What is Conversion Rate Optimisation

Pear Digital have a great way to explain this often complex system: "Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is a simple yet extremely effective set of measures to get website visitors to convert into new sales." We're sure you've seen the term CRO pop up quite a bit on digital marketing websites, so we'd like to clarify what this is, and how you can start putting it to good use.

What does 'conversion' mean? 

We are assuming that if you have found our blog, you're a Shopify user or looking to migrate your business. We'll cover some generic CRO points, and also relate them back to Shopify... because... that's our passion! 

Conversion is just another way to describe a visitor to your website who made a purchase or completed an action. In other words, your converted a visit from someone 'browsing' into a visit where a sale took place. So, conversion rate optimisation is sought-after, because if you can make the most out of every time someone views your website, you will make more sales = more profit. 

There are different types of conversion though, because every website is different and the goal of your advertising may be unique to you. For example, you may have Google Ads in place that recognise every time someone visits your website and signs up for you mailing list; this is a conversion too. Or, even someone visiting your site and adding an item to their basket. CRO is there to measure how effective your advertising is at getting you the intended conversions. 

There are some generic steps that you can take to increase your CRO, these include tools, strategies and tested techniques. 

How do I get my stats? 

If you're on Shopify, you can find all of the CRO info under the Analytics section. This is presented as an easy to understand percentage with a handy up/down arrow which shows you if your CRO in those areas has increased or decreased. There will be similar sections on most platform's dashboards, usually in the 'insights' or 'analytics' section. 

On Shopify you will also see the term 'conversion funnel', this is one of the helpful features of the platform. It shows you the 'thought process' and flow of actions that your customer took prior to converting. It's incredibly important, because you can quickly identify any pain points. For example, if there is a big discrepancy between the number of people who added items to their cart, compared to your sales, you will understand that there's some kind of barrier at this point. 

Are they looking elsewhere for price comparison? Could you promote your product differently to push them into an immediate sale e.g. display your 5* reviews as part of the catalogue? This CRO information is basically a one-stop-shop that you can monitor and easily understand when discussing potential incentives and marketing changes with your team. The conversion funnel can also be visualised as a flow chart, with the initial click on the site at the top, the stages in the middle with yes/no options, and the sale at the bottom. 

The thing we love about Shopify is that you have the opportunity for a 'live view' of your CRO on a global map. You can see hotspots, and watch conversions in real time. 

How do I know If I'm doing well? 

As with most things in life, this is subjective. You need to focus on what category your brand fits into, what locations you are selling in, and what your business goals are. Let's help out and give you some context: in 2020 the average eCommerce CRO rate GLOBALLY was just 2.17%. Broadly speaking that means that out of every 100 people using online stores in the world, only 2 decided to make a purchase... if you are getting a CRO higher than that, it means you are heading in the right direction. 

Things that can impact your CRO do not only come from 'failed' advertising campaigns, you have to look at global economics. Let's say you specialise in Artisan Polish food products. Half of your customers are Polish people and restaurants in the UK, half come from Poland and the surrounding countries. Due to the economic crisis happening in the Ukraine, which directly affects Poland, you may see (over the course of the war) that your CRO falls because although people are interested and want to purchase your food products, they cannot justify the expense on local luxury items.

 You should also be looking at your forecasting and previous figures. Is there something that you missed? Are people 'abandoning' their carts because they figured out in two weeks time you'll be having a January sale? You can't just look at CRO figures in a vacuum, you need to take the time to compare and discuss them with your team. 

Barriers and drivers - what you need to know! 

As mentioned above, this is very subjective, but we will cover some details that should apply to most online businesses. Based on the previous information, we can let you know that a CRO of between 2% and 5% is the average for 2022.

Driving people to your online store in this tumultuous time (post pandemic, post Brexit, during a war and a crippling economy) is no small task! You can use the suggestions in our other blogs to help you when it comes to using social media such as TikTok and Facebook advertising. These platforms generate a great audience and community. When marketed correctly you can tap into a whole social demographic and create a real impact. Just make sure you've done your research and you're working with marketing experts who know the best way to display your products and services! 

Offering new and existing customers specific discount deals entices them to purchase, and purchase more often. Don't just rely on a blanket format of a 10% discount, free shipping or a BOGOF - really offer something interesting and personal. Maybe look at giving them a free item worth up to £7 with each order from a special selection not available in the main store. Find a customisation option... something that shows you care. 

Barriers can be just as complex. If you are noticing declining CRO rates carefully check each element of your website. Is there an issue with page loading times? Are there any spelling mistakes in the content? Do all of your links work? Is there another brand offering the same product at a much cheaper price point? How is your SEO for the website? 

If you are still struggling to identify areas which are causing you issues you can discuss this with a marketing agency and get them to analyse your online store etc, however the first port of call is usually checking in with one of the heat-map tools available. 


Now that you know a little more about what CRO is and why it's important from your business, feel free to contact us with any further questions, or to speak to a Shopify marketing specialist.