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The conversion rate is one of the most important metrics in e-commerce. While the number of visitors is the basis for success, those visitors must first bring about the desired result - in most cases, the completion of an order. This is where the conversion rate comes into play!

If you already have an online store, you are already aware of this. But how can you increase the conversion rate so that you achieve more sales at the end of the day?

In this article, I will show you how to define suitable conversion goals to measure the conversion rate. I'll also explain why and how you can segment your visitors to gain insight into more than just the performance of your store - the key to optimizing your conversion rate.

What do we mean by the conversion rate?

The conversion rate is the number of conversions divided by the total number of visitors (or page views). For example, if an online store has 200 visitors in a month and makes 50 sales, the conversion rate would be 50 divided by 200, i.e. 25 %.

While conversion rate often refers to the number of sales in relation to the total number of visitors, as in the example above, a conversion can refer to any desired action that can be performed by the user. Websites and apps often have multiple website goals, and each has its own conversion rate. For example, a conversion on an affiliate website could be a click on a link to the advertised product, while a news magazine defines conversion as the completion of a subscription.

Tracking conversion rates is of great importance for websites of all kinds. It is used to measure performance, which in the next step enables the optimization of important factors in the conversion of users, such as user experience, prices or website copy. For example, different versions of the same landing page can be compared in A/B tests based on the conversion rate.

Various conversion goals for online stores

Website goals or conversion goals are either individual pages that are accessed by the customer (e.g. confirmation of an order) or the following of a predefined path consisting of several pages. These goals are defined with the help of URLs or events, such as a click on a button. In this way, the actions performed by the user can be tracked and analyzed.

In this case, the conversion rate corresponds to the click-through rate, i.e. the number of clicks in relation to page views.

Frequently used conversion goals are, for example:

  • Display of the order confirmation page when completing an order
  • Click on a link
  • Display of the shopping cart after adding a product
  • Display of the newsletter registration page
  • Registration of an appointment for a consultation, e.g. completed by clicking on a button

When creating conversion goals, it is essential that they follow the SMART approach. Goals must therefore be specific, measurable, appropriate, relevant and time-bound. Good conversion goals measure the performance of the website in relation to a segment of website traffic in order to enable meaningful analysis and conclusions.

If you want to know how to define conversion goals in Google Analytics, I recommend my article on the Creation of target projects with Google Analytics. Here you will find a step-by-step guide to help you track and analyze your click-through rates.

Typical conversion rates by industry

As the owner of an online store, you need to know how to assess the performance of your store. It is not enough to simply measure the performance of your own store based on the conversion rate; you need to compare it with the standard market performance.

The average conversion rate of an online store in terms of purchases relative to the existing traffic varies depending on the industry. Below you will find typical conversion rates for various industries in Germany (as of 2018 according to Statista):


Conversion rate (in %)



Beauty and fitness


Digital printing






House and garden






A look at international figures shows that the global conversion rate has fluctuated between 2.5 % and 3.5 % in the last few years.

Why the conversion rate by segment is more meaningful

The larger the store, the more worthwhile it is to divide your traffic into different segments. Imagine that your store is accessed by visitors, some of whom came via your social media channels, others via Google and still others have accessed the store directly because they are returning customers.

Calculating the conversion rate for all visitors at the same time can be useful for an overall view, but conclusions about the effectiveness of advertising campaigns, trust in the brand and brand loyalty, user-friendliness and design of the website etc. can best be drawn if segments are considered individually.

If you segment your traffic sensibly, you can optimize your store and everything that goes with it specifically for these individual segments and thus increase performance even further.

In the following, I would therefore like to explain how you can segment your traffic.

3 ways you can segment your traffic

There are different ways to categorize your visitors. Not all methods are recommended for every store - your industry usually determines how you should carry out your segmentation in practice.

#1 Use a form / tool on the landing page

Interactive websites not only attract attention and therefore a high level of visitor engagement, but also help you to assign individual visitors to a segment.

conversion rate ecomThe well-known personal finance site NerdWallet displays a list of credit cards based on criteria such as the visitor's credit score and interests.

Instead of selecting a suitable category via the classic menu, the visitor answers a few questions and then receives a suitable result or a selection of products or services. A good example of this are pages with bookings of all kinds, such as hotel bookings, services, insurance, etc.

Depending on the visitor's selection or responses, the visitor can be assigned to a specific segment, which not only simplifies the analysis of performance data, but also increases the click-through rate.

#2 Individual reports

In some sectors, it is worth offering customized reports. These reports do not have to be truly customized, but tailored to the segment. In many cases, the visitor must provide their email address in order to receive the report, which makes it possible to send individualized email campaigns with prior permission from the subscriber.

conversion rate ecommerce

InsuraMatch lets the visitor select the type of insurance and asks for the address in order to formulate targeted offers.

For such a report to create added value, it must be a high-value service or product. The decision on the part of the potential customer must be made on the basis of a wide range of data. Good examples of suitable sectors are insurance, marketing or investments.

#3 Segmentation by cookies

If the integration of interactive elements or the collection of contact data such as the email address is not possible or appears useless, classic segmentation based on the data contained in cookies comes into play. If Google Analytics or a similar web analysis tool is active, data such as gender, geographical data or the source of traffic can be analyzed.

In addition, URL paths can be defined that provide information about the visitor's motivation and interests. In this way, click-through rates from different product groups, landing pages etc. can be recorded.

Tobias Dziuba

My name is Tobias and I am the founder and managing director of the Amazon agency Adsmasters GmbH based in Düsseldorf.

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