In an eCommerce environment that offers so many choices and distractions, Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the absolute best science for finalizing the right elements and achieving your eCommerce store's desired goals. These elements cohesively work to capture visitor attention and direct them closer to the desired goal.
What does Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) mean?
Conversion Rate Optimization is a data-driven discipline to increase the percentage of users who perform any desired action on a site. The desired action may vary depending on the website. Since eCommerce or transactional websites want to increase their conversions, the desired response they expect from the target audience is more conversions.
Informative Websites vs. eCommerce
Though informative websites may want more leads, subscribers, and high activity on their social media channels, eCommerce focuses on increasing the number of orders per visit through conversion rate optimization (CRO).
Importance of Launching a Comprehensive CRO Campaign
The biggest reason why every eCommerce company needs to work diligently to start a comprehensive CRO campaign is to sustain your business within the competitive market. In order to successfully establish your comprehensive CRO campaign, you will need to have an exhaustive CRO strategy which most generic CRO programs do not consider due to their one-dimensional approach.
CRO takes a single KPI (conversions) approach. However, an eCommerce website, being transactional cannot rely on a single KPI. To experience real growth, eCommerce website's need to have a Multi-KPI approach also known as holistic and data-driven. Focusing solely on conversions will not allow an eCommerce business to succeed.
The Truth Behind Every Business
Why is that so? All Conversion Rate Optimization programs focus ONLY ON conversions. But, despite being obsessed with conversions and being so conversion-oriented, these CRO strategies fail to deliver. Firstly, because they are not holistic and data-driven. On top of that, they are NOT customized for your eCommerce company. As a result, you end up with no conversions. Consequently, your revenue and profit also take a hit.
The Power of Holistic Data-Driven Commerce Revenue Optimization (CRO-HD)
CRO-HD is the most common-sense solution to increase revenue in eCommerce. Since CRO-HD performs a holistic and data-driven analysis of your eCommerce store. On top of that, it takes a multi-KPI approach. Unlike CRO, which only focuses on conversions. CRO-HD targets and successfully captures numerous KPI's. With CRO-HD, you can ensure your eCommerce website reaches its highest revenue potential. Without CRO-HD, you fall short of your revenue targets and end up draining resources such as effort, time, and, most importantly, money.
Top 6 eCommerce Principles
CRO programs must work to enhance these six components on your eCommerce website, but fail to do so when they only focus on a single KPI conversion. However, CRO-HD successfully addresses these parameters by performing a holistic analysis of your eCommerce store.
1. Value Proposition
Your willingness to sell through an eCommerce site is not enough to create sales. Those who visit your site must see the value in working with you. Why should they select you over your competitors? To generate that interest, you'll need to emphasize your brand's unique value, which differentiates it from the competition. It could come in the form of rewards, discounts, logistics, certifications, experience, skillset, or other distinct attributes that make you more exclusive. Help them see how selecting your brand in favor of others will benefit them and serve their self-interests.
Trust is equally essential on an eCommerce website. Transactional websites that capture sensitive information must have a certain level of conviction in place. When it comes to feeding Credit Card information and other personal data, most users feel reluctant, which acts as a barrier as causes abandonment. Therefore, it is imperative to have trust as a critical component while designing a website. Users are more likely to trust sites with HTTPS, SSL, Security Logos, testimonials, ratings, certifications, etc. Your eCommerce website needs enough trust signals in place.
Friction prevents your shoppers from getting a seamless experience, which creates disengagement, fatigue, and withdrawal. As a result, they abandon your eCommerce store. There are elements in a store that fail to improve retention and lower the conversion rates.
It could be a poorly executed navigation system, too many pop-ups, lack of breadcrumbs, wrong links, absence of search bar, and other regions that prevent order placements. Your user interface (UI) should streamline the experience of visitors. Try to eliminate friction at every point in the conversion funnel.
The desire to not miss out can persuade people to place orders. Seeing a countdown or a limited time offer tempts them to grab a deal instantly. The psychological fear of never seeing the same item on sale triggers immediate purchases. It's essential to execute this in your eCommerce store. The content must convey to the reader that the deal will never be available again at the same rate or offer.
The text information within the page should always be aligned with the product or subject being discussed. At times, content deflects from the core purpose and alienates the readers. This is why staying on the topic to maintain engagement may help prevent losing your consumer's interest.
Beyond relevance, the content must possess adequate clarity. In the absence of clarity, visitors often fail to understand the message that is being conveyed about the product or the company. As such, they abandon the site. Clear and concise descriptions, spec sheets, supportive images, and videos are essential to increase the website's credibility.
