What is Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) and how it can help you?

You've already got a fantatsic website, and a solid brand, with an awesome marketing strategy. What's next?

One of the key areas that gets overlooked when it comes to Shopify and other Ecommerce ventures is the CRO - Conversion rate optimisation of your customers. No matter how much testing you do before you make your website live, you're never going to truly be prepared for the way users navigate your pages and store. So, CRO is essential to making sure the most people possible complete a desired action on your site. For example, this could be becoming a member to receive a discount, making a purchase rather than leaving items in the cart, or maybe filling in a survey.

Whatever the action you require them to do, you have to know how to signpost them to the relevant part of your site, and then, how to actually make them click that specific button!

Due to the fact that online businesses rely on spreadsheets, graphs, weekly/daily meetings etc to monitor their progress... you can often lose the humanity behind the conversion rate. At times forgetting that a customer is a person can lead you to frustration, because if you look at everything on paper, it is impossible to see why your CTR is low, and why conversions are below average.

The most simple way to look at a conversion is as a record of a desired action that was completed on your site. There are two types of conversion:

Macro - such as making a purchase, subscribing to a service, or requesting a quote. These are conversion that take action and committment from your customer.

Micro - such as creating an account (with the intention to purchase), adding a product to the cart, and signing up for a newsletter. these are still actions heading in the right direction, but they don;t have as much power behind them as a macro conversion.

The conversion rate is calculated by logging the amount of site traffic, then dividing that by the number of times a user completes specific goal (like the ones mentioned above). Then divide that number by the number of sessions that particular user has on your site. If you sell a subscription, divide the number of conversions by the number of users.

It's important to understand that Conversion Rate Optimisation is very different from Conversion Optimisation. The latter is related to clicks through to your site from organic search results, paid adverts, and all things surrounding search engines. CRO that we are discussing takes place after a user visits your site and decides to take action.

Website experts Hotjar explain the three key areas you need to address when thinking about getting more conversions from users on your site:

  • DRIVERS bring people to your website (such as adverts, social media etc)
  • BARRIERS make them leave (such as glitches or poor layout)
  • HOOKS persuade them to convert (appealing information on the site such as pop up discounts, or exclusive material for users who sign up)

Once you start thinking as a customer you will be more able to see these things across your website. feedback is critical, so why not carry out a test among colleagues and get some honest feedback? Maybe there's an issue between devices that causes your webiste to act erratically? Maybe the layout of the store section isn't intuitive and people are discouraged by the amount of times they have to click to purchase an item? It could be as simple as having a spelling mistake that makes people doubt your legitimacy!

Once you have assessed your website it's time to focus on the hooks - what is going to encourage the user to take an action almost every time they access your site?

If we look at a common barrier we can see how this can easily be turned around. Choice. Too much choice in fact! Did you know there is a thought process called "Analysis paralysis". In the world of online marketing it is often referred to as Decision Paralysis. This phenomenon occurs when a user is presented with too many options, and instead of taking the next step e.g. making a purchase, they over-think the situation. This leads to no action being taken at all, and the user is 'paralysed' in their decision making process.

Let's imagine you are selling sports wear and when a user clicks through to your store the layout means that even before they have chosen an item of clothing to browse, they are confronted with a wall of special offers and hundreds of items scrolling on a carousel. Next the person chooses sweat pants... but once they click the menu option again there are hundreds of thumbnails in all colours and similar styles immediately on their screen.

They can see you have a great selection, but it requires a further click to narrow it down to cuffed bottoms, colour, pocket style etc - by this time they have been overwhelmed with visuals. To turn this into a conversion (purchase), you can consider reducing the amount of images on the front page of the store, then in the product section you can display a small gallery with the top 3 selling items. Restrict the amount of images until the user has made their choice to see 'all' or just specific styles.

Once you think the way your customers do, it makes tackling Conversion Rate Optimisation ten times easier!

Finally, one of the strongest allies you can have is your review or testimonial section. Make it easily visible, and make it work for you. Show recent purchases with top ratings, and drive away any doubt that the consumer may have... especially if this is going to be a high-ticket purchase. Let your exisiting customers improve your conversion rate and see the numbers climb! After all, more conversions mean more money in your pocket.