Is your online store attracting traffic but not making as many sales as you hoped? Are you experiencing a large number of drop-offs? Maybe you’re making some sales but not seeing month-on-month growth?
In this blog we explain what Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) all is about and how it can help increase your conversions or sales. We’ve also provided a step-by-step guide and checklist of tactics to help you develop and implement a CRO plan.
What is Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)?
Your conversion rate refers to the percentage of people who perform a certain type of action on your site. In most cases, this would be a sale but can also include things like adding to cart or subscribing to a newsletter.
Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO), therefore, is a digital marketing function that looks at ways to make the process to purchase (or conversion) as fast and simple as possible, with the goal of increasing your monthly conversion rates.
Why is CRO important?
Basically, the higher your conversion rate – the more successful your business. Not only will be you making more sales and therefore profit, you’ll also be improving your return on investment (ROI).
Look at it this way – operating your business requires a certain amount of investment. How many sales you make directly impacts your profitability and ability to scale up. By increasing conversions your ROI is improved, and so are the opportunities to add more products or expand into new or different markets.
How to work out conversion rates?
To calculate your conversion rate simply divide the number of sales or actions by the total number of individual visitors and multiply by 100 to get your percentage.
For example: 53 sales / 1,300 visitors x 100 = 4% conversion rate.
What is a good conversion rate?
According to Shopify (one of the most widely used e-commerce platforms) the 2023 average conversion rate is 3.7%.
If your existing conversion rate is sitting below this keep reading!
What CRO is not!
It’s important to note that CRO is not a one-off, set-and-forget service or function. CRO is about monitoring and evolving your website, by continually looking at visitor behaviour, conversion rates and others results as well as drawing on industry best practices.
Web development best practices
There are proven approaches when it comes to developing an engaging and effective e-commerce site. These are tried and tested methods or processes which are widely accepted as the right way of doing things to get the best results. Some of these include:
- UX design – the visual appearance and layout of your website can be the biggest barriers to convert. Think about the Apple iPad or iPhone and how intuitive they are to use – these are great examples of user experience (UX) design. Applying UX Design principles to your website will make it more accessible and easier to use.
- Audience research – instead of guessing what your customer wants or relying on personal opinions, it’s important to talk to your customers and ask what they like, don’t like and want. This information enables us to create an experience based on the customers actual needs, which greatly improves the likelihood of conversion.
- Split testing – it’s virtually impossible to predict exactly how customers will behave in real time and this is where A/B Testing comes in. Also known as split testing, we show two options (of a single image, section or whole page for example) to a test audience, to help determine which one will be most effective.
Developing a strategic CRO plan
Now you know the basics of CRO and why it’s so important, how do you get started and what’s actually involved?
- Conduct a CRO Audit – review your website.
Study all the elements of your website, looking closely at content, design, functionality and any existing conversion points. Identify things you like, don’t like, are incomplete or need refreshing. Check best practices to make sure you’re meeting or exceeding these.
- Analyse the data – look at the results.
Examine your visitor numbers and behaviour, page visits and duration, and most importantly conversion results. Cross check and compare this data with your sales targets and marketing goals.
- Talk to your customers – engage and connect.
Ask customers what they want and understand their pain points. Conducting customer research is a great way to establish and develop trust, while receiving valuable feedback that will inform your decisions.
- Establish new/ key conversion points – reset and focus.
Determine which potential conversion points need to remain, be updated or edited, added or removed. There will always be something to improve – no website will ever be perfect, nor should it ever be static and unresponsive!
- Implement CRO – plan and act.
Develop and implement an informed and strategic CRO plan including specific tactics (see the checklist below). Remember to keep monitoring, testing and reviewing your plan and results regularly.
Your CRO Checklist:
Here are 30 of the most common CRO tactics – some of which you will be able to implement fairly simply and quickly and begin to see immediate improvements.
- Homepage – first impressions count, keep it simple and visually appealing.
- Navigation – provide a simple, hierarchical dropdown menu that’s easy to find and use.
- Images – use high-quality original images, stay away from stock images.
- Videos – show off your products in situ and action via dynamic content.
- CTA’s – ensure you have a clear ‘call to action’ on each page/ product.
- Speed – reduce website loading times by compressing images and videos.
- Mobile responsive – 60% of web traffic comes from mobile, make sure your website is suitable for mobile viewing and use.
- Pop ups – grab customers attention with a welcome message or offer.
- Customer accounts – streamline the process to purchase by enabling customers to sign in and keep their details securely on file.
- Wishlists – are an effective first step towards purchase, allowing customers to keep an eye on their favourite items.
- Giveaways and offers – a quick and enticing way to capture visitor data and build your database.
- Product reviews – let your customers do the selling for you.
- Testimonials – customer can help establish brand trust and credibility.
- Socials – include links to social media in a prominent location.
- Product descriptions – make sure you have clear and detailed product info.
- Product quantities – display how many items are left to create a sense of urgency to purchase.
- Pricing – make it clear and easy to find the cost of products and shipping.
- Search bar – enable customers to quickly find what they’re looking for.
- Categories – sort your products into product groups, not too many though.
- Suggest other items – provide a list of similar or related products.
- Links – ensure all links and button are functioning correctly.
- Free shipping – will help reduce one of the biggest barriers to purchase.
- View cart – make it easy to find, view and edit the customers shopping cart.
- Cart abandons – monitor and send email reminders to complete the checkout process.
- Payment options – offer a range of payment options including BNPL.
- Guest checkout – enable anonymous purchases to be made quickly and easily.
- Rewards program – recognise and reward regular customers with discounts or other exclusive offers.
- Contact us – make it easy and provide options for customers to locate you or get in touch.
- Live chat – provide a 24/7 chat function for customer support and enquires.
- Returns – have a clear and easy returns policy set up.
Want expert support and advice to improve your conversion rates and grow your business? Contact us for a free introductory consultation today.
This blog was originally published on Sentius Digital (View here).