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Omnichannel retailers have the best conversion rates

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Retailers that offer omnichannel services continued to have higher conversion rates than those that do not. Those that offer curbside pickup have the highest conversion rates of all.

Ecommerce merchants hoping to see conversion rates keep rising in 2021 were disappointed.

Conversion rates — the percentage of website visits that result in a purchase — for top online retailers barely budged in 2021. Among the 14 product categories Digital Commerce 360 tracks, sporting goods retailers were the only group whose median conversion rate rose more than 0.2 percentage points over 2020.

As in 2020, retailers that offer omnichannel services continued to have higher conversion rates than those that do not. Among omnichannel retailers, those that offer curbside pickup have the highest conversion rates of all.

Among the retailers ranked in the Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000, those offering curbside pickup had a median conversion rate of 3.4% in 2021. That was equal to the conversion rate for those retailers in 2020 and up a percentage point from 2019. The same pattern applied among the Digital Commerce 360 Top 2000, which includes the Top 1000 and the Digital Commerce 360 Next 1000 ranking of mid-sized e-retailers. Top 2000 retailers offering curbside pickup had a median conversion rate of 3.1% in 2021, unchanged from 2020.

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Convenience rules

Availability and convenience drive conversion more than anything else. In a January 2022 survey of 1,108 online shoppers by Digital Commerce 360 and Bizrate Insights, product availability, cited by 66%, was the top factor making shoppers more likely to buy. At 60%, the No. 2 conversion factor was proximity to a store where they could pick up their orders. Coming in third at 54% was “time when my order can be ready for pickup.”

To oblige convenience-focused shoppers, retailers have rapidly added options allowing them to pick up orders. According to Digital Commerce 360 data, 170 of the Top 1000 retailers offered curbside pickup in 2021. That’s up from just 25 in 2020 — a 580.0% increase. Also in 2021, 232 of the Top 1000 retailers offered buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS), up 15.4% from 201 retailers in 2020.

That data cited above is just a small part of the information in the 2022 How to Improve Conversion Rates report. Among the other findings:

  • The Digital Commerce 360 and Bizrate Insights January 2022 survey of 1,108 U.S. consumers showed younger shoppers prefer text messaging. More than half (52%) of survey respondents between 18 and 39 years old listed SMS as a top-three preferred communication method. For the overall survey group, 20% listed text messaging as one of their top-three preferred methods.
  • Most retailers plan to increase investments in several areas in 2022, with an eye toward boosting conversion rates and overall performance. The top three choices were ecommerce platform (75%), website design (69.6%) and digital marketing (66.1%).
  • 79% of the retailers Digital Commerce 360 surveyed cited SEO as either “very important” or “somewhat important” to boosting conversion rates.
  • According to a September 2021 Digital Commerce 360 and Bizrate Insights survey of 1,000 online shoppers, ecommerce retailers could do a better job of providing speedy websites. 73% of consumers said online retailers had met or exceeded expectations for a fast and easy checkout process. But just 42% said retailers had met or exceeded their expectations for a fast-loading site. 

What’s in the report?

The 2022 How to Improve Conversion Rates report includes dozens of charts and graphics. It also contains case studies of online retailers and survey results showing where retailers are investing to increase conversions.

View the table of contents

 Purchase the 2022 Conversion Report 

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