I started my online wine club almost a decade ago. Back then, subscription businesses were in their infancy, the stone age so to speak. As an example, it was impossible to find software that could both bill people on a monthly basis, but also offered prepaid gift subscriptions. Now? You can get set up in about 5 minutes through Woocommerce, Squarespace or any number of publicly available, cheap, alternatives.
As my oldest son turned 9 (I signed my original paperwork for my small business the night he was born, in a hot tub that we weren’t allowed to use in our hospital room) it got me thinking about what I wish I knew then. What could someone have told me that would have sped this process up? What could someone have helped with me with to make my eCommerce journey more smooth? Largely what I had no clue, was conversion rates. At first, I didn’t even know what they were. Then, I had no clue how to improve them. Learn from my mistakes!
Conversions Rate: Why It Matters (Warning, Math)
It’s been said in a number of spots that the average conversion rate is like 2.63% according to Invesp. BUT, that includes every website, Amazon, Target, and Walmart among them. Take Amazon for an easy example, their conversion rate for non-prime members is 13% and for Prime members, it’s 74%. No, that’s not a typo. The conversion rate for a Prime member on Amazon is approximately 30 times higher than the average customer visiting an eCommerce shop. If you remove those huge players, the overall eCommerce conversion rate drops to under 2%.
To make those figures even worse, when we first opened, we had ZERO clues what a conversion rate was.
Seriously, zero. (Narrator: He was 30, he wasn’t ready for this, but figured it out pretty good)
If you want to know how important conversion rates are, let’s run through a quick example.
First, let’s say that you have a simple website with a thousand visitors a month. According to Growcode, the average eCommerce order value is $128. With a conversion rate of 0.25% (ours when we first opened) your monthly revenue is $328 and you had better not have quit your day job. (narrator: he did)
Increase that conversion rate to be 2% (average!) and your revenue jumps from that tiny $328 all the way to $2560. Given our subscription model, that’s a revenue model you can probably live off of pretty quickly.
Conversion Rate: How To Improve It:
Ok, so you might be wondering how we increased our conversion rate at least 700%. First, yes it took some time. But, there are some things you can learn from our various iterations.
If you take 10 seconds to look at my current homepage, you’ll see a professionally created video.
What you can’t find elsewhere, is this small little tidbit. If someone watches my intro video, they are approximately 3x more likely to convert than someone who doesn’t. For any business, having a professional video is literally the best choice you can make especially early on when social proof and customer reviews are going to scarce.
What Else Did We Do?
One other easy fix is to speed up your page. According to Portent, having a site load a single second later is going to decrease conversions by almost 5%.
So, we fixed our site loading time. One challenge here, that video I spoke so glowingly about earlier, slows down page loading, significantly. It’s resource-intensive, even when hosted on Youtube.
So, I took away the other significant drain on server resources: the images. Seriously, does your site really need pictures on its landing pages? For us, everybody knows what a wine bottle looks like and you don’t learn much by seeing them there.
Additionally, we also changed hosting companies. In large part, we looked for a company committed to speed.
Ok, so there’s what we could have done differently at launch.
Mark Aselstine is the owner and founder of Uncorked Ventures, a wine of the month club based in the San Francisco Bay Area. You’ll generally find him on Twitter, arguing about sports, politics and even occasionally talking about wine.