The ultimate goal for any eCommerce business, should be to turn leads into conversions. However, with so many options for customers online, it's becoming increasingly difficult to close the deal. By tracking your conversion rates, you can use A/B testing to find the best Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) plan for your company.
Conversion Rate Optimization Program
If you’re in the business of eCommerce, you’ve probably heard of Search Engine Optimization - or SEO. Many business owners focus on this important process to bring quality leads to their website. SEO is important, because it determines where you fall on Google’s hotly contested organic search results. However, once a customer is on your website, you need a creative and proven way to get them to actually buy your products. This is why CRO is also extremely important for business owners.
In its simplest form, CRO is the process of finding out why your website visitors are not taking desired actions, and using studied methods to fix the issues. The CRO process can be use the scientific method, to ensure accurate results. The process contains 5 different steps, including a hypothesis. When properly followed, you should see your conversion rates dramatically increase.
Completing a CRO program can be intense. It requires high-level research to ensure the best possible results. Many companies ceritfy the time and energy is worth it.
Step 1 - Data Gathering
If you are completing a CRO program, you are likely aware that there is a problem with your conversion numbers, but how do you fix it? Start by identifying the problem. Gather all the data you can about your customers, company, and website. How many customers are landing on your site, but not buying? Has your company performance dropped overtime? These data are critical moving forward.
Step 2 - Form a Hypothesis
Think long and hard back to your 7th grade science class. A CRO program requires you to form a hypothesis about what is causing low conversion rates on your website. For this step, use the data you gathered previously to make an educated guess. You will want to state the who, what and where that you will be testing.
For example, if you think that your product descriptions are the problem, than the “who” are the new customers, the “what” product descriptions, and the “where” is a set of product pages you would like to test. Based on this example, a way to start out your hypothesis would be, “If we change the product descriptions on X pages, then customers who see these pages will have higher conversion rates than the customers seeing the old product description pages.”
Step 3 - Create New Design
The first two steps are in the discovery phase of the process. Step 3 and 4 graduate to the experimental phase. Once you have made your hypothesis about what is wrong with your website, you can start to create a design that will address the issue. This new design should aim to fix the problems, but it should still be on-brand. Let’s go back to the product description example. Your new product descriptions should address any problems that were lacking before (i.e. attractive adjectives, size information, customer reviews) but should still be written in your brand’s tone.
Step 4 - Implement Changes
Once you have created your new design, you should implement the changes temporarily. Test how well your new pages do compared to older designs. In this stage, you should be tracking how well the newly implemented changes are doing via A/B tests. Collect customer data to see if these changes are leading to more conversions.
Step 5 - Evaluate the Hypothesis
After you have collected customer data on the new pages, you should evaluate the new data and see if your hypothesis was correct. If you notice a jump in conversions on the new pages, then you should implement those changes across your entire website.
If you notice your conversion rates did not increase, then you are back at square one. This is okay. Go back to the data you collected at the start, and see if there are any other issues that could be causing the low conversion rates. You can run this test again with new product pictures. Or, you can test adding different payment options at checkout. There are many small issues that can turn customers off from buying. By running this method multiple times, you should be able to weed out most of the problems.
Why CRO is Important
Some companies are put off by CRO programs because it is so time consuming. However, you will find the effort is worth it. One study found CRO programs have a 223% average ROI. It’s not just small companies that benefit from this important program. In 2011, Google ran over 7000 A/B tests.
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