A lack of clarity in design elements can also evoke confusion. Refine your content, so it's accurate and on par with the context. Doubtful users are likely to take longer to decide. Stalling the decision-making process and creating delays for your buyers will cut their buying process and deplete your eCommerce site's conversion rate.
Generic Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) Programs
Conventional CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) programs focus only on conversions. As a result, they perform poorly and give disappointing results. Everything they do revolves around conversions. They may miss addressing other important KPIs and therefore deliver disappointing results overall.
Conversion Rate Optimization programs are centered on a single KPI - conversion. Not factoring other KPI's is the principal reason why conventional CRO programs prove ineffective in bringing any significant improvement on eCommerce websites. CRO methodologies are neither holistic nor data-driven.
Most CRO service providers aim to increase conversions through minor UI changes. Although this can be somewhat effective, it WON'T offer high returns in the long run. They fail to address other strategies that should be adopted to increase revenue and profits while reducing customer acquisition costs.
Conventional Conversion Rate Optimization programs implement superficial changes on your eCommerce website. Rarely do conventional CRO programs go beyond the tried and tested measures. On top of that, the most significant drawback is that they DON'T give the best Return on Investment (ROI).
These CRO programs will run forever, cost incredibly high, offer a low probability of success, and deliver fractional results. The budget you run into with generic CRO programs is not justified considering the insignificant returns they offer. Not only that, but the scope is also incredibly low.
On top of that, conventional CRO programs tend to go over budget. Besides the initial investment, the company incurs additional charges that dramatically escalates the costs without offering any immense value. Also, such CRO agencies go overboard and end up affecting "over CRO," which is an overkill that applies every known tactic in the CRO book.
The principal problem with generic CRO campaigns is the stock solutions they bring to the table. Such common CRO tactics are not derived from the issue at hand but are the typical pre-existing industry solutions. Generic CRO programs tend NOT to rely on valuable metrics. They do not use insightful data to derive the CRO strategy. Such CRO solutions are based on "guesstimates."
How This Impacts You?
Since they do not perform a comprehensive analysis of your store, customers, business, and other facets of your business, the resulting changes on the site fail to impact consumers and low conversions prevail. These CRO campaigns do not use proper tools like Heatmaps, Tableau, Adobe Analytics, etc. to estimate problem areas.
5 Cosmetic Changes Implemented on Your eCommerce Store
Product Detail Page (PDP) is made up of several pictures of the product. These images are often blurred, pixelated, and lack the clarity to convey the intricate details about the product. Therefore, many CRO agencies opt for a makeover on those visual elements on the page. They play around with these elements to find the most visually appealing combination. However, relying solely on little tweaks on website images is not enough to trigger conversions.
2. Textual Changes
In this tactic, changes are made on the content side of things. This could be the content on the landing page, product description, blog, headings, sub-headings, meta descriptions, or any other content elsewhere that could be stalling conversions.
One of the most common barriers in conversion is having incomprehensible content that creates uncertainty for prospective customers. The content needs to be aligned with the client's intent, interest, and purpose. The changes to the content must stem from an analytical approach. Aimlessly introducing random changes to your website content, will not assist the buyers in their decision-making process. Something that informative and educative content will.
3. CTA Button
CTA modifications are believed to be the easiest thing to suggest to any eCommerce store owner. CTA changes are what all CRO agencies aim to address on any eCommerce website. Every time an eCommerce merchant initiates a CRO project, their first advice they get is editing their CTA buttons.
This could mean changing the wording within the CTA, changing the CTA button's size by enlarging it, or changing the color to increase visibility. Some also go as far as turning the CTA into a pop-up. There is no doubt that high-performing CTA modifications are critical to a successful CRO strategy. However, unplanned CTA changes are a lot more at risk than beneficial for an eCommerce company.
4. Unplanned A/B Testing
A/B testing is another preferred tactic of every CRO agency. Such is the reliance on A/B testing that they often end up abusing these tests. One of the reasons for doing so, is not conducting a prior assessment of the business.
Data-oriented testing is more likely to give a higher success rate because when testing is ambiguous, it fails to produce any positive result. Thus, businesses end up changing font size, font color, font face, and everything they think might increase conversions. However, the results and changes don't translate to any order placements.
Re-aligning or restructuring the page is a popular tactic used by all the mainstream CRO houses. In this stage, all that needs to be done is reorder the elements on the page to improve its aesthetic appeal.
This could be the CTA button, images, text, social buttons, form, or anything else they think will make a difference to the conversion rate. Most CRO experts rarely go beyond repositioning an element on the page. They'd select any element on the page and place the same elsewhere on the same page.
