3 Trends to Improve Conversion Rates across Channels in 2015

3 Trends for Improving Your 2015 Average Conversion Rates across Channels

  • Cross-platform retail will be a major trend, with some sellers already touting over 70 per cent of their whole product range as produced by third parties.
  • Mobile commerce will still lag behind e-commerce, as only 56 per cent of users completed transactions in 2014.
  • Newsletters will still rake in the highest conversions rates: a whopping average of 9 per cent.

In late 2014, the Southeast Asian ecommerce market was breaking records at breakneck speed. Though the media paid more lip service to Indonesia-based deals, such as the USD$100 million invested into Tokopedia, it would be far from true to ascertain that Singapore lagged behind. In the wave of $100 million deals that took the end of the previous year in ecommerce by storm, Singapore made headlines with a $249 million capital infusion from Alibaba in SingPost. At the time, many rushed to make predictions as to the evolution of conversion rates on the scene, over the coming year. Few have come to fruition—and this is particularly true of the Singapore online commerce market, which many deem over-saturated.

That being said, several trends have emerged in the meantime, insofar as the digital store segment in Singapore is concerned. When it comes to conversion rates across several channels, it can be safely said that many of these trends have been influenced by developments at global level. The UK ecommerce market in particular displays a similar evolution in terms of cross-channel CRO to that in Singapore. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at all the optimization game changing strategies that you will want to implement for your own online business this year.

#1 Adapt or get out

As aCommerce’s Felicia Moursalien writes for Tech in Asia, the regional market is already over-crowded with ecommerce ventures. Generating value via value added services is no longer cutting it. To this end, online stores will need to do a few things in order to survive on this increasingly competitive market:

  • Take a cross-platform approach to the distribution of their products.
  • Invest in partnerships and affiliations, so as to retail third-party goods and sell their own products elsewhere. Moursalien lists the example of Lazada, whose product range comprised, as of this writing, over 70 per cent re-sold items.
  • Perhaps most importantly, take a multi-channel approach to marketing, significantly based on customer demands. It’s no longer enough to rely on one’s own customers to make it in Singapore in 2015. If you want to improve conversion rates this year, you will need to seek out your would-be clients via as many channels as possible, and learn what drives them to finalize their orders.

#2 Go online on Line, via mobile (pun intended)

For 2014, almost everyone whose opinion mattered, inasmuch as the field of Southeast Asian ecommerce extended, predicted the supreme reign of mobile commerce. Though this is much more a matter of device, as opposed to one of channel marketing, it still remains relevant for the regional market. Notably, however, those predictions failed to materialize with the launch of Japan’s Line messaging app onto the ecommerce market. The Line flash sale in 2014, as well as 2015 newly launched Line Shop and the Line Pay mobile payment system have yet to see anything beyond moderate success.

Is this to say that the evolution of mobile commerce will continue to lag in 2015 in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and the rest of the area? Most likely. The mobile commerce case study, released by aCommerce in February 2014, and sampled below, found that only 56 percent of all Thai mobile users completed an ecommerce transaction. Mobile remains a browsing platform, for the time being. Yet, as Jon Russell explained for The Next Web, the mobile commerce market remains subject to dynamic, flash-in-the-pan developments, which make it worth watching in 2015.

infographic showing how many people are using online desktops for buying

Image source: aCommerce.asia

#3 Classic channels will continue to outperform newer ones

As a Malaysia and Singapore-focused e-commerce case study recently showed, conversions in the area are still largely coming from newsletters, for the majority of online retailers. Check out the conversion rates across channels, from three major clients managed by regional digital agency SEOGuru. All three clients had completed a total of 12,800 transactions over the three months analyzed below. Their total value had exceeded $1.3 million.

how three major digital marketing agency clients sold their products/services online

Image source: SingaporeInfoComm.sg

What does the above chart teach? Let’s take a look at the cold, hard facts and figures, in order to derive a set of recommendations for conversion rate optimization across channel this year:

  • Clients who came in via newsletter links converted at a spectacularly high rate of 9 per cent.
  • If you’re not creating and distributing targeted, personalized newsletters, via established services like MailChimp, you’d better get to it right away. 9% is huge; as you’ll see in a second, other channels don’t even come close to newsletter rates.
  • Organic traffic, AdWords, and Facebook converted at a rate of up to 5 per cent. That’s 15 per cent, in total, which is not to be ignored.
  • After putting together a set of impeccable newsletters, distribute the largest chunk of your remaining digital marketing budget to SEO, paid ads, and social media.
  • On average, the three above-mentioned sources will convert at a rate of about 3 per cent. But organic traffic yields the largest number of transactions, as well as the highest revenue.
  • Check out the chart below. Organic and paid traffic don’t even compare, in terms of completed transactions and money made off them. Newsletters will make you about the same amount of money, direct traffic is a close second, and Facebook basically doesn’t matter.

singapore and malaysia visitors ordered by referral channel, as well as by the number of transactions and revenue

Image source: SingaporeInfoComm.sg

If there’s one conclusion to be drawn from all of the above, it is this: in 2015, you will definitely need to invest in an SEO expert, if you haven’t already. While it’s true that Google’s AdWords have better reach, it seems that Southeast Asian buyers, at the very least, trust non-branded organic search results far better than they do ads.

The chart below shows a similar situation in the UK, where search engine AOL notably dominates the market. Though this definitely does not apply to Singapore, it’s worth noticing that social media is a very close second, in terms of conversion rates, when held up against search engine results.

referrer channels in the United Kingdom in 2015, ordered by conversion rate

Image source: SmartInsights.com

So, keep this in mind: as much as Facebook might continue to toot its own horn this year, don’t buy into the hype. Focus on optimizing your website content for all the major search engines, and the improvements in terms of conversion rate optimization will flow naturally from this.

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