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3 surprising reasons why your conversion rate is low

Jason Wong
Jason Wong
I’ve been consulting dozens of companies who seemingly all have the same problem. Their conversion rate is in the gutter and they don’t know why. The reasons are surprisingly obvious, but even the best of us miss it sometimes

Hey guys, hope you all had a wonderful week and wrapping up your to-dos today. If you’re watching the Super Bowl, let me know what team you’re rooting for. I’m personally rooting for the Bengals because they’re not my team and I love the underdog :P
I was chatting with a brand that I’ve been working with the past few months and we were struggling with bringing up their conversion rate. Everything that they did was right in my opinion, yet we kept seeing under 1% CVR. They had a low free shipping threshold, free gift with purchase, and the brand does 9 figures in retail with millions of engaged social media followers. The problem was comically simple. They only shipped to the US.
This leads me to our first point
#1 People can't check out
This is broad enough that covers a lot of reasons why your conversion rate is low but your add to cart numbers looks fine. For the brand I was consulting, I didn’t know for the longest time they only shipped in the US since I’m based in LA so whenever I tested their checkout, it worked fine. We found the problem after looking into their GA traffic source and found that 40% of their traffic came from countries outside of the US. With their massive social media following, it had exposure to Canada, India, Singapore, Australia, and other countries with people that would love to buy but just couldn’t.
We found our ‘true’ CVR by isolating only the country we ship to and looked at the metrics pertaining only to those visitors. It was healthy and everything else looked fine.
This reason also covers payment methods like enabling PayPal. For brands that don’t have shop pay, Apple Pay, or PayPal, customers that don’t have their card around just wouldn’t be able to check out, which will lead to them abandoning the cart.
#2 Complementary product is out of stock
For brands that sell products that pairs well with one another or is absolutely necessary, having one item out of stock will affect the the sale of the other product. I work with a nail brand that sells gel nail stickers that needs to be cured under a lamp (which they sell). Even though the lamp is only 1 SKU out of dozens of SKUs of stickers that they sell, when the lamp went out of stock, people just stopped buying the gel stickers all together.
Same thing happens to my brand doe, where we sell a variety of different lash styles and customers tend to buy multiples in their order. We found that when our most popular style goes out of stock, some customers just stop buying all together because it doesn’t make sense to pay shipping again when the style that they were most looking forward to comes back in stock.
#3 Product cost to shipping cost ratio
This point is especially important to brands that sell products under $15, and even more so for products that aren’t consumables. Speaking only for the shipping cost in the United States, most first class shipping (under 1lb) will cost about $5 and priority will typically be priced at $8. If your average order value (AOV) is only $20, a shipping cost of 25-40% of their order is a hard sell.
A fix to this is to make it easier for your customers to buy more from you and raise that AOV up, where the shipping cost doesn’t seem significant or gets them closer to your free shipping threshold. Shipping cost is one of the top reasons why people abandon their cart, so any way you can make it look insignificant or free will give you a little boost in conversion rate.
I’ll do a longer memo on ways to increase your AOV, but the lowest hanging fruit is bundles and using your variant selectors to sell multiples of your low cost product. You can see examples of that in one of my portfolio brand Vibe.
That’s all for today, hope you guys enjoy your weekend and if you’re watching the Super Bowl, reply back and let me know who you’re rooting for!
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Jason Wong
Jason Wong @eggroli

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