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Conversion Rates in Online Retail

It has been widely reported that conversion rates for online retailers have been in decline over the past 12 months. This despite the fact that online retail sales in the UK have jumped to a record high in the same period.

This is due mostly to users becoming more ‘savvy’ by browsing around more. They using comparison sites and site hopping to find the best deals. In fact, conversion rates fell 25% on average between 2008-2009. With one in 20 visits converting into sales in December 09 compared to one in 15 in December 2008.

So how can online retailers counteract such a trend?

One suggestion would be to implement Onsite Comparative Pricing (OCP). Whereby shoppers are provided with comparative pricing information which is visible on the retailer’s page, negating the need for external price comparison sites. WinBuyer are a provider of OCP. Their analysis over the 2009 Xmas period found that providing shoppers with competitors prices helped to increase sales by 5% on participating sites.

Conversion Rates in Online Retail

Meijer.com have also chipped in with ideas. How to increase conversion rates by testing small tweaks to their site which they feel have had an impact. Such alterations include increasing the size of the search bar. Also, making it more visible and improving page load times by up to 50%. Further sources have touted the options of exploiting the use of video. Customer service tools and personalisation to help maintain a steady correlation between the number of visitors and the number of conversions.

While all of the above can certainly play a part in making the most out the traffic which is finding its way to your site, nothing is more important than the actual quality, usability and safety of the website itself. It is also of paramount importance that as much data as possible is tracked for your site so that vital information such as exit links/most viewed pages/top converting products etc can be used to analyse and improve the overall conversion levels.

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