Understanding the average ecommerce conversion rate (CVR) is important for you to get an idea of how well your site is performing and how you can improve. Although, as we’ll establish later, there are a number of factors you should consider when you compare your conversion rates to others.
Still, conversion rate is one of the most important metrics for an ecommerce store. The better your conversion rate, the more effectively you’re converting your store’s visitors into paying customers.
Increasing CVR should be a goal for any store. Read on and we’ll show you the overall ecommerce average, average conversion rates for different categories and a few factors to take into account, before sharing some conversion rate optimization tips for your business.
What’s a Good Conversion Rate for an Ecommerce Store?
According to IRP Commerce, the average ecommerce conversion rate across all industries and categories is 1.89%.
Before you start cheering (or crying) because your store’s conversion rate is above (or below) that average, understand that the market average conversion rate is far too broad to paint a picture of how well your site is performing.
You’ll be better to compare your site to the average for your industry - but even then, there are many other things that influence whether your conversion rate is good or not, which we’ll share a little later.
How to Calculate Conversion Rate
You calculate conversion rate by dividing your total number of orders by the total number of site visitors.
Using the average ecommerce conversion rate as an example, this would mean that for every 10,000 visitors, 189 make a purchase.
189 / 10,000 = 0.0189 (1.89%)
Completed orders per site visit is the generally accepted formula if we’re talking about ecommerce conversion rate. But you can use conversion rate for a lot of different metrics and conversion events, such as:
- Add to carts
- Email signups
- Form submissions
- App downloads
- Customer service inquiries
- Video views
- Landing page views
- Clicks from a specific traffic channel
For example, you could use conversion rate to define how many people claimed a coupon code after viewing a landing page, if this is what you wanted to test and optimize for.
The point being that conversion rate is a very broad and flexible term. For the purposes of this article, though, we’ll keep it simple and just talk about your basic purchase conversion rate.
Average Ecommerce Conversion Rates by Industry
You want to know what a good ecommerce conversion rate is? This figure can vary greatly depending on the product category. So you’ll be better off comparing your store’s CVR against the average CVR from your industry/category, rather than taking the overall average conversion rate.
Here’s the benchmark for a few of the most popular ecommerce categories:
- Arts and Crafts: 4.60%
- Baby & Child: 0.78%
- Cars and Motorcycling: 1.33%
- Electrical & Commercial Equipment: 1.44%
- Fashion Clothing & Accessories: 1.57%
- Food & Drink: 1.36%
- Health and Wellbeing: 3.56%
- Home Accessories and Giftware: 1.49%
- Kitchen & Home Appliances: 2.97%
- Pet Care: 2.01%
- Sports and Recreation: 1.72%
- Toys, Games & Collectibles: 1.68%
These figures show why it’s so important to compare your conversion rate to the industry average, rather than the average commerce conversion rates across the market as a whole.
If you were selling a product in the Health and Wellbeing market with a conversion rate of 2%, you might think that your conversion rate is above average if you only look at the broad average. Yet by looking at the average for this category, you’ll find you’re actually below average.
Still, this is not the be all and end all. This conversion rate might actually be ok, depending on certain factors we will establish very shortly.
Mobile vs Desktop Conversion Rates
We need to consider device type when looking at average ecommerce conversion rates as well.
This is most likely due to the sub-par user experience many websites offer on mobile, as well as the distractions and usability issues present with most mobile websites.
This presents a clear opportunity for growth if you can improve your user experience and conversion rate on mobile. We’ll share a great way to do this later on in the article.
Why Ecommerce Conversion Rate Benchmarks Don't Tell the Whole Story
Conversion rate is important, no doubt. Improving conversion rate is almost always going to result in better revenue and profitability. But there are a number of reasons why comparing your conversion rate to the industry average, or to another store, can be deceiving.
A “good” conversion rate for one store may be not-so-good for another. Or it could be incredible for one store and alarming for another.
That’s because of the range of factors that influence conversion rate. You need to take all these factors into consideration before deciding whether or not your conversion rate is acceptable or not.
Higher priced items usually have a lower conversion rate. These products require more thought and deliberation from customers before making the decision to buy or not. Often you’ll find people take a look at the product, shop around, check reviews and recommendations, and if they decide to buy, it will be after a longer period of time.
