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Conversion rate falling dramatically, help!

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  • Conversion rate falling dramatically, help!

    Alright I've helped everyone else on this forum, time for you to help me :P

    Our 3DC store went live in August. Unfortunately this coincided with the Google Shopping transition so it is hard to tell how much of the blame for the decline in traffic should be assigned to Google and how much to our new store.

    But even during that time since going live our Conversion Rate has been falling, from a low-but-acceptable 1.3% in the second half of September to a meager 0.97% in the first two weeks of October. That's a 25% relative drop.

    I've been making only what I think are improvements - Implemented SearchSpring to make finding things easier and quicker. Fixed some HTML compatibility errors. Optimized some landing pages.

    I've got some other improvements I want to make but they don't seem like anything that will cause a big jump, and now I am not sure on my own judgement as to what is or isn't an improvement. :)

    C'mon guys help a 3dcart geek out! Store Link

  • #2
    One Geek to Another....

    Have you used Website Grader to check your site? It shows as you have a score of 75% | Marketing Grader by HubSpot
    Follow their suggestions and see if it will improve.

    Google has tremendous affect on our traffic as well and have seen a dramatic drop in traffic.

    Thank you for helping everyonelse on this forum, I used to be the same, Now that I see there are many experts on the forum I decided to cool off a bit ...
    Elegant Weddings +


    • #3
      I second website grader.

      We also used SEO Software. Simplified. | SEOmoz and did their free trial.

      I have noticed a definite shift in the way that Google is displaying websites. It seems the big boys are getting a better organic placement lately.

      A good read: Site title and description - Webmaster Tools Help

      Seems to me that you need to work on your page titles, IMO.

      Hope some of this is helpful.

      Packaging and Shipping Supply Specialists


      • #4
        Have you noticed any changes with your competition? I remember noticing a decrease in conversion rates and traffic with some products that we used to sell a couple of years ago. What I quickly discovered was that started selling the same items - of course cheaper than what we were selling them.

        I looked at your site and didn't see anything major that stood out to me. But here are my thoughts. Perhaps try changing your Add to Cart button so that it's larger and glossier? Maybe try moving your phone number to the header area of your site instead of the footer.

        Also, I think that you have a nice looking site, but have you ever thought about having a more stylized/custom logo designed instead of just your domain name spelled out in the header? I really believe that a custom logo is a great way to infuse personality into a website.

        People with personality tend to be like magnets. I think that it's the same with a website. Although the current climate has made it harder for people to stay stuck, I think a custom logo helps.

        Your products are ones that can add excitement and a sense of adventure to people's lives - especially the avid cyclist. Your logo would be the perfect place to immediately convey that to your visitors.

        Also I'd suggest coming up with a great tagline to put in your header (or with your logo) that will quickly connect what you have to offer to what your visitors are looking for. Kind of like planting a seed that will hopefully grow as they look around your site.

        I realize that these are all things that you may already know, it's just my 2 cents. : )

        I agree with the others as well and have noticed a decrease in traffic. It does look like larger stores have been getting better organic placement. After relying too much on Google Organic Search traffic, I've now found myself reworking my marketing plans, strategy, and website as well. The environment is definitely different than when I started several years ago.

        Hope this helps.


        • #5
          Conversion Rate

          I feel your pain! Optimizing is a never ending job, and all the major changes Google has unleashed have changed the playing field dramatically. I have spoken to several site owners recently about conversion rates, bounce rate, advertising costs and more. It has been a wild roller coaster ride since April for most sites, mine included.

          Here is a link to some relevant current information. Follow the links.
          • One thing that may help your site is color. Too much gray!
          • You may try "blocking" / adding a border around some of your areas to separate them visually.


          • #6
            You mentioned a drop in conversion, but have you also seen a drop in traffic? Two different problems.

            We often notice a slight dip in conversion rates in October. Our theory is people stop buying when they make out their Christmas lists.

            A drop in converstion rate that fast is something to worry about. Sure, google has been making changes, but on the surface, that should affect traffic not, conversions. Although, it can affect quality of traffic as well. Can you drop be attributable to a single source of traffic? For instance, when you look at your traffic sources, does one drop significantly, while the others remain stable, or is it across the board?