Holistic Data-Driven Commerce Revenue Optimization (CRO-HD)
If you wish to accelerate your eCommerce revenue, then it's time to invest in a strategy based, intelligent and holistic program and not in any "run of the mill" conversion optimization programs – that rarely deliver.
CRO-HD is the most excellent form of CRO that exists in the market. It has been fine-tuned to go beyond the standard methodologies that exist in CRO. CRO-HD integrates innovative measures that bring comprehensive changes to your eCommerce store.
CRO-HD aims to introduce sizable and credible changes for your eCommerce store. Commerce Revenue Optimization performs a 360 degree analysis of your eCommerce site. It figures out ways to not only optimize the buyer experiences, but also make buying a memorable experience. Most businesses have a hard time creating a seamless and streamlined UX for the visitors on the site.
CRO-HD successfully captures all the KPI's. They include an increase in Revenue per Visitor (RPV), Average Order Value (AOV), Repeat Orders (RO), Retention Rate (RR), Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). Further, CRO also focuses on decreasing Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) and Customer Service Costs (CSC).
CRO-HD offers to perform and run tests within the stipulated time. Not only does it save you time, but it also saves you money while staying within the budget and maximizing results. The best part about CRO-HD is that it offers the client flexibility to change the budget and priorities based on the results. CRO-HD will systematically optimize multiple KPI's on a priority basis to keep the budget in check.
The CRO-HD methodology is quite simple to analyze, find problems, hypothesize, prioritize, test, implement, and repeat the process. CRO-HD works to improve and enhance your eCommerce store by analyzing every phase of your customer's journey.
CRO-HD works through the awareness stage, the consideration and purchase stage, and then on the post-purchase stage. In each phase, CRO-HD targets and captures various KPI's. Firstly, we analyze the awareness stage where we focus on CTR and bounce rates. Focus on bounce rate, average order value, revenue, profit, and more during the consideration and purchase stage. Lastly, through the post-purchase stage, focus on repetitive purchases, lifetime value, and other analytical information that can help benefit your eCommerce store in the long run.
The awareness phase focuses on the ad campaign, positioning, messaging, communication, and email marketing strategy. The consideration and purchase phase focuses on UI/UX improvements, growth suggestions, subscriptions, sign-ups, and competitor analysis. It also focuses on promotion or sales strategy, personalization, and abandoned cart recovery. The post-purchase phase focuses on existing and inactive customer marketing strategy which focuses on reviews or ratings with customer service improvement.
The 7 CRO-HD Framework Modules
1. Qualitative Analysis
Gather information from your consumers, outlining their main concerns and what they'd like to see on their eCommerce website. Tools like Qualaroo, Google Form, Typeform, SurveyGizmo, and more resources can help facilitate gathering the data.
Once you receive their feedback, address their emerging concerns, and integrate their solutions onto your site to create the CRO campaign. After all, it is the valuable information gathered via surveys, polls, and other communication forms to design a more impressive eCommerce website.
Begin asking helpful open-ended questions, actively seek participation on social media, reach out on chat, and get them to divulge useful details. Conducting emails, on-page, and exit page surveys can make a difference to connect better with your target audience. That way, you serve them the exact website they've been looking for. Having an insight into your loyal user's minds through meaningful questionnaires, gives you a better grasp of where your site needs more improvement.
2. Quantitative Analysis
Lack of research is what translates to average conversion rates. Therefore, you'd need to extract data about your eCommerce site. The vital information within the form of metrics will help you gauge your eCommerce store's performance even better. You would use tools such as Google Suite, HotJar, ClickTale, Tableau, Adobe Analytics, KissMetrics, Plytix, and more to make sense of these metrics and get a deeper understanding of the analytics. Reviewing facets like location, hits, retention time, traffic density, source, peak sales day, and beyond can also help understand your store's performance.
Once you interpret this information, make sure to implement the same strategies into your eCommerce store. For these strategies to be more impactful, they need to be symmetric with the foundation of your business. An analysis that is best aligned with your business KPIs is not only recommended, but necessary. Identifying and fixing your website's weak spots can be observed by studying the impact of every widget, feature, element, and what your visitors do in the store. Only then will you be able to successfully establish the areas where you are losing the highest percentage of visitors.
To better understand your visitor's behavior, you should use every tool to gather, report, and analyze as many details as possible. This analysis helps to boost customer acquisition and encourages better decision making while formulating marketing strategies.
3. Human Insight Analysis
Human Insight Analysis revolves around user testing of the eCommerce site. Such tests can either be performed online or in person. It allows you to interact with the participants and ask specific questions, while they are taking the tests. Aside from this, other eye-tracking devices and psychographic equipment can also be used to monitor their sessions.
