Why Conversion Rate is The Wrong Way To Go
Conversion rate is calculated by taking the total number of orders and dividing that by the total number of visitors—a simple enough calculation but maybe, a bit too simple. The analysis above only considers two endpoints- a user landing on your site and a user making a purchase. But user behavior on a website is never that straightforward.
If you had a brick-and-mortar store, how would you measure its success? If you were to go by conversion rate, you would need someone outside the store, counting how many people walk in, and at the end of the day, divide that into the number of people who bought something. That number doesn’t uncover the number of people who walk in and leave 5 minutes later without purchasing anything. It doesn’t point out someone who bought three items but at one point had put six other products in their shopping cart.
So what is the best way to measure the health of your eCommerce store? The conversion rate only tells you how many people bought something but not about the ones who come to your site, view some products, maybe add something to their cart, and then leave without buying anything. It’s essential to pay attention to these users because they have already taken the first step of entering your store, but if you don’t understand how they interact with your site, you won’t know where to improve. It’s easier and cheaper to focus on converting existing users than putting time and money into bringing in new qualified traffic.
Now that we’ve gone through why conversion rate is misleading let’s get into the metrics that matter. When someone visits your online store, they go on a journey, they move through several crucial steps on the way to checkout, and five key conversion metrics measure the success of each stage.
The 5 Conversion Metrics You Should Pay Attention To
- Bounce rate
- Found Product (PDP Views)
- Add to Cart
- Cart Abandonment
- Checkout Abandonment
Bounce Rate = all sessions/single page session
The bounce rate represents the success of the first step a new customer takes: finding your site. It’s the percentage of visitors who land on your site and leave without viewing any other pages or taking any action on the site.
Bounce rates can range widely from site to site but generally fall between 30%-70%. If your bounce rate is 70% or higher, you want to make changes to bring the percentage down.
There are a couple of reasons why a store might have a high bounce rate:
- Load time– site speed affects bounce rate and site performance the most. Nobody wants to sit around and wait for a web page to load, even if it’s only a couple of seconds. Conversion rates drop with every extra second of load time. You can increase site speed by compressing images, leveraging browser caching, and reducing redirects.
- Design, layout, and user experience- look at site design and layout as if you were an unknowing customer. People may leave your site without interacting because they didn’t find what they came for in the first place. Or it could be time to update your UI/UX.
A high bounce rate can also negatively affect SEO and Google Ads campaigns. With Google Ads, you bid on keywords in hopes that your ad will show up more when someone searches for those keywords. But it might not be enough to get your ad posted because Google ranks ads based on bid dollars and the Quality Score. Your Quality Score is based on CPC and bounce rate, and the lower your bounce rate is, the higher your ad ranks.
Bounce rate can be found in Google Analytics Universal under Behavior-Overview. Choose the date range in the upper right-hand corner. In Google Analytics 4, the bounce rate has been replaced with engaging sessions. Engaged sessions can be found under Acquisition-Overview.[Note: this metric is the bounce rate site-wide, but it’s equally important to take a look at specific pages.]
PrintNow helps decrease bounce rate: PrintNow is a cloud-hosted platform, ensuring healthy site speed. It’s customizable and offers multiple updated themes and design elements that encourage visitors to explore.
Found Product (PDP views)
Found Product (PDP views) = total site users/product page views
For those users who find your store and decide to stay for a little bit, the next step in their journey is to find the product(s) they want.
Product Detail Page (PDP) views are the number of users who view a product page. While it’s often overlooked, it is crucial for one reason: almost all site visitors will pass through a product detail page on the way to buying something.
PDP views can tell you if users find what they are looking for and also indicate if shoppers are just browsing or searching for something specific. Once you understand why they are on your site, you can plan actions to keep those users moving towards a purchase.
When looking at this metric, it’s a good idea to look at it from two sides: the PDP views per conversion and user. Calculating these metrics is straightforward: PDP Views/Users and PDP Views/Transactions. This will show behavior differences between customers who ultimately buy and those who don’t.
Low PDP views can largely be due to poor search functionality and bad navigation and taxonomy.
Site users who search for items on a site are more likely to purchase products than users just browsing. So you want to ensure that users can find what they’re looking for on your site. Search functionality takes logic and design while considering search types, autocomplete, and results page.
You don’t want to ignore the browsing shoppers who rely on navigation. When site navigation and taxonomy follow proper UX and design, it clears the way for users to get to a product detail page quickly. Main navigation presents overall categories and offerings while laying out the path towards specific products. If users find navigation challenging to follow or frustrating due to poor sorts, they won’t stick around. When fixing navigation, areas to focus on include categories, subcategories, menu type, and location.
