Why is My E-commerce Conversion Rate So Low?

Exactly what you consider to be an acceptable conversion rate for your online business is down to you to decide. The overall average across all e-commerce sectors falls between 2% and 3%, which depending on your take could be perfectly fine or completely unacceptable.

Either way, the key to stemming the tide of 97% to 98% of potential customers leaving without making a purchase lies in first identifying the cause of the issue. Something which for many e-commerce businesses could be attributed to one or more of the following:

Low Web Traffic Volumes

  • The Problem: Your site's conversion rate won't mean much if not enough people are visiting in the first place.
  • Potential Causes: Lack of visibility on search engines due to poor SEO, insufficient marketing and advertising, or content that does not resonate with your target audience.
  • Solution: Driving more qualified web traffic to your product pages begins with taking a look at your SEO. If it’s been some time since you revisited your organic search strategy, it may have fallen behind the times with the major search engines, or out of favour with your customers.

Complex or Long Checkout Process

  • The Problem: A checkout process that is too complicated or too long can be a major deterrent for potential customers, leading them to leave your site before completing their purchase.
  • Potential Causes: Asking for too much information, a lack of clear navigation, or confusing payment options can frustrate users quickly.
  • Solution: Simplify the checkout process as much as possible. Only request essential information, streamline form fields, provide clear instructions and integrate a variety of payment options. Also, consider adding progress indicators to reassure users they are advancing towards their purchase.

High Bounce Rates

  • The Problem: If visitors are leaving your website shortly after arriving on it, you have a high bounce rate - a clear sign that your site is not meeting user expectations.
  • Potential Causes: Slow page load times, non-engaging content, poor design, or an unclear value proposition can all contribute to high bounce rates.
  • Solution: Optimise your website's performance to ensure it loads quickly. Place equal emphasis on the presentation of your website and the quality/usefulness of the content you publish. Clearly communicate what you offer and why it's valuable, right from the landing page.

High Shopping Cart Abandonment Rates

  • The Problem: Users add items to their shopping cart but leave before making a purchase. This signals lost sales and is a common challenge in e-commerce.
  • Potential Causes: Unexpected costs (like shipping and taxes), mandatory account creation for checkout, lack of trust badges, or a non-responsive website design can all be culprits.
  • Solution: Be transparent about all costs early in the checkout process. Don’t make people sign in or create accounts to check out their orders, and ensure the cross-platform user experience is flawless. High abandonment rates can also be brought under control with meaningful, personalised follow-up emails.

Lack of Personalisation

  • The Problem: In an age where users are bombarded with content and offers, personalisation is key to standing out. Without it, your website may fail to engage visitors.
  • Potential Causes: Failure to use data analytics to understand customer behaviour or the lack of tools to implement personalisation strategies.
  • Solution: Leverage data to deliver tailored content and recommendations. Use cookies and user account information to personalise the shopping experience. Employ tactics such as personalised email marketing campaigns that address users by name and recommend products based on their browsing history.