When you begin with Conversion Rate Optimization, there is a high possibility the entire process will turn out to be slightly topsy-turvy. Unfortunately, the absence of regular practices leads to thin results and long haphazard optimization channels.

A good methodology guides you through integral steps, which eventually contributes to your success and enables you to benefit a lot more from what you have.

In this article, I would like to share with you some knowledge on how to execute a CRO program to optimize better results. Who knows, this may help you overcome bottlenecks and inspire you to add more deliverables.

We believe CRO consists of three mains steps

  • Understanding
  • Experimenting
  • Analysis

Understanding your Goal

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Not just with CRO, but anything that you generally do, it helps a great deal to understand where you are heading or precisely your goal. In the case of CRO, you might want to get a good idea of your increasing visitors and the average time spent. For eg: Think of a customer who visits your store. Your manager serves him well, however the customer realizes he does not have enough money to buy the product. He walks out of the store. However, the moment he walks out, there isn’t any guarantee he will return. It is only a probability.

Customers shop in a very similar manner. They browse through pages. They get distracted and frequently check out your competitors. The same customer may decide to visit your online store more than once. For this reason, it is integral to define your unique visitor while determining your conversion rate. Consistency is the key. It is also a good idea to understand the average time your unique customers spend on your brand. This will give you a good idea of how customers are interacting on each page and helps you analyze challenges before they actually hit the cart. Like we mentioned earlier, again, consistency is the key.

Understanding Traffic and Navigation

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Once you get a glimpse of who is visiting your page, the next step would be in identifying where these visitors are coming from or precisely analyzing the source of traffic and levels of knowledge and engagement of your customers. There are different sources from which a customer could enter your site – banner or Google AdWords, social networks (Social Media), a deep link that was surfaced by a search (Organic Search) or the customer sees you mentioned in the news or a blog post and visits your site (Press or News Item).

Put yourself in your visitors shoes and look closely at your site. Which page do you see yourself spending a lot of time on? When Kuliza worked with Titan to create their online store, one of the first steps involved identifying challenges in navigation.

Here are a few things we took notice of:

  • Is the call to action button visible and clear?
  • Can users easily search for what they are looking for?
  • Is it clear to visitors that security is the brand’s top priority?
  • Are the steps simple and uncomplicated before hitting the shopping cart

These are a few ways you can get a perspective of navigation on your page is helping your conversion rate. However it is also useful to remember different brands have unique missions, strengths and challenges. Ultimately, you will have to reach out to your users and ask them about challenges and strengths on your site according to them.

Understanding Visitor Intentions

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Every customer comes to your page with a different intention. You may have got the optimal visitor experience, but not every customer who visits your site follows the path laid out by you. You may have drop-outs right on the land page while some others may choose to change their mind right at the last step before the cart. Understand that not every customer is going to make a purchase, but as a brand it’s your prerogative to listen to their pain-points to ensure seamless purchases.

You might want to consider these points to under your customer better

  • What does the customer want from your brand?
  • Is your site equally friendly to new-bees and veterans?
  • Is the check out and registration flow simply and uncluttered?
  • Do customers find the flow easy enough to get to the shopping cart?

Once you understand your customer expectations from the brand, tackle each challenge till it is completely solved. The key is to deliver the optimum experience, product or service with minimum confusion and uncertainty. Every customer comes to your e-commerce page with a specific purpose –to solve their problem and find a solution. When you understand their intentions, they are most likely to adopt your solution. It’s as simple as that .

Understanding Competition

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To truly understand the strength of your brand, it is wise to understand how your competition is performing as well as your own positioning as a brand. Some things you might want to analyse are

  • How are your competitors performing for your customers?
  • What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • How are they performing in the market?
  • What threats and opportunities do they present?

Think about specifics like features that they offer on their e-commerce page and compare them with your brand to understand what difference you can make to your page. Another practice that you can follow is identifying best practices across your industry following simple interactions to ensure smooth purchase flow. It is also wise to get an idea of how your competitors are performing on social media sites as people spend as much as 30% of their day visiting social networking sites. This is a great way to identify new initiatives that you can own on your e-commerce site.

Experimenting with Design

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The most important aspect of process, this step involved great effort in ensuring all challenges were addressed. Start with a skeleton layout flow of the campaign with the assistance of a wireframe keeping the different types of persona interactions with the online store in mind. It’s also wise to ensure that the designs are made such that they are compatible with all devices.

In your experiment with design, focus primarily on two aspects:

1. Reducing friction in the form of wasted clicks, excess pages, false starts, going to the wrong page, slow page loads, and other friction points that cause

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users to give up.

2. Reducing cognitive overhead that puts doubt and confusion into the mind of the user, causing them to waver over whether to convert.

Once you think you are ready, move over to A/B and usability Testing. Remember, the larger the sample size, lesser the marginal error. To get accurate results, they need to be statistically significant. Don’t make too many changes at once, but remember to think outside the box while you get a second opinion. Double check your tracking to fool proof your tests. Whatever you do, do not end your tests early because you think you have found the solution. Let the test run for its course and the results speak for itself. Remember you can always learn from a failed test as much as a successful one as long as you understand that the results are an opportunity for you to improve.

Remember that just like everything else, there is no perfect e-commerce site. There will always be room for better optimization by constantly evolving and changing with your customer. The best optimization is always cyclic and continuous.

Analyzing and Implementation

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Now that you have everything in place. It’s time to get analyzing. How is your e-commerce site performing when compared to your online store previously? Do you see a change in percentage of conversion? What did the test results tell you and what can you learn from it? Now you have answered these questions it’s time to strategize your next steps. Full-scale the winner, test the idea in other channels to see how it performs there as compared to the existing one and consider a re-test after significant time has passed.

Do the tests show you an interesting initiative worth diving further into? It’s time to get those scavenger hunt lens and get going to further optimize your page. Well, what can we say? This is the only way.

Great practices lead to high quality tests leading to better optimization. Do you have an idea that is slightly different from ours? Why don’t you share it with us?