A lower conversion rate is expected and acceptable for high-ticket items. The value of each purchase is higher, so you can be ok with a lower volume of sales.
You also need to consider where your customers are coming to you from.
Customers from different traffic sources have different levels of awareness and intent. Customers from some sources are hyper-focused on making a purchase and thus will have a higher average conversion rate. While others will be less focused, and you can expect them to convert at a lower rate.
Here are some conversion rate benchmarks for various traffic sources, according to the same data from Retail Touchpoints/Endertech we shared above:
- Direct: 2.2%
- Email: 5.2%
- Search: 2.1%
- Facebook: 0.9%
- Adwords: 1.4%
- Referral: 5.4%
- Social: 0.7%
To know how well you're doing, consider where you get the majority of your traffic from, and even consider segmenting your conversion rate by traffic source.
If you’re converting 2% of your traffic from Facebook and social media, for example, you’re probably doing very well. A 2% conversion rate from email or referral traffic, however, is not so good.
Some platforms are better suited for conversions than others.
We're generally referring to your own, branded website in this article. But you may be selling products on other platforms, which are better or worse for conversion.
For example, shoppers on a marketplace like Amazon, or on your own mobile app, have higher intent and thus convert at a higher rate than new visitors to your site. While other platforms - like your shopping page on a social media site like Instagram or TikTok - may naturally have a lower conversion rate.
You also want to think about how good your retention rate is. How often do people come back to your site? Do most of your visitors land on the site, look around and leave? Or do people visit, leave, but come back and potentially buy later?
The better your retention rate for visitors and buyers, the lower you can afford your conversion rate to be. You can still benefit from increasing that rate, but you may be able to maintain good revenue and profitability with a lower than average CVR.
Similar to the section above, think about what you’re doing to retarget site visitors and market to them after they leave your site.
If you’re not doing any retargeting, it’s extremely important that you convert people the first time they land on your site. But if you have a good retargeting funnel, you can get by with a lower conversion rate.
Finally, take into account any “secondary” conversions, other than purchases.
Do you have a newsletter or VIP list signup form? Is there anything else, such as a demo or a pre-sale inquiry form, that signals intent and higher likelihood of the customer ultimately making a purchase?
You prefer to get the purchase, of course, but a very high secondary conversion rate can make up for a lower than average purchase rate.
How to Increase Your Conversion Rate
Now onto what you really want to know: how to increase your conversion rate.
A higher conversion rate is something that benefits any ecommerce store. Generally, this means more revenue, more profit and a lower average customer acquisition cost.
There's no shortage of ways that ecommerce websites can increase their conversion rates. Here are some of our top ecommerce conversion rate optimization tips.
Improve site speed
A slow website is one of the top reasons people bounce and don’t convert. So one of the first things you should look at when it comes to ecommerce conversion rate optimization is site speed.
A few things you can do to improve your site speed includes optimizing the images on your site, getting rid of any bloated plugins or apps, and using a CDN (content delivery network). You may even want to move your site to a different host if your load speed is significantly slower than average.
Build more social proof
In ecommerce (and all business), social proof is king. Customers want to see proof that other people bought the product and loved it in order to be comfortable making a purchase themselves.
Reviews are the most common way to display social proof in ecommerce. Make sure you’ve got reviews on your product pages - the more positive reviews, the better. Consider other ways you can show social proof as well, such as recommendations from influencers or other brands, or more impactful reviews, like video reviews.
Get better (or more) product images
Images are another key for ecommerce sites. Since customers can’t see or feel the product, they rely on images to get a good understanding of what they're about to buy.
If your images are unclear or unconvincing, the customer isn’t going to buy. Make sure you have clear, high-quality images, showing the product from a variety of angles and in different use cases and environments.
Add video to product pages
Videos are even more effective than images for showing off your product to potential buyers.
A video gives a more immersive look at the product and a better demonstration of what the customer is about to buy. Many customers prefer to consume content in video form too, so adding a video explaining the features and benefits of your product may help convert a wider range of visitors.
Cut down your copy
Written content is still important, and a lot of ecommerce sites have room for improvement in their copywriting.
