In the first part of this guide, we discussed the merits of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). In the second part (the one you are currently reading) we are going to discuss the critical methods for kickstarting your optimization efforts. When it comes to CRO, research suggests that the best results are achieved through a well-planned “structured” approach. This starts with overcoming organizational challenges that can hamper optimization efforts and the development of clear and well-defined goals.
Overcoming Organizational Challenges:
The first step in initiating any optimization efforts for your business requires that the people around you are all on the same page.
Sometimes, the reason for a poor CVR is because businesses simply neglect to adopt the most common optimization techniques.
Other times, they may not be applying CRO techniques correctly. Either way, poor CRO results can be attributed almost exclusively to company culture. This is not ‘company culture’ in an HR sense of the term – rather in an organizational sense. According to a survey on CRO implementation conducted by Econsultancy, lack of dedicated budget and resource allocation acted as a key barrier to effective optimization efforts. Other factors that were found to adversely impact optimization efforts include siloed organization structure, conflict of interest between departments, and an overall lack of strategy.
An effective CRO strategy must be backed by a true organizational change. This means that various departments and managers need to understand the end-goal of the optimization efforts and adjust accordingly. Any business that wants to reap the rewards of CRO must first make a commitment towards being more customer-centric. Egotism and opinion on the part of management don’t generate revenue. Therefore, listening to customers and responding to what they are saying is crucial. Both management and stakeholders have a joint obligation to listen and act upon the results and findings of tests and research required for CRO.
The importance of the structured approach cannot be understated. Ensuring that the right budget and resources are allocated to the CRO efforts is a fundamental part of the process. Finally, the structured approach to CRO has been proven to provide fantastic returns going well into the future. According to Econsultancys’ 2016 CRO report, 52% of businesses that experienced a significant increase in sales attributed the gains to their reliance on a structured approach to CRO.
The Discovery Phase:
Once you have accomplished the monumental task of getting everyone on the same page and allocating a budget for your optimization efforts, the next step is a piece of cake. To start the CRO process, you must first search for any potential issues shoppers are likely to experience (or are experiencing) on your site. Naturally, this raises the following question
“How do I start the actual process of identifying these issues?”
The answer is: troubleshooting and subsequently resolving the immediate issues shoppers are experiencing with your site should be the first priority. Your shoppers will appreciate the reduced friction they experience while using your site. The name of the game here is “pinpointing and patching the biggest points failure,” because it is these points that are causing your business to lose money do to cart and revenue abandonment.
Therefore, you need to find the areas of your website that are hampering your CVR. These may be in the sign-in or registration page, at the point of checkout, or elsewhere. It is really important to analyze your shopper analytics data – especially your conversion funnel, exit points, bounce rate, and shopper segments. When viewed together, all of these things can explain where the failures are happening.
That is the short of it – once these failure points are glommed on – the rest is easy.
The 5 Essential Methods for Maximizing Your Optimization Strategy:
Once you have amended the failure points, there are five essential methods that can be used to improve conversions. Through the rest of this guide, we will focus on them in the following order:
- Shopper Journey Analysis
- Segmentation and Personalization
- Online Survey and Shopper Feedback
- Behavioral Emails
- Testing and Copy Optimization
To achieve the best conversion rate optimization results, it is recommended that all of these methods are implemented. While the order of implementation is important, there is no strict obligation to do everything at the same time. If resource constraints are a factor, then the best way to maximize your results would be to focus on one specific optimization method.
Shopper Journey Analysis:
This method sheds light on the various aspects of the shopper journey across different channels and devices. The idea is to help find areas of friction the shopper may meet during their journey. Fixing these friction points will improve conversions. Since shopper journeys are complex and nonlinear, retailers should be able to pick out common patterns and ‘touch points’ – the places where shoppers interact with a brand. This is especially important because the shopper journey often involves two or more channels. So, for example, a shopper might do some preliminary research online before going to a physical retailer or browse a site on their smartphone before completing a purchase on their desktop.
In such cases, the chasm between channels may frustrate shoppers and cause them unnecessary difficulty. For example, if a shopper cannot easily transfer his or her basket from the mobile session and complete a purchase on their desktop, that is a problem in the channel gap.
A key technique for finding these touch points is to create a “shopper journey map” – whereby you create a graphic representation which gives an overview of the shopper experience.
This “map” highlights the various points where the shoppers’ research or purchase journey interacts with the brand’s channels. The aim is to find the key touch points and transitions within the shopper journey. This will help with the following:
- Find the Critical Path: These are the areas where optimization is critical and will have the biggest impact.
- Find Experience gaps: The lack of consistent continuation from one channel to another.
