Conversion Wednesday – Identifying Conversion Rate Bottlenecks

By Dan G


The Bottleneck Issue

So everybody knows that Conversion Rate Bottlenecks hurt your bottom line. You want your site to be intuitive and easy to use; so the maximum amount of the traffic you do get turns into conversions.

The many steps it takes a visitor to navigate thru your site and turn into a customer gives us several opportunities in each of those steps to make improvements along the way. This is what we’ll be discussing today.

Identifying Your Issues

You start taking on this issue by using your analytics data, which for most viewers will be accessible through Google Analytics. Now if you run an e-commerce store on the Yahoo! Store platform, you would ideally be using Yahoo! Web Analytics for a project like this.

Lets start with segmenting your pages into subsets to see where your biggest problems lie. Those subsets should include: homepage, category pages, then possibly sub-categories if you have them – then of course, you have your product pages and finally the shopping cart. For each set of pages, we want to look closely at the Bounce Rate, Conversion Rate, Entrance Rate, Time on Page and Revenue Impact for each segment of pages.

Not everybody is familiar with what these metrics mean, so here’s a quick run-down.

Bounce rate is the percent of visits to a page that result in only a one-page visit. Essentially, the visitor was turned away for one reason or another.

Conversion rate is the percentage of visitors that converted into customers. This gives you an idea of how influential a type of page (ie. All category pages) were in converting a visitor into a customer. If the conversion rate is low, you may infer that this type of page has been dissuasive for visitors towards making a purchase on your site.

Entrance rate is the percent of entrances to your site that came through that type of page. For example if your category pages have a combined entrance rate of 5%, then 5% of your visitors enter through the category pages and then continue through the site or bounce. This gives you an idea of where you can make the most impact towards reducing your site’s overall bounce rate and engage visitors within the beginning of their experience more effectively.

Time on page is as simple as it sounds – it’s the average time spent on the page type, even if the visit eventually resulted in a bounce from your site.

Revenue impact is calculated differently with Google Analytics and Yahoo Web Analytics. Both try to show how helpful a page or type of page was in creating sales on your site. For both, the higher the number, the better salesmanship that page presents to your visitors. You may wish to consider funneling more visitors through pages that historically have high revenue impact figures.

Fixing The Outliers

Once you’ve discovered your bottom performing section of pages. Start viewing them and put yourself in the customer’s shoes to figure out why the bounce rate is so high, or why your big promotion isn’t getting as many clicks as you would like. You can usually spot your problem areas right away.

Often, its the simplest of changes that can turn around your conversions on these newly found problem pages. Like changing the background color of a promotional banner, or changing the location of an element of your page, or even simply changing your font size and boldness in some cases.

But take a step back before you move forward too quickly. Your goal should be to increase your conversion rates across the board in a systematic, scalable and sustainable way. To get there, you need to come to terms with a methodology of choosing which changes or tests you’ll implement and when. For any page that needs improvement, you can probably come up with hundreds of solutions and scenarios.

What the Exclusive Concepts team has figured out over time is that we need a fixed, retail oriented approach to defining who your visitors are, what their interests are, their inherent shopper personalities and what needs are served by which stage of your site. The needs served by category pages, for example, are vastly different from that of visitors to your shopping cart. From here we can define a series of hypotheses that we think are not just okay, but are truly test-worthy on a site. Tests that are given higher priority because they have the most sound logic behind them, theoretically have the highest probability to create a positive impact for your conversion rate.