Most commonly, this means condensing your copy. Online shoppers don’t want to read walls of text, especially with today’s shortening attention spans. The more concise you can be with your copy, while still communicating why the reader should buy your product, the better.
Add product FAQs
Potential customers often have a few questions about the product. They can get these questions answered when shopping in-store, but ecommerce sites aren’t always as convenient.
Shoppers often have to take a leap of faith and make a purchase with these questions unanswered, or search around online for answers (which gives the opportunity for other sites to jump in and steal the sale).
Do your best to answer any common questions on the product page, and give the customer everything they need to comfortably make a purchase (like Amazon does in their Q&A section).
Put a live chat on your website
If you want to take your conversion rate optimization efforts a step further, provide a live chat bubble for customers to interact with a member of your team and get any questions answered in real time.
The added cost of having someone on hand to answer questions all the time won’t be worth it for some stores, but for higher priced items it may be a smart move.
Test different CTAs
A/B tests are a great way to make small, low-effort changes to your site and assess what difference they make to conversion rate.
One of the easiest areas to test are your call-to-actions (CTAs). Switch up the text on your CTA buttons, the color, position, and more. You might find the difference is not statistically significant, or you might find a small change makes a big impact on your conversion rate.
Streamline the checkout process
In general, less friction means more conversions. The longer and more complicated it is to check out, the more chance there is of a potential customer dropping off and leaving.
You want to make this process as simple as possible. A lot of checkout flows require a lot of additional information from the customer, which is valuable to you, but weigh up the choice of collecting this information vs shortening the checkout process.
You might want to allow guest checkout, where people can make a purchase without creating an account, or integrate with mobile payment solutions like Google/Samsung/Apple Pay.
Build an app
Our last tip to help you increase your conversion rate is to create a mobile app for your store.
This is one of the best ways to increase conversion rate for users on mobile devices, which as we established, is around half that of desktop.
A mobile app provides a better, smoother user experience than a mobile website, leading to higher conversion rates. On top of this, without other browser tabs in the picture, there are fewer distractions and less chance for the user’s attention to be diverted to other sites.
The data backs this up, as apps convert on average 3x as much as mobile websites.
In addition, getting your app into the app stores is a big social proof signal. Just being able to display the “Available on the App Store” badges on your site may even boost conversion rate for your desktop website visitors, by showing them that your brand is legitimate and trustworthy enough to have your own app.
Want to read more about ecommerce mobile apps and why you need one for your business? This Ultimate Guide has everything you'll ever need to know about ecommerce apps and mobile commerce.
How to Build an App for Your Site
Building your own shopping app is easier and more affordable than you might think. Gone are the days when the only way to do it was to pay developers tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars for a custom mobile app.
With MobiLoud, you can launch native apps for a fraction of the cost, in less than a month. Instead of building custom apps from scratch (which is expensive and time-consuming), MobiLoud converts your existing website, with all your existing themes, plugins, apps and custom features, into mobile apps.
This lets you get into the app stores and onto your user’s home screen, contact users with push notifications and give customers a better mobile UX.
Your apps and website are fully synced, meaning you still just have one platform to manage moving forward.
Rainbow Apparel is just one of many examples of ecommerce websites who launched an app with MobiLoud. VP of Marketing David Cost had this to say:
“The expense isn’t that big, and operationally, there’s not that much we have to do for the app. It’s a no-brainer, especially when you add push notifications on top.”
They also found that their conversion rate increased after launching their MobiLoud app - proof that this can be a great way to increase conversion rate for your store too.
Curious about whether an app is right for you? Click here to book a free demo and see a live prototype of your site as an app.
Increasing your conversion rate is one of the key steps to building a more profitable and successful online store. The average conversion rates across all ecommerce businesses shows there's a lot of room for growth here.
Understand the ecommerce conversion rate benchmarks for your industry and calculate how your website's conversion rate compares. Just be sure to take into account the other factors we mentioned, like price point, traffic source and retention rate.
Even if your conversion rates are above average, it's still worth putting effort into improving it. Use the tips from this post as a guide - a faster site, with better images and a more streamlined checkout flow is a good start.
If you want to go a step further, build an app. This is the best way to boost conversion rates on mobile, and also increases retention, unlocks the power of push notifications and positions your brand as an authority in your field.