Are you at an established e-commerce business, just launched a new one, or looking to boost your stagnant conversion? Perfect. You’re likely learning all the best CRO strategies for your business.
Unfortunately, some Conversion-Rate-Optimization techniques you use to increase your conversion could miscarry and hurt it instead.
If you want to know what blunders people often make when trying to optimize their online stores for more conversions, here are some of the most common ones to help you avoid them.
1. Unnecessary steps that create friction
In basic terms, friction is anything that makes it difficult for users to decide on whether to take a certain action on a website. Details or features that slow down decision making, are hard-to-understand, not easy to use etc create friction and kill conversion.
One conversion killer is mandatory sign-up during checkout. One stat says, necessitating shoppers to sign up in order to start shopping causes them to abandon your site.
Long forms are other sources of friction. If you’re going to increase your form completion ratio, avoid turning off visitors with bottomless forms. Only include boxes that are important and keep your form length down, without trimming down the important fields just for the sake of minimalism, of course.
Furthermore, pages that are too busy, sluggish load times, and too many choices, and much clutter in a page are other common blunders that cause your conversion to drop.
2. Making assumptions
Often, people ask what the “best” button size, color, background, etc. is for landing pages, product pages, buy buttons, and so forth.
However, you should be aware that different colors or element combinations work differently for different businesses, industries, or purposes. So it’s best to use one that tones with your brand, and test.
3. Not Using a Process
Many novice online store owners perform tests at random, with no plan or process.
They test too many elements at once. That, however, doesn’t help you to pinpoint precisely the change that caused the rise or drop in conversion. Likewise, testing every single element individually without prioritizing would mean months, if not years before you get any significant insight or a change that results in a big lift.
Instead, follow a process such as the “ResearchXL model”. It’s essentially a process of trying to run more successful tests. You first collect insights to locate the specific issues with your website by looking at your web analytics, mouse tracking, surveys, and a couple other methods. You then prioritize your issues to test or change the more important ones first.
4. No well-defined CRO goals
As with any business activity, conversion rate optimization calls for planning. You can’t just second guess that making a change or two ‘might’ increase conversion… without knowing what you’re aiming for.
It’s vital to determine your measurement and success criteria.
What are your micro conversion and macro conversion goals? In other words, the small wins that lead to the big win. What actions do you want your visitors to take, depending on what’s most important to your business?
Answering these questions makes it easy for you to pinpoint your conversion problems as well as know what to focus on when performing tests or making changes.
5. Not being aware of your testing capacity
If you’re not sure of the scope of testing or changes you should make, ask how much traffic you’re getting.
Here’s an awesome tip from Michael Aagaard. He says that, if your site gets only a small number of visitors and you’re running tests, you won’t get any meaningful results. If you have enough traffic, you should focus more on all-encompassing changes that lead to major lifts. For sites with ample traffic, you can test just about anything.
6. Not optimizing with mobile in mind
You want to enable customers to access your site from mobile devices to browse through and order with ease.
7. Failing to connect with customers
Personalization and product recommendations in e-commerce work for a reason. 59% of online shoppers believe it is easier to find more interesting products on personalized online retail stores. Consumers tend to buy more when offered products that are relevant and tailored to their needs. On the contrary, failing to do so leaves customers frustrated.
8. Complex checkout
Researchers reveal that some reasons consumers leave an online store without making a purchase include buying process that takes too long, hard to understand information, unnecessary steps during checkout, and other factors that get in the way of the decision-making process of shoppers.
Further, making checkout easy for shoppers during shopping and addressing their questions are key:
9. No strong CTAs
CTAs (Call-to-Action) are one of the most crucial pieces of e-commerce. They take shoppers from one stage to another in the buying funnel and get them to take your desired actions. Yet, many internet stores fail to make sure their CTAs stand out and are attention-grabbing.
With that said, there also is no single, quasi-magical agent or the best type of CTA button, and you have to experiment with different CTA button colors, text, size, placement etc to find a winning combination.
10. Poor Navigation
One of the 7 C’s of increasing website transaction as written on MarketingTeacher is context. i.e. the tone or impression that your site portrays. “A website’s layout, visual design and use of colors, white space, graphics, and information have to all create a theme that makes sense for the company and products.”
You should aim to use colors, site elements, layout, in an uncluttered manner and with discrimination. Search tools and navigational structure of your site should also make it easy for shoppers to find what they’re looking for.
An example of bad navigation that distracts users with lodged text, links, and menus; with no focus or clear path is this:
11. CRO changes that hurt your store’s SEO
You want your CRO efforts increasing conversions and not the other way around. Which would be the case if it gets in the way of your site’s SEO, which leads to less traffic (and in turn less conversion).
Make sure changes on your store doesn’t hurt your store’s SEO (Search-Engine-Optimization).
12. Not using remarketing
- On average more that 65% of shopping carts are abandoned (Invesp)
- “54% of shoppers will purchase products left in shopping carts if those products are offered at a lower price.” (KissMetrics)
What these stats mean is that, if you don’t have a system in place for bringing back shoppers who leave your store, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. The good news is that you can reinstate abandoned carts, especially with remarketing techniques such as abandonment emails. For instance, by offering them discounts on the products they left in the shopping cart.
Relationship building through social media marketing, and remarketing ad campaigns also are other techniques to bring back shoppers after cart abandonment.
Being able to perform successful tests and achieve your conversion goals every time can seem like a tricky task. Luckily, by approaching CRO in a calculated and strategic manner, you can increase your chances of succeeding. If you make CRO about your customers and avoid the common missteps, you’ll be off to a good start.