by Tom Shackleton

When you’re running an eCommerce business, margins can be tight. You want to get every penny of revenue possible out of your marketing efforts, and spending large amounts of money on generating traffic, only for it not to convert can be damaging.

When you’re running an eCommerce business, margins can be tight. You want to get every penny of revenue possible out of your marketing efforts, and spending large amounts of money on generating traffic, only for it not to convert can be damaging.

That’s where conversion rate optimisation comes in. Through CRO, you can optimise everything from your checkout process to ad targeting with the aim of increasing conversion rate as much as possible for your store.

Conversion rate optimisation is an essential activity for any serious eCommerce business. Without it, you could potentially be wasting money on disengaged audiences, or putting up barriers to purchase.

Here’s our guide to conversion rate optimisation.

What Does CRO Mean?

When you think of conversion rate optimisation, you probably think of A/B testing site changes. CRO is so much more than this.

Conversion rate optimisation encompasses everything from optimising the audience of your social advertising, to streamlining your checkout process. There’s plenty you can do both on site and off site to optimise and improve your conversion rate.

Whatever you’re doing to optimise your conversion rate, the basic principles remain the same. You need to be able to gather data, analyse it to recommend improvements, and assess how these improvements have impacted on your conversion rate.

Lets take a look at the standard CRO process you should follow for your own business…

Know Your Starting Point

First things first, if you’re to make a success of the process you need a good understanding of your starting point.

Starting Point

This means you should be regularly monitoring key metrics for your site. If you’re to assess any potential improvements from your conversion rate optimisation later on, you need to understand the state of your site’s key metrics now.

This means knowing things like your current conversion rate, but also being aware of any additional factors that could affect key metrics. This could be anything from discounts and offers to seasonal fluctuations.

If you want to effectively assess your conversion rate optimisation, know your starting point.

Gather Data

To be able to make educated recommendations for improving your conversion rate, you need to gather data.

Depending on where you’re focusing your CRO efforts, the data that you collect will vary. If you’re looking to improve the user experience and sales funnel on site, you might want to record user sessions and build heatmaps for insight into how customers use your site.

You can do this with tools like Hotjar that gather data on how actual customer use your site.

You may also want to look at data such as engagement with your digital advertising. Identifying areas for improvement that attract more engaged visitors can be beneficial for your conversion rate.

It’s important that you don’t just base all of your optimisations on hunches. Gather data so that you can make informed decisions.

Build a Hypothesis

Once you have your data, it’s time to make a hypothesis about what you think may improve your conversion rate.

This could be anything from adding reassurance icons to your cart page, to reviewing the demographics of your Facebook ads.

Set out the improvements you intend to make, and how you imagine this will affect your conversion rate. A well defined hypothesis will allow you to more effectively assess whether your changes have had the desired effect.

Test Thoroughly

It’s now time to test your hypothesis.

Test Thoroughly

Depending on the nature of your hypothesis, this could take various different forms. It may just be a case of monitoring your metrics or campaigns for changes, or implementing variations of your changes and gathering more data on the effects.

You could choose to carry out A/B testing here if you feel there are a couple of different potential ways to improve conversion rate, or you want to test a major change against your existing site.

Review Your Changes

Once your optimisations have been implemented and tested, you can evaluate the success of your changes.

This is where knowing your starting point is important. Compare your conversion rates before and after the changes. You may also need to analyse other metrics to evaluate effectiveness. For example, if your conversion rate has improved but average order value has dropped, have your changes still been a success?

Evaluate whether your hypothesis was correct and review all of the impacts of any changes you made.

Rinse & Repeat

Finally, rinse and repeat the process.

If your changes weren’t effective, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and make another attempt.

If they were successful, then be ready to capitalise by further optimising your conversion rate.

There are likely many changes you can make that will improve your conversion rate, and they will differ for every store. Only by repeating the process for your business will you be able to make some great improvements.

In Summary…

Conversion rate optimisation can be complex, and there are many different approaches you can take to optimise your store.

If you’re to make a success of CRO, you need to take a considered and methodical approach.

Analyse relevant data, make a clear hypothesis and always evaluate your changes. If you’re driven by data and make informed decisions, conversion rate optimisation can be a powerful tool for your eCommerce business.

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