            • #7
              It's been both.

              On my old site (still up here I consistently saw conversion rates in the 1.5-1.7% range. Some months over 2%.

              My 3DCart site has been right around 1.3% for most weeks, with this past week plummeting to 0.8% (although up to 1.2% this current week but with traffic low).

              Here are three graphs of the conversion rate,
              All Traffic
              Direct Traffic
              Google Organic Traffic

              I have no idea what could cause such a drop in Google's conversion rate. The only major change I made was to add SearchSpring, but it makes it SO much easier to find stuff on my catalog that I would have bet that my conversion rate would skyrocket.


              • #8
                I'm very new to online retailer but here are my thoughts.

                Comparing the landing page of the new and old site and this is just my opinion I'm no expert. I like the old site much better. I can tell, without scrolling down, what it's about. Maybe it's just the one picture with all the bikes but the picture is obviously a bike store. I also find the colors more inviting of the old site. The category listings on the new site remind me of looking at the index of a text book, not very exciting. Another thought is to use a rotating banner or slideshow in the header. Again this is all just my personal thoughts of comparing the homepages.

                If people are navigating past the homepage then maybe it's isn't as much of an issue. One thing you could try looking at is Visitors Flow in Google Analytics. My current data shows that 67% of my traffic starts on the index and that 50% of that traffic does not view another page and drop off. Looks like I need to work on that :)

                Another thought is looking into the organic searches that are bringing traffic to your site. Does it look like the search queries are people looking to buy or just looking for information. I've read that referred to as commercial intent. If you can figure out what keywords people that want to buy are using then start targeting those keywords in your content.

                I've noticed a lot more traffic with the effort we have been putting into our blog, it does take awhile though for Google to give you any juice from it. I'd considering writing blog posts on some key products that convert well. Go into a lot of detail and describe why you like think it is so great. Add a link from the blog article to the product and also add a link in the product description to the blog "Bob loves this thing!" kind of deal.

                I've rambled a bit but I hope it helps and thanks for the help that you've given me!


                • #9
                  cbsteven, I really do like your color scheme, and overall web design. The new site is leagues better than the old one.
                  However, on first impression going to the home page, it looks like a blog, with shopping as a side business. The side menu is pushed down, and at the top menu Shop is one amongst many other links.
                  I would refocus to Merchandise presentation and calls to action, and move lots of the other stuff to be secondary.
                  Sometimes we get so caught up in SEO, we loose site of the site's purpose. Google recommends to design the site for your customers, and the rest will follow.


                  • #10
                    I would do some testing using the old design vs. the new design on your web page to see if there is a difference in conversion rate.

                    Till you test, you don't know what you don't know. Everything is guesses. Customers are strange, and your guesses as Avinash Kaushik said, will usually be wrong.

                    I like the new design, but what matters is how customers view it.


                    • #11
                      Are your sales seasonal and have you considered time of the year? Our last two weeks have relatively poor as well. Conversions rate drop of about 20%. Ouch! We usually have a dip in October as people stop buying and starting making Christmas lists. This year is the worst in 6 years, so I hope it's not something systemic. The drop was almost instant and has been steady for two weeks. The only thing that was done at the same time was the doctype was updated on our site. I can't see that effecting this, but maybe I'm wrong. We're hoping for a strong November.


                      • #12
                        Google also changed the way they rate exact match domain names about the same time. So if your domain name is the same as your product you might be getting hit from the all mighty Google.


                        • #13
                          Reference Material

                          Here is a good reference. Check your downturn data against Google's algorithm changes to discover clues.


                          • #14
                            While it's hard to say which specific change might have impacted it, I can see a few things that should help out conversion:

                            -Your "add to cart" links on the cat pages don't catch my eye very quickly. I think best practice is to pick a color that stands out from the design - green, orange, yellow, etc.

                            -Nav is pushed down pretty far; have you seen in-page analytics to see if it's visible immediately after loading for the majority of your visitors?

                            Have you noticed any other changes that could affect conversion? More people searching, fewer page views, etc?


                            • #15
                              Has your conversion rate gotten back to normal?