Websites with High Traffic and Low Conversion

FastPivot has helped several thousand ecommerce retailers increase their online traffic, conversions and profits for 15 years. We’ve been around the block, and heard a lot of optimism, pessimism and frustration when talking to prospective customers.

In the latter category, we’ll place the frustration of prospects who categorize their sites as “high traffic, low conversion” conundrums. The latest inquiry arrived in mid-August. One of our sales reps summarized it as following in our CRM:

Had a call from a woman running a Yahoo! Store. She said: “I have had only 2 sales from over 10,000 page views. I’m running a lot of ads, and am getting traffic but not the sales. I am trying to figure out how to increase my conversion rate. Is there something I am doing wrong? I think I need some help.

We can certainly help. If you’re in a similar position, we recommend allotting time for some serious analysis on your current activities, before you start making any changes—either on-site or off. Here are some of the areas to analyze:

Reasons for High Traffic and Low Conversion

1. Traffic Sources and Quality

In online retailing, there is quantity and there is quality. Are your visitors the right people who are legitimate prospects? You don’t want to spend any time or money—particularly on worthless PPC clicks—entertaining people who are not interested in your product mix.

2. Traffic Quantity
Make sure you know how to interpret analytics and traffic data. “Ten thousand visitors” can mean many different things. Understand the difference between page views and unique visitors. An individual can return more than once and still not buy.

3. Advertising Focus
Our prospect said she’s running a “lot of ads.” What kind of ads are you running? Learn how to really use Google AdWords, meaning you know the differences between the following: negative keywords, broad match, broad match modifier, phrase match, exact match. It will help you avoid junk traffic, which typically translates into a high “bounce rate.”

4. Landing Page Optimization
What are people doing when they land on your site? A/B testing platforms like UnBounce and Optimizely are easy ways for you to test any number of hypotheses, variations, or tweaks to your landing page. (FastPivot can also help you optimize landing pages if you’re not confident doing it yourself!).

5. Branding
Regardless of the traffic source, conversion can be affected by the way the visitor feels about the brand and image you project. Retailer and site credibility, which can be conveyed through branding, absolutely affects the willingness of visitors to give you their credit card and other personal information. This is the warm and fuzzy issue. Essentially, does a visitor trust you as a retailer, and your site as a place to shop?

1999 website design with twinkling stars
The design of this website does not appear to have changed since 1999. Those stars in the background? Yes, they twinkle when you’re on the page. Do twinkling stars make you more or less likely to rent or buy your next Siege Artillery Engine from this supplier?

6. Customer Tracking
Are you using cookies to track visitors? Are you using them to identify which visitors are returning?

7. On-site Behavior
Site analytics are absolutely critical to confirming—not guessing—what people are doing on your site. By adding Google Analytics code to your site, you’ll be able to track some of your most important conversion metrics such as bounce rates, time on site, and goal conversion.

8. Site Design
Usability and site navigation are key parts of the experience visitors have with your site. It’s where they go, and what they find and do. Make it hard and people aren’t going to stick around; there are likely too many other places selling the same things you are.

9. Product Merchandizing and Pricing
Once on site, can people find what they want? The actual SKU? The size 7.5 leather shoes in red? Site search is a really important part of helping your customers find what they want, and what you think they might like (think “other people who searched for leather shoes also …” suggestions). When it comes to pricing, is the product a considered purchase? Is it something that people typically spend time researching, then decide to buy? Or, is it a purchase that doesn’t require a lot of reflection? These are all reasons why visitors may hang around and leave before buying.

10. Buy Flow/Conversion Funnel
Have you ever bought a product on your website? Have you ever spent the time to really think like a first-time visitor, and tried to find a specific item, load it into the cart, and proceed to checkout? Have you ever stood behind someone and carefully watched them do the same? Or conducted a mini focus group by finding people who have never visited your site, given them a list of products to buy, and recorded their mouse movements on screen? These are all ways to learn why your conversion may be hitting a brick wall.

The Disappointment of Site Abandonment

These are just some of the reasons that explain why you may have a website with high traffic and low conversion.

If you’ve expended a lot of resources to get visitors to your site, few things are as frustrating as seeing them leave without buying. It’s similar to running a restaurant, watching thousands of people walk into the foyer to check your menu, and then seeing almost everyone leave without taking a seat. Is it the food? The pricing? What it is the reason?

At FastPivot, we help online retailers get more of these foyer visitors to sit down, order, and feast at product buffets. Now that’s conversion! In the coming weeks, we’ll discuss specific solutions to the issues we touched on here.

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