Sales Conversion Rates for Online Shops
Online Shopping | Silvertoad, Luton

A very common question asked by everyone who sells online, is ‘what’s the average conversion rate for an ecommerce store?’ Is your purchasing process more complicated than it needs to be making your shoppers go elsewhere?

Not easy to answer, but that doesn’t mean we can’t at least try to look at industry averages and get a good sense of how we’re performing.


Firstly, it all depends on where the traffic is coming from. Specific terms that are clicked through from search (both organic and CPC) will always convert higher. For example a site receiving visits from users typing ‘heathrow parking’ will convert as high as 20% of those visitors. Whereas someone typing in ‘office christmas party’ will always convert less. This is typically down to the relationship between keyword and variety of options, with christmas parties obviously having way more possible options and consequently a lower conversion rate.

The magic number however that everyone is looking for is between 2-3%. This is across all industries, including all types of traffic. So while it’s certainly possible to achieve higher, I don’t think there are any excuses for converting any less than that.

Benchmarking is made easier if we break down the customer journey into visit > basket > checkout > completion. That way, if we’re not hitting 2% but know the fall-off rate for the journey, we can then at least identify what areas of the site to work on.


So what’s the average shopping cart abandonment rate?
This figure helps us work out whether we have a product issue (not what I’m looking for / too expensive), or checkout issue (expensive posting / complex registration).

What we’ve noticed here is this largely depends on whether or not you’re selling what people need, or what people want. If you’re selling what people want, as opposed to need, you’ll suffer the equivalent of visitors window shopping – clothing stores suffer this the most, as visitors fill up baskets as more of a ‘wishlist’, rather than actually using it as a basket. This doesn’t happen when selling what people may need, as it takes a certain type of bored person to visit sites creating wishlists for batteries or printer toner.

The average abandonment cart rate is 67%, lowering to as low as 50% for ‘need’ type items.

So if you’re converting at less than 2%, but 5% of visitors are at least getting to the basket page, then you know you’re over performing on the first stage of the journey – and the good news is your site has products that your visitors want. However, your checkout process is letting the site down, costing thousands of pounds of lost revenue.

75% of abandonments are due to either complex or overpriced shipping. Other revenue killers are forcing users to register (ASOS halved its abandonment rate by removing the need for customers to register) and of course technical problems. We’ve all shouted ‘I JUST WANT TO BUY SOMETHING’ at a poorly designed ecommerce store, and there’s absolutely no excuse for making it any more difficult than necessary.

So, if you’re contributing to the £13 bn lost a year through cart abandonment, then get in touch! It’s easy to not see the woods for the trees when having just one site to manage, but we do this every day and redesign sites that have more than double in conversion and improved the basket value.  There’s no excuse for converting less than 2%.

Our back-end designs at Silvertoad Ltd. take into consideration much of the above in our designs and understand the habits of online shoppers. Try us out if you if you need an online shop, we have some great digital programmers on our team bending innovation this way and that.

*edited from Rawnet