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Conversion Rate Optimization for Sales Funnel
Ecommerce conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a process that aims to improve website conversions by identifying areas where a site is not performing well and running experiments to increase conversion rates. Whether it’s getting a visitor to subscribe, make a purchase, or upsell, any desired action on a website is considered a “conversion”. Conversion rate optimization for ecommerce not only focuses on increasing sales but also overall growth.
What is Ecommerce Conversion Optimization?
Conversion rate optimization involves using persuasion principles and data from customers to optimize the sales funnel of an ecommerce store. It is a cost-effective way to maximize the potential of existing traffic and improve conversion rates. Instead of relying on increasing paid traffic or search engine optimization efforts, CRO allows ecommerce businesses to make the most out of their current visitors.
The CRO Process
The CRO process typically involves the following steps:
- Gathering data: Collecting information from analytics, customer surveys, and user feedback to identify areas for improvement.
- Formulating hypotheses: Using the gathered data to make educated guesses about where the site can be optimized.
- Running experiments: Testing different variations of elements on the website using A/B testing or multivariate testing.
- Analyzing results: Assessing the data from the experiments to determine the impact of the changes made.
- Implementing changes: Based on the analysis, implementing the successful changes to improve the conversion rate.
A/B Testing and Multivariate Testing
A/B testing is a popular method used in conversion rate optimization to compare two versions of a page or element to determine which one performs better. It allows ecommerce businesses to test different features such as images, button colors, font sizes, and copy. By splitting the traffic between the variations, businesses can measure the impact of each change on conversion rates.
Multivariate testing (MVT) is a similar concept to A/B testing but on a larger scale. Instead of testing two versions, MVT tests multiple variations of various elements and their combinations. It is especially useful when testing multiple elements simultaneously, such as images, copy, and widget design. MVT helps identify the best-performing combinations of elements, which can be implemented as part of the website’s optimization.
Gathering Data for Conversion Rate Optimization
The first step in the CRO process is gathering the necessary data to identify areas for improvement. This can be done through analytics data, customer surveys, and user feedback. Analyzing data allows ecommerce businesses to gain insights into their customers’ behavior, preferences, and pain points.
Analyzing analytics data can reveal important information about how visitors interact with the website. It can provide insights into referral sources, click patterns, and navigation behavior. For example, data may show that visitors from Pinterest have a higher bounce rate. Armed with this information, businesses can create targeted pop-up messages or offers to improve conversion rates for those visitors.
Surveys are a valuable source of qualitative data that can help ecommerce businesses understand their customers’ needs, preferences, and motivations. Open-ended questions can provide insights into the messaging and elements that resonate with visitors. Experts like Neil Patel, Peep Laja, and Joanna Wiebe recommend using specific questions to gather valuable information from customers.
User testing involves observing real people using the website and providing feedback on their experience. It helps identify usability issues, navigation difficulties, and areas where visitors get stuck. User testing can be done through tools like UserTesting, which records videos of users interacting with the site. It provides insights into how visitors navigate the sales funnel and helps identify areas for improvement.
Formulating Hypotheses for Conversion Rate Optimization
Hypotheses are assumptions or research questions formulated based on the gathered data. They serve as a starting point for experiments and testing. For example, a hypothesis could be that visitors are more likely to make a purchase when they feel they are following the goals of the community. This hypothesis can be tested by incorporating community voting features and badges into the website.
Hypotheses can also be based on persuasion principles like scarcity and social proof. Using these principles, ecommerce businesses can create a sense of urgency and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) to increase conversions. A hypothesis can be tested by implementing countdown timers, limited stock notices, or social sharing buttons.
Running Experiments and Analyzing Results
The next step in the CRO process is running experiments based on the formulated hypotheses and analyzing the results. A/B testing and multivariate testing are the primary methods used to measure the impact of changes on conversion rates.
A/B testing involves comparing two versions of a page or element to determine which one performs better. It can be done on landing pages, product descriptions, product images, and checkout pages. By measuring the conversion rates of each variation, businesses can identify changes that lead to improved conversions.
Multivariate testing tests multiple variations of various elements simultaneously. It helps identify the best-performing combinations of elements that contribute to higher conversion rates. By analyzing the results of experiments, businesses can implement changes that have a positive impact on conversion rates.
Optimizing the Sales Funnel
Conversion rate optimization extends beyond testing elements on the website. It involves widening the sales funnel and capturing leads for email marketing and social marketing. Ecommerce businesses can use pop-ups to offer coupon codes, capture contact information, and reduce cart abandonment. By optimizing the entire customer journey, businesses can increase the number of leads and convert them into paying customers.
Several ecommerce businesses have successfully implemented conversion rate optimization strategies to improve their conversion rates. Here are a few examples:
Walmart Canada: Walmart optimized its ecommerce site for mobile conversions by using usability testing and A/B testing. The company realized that its site was slow on mobile devices and implemented a responsive design. As a result, Walmart saw a significant increase in conversions and became an industry leader in ecommerce sales.
Elasticpath: Elasticpath improved conversions for the Official Vancouver Olympics ecommerce store by simplifying the checkout process. They switched from a two-page checkout to a single-page checkout, resulting in a 21.8% increase in paid conversions.
Obama for America: By simply changing the “Register” button to “Continue,” the Obama campaign was able to increase their conversion rate by 45%. This small change resulted in an additional $15 million in revenue.
Taloon: Taloon, a South American flower delivery shop, removed social sharing buttons from their product pages. As a result, their conversion rate increased, demonstrating that not all tactics work for every store.
Conversion rate optimization is an essential process for ecommerce businesses aiming to improve their conversion rates and overall growth. By gathering data, formulating hypotheses, running experiments, and analyzing results, businesses can make data-driven decisions to optimize their sales funnels. Implementing conversion rate optimization strategies can lead to increased sales, higher average order values, and improved customer satisfaction.