PDP Views can be found in Google Analytics Universal under reports go to Conversions – Ecommerce – Shopping Behavior Analysis. In Google Analytics 4 this information can be found under Life Cycle-Monetization.[Note: this metric is the bounce raNote: Enhanced eCommerce view is required for access to this report (turn on Enhanced Ecommerce)
How PrintNow helps increase Found Product: Built-in features to quickly and accurately executes advanced product searches, ensuring users find precisely what they are looking for. Layered navigation also narrows customer searches using filters for any attribute; merchants can add different product attribute sets.
Add to Cart
Add to Cart = total site users/add to carts
Customers’ next step is adding select items to the cart. As the name implies, Add to Cart is the percentage of users who have added an item(s) to their cart.
At this point, the shopper is on the product detail page and has some level of purchase intent. Add-to-cart rates are tightly correlated to Product Detail Pages, especially UX and design. Low rates can be from poor placement of the add-to-cart function, lack of product descriptions, poor customer reviews, and other layout errors.
Site users who fall within the target customer segment are likely to spend most of their time on product pages. Following guidelines and research on UX best practices can significantly impact increasing conversions.
Some key areas to pay attention to are: product descriptions, clear call to action, customer reviews, mobile design, and page layout.
Add to Cart Rate can be found in Google Analytics Universal Under reports, go to Conversions – Ecommerce – Shopping Behavior Analysis. In Google Analytics 4, this information can be found under Life Cycle-MonetizationNote: Enhanced eCommerce view must access this report (turn on Enhanced Ecommerce).
How PrintNow helps increase Add to Cart: flexible design allows products to be displayed in a user-friendly and easy-to-navigate layout.
Cart Abandonment = orders/add to carts
Cart abandonment is the percentage of visitors who add an item(s) to their cart but leave your site before actually purchasing.
Cart abandonment rates can be high due to general shopping behavior. Shoppers use the “add to cart” function as a wishlist. They see something they like and throw it into the cart without having the intention to purchase it. Or there are the comparison shoppers who place an item in a cart, get a cost estimate, and then search for similar items on other sites.
There’s not much you can do to get those shoppers to complete the checkout process but keep this in mind when evaluating your store’s cart abandonment.
Here are a few of the top barriers shoppers face when dealing with shopping carts:
- Shipping, delivery, and payment information Be sure that all relevant information, including shipping cost, estimated delivery time, acceptable payment options, is listed and easy to understand.
- Navigation from cart to rest of site and vice versa easy navigation is essential throughout your site, including cart. Customers should have easy options when going from their shopping to their cart. Giving them the option to view their cart after adding an item, continue shopping without viewing their cart, or leave their cart and return to shopping quickly will help.
- Cart indicator When users add to the cart, they like to see an indicator on the cart icon letting them know how many items they have. It may be a small detail, but it’s important and effective.
Abandoned cart emails are a great way to win back customers and remind them of what they left behind.
Cart Abandonment Rate can be found in Google Analytics Universal. Under reports, go to Conversions – Ecommerce – Shopping Behavior Analysis. In Google Analytics 4 this information can be found under Life Cycle-Monetization.Note: Enhanced eCommerce view is required to access this report (turn on Enhanced Ecommerce).
PrintNow helps decrease Abandon Cart: cart abandonment emails are automatically triggered when customers abandon their cart.
Checkout Abandonment = orders/users who initiated checkout
Checkout abandonment is the number of visitors who begin checking out and leave without completing the purchase.
There are many reasons why someone might walk away while making a purchase. The top reasons mostly include:
- Slow or glitchy checkout.
- Demanding the creation of a customer account.
- Too many steps.
- A bad return policy.
Overall, customers will not hesitate to leave if the checkout process takes long, feels complicated, or does not work correctly.
Having an option for a customer to purchase as a guest on your site is a great help in keeping customers during check out. It’s also essential to make sure the performance of your checkout is always working smoothly.
Checkout Abandonment Rate can be found in Google Analytics Universal Under reports go to Conversions – Ecommerce – Shopping Behavior Analysis. In Google Analytics 4 this information can be found under Life Cycle go to Monetization.Note: Enhanced eCommerce view is required to access this report (turn on Enhanced Ecommerce).
PrintNow helps decrease Abandoned Checkout: PrintNow’s streamlined process ensures quick and easy checkout.
What Does All This Mean for You and Your Site?
Now that you know the accurate way to measure your site’s success and what you can do to improve, it seems like a lot of information to take in, and many data points to measure and interpret, but overall, it doesn’t take much. A minor increase or decrease in any metrics impacts your sales and how your customers view your site. A slight percentage increase in add-to-cart or decrease in bounce rate can add a lot to your bottom line.
PrintNow is designed with all this in mind. Its features help improve conversion metrics and deliver continuous growth.
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