- Mitigate Poor Shopper Experience: Eliminate pain points in the journey and ensure shoppers interactions go well every time.
- Improve Shopper Retention: A thorough understanding of the shopper journey enables retailers to give help and relevant information where needed.
Segmentation and Personalization:
Both personalization and segmentation are techniques that deliver the “right relevance” to groups and individual shoppers. This means product recommendations, sales alerts, and even surveys when appropriate. Although they share a common goal, they differ when it comes to implementation.
Segmentation is easy to put into practice because shoppers can be segmented on an assortment of (generally) overlapping factors such as:
- Status: Registered (logged-in) or guest shoppers (not-logged-in).
- Device type: What device they used (smartphone, tablet, desktops, etc.) to browse and purchase on your site.
- Traffic source: This is useful for shoppers who come via specific routes on the web.
- Shopper Lifetime Sales (LTS) and Lifetime Value (LTV).
The end goal of segmentation is to create customized groups for on and off-site marketing campaigns. For example, you could target sales specifically to shoppers who have not visited your site for a pre-determined period.
At the same time, the on-site experience should be tailored to different shopper segments. An obvious example would be to tailor your website content to the country or region of the visitor, or to the device they are using to browse your site.
The aim of personalization is to provide the right product recommendations at the individual shopper level, using the actionable analytics a site holds. personalized recommendations are a very easy way to improve conversion rates. In fact, personalized emails can result in up to an 8% increase in email revenue, and a 17% increase in total email response rate. When it comes to effective implementation, personalization is not without its challenges. The processes and systems need to be in place and working together. This demands the use of a well-rounded product and shopper analytics tool-kit.
According to Econsultancy’s CRO report, 81% of respondents said that personalization proved difficult to properly implement without the right set of tools.
Ultimately, both personalization and segmentation are not mutually exclusive, and they should be used together. In short, segmentation has the benefit of easier implementation, while personalization promises the ability to be tailored more specifically to each unique shopper.
Surveys and Shopper Feedback:
Another direct way to improve your conversion rate is to simply ask your shoppers about their use of your site. This is the quickest way to find out what matters, what is missing, and what might be preventing them from converting.
There are many ways to ask shoppers for feedback, including:
- Customer service / Live Chat.
- Abandonment surveys.
- On-site Feedback forms.
- Online surveys/exit surveys.
- Email surveys.
Listening/monitoring through social media is another excellent way to directly connect with shoppers and field their concerns and comments. The information gleaned from these sources will not only help improve site performance (and improve conversions) it will also provide valuable insight into several areas of your business.
Key Benefits of Shopper Surveys:
- Quick Feedback: Unlike web analytics and testing, you can start learning lessons from the first response.
- Direct Problem-Spotting: Shoppers will point directly at potential problems they experienced, such as a problematic form field, or an issue with something they were trying to do on the site.
- Shopper Insight: You can learn a lot about the unique needs of your shoppers such as the language they use, the items they were interested in, etc. Information that can be used to inform future optimization and marketing approaches.
Practically speaking, you should be able to collect shopper feedback across many social-media platforms, which will provide you with a wide spectrum of useful opinions. When shoppers have issues and cannot spend time composing emails or waiting on the phone, they will often turn to two or more social media platforms to reach out, such as Facebook and Twitter.
When it comes to surveys, timing is critical. Therefore, it is best to present them at the end of checkout, or if a shopper is showing intent to leave the site prior to making a purchase. Sending surveys by email after shoppers have either bought or abandoned items can also work well. In this case, people have had time to browse the site and form an opinion on how well it worked for them. In the case of abandonment surveys, retailers can gain a real insight which can help them to identify and fix problems!
Stay tuned for the 3rd and final part of this guide coming next week. It focuses on ‘Behavioral Emails’, ‘Testing and Copy Optimization’, as well as a concise summary of everything you need to know about conversion rate optimization.
Founded in 2015, Datacrushers uses Machine Learning and A.I. along with NLP to identify and recover revenue loss, cart abandonment and discover new revenue sources across any site. The revenue discovery platform completes the deep ongoing analysis of eCommerce websites by monitoring the three main focal points of any site: The User, Site, and Product.
Unlike traditional “cart abandonment platforms,” Datacrushers does not require shoppers and customers to be logged-in to conduct both on and offsite campaigns. We use a wide range of data-driven and analytics based conversion tools to target the shopper at the right time with the most accurate and effective campaign to drive the sale.
Datacrushers is platform, language, and currency agnostic and requires only a few lines of code to get started therefore delivering an ultra-fast go-to-market with minimal set-up time and tech intervention.
Based out of Jerusalem, Israel, Datacrushers has clients worldwide including, The US, China, Russia, UK, Germany, and more.