Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is a common term within the eCommerce and digital industry and a lot of businesses claim to be implementing it, with lots of agencies claiming to be experts in it. But just what does it mean and how can you ensure you really are engaging in effective CRO? Here to investigate is Tom Johnson, the Head of Marketing at The Filter, who has nearly ten years experience in marketing and digital.
Put simply, Conversion Rate Optimisation is all about designing and continually optimising your online presence (mostly focusing on your website) to ensure that users perform the key action that you want them to. For eCommerce sites 99% of the time that key action is going to be a purchase and for service sites then it could well be a form completion for lead generation.
Saying you are carrying out CRO is one thing, but what sort of things should you actually be doing?
People define User Experience (UX) or Customer Experience (CX) in different ways, but when you are designing and building your digital space in the first place, you need to ensure that a good “experience” for visitors for the site has been considered. And that good experience needs to have the goal of a conversion at the end of it.
A well-designed web presence should consider things like simple, intuitive navigation, smooth user journeys, no dead ends and clean, easy to use action points like buttons, forms or content viewing areas. But designing your site with a good experience in mind is fine, but you can’t then just assume that when it goes live the job is done and that everyone who lands on the site will have a good experience. Every user to your website is different, they have different needs, different behaviours and different aims.
Therefore, your CRO work doesn’t end when your site has gone live.
You may be confident in the UX of your website and digital presence, but you can only really know whether it is working when people begin to interact and use your site, that is the moment that CRO really begins. Continual optimisation of your site is imperative to continuous improvement and achieving those all-important marginal gains that can make such a difference to both the experience of your customers but also your bottom line.
So, what can you do to continually optimise your site?
User testing – there is nothing better than getting feedback from the people who use your site. Recruit a number of people who either are your customers, or fit their profile and then interview them about your site and their experience of it, as well as observing how they interact with it in real time.
Use monitoring tools – User testing is fantastic, but you will tend to only be able to speak to a small sample group. Why not implement monitoring tools on your site which will be able to observe the behaviour of all of your visitors and produce useful things like heatmaps, click flows and video recordings of how they interact.
Test, test and test again – A/B and multi-variant testing is incredibly powerful in identifying marginal gains on your website. You can start simply and then get as complex as you like. The smallest thing can make a difference, like testing the colour of a Buy Now button to what language you use.
Finally, and most importantly…
You can do all the above that I have discussed and have confidence that you are doing as much as you can to ensure the experience for customers on your site is as good as it can be, but all of your customers are different and therefore why should all of the content they see be the same? Personalising the experience for customers is the final and most important step in a truly successful CRO strategy.
Your site can look fantastic, navigate well and have been A/B tested within an inch of its life, but if a user lands on your site and had at their last visit 4 days ago purchased say, a navy jumper in a size medium, then if your site doesn’t recognise that as past behaviour the experience you give them is a complete lottery. You may have a generic home page banner advertising 20% off that range of jumpers, which is unlikely to appeal to them now, you won’t be able to show them items that you know are in stock and in size.
Ultimately, a completely impersonal on-site experience is not a good experience and therefore is going to affect a customer’s chances of converting. Through machine learning, you can understand the behaviour and characteristics of each individual customer that hits your site and then customise their experience for them. You might show them content relevant to their taste profile, you can ensure you only show them products in stock and in their size, you might show them products that people have bought who have bought the same items as them.
You can have as much confidence in the design and UX of your site as you like, but ultimately if the experience is the same for all your customers, it won’t be a great experience of any of them.
Personalisation through a machine learning platform that plugs into your site like ours at The Filter, allows for each individual customer to have a completely unique and personal experience on your site, increasing the likelihood of them converting.
To find out how you could take your CRO strategy further through personalisation, please get in touch with us at The Filter.
The Filter is an industry-leading provider of machine learning and CX solutions for eCommerce and the retail sector; specialising in shoppable content, journey optimisation and personalised recommendations.