Conversion in digital businesses: the challenges to be taken into account in 2018

by Ricardo Tayar

Every company that has a digital presence tries to take advantage of it commercially in one way or another. In this post, I explain the digital transaction challenges facing professionals in 2018.

In direct sales models, the ultimate goal of the conversion is clear: make a sale. In service sales models, the goal of conversion is usually to obtain a lead. Between both models, there are many variations and possibilities for digital businesses: intermediation models, freemium, etc.

But all these models and companies base their efficiency and profitability on their ability to convert; their ability to make a certain percentage of their users become customers who pay for goods or services. This leads to the increased interest in maximising conversion ratios. We have already passed the phase of using websites and apps more for brand objectives than for a transactional purpose. Now, however, companies want to leverage their digital assets for transactional value.

While every company knows its conversion ratio, it doesn’t know that of its competitors—so it doesn’t have a frame of reference to know how it is actually doing.

In 2016, we launched our first conversion study in e-commerce from Flat 101, with the goal of showing how conversion works in digital businesses in Spain. After the magnificent response it had, we launched the second edition in 2017.

Thanks to all the data we have access to from Flat 101, we have been able to draw up a list of conclusions derived from the study, as well as the challenges facing digital professionals around digital transactions.

And what are the challenges that we must face and work to improve our conversion?

Personally, I would highlight these three:


1. Improve the mobile experience from a conversion point of view

The conversion rate in mobile devices is lower than the desktop conversion ratio. The difference is enormous, going from 1.44% in desktop devices to 0.39% in smartphones. When you consider that traffic from smartphones is greater than that from desktops, the optimization of the mobile experience isn’t an option, it’s a priority.

The simple fact that a website is navigable on mobile doesn’t make it simple or attractive to use. We must start thinking about digital experiences that are 100% designed for smartphones, where the key business interactions, such as sales, shopping cart management or the use of e-commerce accounts, are simple and user friendly. As smartphone traffic is on a steady rise, organisations need to make a concerted effort or the profitability of any digital projects will be severely limited.

An example of the traffic of a website in Q4 2017: Almost 64% of traffic comes from mobile devices, the vast majority of which are smartphones, but in 2016, that proportion of traffic was 56%.

It’s just a sample, but it represents the general reality of digital business very well. Of course, any website can be seen on mobile, but can it really be used successfully? Are we designing optimal and enjoyable digital experiences for this type of device? How can we improve our conversion if those devices that give us low ratios are the ones that grow the most? The solution is not easy; it requires a detailed analysis of the mobile scenario of each business. Each business must think and design a 100% mobile experience for users, instead of simply adapting existing experiences to mobile devices.


2. Offer satisfactory search experiences

Navigation and information retrieval systems are crucial for getting the user to the product they are looking for. Navigation systems like menus are the main information retrieval system, together with internal search engines.

The use of search engines has become institutionalised, as search engines are a part of our daily lives. As such, the rate of use in a digital business is very important—if they offer consistent results based on user searches where there is a clear business component in the results, there is a significant increase in conversion.

At the average level, the conversion of users who use an internal search engine is 331% higher than those who do not.

These dates give an idea of how critical it is to define and offer a satisfactory search experience for our users—not only by using internal search engines, but by actually thinking about what our potential clients are looking for. A good choice of internal search engine and a great experience with it can increase both the conversion ratio and user satisfaction remarkably.


3. Invest in analysis equipment and CRO for the company

The use of conversion rate optimisation (CRO) methodologies and investments in digital analysis bears fruit, because the level of knowledge that is acquired allows us to continuously improve conversion. The data is there, but the process of turning it into information that can be used to propose and implement improvements is more complex. This inevitably depends on having both an ecosystem of digital analysis tools and people who know how to use them.

Companies that invest in digital analysis tools and people who can extract value from the data see an average conversion ratio of 1.46%, compared to that of 0.59% for companies that don’t work with their data and do not employ a CRO methodology.

While interpreting and using data effectively in the context of a business takes a lot of effort and hard work, the results are undeniable.

In my point of view, these are the three main challenges we must face in order to improve and optimise digital business in 2018. And while we shouldn’t neglect issues like improving traffic capture through any channel and controlling the profitability of our campaigns, these three focal points are vital for achieving a high level of efficiency in any digital business model. As such, we all need to work on them actively and with a high level of dedication.

Ricardo Tayar

With a law degree, a postgraduate degree in ecommerce and numerous UX and usability qualifications, Ricardo Tayar has worked in the digital sector since 1998. He is currently founding partner and CEO of Flat 101.

In 2010, he was identified as one of the three best Spanish web analysts. He is also a partner in Madrid-based consultancy Mind Your Group, along with of Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg, authors of "Always be testing" and "Call to action", and Avinash Kaushik. His portfolio also highlights his experience as a Google Analytics Evangelist, among other profiles.

Ricardo Tayar will be speaking at the second edition of The Inbounder Global Conference 2018, which will be held on April 25 and 26 at the Palacio de Congresos in Madrid.

You can follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.




Ricardo Tayar
Founding Partner of Flat 101
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