"I'd love to see this chart republished and segmented by industry."
by Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content
We are currently fielding our latest marketer survey, so we thought this would be the perfect time to share published data from a previous survey — the MarketingSherpa Ecommerce Benchmark Study. Below is one of the most popular charts from the study, where we explore ecommerce conversion rates broken down by product type based on responses from 2,885 marketers.
In the MarketingSherpa Ecommerce Benchmark Study survey, we asked:
Q. What is your average conversion rate for ecommerce sales (%)?
We also asked:
Q. Which product categories does your organization sell through ecommerce? (Select all that apply)
Below is the chart of responses from 2,885 marketers to these questions. Keep reading for an analysis of the data, and feel free to comment with your own analysis as well.
What is the best way to compete with the mega retailers like Amazon and Walmart?
Some business strategists have suggested going niche — focus very narrowly on a specific product type and better serve that audience.
While that may work in some instances, the above data suggests there could be flaws in that strategy. We found that the average conversion rate for companies selling only one product was 16.3%, while those selling multiple product categories had a higher conversion rate at 17.2%.
This wasn't the case for all product categories, so there could still be opportunities to have a successful niche-focused value proposition — if you choose the product category wisely.
These six product categories had average conversion rates exceeding the multiple category group:
It should be noted that three product categories had insufficient responses for analysis and were not included in the above chart.
You should not view the above conversion rate data in a vacuum. To see the data in context, it helps to download the free MarketingSherpa Ecommerce Benchmark Study, made possible by a research grant from Magento, an eBay company.
You must understand that the above data shows averages, which have been skewed up due to some responses that were much higher than average. You can gain an understanding of the distribution of conversion rate responses by reading previous MarketingSherpa Charts of the Week:
The entire point of tracking conversion rates should be to identify opportunities for improvement.
While this Chart of the Week focuses on conversion rates by product type, you will get the most value from your conversion rate data if you segment it in a way that illuminates these opportunities.
This will vary by company, but here are a few examples to get you thinking on which view of conversion rates will help you improve performance.
Which channels overperform and underperform the investment your company makes in them?
By stage in the funnel
Where in the buyer's journey are customers dropping off and how can you increase conversion in that stage?
By customer segment
How can you better focus on the needs of specific customer segments to increase conversion? Which customer segments are you currently targeting aren't really ideal prospects?
Stop investing resources in these areas, and focus on the customers you can best serve.
As one Benchmark Study survey respondent replied:
"We segment our customer base on the basis of end use of the product. We have several product categories, and hence, market products specific to their end-use customers."
In response to a reader question, Dr. Diana Sindicich, Director of Market Intelligence, MECLABS, explains the above data.
In this survey, we had some respondents list conversion rates all the way across the spectrum from 0-100% (Figure 1). Although it is hard to believe that a site would have 100% conversion, it is theoretically possible if the only people who arrived at the site were those who already wanted to convert. We did not allow respondents to select impossible responses (like 125% or text), restricting responses to numbers between 0% and 100%. The bulk of responses were below 10%, with a median of 5%.
Looking at a stem and leaf plot, we see that the mean was very low, as would be expected (Figure 2). The 363 responses above 47% were outliers (N=4,346).
The second point brought up in the reader's question was to provide statistics for those companies not engaging in optimization testing, which is an interesting idea. One of our questions did address what percent of marketing budget was spent on conversion optimization, so we can split out that group (Figure 3).
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MarketingSherpa Ecommerce Benchmark Study — Made possible by a research grant from Magento, an eBay company
Ecommerce Research Chart: Acquisition cost per customer
Ecommerce Research Chart: Does customer responsiveness correlate with success?
Ecommerce Research Chart: How can companies increase conversion rates? [Video]
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