What’s A Good E-Commerce Conversion Rate, and How Can You Improve Yours?

This is a frequent question asked by e-tailers. E-commerce conversion rate goals vary depending on whether you’re a brand selling your own products, or a multi-brand reseller of products. They also may be affected by how long you’ve been operating the store. Here’s a short summary of the top-line and average conversion rate goals for both brands and resellers.

Conversion Rates By Type of Seller


Established brands and well-known larger resellers    Top:  20%        Average: 15%

New brands and smaller, multi-brand resellers               Top: 3%        Average: 1 – 2%

When you are just starting out, conversions will in most cases hover around 1% until you have had a chance to tweak your marketing or merchandising strategies. 

Traditionally, the goal for a multi-brand reseller has been around 2%. Above that, you’re really leaning in.  This article will mainly focus on how smaller to mid-size multi-brand resellers can boost conversions.

Factors that affect conversion rates

The most common reasons are:

1. Is there a Trust issue?

Some websites look like they were pulled together by an amateur with a random mix of poor graphics, sloppy navigation, and badly written copy.

These sites either have poorly written shipping, privacy, and return policies or worse, none at all. A site that looks like it’s run by amateurs just looks untrustworthy. Are they amateurs, or sloppy scammers? In either case, if you were the shopper would you trust this seller?

2. Is Contact information clearly visible?

Too often, online stores contain nothing more than an email form. There’s no phone, no address, no indication of who owns the business or where they are located. Missing or inadequate contact info also creates a trust issue that discourages purchases.

3. Have you clearly stated your value proposition?

Every store needs a Unique Value Proposition (UVP). This is built after defining your perfect customers. What reasons will make them crave your products? What problems do they solve? Do you offer any competitive advantages? Things like free shipping and easy, free returns can be part of this.

Once you have a UVP, your site messaging must make this visible and obvious. Value isn’t all about price, it’s about perception. A would-be buyer is wondering if they will get their money’s worth when using your product.

4. Have you optimized the user experience?

This has to do with the processing of shopping and buying.

  • Is your site super easy to use?
  • Is it fast? Can someone find what they want in 2–3 clicks or less?
  • Does the search engine work well?
  • Are checkout frictions minimal? Can they buy, for instance, without first creating an account user ID and password, then logging back in?
  • Can they get help quickly if they need it? Do you offer live chat?

5. How is marketing targeted?

That same “perfect customer,” or avatar, who helps you define your UVP should also be dictating where and how you choose your marketing targets. We went over how you should be targeting customers in our previous article, What It Takes to Have a $60K a Month Online Store.

While SEO (search engine optimization) IS important to your business, it generally delivers people who are “top of the funnel” or “middle of the funnel” and not ready to buy. These are researchers. This also means they may be far broader in interests than your avatar. While you can remarket to this audience to help drive revenue, the conversion rate from SEO alone is low.

Ideally, your first marketing efforts need to focus on the right type of customer, in the right places (where they hang out online, which social media platforms they use), with the right messages and at the right moment when they’re ready to buy.

6. Avoid the seduction of high conversion rates – they could be temporary.

If you have high conversion rates, you’ve obviously mastered all the steps above, but don’t be more than cautiously optimistic.

If your conversion rates are really high, you need to pay attention to your “new” versus “returning customers. It can mean that you’re still selling to your trusted fan base, but that will diminish over time. You still must be making efforts to secure new site visitors and new customers.

It’s really easy for a marketer to get hooked on high conversion rates to the exclusion of testing new approaches and audiences to find new ones. Be aware that testing will temporarily lower your conversion rates because it is harder to create that rapport with people unfamiliar with your brand. But growing your total customer base is also the key to growing your business.

7. The holistic view of how strategies work together.

Lastly, you need to be properly attributing different marketing efforts and understand how they come together to result in more conversions.

It’s easy to think, “Well, SEO visitors convert poorly” if all you look at are those visitors who bought via organic search. What you miss is that they may have been to your site several times before while researching, but eventually purchased from an email, an ad, or social media. If you’re only considering the last click as your “source” for a sale, you’re missing the impact of how all your efforts contribute to the trust factors and branding required to make the sale.

Conversion rates don’t remain steady without steadily working on them. The factors that affect conversions need occasional tweaking, frequent testing, and constant monitoring for effectiveness. See our 4-part blog series on growing an online store from $15K a month to $100K a month for more insights you can use right now.

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