Conversion: The $1 Trillion Question Merchants Must Answer

Bolt Team


Maju Kuruvilla


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Conversion: The $1 Trillion Question Merchants Must Answer

Imagine the following scenario. You work hard at your job, which pays you in paper checks. Each week, you receive a check. But each month, you only cash one check out of every four you’ve gotten. The rest end up uncashed—wedged between couch cushions, lost in the closet, or simply discarded somewhere, never to be deposited.

It sounds strange, even irrational—but it’s a useful analogy when merchants consider shopper conversion and cart abandonment.

Let me explain. On average, seven out of every ten online shopping carts are abandoned after people decide to buy something. That means merchants have accomplished the hard things: they’ve built an inviting web presence, drawn people to their sites, enticed shoppers to add items to a cart—and then failed at the last, crucial step in the transaction.

It’s the ecommerce equivalent of leaving seven out of ten checks uncashed—and most importantly, it’s a fixable problem.

Take a hard look at your offering. It could be that there are one too many forms to fill out (a particular annoyance on mobile, with its smaller form factor.) It could be a sudden surprise tax or unexpected shipping cost, just before people press purchase. 

It could be even simpler than all that, too. Perhaps you’ve made it too hard for a customer to pay, or the payment options presented are limited or don’t have buy-now-pay-later features. Consumers today want more payment options, and they resist having to fill the same forms out time and again.

Any one of these pain points can contribute to that staggering 70% drop-off, and all of them should be an area of focus for merchants who want to improve conversion. 

If you’re not sure if there’s a conversion problem, dig into your analytics and see where customers are dropping off. This isn’t art; it’s science. You can understand the problem, and then fix it.

Here’s why this matters: The total lost revenue because of conversion adds up to $1 trillion dollars across ecommerce. For merchants who are facing cost-conscious consumers, an inflationary economic environment, and post-pandemic unsteadiness, every dollar lost to conversion is precious, now more than ever.

Or to put it differently: You can’t control the economy. You can’t control what Apple and Google do to online advertising. You can’t control every part of the supply chain. But you can control how effectively you’re converting people at your online store, and you can optimize this element of your offering and watch the return go up on all other investments, whether ad spend, SEO dollars, or large-scale marketing campaigns.

We’ve seen this first-hand. When our merchant partners implement Bolt (including products like Bolt CheckOut OS and Bolt One-Click Checkout), they say it’s like flipping a switch on conversion. Shoppers who might have browsed-and-dashed are now finishing their purchases—with no change to what the merchant offered or how items were presented on their site.

One example of a merchant success story is when global luxury retailer Badgley Mischka underwent an ecommerce transformation two years ago. At the time, many clothing retailers were hit hard as month over month dips in sales were impacted by the pandemic. 

To adapt, the customer-centric company set out to build a frictionless online shopping experience optimizing for conversion. The first priority was to fix the checkout experience by implementing Bolt One-Click Checkout. The results were astounding: an 80% conversion rate for shoppers in the Bolt network and a 15% higher average order value on transactions from shoppers in the Bolt network. “I wish all of our customers could be in the Bolt network. It increases their checkout conversion and just makes everything easier,” said Katie Ouaknine, Owner of Badgley Mischka Web.

Conversion is within a company’s locus of control, and control it you should because it’s arguably the simplest way to improve bottom-line numbers and the overall shopping experience. You’re helping consumers complete a transaction they already started—and few fixes could be as easy or as valuable.


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