Understanding the eCommerce Conversion Path

By: Mae Demdam
As eCommerce business grows, purchasing and consumer behavior continues to adapt to its technology, thus it’s important to fully understand how consumers are getting to our websites and how they interact with it to convert to sales.

Conversion Path vs. Purchase Path

There are two specific paths when it comes to eCommerce sites, the conversion path and the purchase path. Although these two can appear the same they are different activities. The purchase path is the traditional path a consumer takes when visiting a website. The consumer can take up to four steps prior to purchasing a product., i.e. Enter, Search, Evaluate, and Purchase. The conversion path highlights all the ways a consumer enters the website and all the web pages visited prior to purchase, i.e. consumer finds your website through a search engine or PPC ad. Obviously the fewer pages visited prior to purchase the better, as more page visits distracts the user from making an immediate purchase.

How they work together

The homepage of a website is typically the starting point of the conversion path and is what makes the consumer aware of a website in the first phase of the purchase path. The secondary and tertiary pages like About Us, Blog and News provide information and reinforce the consumer to purchase from the website. Product categories help create a clear and organized picture of what the business sells and allows them to make an educated decision about the products or services. Within the product page calls to action like “Buy Now” or “Sign-Up” buttons finalize the conversion.

Although not all sites will have this exact conversion path, those that have products or services to offer will have an opportunity for conversion. According to a Leap Agency article,

It is important to have a call-to-action to provide ROI and justify the amount of time and resources you are putting into your eCommerce marketing efforts.

Even with the understanding of how a consumer navigates through a website, businesses should remain proactive to counteract abandonment and bounce rates. The purchase path makes the assumption that a user will make it through the entire site and make a conversion, but more often than not a user will fall out of the process and leave a purchase incomplete.

Studies have shown an abandonment rate, the percent of those who leave the purchase path, between 55% and 80%. Which means only 20% to 45% of those people you have driven to your site via marketing activities actually convert. abandoning the cart, including not being ready to purchase and trying to ascertain the impact of shipping costs.

Here are some ways to combat cart abandonment:

1. Make the Purchase Path Valuable
Implement strategies to reconnect with a user if they fall out anywhere in the purchase process. Email retargeting or promotions like a coupon code, are a great way to recapture the consumer’s attention and drive a user back to the site.

2. QA Your Website Often
It’s important to have a quality control and regular maintenance plan on your website Test and revisit pages and links. Errors on a website not only looks unprofessional, but will stop users from purchasing.

3. Optimize
Optimize your website for conversions. Improving the path to make a purchase not only improves user interaction, but increases the chance of a sale.

4. Provide Customer Support
Installing a live chat program to assist customers while they are shopping can alleviate them from bouncing or leaving your site before a conversion in order to do further research or ultimately find another site to purchase from.

5. Update and Monitor Inventory
Be sure to keep an accurate count of inventory. Being constantly “Out of Stock” is a way to lose consumer engagement and to get a bad reputation as an eCommerce site.

Understanding eCommerce business and consumer behavior can help you to drastically improve user interface, website usability and increase not only visitors, but conversions. For more eCommerce web design tips contact the Zen Den team!

Article Source: Leap Agency