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HELP! My conversion rate dropped! What do I do?!

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Conversion Optimization

It happens to everyone at some point. The conversion rate on your site drops, and you are not sure why. Conversion rates are widely used as a “success gauge” these days. “How well is my site converting?” is a popular question for merchants to ask themselves. Some companies actually look at their site’s conversion rate before revenue as a measure of their online success. So you can imagine, when that number goes down, people start to panic.

What is a Conversion Rate?

For those of you who don’t know, the conversion rate is the ratio of visits to a desired goal or action, most commonly a sale. So, if you get 100 visitors and 1 order, your conversion rate would be 1%. Simple math.

First thing to remember, is that a drop in your conversion rate isn’t always a reason to panic. There are many reasons why a conversion rate might drop like a new rush of traffic to the site based on new marketing. Click here to see a pretty good post on this topic by Adobe.

Nevertheless, if you’ve noticed a drop in your site’s conversion rate, here some things to consider:

1. Traffic

Has your traffic had a sudden spike? Has a marketing campaign, or a referrer link suddenly driven many more people to your site? It is important to remember that new traffic isn’t always “qualified” traffic. I’ve seen retailers use their site to drive in-store traffic. Imagine what “bring a print-out from our site to a store and get 10% off” does to your traffic, and on-site conversions. Also, has traffic dropped? A change in an SEM campaign or bad SEO ranking can have a serious impact in site traffic.

2. Merchandise

Has your catalog seen a major change in the items available? Often right after a big sale, many popular items are left in odd sizes, or with little inventory. This can have a serious impact on your conversion. People can’t find what they are looking for. The same goes for pricing, sometimes sale items drive the conversions.

3. Site Changes

When we have a customer who’s conversion rate shifts, one of the first things we ask ourselves is “What changes have been made to the site?”. There is a possibility that a change to the site has caused an error, or had a negative impact on the user experience, thus stopping people from completing their order. Sometimes it is a simple thing like a password has changed on the payment processor.

In The End…

No matter what, conversion rates will always fluctuate. It’s part of the fun of doing business online. The key thing is not to panic, and keep an eye out. Consider what the causes might be and make a change, or take preventative action in the future. Remember, if you were converting once, you can be again!

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