Possible causes for DROPPING CONVERSION RATE

Hello everybody!

What are the possible causes for dropping conversion rate? We´ll try to answer that million-dollar question what probably every web-shop owner asks himself from time to time.

This is a huge topic but I will try to point out some of the most important things to know.

I split all possible causes in 2 groups based on questions coming from inside the business (web shop) and what can be solved by the business owner or they are coming from outside and are therefore much more difficult to handle.

Internal causes:

1) Check for site errors
2) Check for on-site changes
3) Check your tracking code
4) Check your payment gateway
5) Test your site speed
6) Check stock levels
7) Segment your conversion rate
8) Check your products
9) Review your ads

External causes:

10) Review your and your competition´s pricing
11) Check seasonality trends and industry trends

Internal causes:

1) Check for on-site errors:

The first thing you should check when your conversion rate drops is to check for on-site errors in your web-shop. This is the most common reason of conversion issues so test your site thoroughly.
Is any of functionality broken? Is something slowing your site? These are just some of many problems what can kill your conversions.
It may be a good idea to use some of web auditing tools to identify any errors or problems what are killing conversions on your site.

2) Check for on-site changes

How often do you make changes on your website and do you know what is the impact of your changes?
No matter if your changes are some design improvements or a new app, on-site changes can have a great impact on your conversion rate.
Conversions need to be tracked after any significant site change. You can check your store’s log of site changes and check if any recent alterations correlate with your fall in conversion rate.

3) Check your tracking code

It may be that the tracking code needs to be reinstalled or needs relooking at if something has changed in the backend and caused stop working.

4) Check your payment gateway

Many issues with your existing payment provider may be causing implications and leading to customers being unable to purchase.
Also, if you’ve recently switched payment providers, it could mean that some customers won’t be able to pay you through the new payment gateway.

5) Test your site speed

As far as this may seem like a very obvious thing, delays in your site speed can definitely destroy conversions.
Furthermore, if you’ve added new elements to your site such as apps or updated images, you may find that there’s a slight lag in site speed.
According to researches, online shoppers expect a webpage to load in 2 seconds or less. If your site is taking longer than this to load, it may also cause conversion rate´s dropping.

6) Check stock levels

Conversion rate will be dropping fast when leading traffic to sold out products.
You should check your stock levels regularly and see if there´s a problem.
If you find such problem, there are two ways to deal with it:
• Redirect this product page to a similar product page if your product is out of stock for a longer period of time
• Stop sending paid traffic to this page (organic traffic is more difficult to control)

7) Segment your conversion rate

Focus on your traffic and find out if there´s an overall conversion rate drop or not. Take a look at these reports:
• Conversion rate and traffic per traffic source
• Conversion rate and traffic for three main devices: mobile, tablet and desktop
• Conversion rate and traffic for top landing pages
• Conversion rate and traffic for top selling products
• Conversion rate and traffic for top browsers
• Conversion rate and traffic for regions (for international campaigns)

8) Check your products

Check what situations can potentially damage your conversion rate and find a way to prevent it or react to it.

1. Recent negative publicity towards your product.
2. A huge craze for your best-selling line disappeared.

You should check your product analytics periodically to see which products are more popular than others. Best-selling products are bound to change depending on trends, seasonality and other factors, so tracking and keeping them updated can be useful.

9) Review your ads

Always make sure to review your digital advertising campaigns when conversion rate is down.
Pay attention on your ads – if social ads or search ads make up a big part of your current marketing strategy, the visitors lead to your store will have a big impact on your conversion rate.
Also, it should be checked if the message in your ads carries through to your store. Conversion rate drops significantly if there’s a discrepancy between high expectations after seeing your ads and disappointing “reality” after landing in your store.
You should also check if there are any recent changes in the targeting of your ads, as this will have an impact on the quality of the traffic they bring in. It’s always a good idea to regularly review your target audiences so you can ensure that your work, ads and products are always being promoted to the relevant audiences at the relevant time.

External causes:

It’s not only about your web-shop. Think out of the box and look at the big picture.

10) Review your and your competition´s pricing

Maybe everything is ok with your web-shop, maybe you don’t have any bottlenecks regarding channels, products, site content etc. Maybe it’s all about your or your competition´s pricing policy. Your conversion rate can drop significantly if your main competitors are having “On sale” period or decreased prices for some products, or your own sale period has been recently ended. Always do a little survey about it before making any conclusions.

11) Check seasonality trends and your industry trends

Most of the businesses must consider the seasonal impact in their sales (For example, the sales normally go up during the end of the year while in January the conversion rate naturally drops again). Take this in consideration when analyzing your GA data. Always compare your sales with the same period of the previous year to get the accurate view of the sales dynamics. If seasonality brings down the conversion rate drastically, it may be a good idea to adjust some of your content and shift your stores´ focus for levering the benefits of seasonality changes.

Also investigate what’s going on in your industry. In which phase of business cycle is it? Has the market share structure changed? Maybe a new player penetrated the market and caused some loss in your sales? Or maybe the entire economy went down?

When your web-shop´s conversion rate drops, please consider all these internal and external causes above and do your best in increasing it again.

That would be all.

Hope this article will help you to improve your numbers!

Marko Jovanovic
Data Analyst