Insights: 3 Common Leakage Points for E-commerce

CRO can play a critical role in making the most of your acquisition spend, as we explained in our last blog post. Now, let’s look at some examples of this in action.

A quick analysis of the onsite behaviours of users across four fast fashion e-commerce sites illustrates some of the most common reasons for lost sales, and helps us explain how to plug those leaks in your sales funnel.


Mobile is a MUST – consider it CRO 101

Mobile has been at the front of marketers’ minds for at least 5 (probably 10) years now, so why is it we still find ourselves talking to marketing managers who are convinced their audience “probably doesn’t use mobile, so we don’t bother investing in it”?

Regardless of personal opinions and online shopping preference, the data speaks for itself: on average, 75% of traffic for fast fashion sites is mobile, with 20% via desktop and the rest coming from tablet. What does this tell us?

Mobile usage for e-commerce sites

Even in non-fashion industries, we see mobile traffic representing well over 60% (Baby & Infants), 55% (Health and Beauty) and 50% (Travel) of site sessions. In other words, it’s simply not something that can continue to be ignored because desktop is easier to work with.

What does this tell us? Two things:

  • Having a mobile-optimised site is not optional. Not just from an SEO perspective (with Google’s mobile-first indexing this year); for the sake of your users’ browsing experience mobile is a MUST – it’s the most obvious and basic form of CRO to be looking at.
  • Having cross-device attribution modelling, or at least understanding the importance of this type of thinking, is vital in prioritising marketing budgets. Especially for higher-value products, or anything with a time-to-purchase lag of over a day, helping your team understand that a good mobile experience will impact desktop behaviour is key.


Mobile users behave differently, and that’s OK

Mobile users will display different behaviours, so it’s important to adapt your optimisation towards that. On all of the sites we analysed, mobile users presented a 10% higher bounce rate, 10-20% less time on site and 5-10% less pages per session. If your figures are around the above ranges, this is probably more of an indicator of the mobile user and their micro moments, rather than something to set alarm bells ringing.

Even in fast fashion – which has a young, tech savvy and adaptable marketplace – mobile conversion rate is consistently lower than the site average by around 10%, with average order value down around 5%.
How does conversion rate vary by device?

Key takeaway: It’s natural that people behave differently on their phones, depending on what they’re in the market for – would you be likely to buy a sofa from your phone on your way to work, or would you prefer to sit down on a laptop, with multiple tabs open, researching and comparing prices?

We believe that for low-end purchases with a short consideration period, there’s no reason why mobile shouldn’t be converting as high as desktop nowadays. This audience probably wants to get to their product faster, and would appreciate streamlined checkout experiences – so you should optimise accordingly.

In identifying mobile CRO opportunities, start by analysing your audiences by channel and device – see what the key differences in online behaviour are and how you can tailor your marketing communications and onsite proposition to aid your users’ journeys.


Site search is often (incorrectly) overlooked

All of the sites considered had fairly good site search functions, with usage varying from 5-10% of visits. However, all of the sites showed a search exit rate of 30-40%, which is more than significant.

Site search behaviour

To illustrate, if an average of 7.5% of your site’s users searched, and 35% of that group left the site, that’s 2.6% of your total site users leaking after actively demonstrating an interest in your product. This might not sound like a lot, but over time that group represents a mass of ungenerated revenue, remarketing campaigns not pushed and brand-loyal customers never converted – and it’s unlikely they’ll return in the future.

Closing the gap: It may sound obvious, but improving your site search function is going to stop this leakage. Features like autocomplete can be fairly easily integrated with most e-commerce platforms, and will help users find the product they’re after quickly (as well as directing those struggling with their spelling!).

We like how ASOS’s site search helps users identify the category of product they’re after, as well as showing the number of products in each section:

ASOS site search

It goes without saying that your site search results should be as accurate, helpful and clear as possible, but what if a user searches for a product you don’t sell? The number 1 thing to avoid is a dead end of a page: the dreaded ‘no results’, followed by a ‘find your own way around the site’ type message. If the product isn’t available, a user wants to see close variations, similar categories or even just clear links to the rest of the site.

We like how Missguided matches a similar category to your search query. It’s enough to keep us browsing on the site even though they don’t have our ‘yellow hat’!

Missguided site search results

In summary:

It’s all too easy for marketing departments to throw more money at campaigns without properly examining where the golden opportunities lie.

By taking a strategic approach to investment in both volumes of traffic and the quality of your onsite offering, you can ensure you’re squeezing every drop of return out of your campaigns.

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