Whenever I talk to new ecommerce store owners, I almost always hear the same thing – they want more sales. The general consensus is that, if they get more traffic, they will get more sales.
Which is generally true. But, that usually means spending more money on ads…
So, what if there was a better way?
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the practice of figuring out how to get more of your current site visitors to convert (purchase). Let’s say you have 10,000 visitors to your site every month and 1% of them actually purchase something. That means you had 100 people buy from you. If you wanted to get to 200 people buying from you (double your sales) you would need to either double your traffic – or, you could double the number of people buying from you with the same amount of traffic.
In other words, you could double your conversion rate. In this post, we’ll cover some basic ecommerce CRO tools and ideas.
Getting started with Ecommerce CRO
The first thing you should probably do is a bit of light reading so you understand what types of things increase conversions. One of the best ways to increase conversion is to test, test, test!
A/B testing your site helps you figure out if making a certain change leads to better, worse, or the same conversion rate as your current setup.
A few of my favorite blogs on A/B testing and CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) are:
Start off reading those blogs to get your feet wet. Oh, and read these two books:
- Small Business Big Money Online: A Proven System to Optimize eCommerce Websites and Increase Internet Profits – written by Alex Harris (no relation).
- Fifty Shades of Growth: A List of Growth Hacks for your eCommerce Business – written by the great team at LemonStand.
Your first A/B test
OK – the next thing you need to do is figure out how you’re going to run these tests. If you aren’t a developer and you don’t have any money to throw at this, you can simply make a change to your store and see what happens.
This is far from the best way to do it – but if you have no other options you could try this. You would want to know a baseline sales number, and know that you aren’t entering a known peak or trough season that could skew the numbers.
Ideally though you would run a true A/B test, so you could figure out how much more effective one idea is over another, with both running at the same time, and generating some concrete results.
There are several different ways to do this. Here are a few tools:
This is the solution that I have the most experience using – in fact, I wrote about a simple A/B test we did using Optimizely that grew our business by more than 40% in one month. Optimizely does cost money – but they make it very easy for you to set up the test (without a programmer), and visualize the results very clearly, even telling you if your test had reached statistical significance or not.
Google Analytics Content Experiments
The best part about using Google Analytics is that it’s free. But, like everything in life, even “free” comes with a price – you will need to have a developer on staff to implement some different code and build variation pages to test.
The final option is a full service option. If you want someone to help you figure out which tests will likely make the most bang for the buck, implement those tests, and analyze the tests, check out Experiment Engine!
I have worked with a few guys at Experiment Engine and they really know their stuff. This is the perfect option for small and medium businesses lacking time & resources or enterprises looking to scale existing programs. Not everyone has time to figure out what tests will make a difference, let alone how to actually implement them quickly.
Some ideas for your tests
- Better copy – old professional sound copy is stale and outdated. People are converting better with copy that sounds like a human being – something with personality.
- Better photos – washed out, blurry iphone photos aren’t that appealing. You can actually set up a nice lightbox for next to nothing so you can get better lit photos – and Photoshop is now so affordable that there is no excuse to not have your photos looking picture perfect.
- CTA Button Color – you don’t have to use yellow – and you shouldn’t use the same color that everything else on your website is. Find a color that is highly contrasting to your regular site colors.
There are hundreds of thousands of tests that you can do to use ecommerce CRO to drive significant growth from the current traffic you have. This isn’t limited to just your website, but your email campaigns, your social media campaigns, and even your offline campaigns.
Sometimes the biggest wins are free and sitting right in front of you. Take a moment to look over your entire growth strategy, and see if there are areas that you think could be improved by doing some A/B testing. I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Do you have other Conversion Rate Optimization ideas that you’d like to share with us? Tell me about them in the comments below!