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Poor Conversion Rates Explained

There’s been a common theme for many of the conversations I’ve had with new clients recently: poor traffic conversion rates.

It’s a subject, like many in the world of marketing, that is completely subjective – it will depend entirely on your business, the market sector, your product, your prices, competitors and a whole host of other things. But there is a common thread with many sites that you may want to consider:

Is your visitor ready to convert?

If you’re selling commodity items like CDs or DVDs, or consumable products, the chances are that your buyer has the budget, their hand on their credit card and may just be looking for the cheapest price. Comparatively easy pickings.

However, for many businesses (for example, those selling services, fashion products, interior design products, expensive jewellery, cars, property etc.), visitors clicking on Google ads are a different proposition; sure, they may have a budget, a desire or a need, but it’s likely that they haven’t quite decided exactly what the solution is.

We’re talking about buying cycles, and their length and the stages in them vary significantly for every business.

Let’s use the example of buying a fashion handbag. I’m not talking about a £20 bag from a supermarket, I mean several hundred pounds on a designer bag.

There will be a small segment of this market that will make an impulse buy when they see the right bag on a site, and there are those that are in the latter stages of their buying cycle when they land on a site, but the majority of the traffic is still pondering, still deciding, still browsing.

  • Some are dreaming of buying, but don’t have the budget yet.
  • Some have the budget, but aren’t quite sure what they want – they’re looking for inspiration.
  • Some are planning to buy for that special occasion, and will save up.
  • Some are looking for a gift idea, and want to suggest that someone else buy it for them.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t help your conversion tracking data. Google only tracks when someone clicks your ad and then buys during that visit, there’s no simple way of knowing if that person returned bought later.

For many Ecommerce sites, a visitor has but two simple options: buy, or leave. Most will leave.

But there is a better way – choice. Give your visitor a choice, make it easy for them to browse similar products that might interest them. Engage them in a discussion, offer some help, some advice. Make it easy for them to tell a friend, or add it to their wish list and email them a reminder, or some other products as they come in to stock.

Become a companion through the buying journey – and you’ll still be there at the end when the purchase is made.

The quality of the traffic that you’ll get will also depend on the keywords that you’re bidding on for both pay-per-click and SEO; a search for “handbag” would typically identify someone early in their buying cycle, still browsing. Whilst a search for “red leather handbag”, or a search including a specific brand and model name or number would indicate someone later in the cycle, more clear about their need and closer to making that purchase. Find out how to improve your PPC traffic quality.

You can get an objective site review and learn how you can improve your conversion rate – talk to me about how this works:

Speak with a SpecialistGet a User Experience Audit