that most people would want to buy readily through the Internet. Certainly, this is not the stuff that people would buy on impulse.

I would personally prefer to buy through a bricks and mortar so that I can see and test the stuff even though price may be more expensive.If anything, your present conversion rate is not bad at all. I would suggest you consider expanding into carrying lower cost items.

Import Export

5:53 am on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I've got a terrible conversion rate - what to do?

IMO you have 2 options.

1-Find out what the current traffic on your site is looking for and supply exactly that.

2-Look for new streams of traffic that demand what you currently supply.


5:57 am on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Perhaps it doesn't matter as much as I think it would (being someone who buys just about everything online), but these same parts would run almost twice that in a store. We do offer some cheaper parts - anything from $100 up to $4000, but out most popular products run in the $400-$700 range.


8:50 am on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

what's the domain of your site? can't exactly find it in your profile.



2:22 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Your profile has no homepage listed so we can't see your web site - I'm guessing an admin whacked it for you...

From your original post,

3) Add contact info? Where

If you don't have an easy way for the customer to find out who you are, where you are and how to contact you by phone and e-mail, you're definitely losing a lot of business.

Who wants to buy a product (an expensive one at that) from some web site where you can't tell who and where the vendor is, and with no way to contact them directly? I absolutely despise websites that only provide a "comments" form and no e-mail address, no phone number and no physical address. What are they hiding?

If you're going to be a legitimate business, treat it more like a brick-and-mortar store: You have an address, a phone number and a name - make sure your customers know that.

A real shopping cart with PayPal as one payment option among many would go a long way toward getting more sales. We hash it out regularly here, but PayPal just doesn't come across as legitimate to many shoppers who (incorrectly) associate PayPal only with eBay auctions.


2:50 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

That's weird, when I click on my profile, I see the home page loud and clear. Don't want to post it here... I've sent a sticky to those who asked for it.

About the contact info: we do list an email address (and always respond within 24 hours - usually within 1-2 hours), and have a webform for sending us an email. All we don't have is a phone number or address. Where should we display it? How much will it help?


2:57 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sem4u is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I would expect your phone number and address to be displayed in the 'contact us' section at least.

What if something goes wrong with the product? I wouldn't want to reply on e-mail support for something costing so much.

Also, without a phone number you may be missing out on people who want to actually speak to you about your product.


3:09 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


Can you send me a sticky with your homepage as well


3:10 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I can tell you right away that accepting PayPal only is ging to cause you some major problems.

I believe that it was touched on before...impulse buying is the lifeblood of the internet.


3:20 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

re: website in profile

you can't see new member's URLs in their profile until they've posted X number of times.

I can't remember how many it is, exactly.

if you make your email address publically viewable ie (info@site-i-want-ppl-to-see.com) you can "hack" around it.


3:26 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks for the explanation and tip, gnomedeplum.

You can now see my domain name in my contact email address.



3:38 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


Keep this advice simple. Look at it from a consumer's perspective. I looked at the turbo calculators on your site, then your competition. When someone is looking to buy a product from you and enters your site there is no idication of payment methods, then when you go to purchase you are redirecting your consumers directly to paypal on an alterior screen.

Conversion rates are easy to maintain:

1)Keep the checkout process to three steps.
2)Keep the consumer whithin your site, and maintain the impulse buy.
3)Make them very aware of payment before and during the checkout process, and diversify payment methods.
4)Keep it quick simple and easy...thats the point of the internet anyway..right?


3:50 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

You might consider rebating the software cost if they later purchase a widget from you.


3:53 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The first thing that jumps out at me about your site is the huge glaring typo "ATRICLES" in the black "bar" near the top. That immediately lowered my expectations about what the rest of the site would be like. Sure, it's a small thing, but it definitely impacts visitor perception. If you're not a good speller or proof-reader, find someone who can help you before you post a new page - takes just seconds and can make a big difference.

I'd expect to see a name, physical address, phone number and e-mail address on the 'contact us' page. I'd also expect to see an 'about us' type page that gives customers a bit of insight as to who you are, your background in the business and why YOU are the best source for the product you're selling. I'd also expect to see a "policies" page where explain your order policy, shipping costs, how you handle returns, a privacy statement that makes the customer comfortable that their personal information will remain private, etc. (BTW -- you'll almost certainly need to have *all* of those kind of pages before you'll get approved for a merchant account if you decide to do your own credit card processing).

There are a lot of other look-and-feel inconsistencies that I think might be scaring customers away. The presentation of items and prices varies - sometimes the price is in a "box" and sometimes it's just in bold print. It appears that some products have a variable price based on the options you pick. But it still looks goofy to have the prices presented so differently.

The bottom line for me (and I hope you don't take this personally; I offer it as constructive criticism) is that your site just doesn't look very professional or legitimate to me -- if I were in the market for your (high-dollar) products and was comparing your site to a competing site that looked more professional, I'd go with the other site even if the prices were higher.

Good luck - I think with a little work, you'll start seeing more sales.


4:02 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The more expensive a product is, the more you have to work at providing a sufficient comfort level for your potential customers.

I do an awful lot of surfing for my business, looking for new products, etc. And I do an awful lot of online purchasing, as well. Right or wrong, if I come across a site that only accepts PayPal, I immediately think "small, and possibly inexperienced." Now, I might take a chance on purchasing a $10 product from a "small, and possibly inexperienced" merchant, but there's no way I'd take a chance on one with a $1000 purchase.