Some use sites like UserTesting or TrymyUI to conduct the tests. Recruiting participants that fulfill the criteria of the target audience is easier than you may think. With online tests, there's no need for any equipment and it can be launched anywhere at any time. It is also important to consider their thoughts, feelings, and actions while they interact with the website. Keep in mind that it is mandatory to run tests on both mobile and desktop, that too on different browsers to study the interaction and engagement better.
4. Technical Analysis
During the technical analysis stage, the eCommerce store is reviewed across various browsers and devices. The responsiveness of your website and compatibility with other devices cannot be taken for granted. Not only that, but you would also optimize the store from experiencing multiple glitches. Every effort is taken to identify errors that could potentially disrupt the user experience. Because persistent issues could dent the reputation of your brand and affect customer loyalty.
If that wasn't enough, CRO-HD will test the site for speed issues. A slow-loading website can trigger abandonment and elevate bounce rates. Additionally, multiple performance optimization tactics to improve page speed is carried out. It is recommended to use Pingdom, GTmetrix, and Google's Page Speed Insights to get a broader understanding of your site's performance. Review the SEO ecosystem of your website to improve the SEO quality. This will require checking Schema markup, crawling, link analysis, metadata, overall website content, and more.
5. Behavior Analysis
The user behavior will reveal profound information about your eCommerce site. During this stage, how visitors interact with your website will be monitored to study how people operate on your site. Movements such as observing their mouse or trackpad cursor are analyzed to comprehend their approach and see what elements on the page are drawing their attention.
By conducting a ClickMap Analysis, it will help record the regions on the site that are registering the most clicks. This is important because you do not want to waste your potential customer's clicks on miscellaneous items on a page when the goal is to reduce confusion at all costs. Even administrating session recordings to monitor the browsing behavior of your visitors can be something to consider.
Additionally, Scroll Maps can be used to get an in-depth analysis of how far visitors would scroll and remain engaged. Upon analyzing, place all the vital content "above the fold" to elevate user engagement. Beyond this, use Attention Maps to read eye paths and visual cues to see where browsing drops heavily. Heat Maps can also be used to view the high-density regions on a page where users have clicked on the most, how far they have scrolled, and beyond. By identifying the areas that get the most attention and focus, you can ensure your eCommerce website is of high quality.
6. UI/UX Analysis
UI/UX analysis is vital to audit the User Interface and User Experience of your eCommerce store. A poor browsing session due to navigational problems, 404 error pages, inability to find or fill a form, misaligned content, and other recurring issues, will deplete the UX. During this stage, you review and fix the website design and other unpleasant irregularities that create abandonment.
Collecting data from A/B Testing, Split Testing, and Multivariate Testing to identify areas on the site that underperform. This will also help determine the best variant or version for that page. A hypothesis can be created to learn how all aspects of the site impact user behavior. If conducted properly, these UI/UX experiments can lead to helpful insights on design decisions.
The tests are carried out on various elements within the conversion funnel. The UI/UX phase will test graphics, headlines, messaging, design, form fields, and more for top engagement. Testing for UI/UX takes the guesswork out of optimization and enables data-informed business decisions. If you discover a winning variation while performing the A/B tests, then implement that and use the results for your future optimization efforts. To execute these A/B tests, you could use CrazyEgg, HubSpot A/B testing, VWO, or Optimizely.
7. Growth Analysis
A good CRO campaign means saving your time, money, efforts, and exploring new growth strategies unknown in the past. Businesses need to adapt and scale. Therefore, you'd need to identify new avenues to improve your ROI. The current rate of incoming conversions, revenue, and profits may be satisfactory. However, the same could change in the long run. On top of that, eCommerce's unpredictable landscape means you don't know what's around the corner.
For all you know, the order placements could drastically decline soon. Thus, your business can't be locked into the same legacy solutions forever. It needs to evolve to adjust and tackle any disruption. Analyze the growth of your competitors, yourself, and the industry in general.
Use data mining tools to assess your industry's growth pattern from the last five years or beyond. Even doing a funnel analysis to identify leaks in your current eCommerce store can benefit your business. This will help you anticipate the incoming hurdles and be better prepared to tackle the challenges.
You may have realized that conventional CRO doesn't use an approach that generates revenue and profit for your eCommerce store. All the CRO techniques revolve around conversions as the primary focus.
The CRO-HD framework uses all the right strategies and measures to increase conversions while creating an increase in revenue and profits as well. Besides this, they are also able to create a memorable user experience. All the above reasons further certify the worth of CRO-HD for your eCommerce store. It is the most impactful, resourceful, and effective strategy for all eCommerce store owners.