Conversion Rate Optimization, or CRO, is an ever-evolving practice, with new techniques being developed each year. For the longest time, CRO was all about improving the UX in a variety of ways, starting from shorter website loading time, to a single-page checkout process for e-commerce stores. However, an often overlooked element of CRO is the sales funnel itself, particularly the upper and lower ends of the funnel. There is plenty of opportunity for improvement in this area for most businesses.
Introduction to CRO best practices
If you are new to CRO, the first step should be to improve your data gathering capabilities. Your website, marketing channels, and point-of-sale elements all have a plethora of data points that can help you determine the effectiveness of your sales funnel. The important thing to keep in mind here is that you have to optimize the entire journey, including those parts of the journey handled by a partner or distributor. A holistic view works best here, and it can include both online and offline touch points.
Once, you start gathering the right data, it’s time to pay attention to a several metrics. One of the most important areas of any e-commerce store is the checkout. As mentioned previously, a single-page checkout process works better than a multi-page process, but you should also ask yourself which user data is really necessary for closing the sale? In most cases, you will realize that you are asking for way more personal information then you need, thus slowing down the process and losing sales.
You will also want to implement heatmap technology on your website, in order to see how individual users interact with your brand online. You then want to implement A/B testing mechanisms for your landing pages, product pages, and any page that can have a significant impact on your conversion process. Another tool that can be implemented is the automated abandoned cart email, which will help you pick up some of the customers who abandon a purchase at the last step, with a special offer or a simple reminder. Finally, you want to have a retargeting campaign on search engine, social media and display ads. Retargeting is a particularly effective ad that helps you return bounced traffic to your website.
The future of CRO
In 2018, digital marketing companies have been hit with the GDPR, a piece of EU legislation which makes it much more difficult to track user behavior and collect data for analytics. E-commerce sites have also noticed that with the rise of cross-border trading, CRO has as much to do with legislation, inventory management and taxes, as it does with website optimization.
In terms of technologies, marketers expect AI to have a significant impact on CRO. Using AI, companies can improve personalization, specialized offers, and cross-selling and up-selling techniques automatically and in a much more expedient manner. Marketers will also try to integrate the offline customer journey into the online world as much as possible, since face-to-face transactions are still the preferred by customers over online purchases.