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Study Reveals How Often E-Commerce Sites Convert Sales

In Counselor’s 2015 State of the Industry report, distributors said they believe 39% of overall sales are generated through e-commerce. In reality, however, overall industry revenues attained through e-commerce sit at only 16%. Part of the significant gap may have something to do with their product page conversion rates – or how often e-commerce sites turn visitors into buyers.

A new study from Receiptful provides numbers for this essential e-commerce metric. The average page conversion rate (PCR) for an e-commerce website is 7.9%, says the 2016 Product Page Conversion Rates report, which gathered data from 2,687 e-commerce sites representing an estimated $848 million in annual sales. The average store surveyed sells approximately $315,600 worth of product every year.

“Product page conversion rates offer additional insight that can help e-commerce stores improve their conversion funnel,” Receiptful’s Danny Wong told VentureBeat. “For example, if a store notices it has a high PCR but a low site-wide conversion rate, that may mean a large portion of the store’s visitors merely window shop. The actionable takeaway here would be that the store should invest in efforts that drive more of its shoppers to actually click and view its products.”

One major trend detected is the positive correlation between store revenues and product conversion rates. The data shows that stores generating over $100,000 in annual revenues see significantly better results than smaller e-commerce businesses. For example, companies that generate between $100,000 and $300,000 in annual revenues have an average 8.92% page conversion rate. Conversely, companies that generate between $20,000 and $50,000 in annual revenues have an average 7.39% PCR, and companies with annual revenues between $10,000 and $20,000 have an average 5.99% PCR.

“Larger e-commerce stores have more marketing firepower than small online shops; either they have built a popular brand that earns a lot of organic traffic or they have a sophisticated paid marketing strategy that targets the right consumers,” Wong said. “And while they might not directly invest in CRO, other brand and marketing efforts tend to have a positive effect on conversions. Off-site campaigns, such as earned media placements through PR, email promotions and product listing ads can drive highly targeted traffic that is more likely to convert.”

While product pages are extremely important for e-commerce transactions, the data shows that homepages are becoming less important. The report indicates that e-commerce stores have a 33.9% bounce rate, meaning about one-third of all visitors that hit a homepage abandon the site without ever browsing through the product inventory. In addition, Google searches are taking would-be buyers directly to product pages instead of starting first at the homepage.

“Product pages are no longer just a mid-funnel milestone in a shopper’s journey,” Wong said. “In some cases, product pages are the first point of interaction a customer has with a brand (case in point: product listing ads). Therefore, stores may want to ensure their product pages are engaging, standalone assets.”