Latest Promo Campaign Generates 18% Ecommerce Conversion Rate

Written by  March 29, 2008

One of the greatest joys of my ecommerce coaching engagements with store owners is being able to help them grow their online business.

While coaching, I’m constantly testing various methodologies which add incremental increases to their conversion rate.

During a recent promotion with one store owner we were able to achieve sustained conversion rates of a whopping 18.67% over a twelve day period. This conversion rate is well over the industry standard conversion rate of about 2.4%.

The graphic below is a screenshot of the analytics program showing the spike in conversion during that time period.
Ecommerce promotion analytics report

The average sustained conversion rate for this client over the past 15 months is a solid 10.48%. Again, well above the industry average. Yet, the recent promotion made even that conversion rate look small with the peak conversion rate being an unheard of 26.17%!

How Did it Happen?

By creating a promotion that work in conjunction with events already happening in the media, we were able to feed off of the hype and excitement that was generated through those channels. The best part is we never paid a dime for that exposure. We let the media do it for us and simply created a campaign that took the excitement and moved it to the client’s website in the form of a promotion.

What was the promotion’s foundation? March Madness and the NCAA basketball tournament.

With all the media exposure and hype surrounding that event it made sense to create a promotional campaign which captured the excitement. It’s often said by many that if you want to make money, “follow hollywood” or “follow the media”.

The general idea of the campaign was simple. Take the excitement surrounding the NCAA basketball tournament and turn it into a game which let the customers choose their own “tournament participants” (i.e. products) simply by purchasing their favorite products from the online store.

The number of purchased products would be tracked during the period and the top 16 most popular products would move to the “Sweet 16” round. From there, the top eight would move to the Elite 8 and so on. The results of those products that moved to each round would be posted on the site in “leader board” fashion for all to keep track of.

To keep one’s favorite product(s) in the running, all they had to do was buy more. It may sound kinda crazy, but it worked (and is working as I write this.) The competitive spirit of humans and the hype of the events surrounding the promotion make it work (not to mention the nice discounts customers got as part of the promo.)

This “leader board” had a duel purpose that served both the customer and the store owner.

For the Customer: It gave them a way to track where their favorite product(s) ranked in the standings and keep “the game” exciting to them.

For the Store Owner: The board would provide a list of “Best Sellers” chosen by customers which would be used as a base to increase sales even further. It would also enable the store owner to showcase a few newer products that many customers (and potential customers) may otherwise not have considered buying if it weren’t for their peers recommending them.

It Worked

In short, it worked like a charm. The overall campaign has achieved several things because of the way it was setup (all intentionally planned from the beginning.)

  1. It increased the average order value by nearly $15
  2. It increased the number of new customers through a “viral word of mouth marketing” element
  3. It increased the average daily sales totals and net profit to record amounts
  4. It got current customers to repeat their frequency of buying at an earlier cycle than usual
  5. It created awareness of new products the company had in stock
  6. It generated a whopping 18.67% conversion rate to date (visitors to sales)
  7. It moved inventory

Key Elements in The Campaign

Below is a list of what elements were put in place to make it all happen.

  • Promo campaign was built around media coverage of NCAA Tournament
  • Game type atmosphere was created using the store’s products as the “tournament participants”
  • Free Shipping was offered for all orders over a certain dollar amount
  • Free products were offered based on the amount of items one purchased
  • A discount was given on a per product basis which directly coincided with the number of items the customer purchased from the store.
  • The offer is a “Limited Time Only” promotion creating urgency

So next time you’re thinking of a promotion to run for your store make sure you plan it out carefully first and have an objective in place that the promotion should achieve. Oh yeah, and when the opportunity arises to take advantage of free media coverage, jump on that opportunity.

To your success!

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