When a customer can't hold, feel, and otherwise manipulate the product you're trying to sell, then perception becomes everything. "PayPal-only" and $1000 products don't go together, IMHO, so I'd steer clear of your site.

Just my 2 3/4 cents. :)



4:17 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I totally agree with the others posting here. I wouldn't buy from someone without prominent contact information or someone who only accepts paypal!

Especially bigger ticket items!

I hope we aren't helping a scam artist, this is the kind of information we don't want them to know even though it is very basic.

Your homepage does not show in your profile, but others do. Maybe you need to delete it and then go back and re-enter it, making sure [www....] is in it.


4:31 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

jonpiper, it looks like you've come to the right place for suggestions;) All the advice in this thread should help your conversion rate. I would like to back up a few suggestions already made from my own experience.

> add contact info
> I'd also expect to see a "policies" page

These are both crucial, especially a phone number. You want a toll free telephone number where people can reach you during regular business hours. Many people won't buy from a site before they talk to someone, and many people still won't buy online period. If you want to increase your conversion rate immedialty, you need to be able take orders over the phone.

One thing I haven't seen mentioned in this thread is "call to action". It took me a while to find out where to see and get details on your product and where to buy it. You want this stuff to jump out at people as soon as they see your page. Good luck.


4:39 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

A note on making yourself easily contactable ...

Why not put your address, telephone and fax numbers, and email address at the bottom of each page? You could get an 800 toll free number in minutes, and for very little ... instant reassurance for the customer.

If you have a registered business number I would put it down there too. A lot of surfers scan the page and end up at the bottom, it would o no harm to prominently display your contact info there.


4:49 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Well, sounds like there's plenty of room for improvement! LOL. Thanks for the great suggestions guys. If you have more... keep them coming. I need all the help I can get.

1) You are not helping a scam artist. I'm trying to make a good living... but a completely honest one!

2) A problem people are pointing out is the difficulty of finding the products for sale from the homepage. We have the difficulty (and also advantage) of offering a piece of software which is quickly (we hope) becoming the industry standard for aid in selecting a properly matched widget. We started selling widgets because that's what so many of our visitors landing on our page were looking for. At the same time we made drastic changes to our copy advertising the software and saw a significant sales increase from that. So we have 3 main areas in the site: 1) software sales and info, 2) widget sales, 3) free technical information. Our current navigation may prove confusing to many people getting between each section. Once you're in the right section, no problem, but getting there can be somewhat confusing. This problem may be more bearable for may visitors since they typically land on a page which has what they're looking for or can easily get them there (even if it's in a different section). If you have any suggestions for how to organize my site better, I'm all ears.

3) I'll add contact info on my page. Probably 800 number on the top or bottom of all pages, and address on the contact page. For your big ticekt items how many people would you say prefer to make the sale over the phone as opposed to online? Like I said, I've got a day job (it's flexible and in an entirely different industry), so I won't be able to answer the phone on demand 9-5. Is this going to be a problem? If my sales pick up enough, I'm hoping to be able to support a career change into this industry and open up and R&D center (my love), and perhaps a retail store, etc. But I can't do that until I know I can take care of my family from the online portion.

4) My current "brick-and-mortor" location is actually just my home office. I'll provide my address, but probably not a picture of the location. This will all change when I start making enough money to change it. Chicken and the egg.

5) We'll get a policies page going too. That's been in the works for a little while now.

6) We've been talking to some merchant providers, and hope to move forward with that soon. We'll have to setup a shopping cart, etc, before it's practical, however.



12:45 am on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Don't provide your home address ... I mean I know you're trying to help with reputation and all, but it's a really bad idea to put your home address on a business website.

Go down to a place like Mailboxes Etc. and get a box with them. You'll get an address that "looks like" a suite on paper, and you can put that on your website.

You don't want to put up an address that anyone can determine in seconds whether it's residential or not - I often search addresses to see if they are home-based businesses before I buy something, when an address is available. Guess which kind I don't buy from? :)


1:36 am on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

How would you be able to tell it's residential?


2:29 am on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Quite a few ways ... Realtor sites, UPS, FedEx, Airborne Express, etc. You can also go to many City/County websites and determine by zoning whether a particular address is residential or commercial. And if you can't find anything online, you can always call the city. Plus if you give out a phone number too (or if there is one on WHOIS) then it makes it even easier and opens up literally hundreds of search options to determine whether the address is business or residential.

The question is why would you want to put your home address up anyway? I mean, even if no one could figure it out - you really want anyone with a web browser to know where you live?


2:36 am on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Well, the zoning is LO (limited offices) - so it is really an office. It's downtown in my city, so on a map it would look like a business, and it was previously owned by a business. I don't know... I suppose I run the risk of someone deciding to swing on down, and seeing my "facilities". But that will be 1 in how many thousand people.


2:05 pm on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

> For your big ticekt items how many people would you say prefer to make the sale over the phone as opposed to online?
With the site I work on, the average sale is about $350 - products range from $20 - $2,000. I'd say about 50-70% of our sales come over the phone versus online. I should point out that people do have a lot of questions about our products, though.

> Like I said, I've got a day job (it's flexible and in an entirely different industry), so I won't be able to answer the phone on demand 9-5. Is this going to be a problem?
I don't think so. As long as you have a reliable voicemail, tell people in your message you'll get back to them within X amount of time, and then follow through with that.

This 43 message thread spans 2 pages: 43

Featured Threads

Hot Threads This Week

Hot Threads This Month