Optimise and convert
According to a report by Statista, the UK is one of the leading markets for online businesses in the world, only led by China and USA.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that in December 2018, online retailing accounted for 20% of total retailing, with an overall growth of 13.9% when compared with the same month a year earlier, proving online marketplaces offer enormous potential to businesses willing to sell online.
If your business is eCommerce-enabled, then conversions are your lifeblood. Conversions are what count to your bottom line, and are the metric by which eCommerce success is defined.
The key aim of Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is to maximise profitability by turning more visitors into buyers, i.e. you can get more clients to take action (buy from you) without spending money to increase the traffic to your website. Also, by increasing your conversion rate you can cut your cost per acquisition, which means less money spent on PPC.
So, in a nutshell, getting your CRO right means increased revenue and reduction in your advertising spend!
How can you optimise your conversation rates?
Your CRO strategy must start with looking at your website from the customer’s perspective and consider what is and isn’t working.
You will need to ensure you understand your customers’ journeys and serve the right type of information in the key moments that matter to them. You must recognise what drives and motivates them to interact with any of your touch points and employ the right methods to move them forward to the next step in their journey that you want them to take (Call to Action).
There are several valuable tools that companies can use to enable conversion rate optimisation:
- A/B and multivariate testing
- Having a structured approach
- Customer journey analysis
- Copy optimisation
- Online surveys/customer feedback
- Cart abandonment analysis
In this blog we look in detail at two of the most important tools: 1. Understanding your customer journey and 2. Test, test and test again!
Know your customers and how they use your site
Despite customer behaviour becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable, customer journey analysis remains one of the most valuable methods for improving conversion rates.
It is now more vital (and complicated) than ever for businesses to understand their own customers and the journeys they undertake which lead to conversion. Gartner has found that 89% of companies planned to compete mainly on the basis of customer experience in 2016, where “50% of consumer product investments were redirected to customer experience innovations.”
Just as in real life, a customer’s digital experience with your brand is all about the journey. The customer journey encompasses all their interactions with your company and their decisions taken, leading up to the purchase and also after the sale. A recent report by Salesforce says that 86% of senior-level marketers say that it’s absolutely critical or very important to create a cohesive customer journey.”
It is no longer enough just to know who you customers are. A top priority for marketers today is to track their customer’s journey through the sales funnel, website user path, or any other journey they take with the brand. This essentially involves mapping the 5 W’s: including the Who but also the Why, When, What, and Where.
Traditionally, customer journey mapping has been a linear process, for example a typical linear purchase decision takes a customer through the process of awareness – consideration – preference – purchase – loyalty and advocacy. It is vital to understand your customer behaviours through their journey and optimise your site to ensure that they can find the right information at the right time at the specific place/ touch point they need it. In this way, you can optimise the experience the customer has with your brand and you have a greater chance of moving them towards the purchase end of their journey, as well as converting them to an advocate of your brand following their purchase.
However, consumers now have a plethora of ways to interact with companies, brands and products. They might interact directly, send Tweets, share their review of products on social media or perhaps enter an online competition. They are constantly bombarded with advertisements and messaging from multiple channels and platforms. Therefore, the days of identifying a linear “buyer’s journey” are now giving way to a much more challenging picture for marketers to map, as the customer journey becomes increasingly fragmented.
The good news is that this fragmented customer journey is now being mapped via new strategies in the form of ‘micro-moments’ or ‘micro customer segments’. A micro-moment is defined by that very specific moment (down to the day and time) when a customer engages with key points in the searching and buying process. These are the moments at which the customer moves forward in their buying journey by making contact with for example, an advertisement, message, your website and carry out a specific action e.g. agreeing to subscribe to an email, view an ad, seek out more information on the website or search engines or engage with social media posts via mobile.
Micro-segments can be created comprising small groups of customers who match a set of criteria defined by any combination of factors, such as:
- Longevity (length of time customer is in the database)
- Specific website/app activities/behavior
- Spending patterns (amount, frequency)
- Product preferences/affinities
- Response history to previous campaigns
- Predicted customer lifetime value and propensity to churn
Every customer will fall into at least one micro-segment at any point in time, and it is the job of the marketer to ensure that at that specific moment, their customer will receive the most relevant and appealing messages/offers at that particular point in his/her journey. By doing this, marketers are finding innovative new ways to optimise their customer conversion rates.
Test, Test and Test again!
If you want to make more sales, you need to make it as easy as possible for shoppers to complete their purchases. This involves simplifying everything on your ecommerce site – from the navigation format, to search options, and your checkout process.
As mentioned previously you want to ensure that they can find the content they are looking for at the moment they need it, on the platform that they are using. Your customers should be able to get all the pertinent details they need about your product so they can make an informed decision. After they’ve made a decision to purchase the item, the checkout process should be simple and straightforward so there’s nothing preventing them from completing the action.
The way to keep ensuring that everything is optimised on your site is to continually test it with different customer groups. A/B or multivariate testing is when you set up two different landing pages, where each has a different element from the other. Perhaps one displays a picture of your product, whilst the other displays an image of happy customers. Your site directs half of your traffic to one of these pages and the other half to the other page. Then you can then see whether or not a small change to a call-to-action (CTA) can make a difference to conversion.
You can use multivariate testing to compare many aspects of your pages, from headlines, product copy, image size, layout, amount of text, fonts. And keep on testing – just a minor tweak may enable you to make a few more conversions.