Anatomy of an eCommerce Conversion Optimization Formula

A conversion is getting your shopper to do what you want them to. Today, we present you a formula that will teach you how to do it.

A website conversion is getting your potential client to do what you want them to do. For example, adding an item to the cart, filling out a contact form, or placing an order. We already told you some ways to increase your website’s conversions. In 2023 eCommerce, though, the average conversion rate is 1% to 4% so, not very high. But many years ago, Meclabs introduced a conversion optimization formula that we would like to present to you today.

If you’re not a mathematician, don’t freak out, as this is not a problem you solve in the traditional sense. It’s a heuristic problem, meaning it’s a more concrete way to look at an abstract concept, such as the way we make decisions.

They called it the Heuristic Conversion Optimization Formula and it is expressed like this:

C = 4m + 3v +2(i-f) – 2a

Let’s break down the formula.

C = Probability of conversion

This is the likelihood of achieving your final goal, e.g. sale, download, signup for newsletter, etc, after taking all the other variables into account.

m = Motivation of user

What is it that drives the customer? It is a very important factor in conversion, and that’s why it’s given a weight of 4 in the equation. Visitors may arrive with varying levels of “m”; for example, someone that finds you from a search engine result may have more than one who clicks on a friend’s Facebook link. It’s up to you to move the “m” the rest of the way so they take that action.

v = Clarity (or force) of the value proposition

This is the next most crucial metric, hence the weight of 3, because it centers around value. But this is not just based on the actual worth of what you have to offer, but how clearly you present it to them. It also takes into account the appeal of the product, the exclusivity of your offer, and the credibility of your brand. (You could express this as v = a + e + c.). More about crafting a value proposition.

i = Incentive to take action

This is different from visitor motivation – it’s what you as a vendor bring to the table. What tempting offers are you dangling in front of them that will make them click? Time-sensitive discounts or special bonuses can often tilt their action toward a conversion.

f = Friction elements of a process

But, there is almost always friction that is tilting them the opposite way. This friction can be in the form of boring website copy, poor site design, slow loading pages, long checkout process, and other barriers that may prevent them from completing the task.

a = Anxiety about entering information

In addition to more tangible friction elements, there is the potential for customer anxiety about entering credit card or personal information, which is why it gets its own variable with a weight of 2. Anxiety is only relieved through trust, the cornerstone of every e-commerce business. If site visitors don’t trust you, they won’t become clients!

Now that we’ve gone through each of the elements, let’s look at that formula once again:

C = 4m + 3v +2(i-f) – 2a

Does this better help you visualize what goes through every consumer’s mind before a conversion?

To learn more about conversion optimization in eCommerce, contact our eCommerce growth strategy experts to learn what would work best for your particular case. Don’t wait any longer to start the path to success!

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