Why This COVID-19 eCommerce Website Data Surprised Our Analysts
Last Monday I was on our daily team standup (via Zoom, natch). This is work life now! Ben, our VP of Marketing, asked if we are seeing any changes to our client’s website conversions during this pandemic. While I had started to notice some unusual signals in recent weeks – I recommended to Ben my team take a deep dive into our data and see what we could find.
We agreed to start this project by comparing one week in February to one week in March. Selecting 160 merchant websites across different industries, we got to work. When we took a closer peek at how these websites were performing during a crisis, what we found was fascinating.
Looking at comprehensive data from the HiConversion platform — website visitors, conversion rates, revenue and more — we saw serious changes during the past month or so. The following insights show how dramatically this pandemic is affecting eCommerce retail brands, and we’re sharing all this so we might provide some help to teams as they direct their own efforts.
1 | Brands are experiencing a decline in website visits, but an increase in conversion rates.
For the most part, the number of website visits dropped, while the number of conversions was very minimally affected, which is highlighted by the increase in Conversion Rate. This means that, despite the much-reduced number of visits to the online stores, those visitors are more invested in their purchases, with much fewer visitors browsing around without any intention to buy.
2 | Shoppers aren’t spending as much online, but they are buying more frequently.
Average Order Value (AOV) saw an overall decrease, but the aforementioned improvement in Conversion Rate has minimized the negative impact in total Revenue. We concluded visitors are generally spending less on average, but they’re converting more often. This is a clear change in buying behaviors, especially for this time of year.
3 | Sporting Goods, Automotive and Industrial brands saw the biggest overall revenue drops.
For industries like Clothing, Shoes & Accessories, Sporting Goods, Automotive and Industrial, there was a drop in both number of conversions and total revenue (the last three taking the biggest hit among the industries we analyzed). However, we observed an increase in Revenue Per Visitor (RPV) and/or Conversion Rate, in-spite of the significant decrease in website visitors.
The Cosmetics industry does not seem to have been heavily affected in terms of their buyers purchasing behavior. The decrease in website visits are proportional to the decrease in sales volume, leaving the Conversion Rate virtually unchanged. A small increase in Average Order Value was responsible for a modest 3% increase in RPV between the two periods analyzed.
4 | Grocery brands saw a big increase in cart-engagement and overall transaction volume.
While visitors for the Grocery industry stayed consistent, shoppers showed higher engagement on the websites, with a 39% increase in Cart Rate (the ratio of sessions where the user added a product to their cart to total sessions). This increase in engagement seems to have been accompanied by a boost in the number of transactions and, combined with the unchanged visitor count, an improvement in both Revenue and Conversion Rate.
Today we stand together, ready to adapt.
The spread of COVID-19 is impacting all eCommerce businesses and just about everyone in involved. Lack of relevant information is hindering eCommerce teams as they make decisions about their businesses. We’re sharing these insights in the hopes of helping merchants understand the current situation within their wider circles.
Our team’s goal is to offer you a trustworthy, unbiased home for eCommerce data you can depend on. Every moment, we leverage our community of hundreds of merchants and billions-of-dollars of transactions to show you what’s really happening.
As mentioned in our previous post in response to COVID-19 – I’m reiterating our commitment to open-up our expertise to any eCommerce team that might need it right now – and if we cannot help you directly, we will connect you with folks who can.