Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with new links and examples for you to use!
Despite the importance of eCommerce conversion rate optimization, in our experience, the tactic can get overlooked. Simply put, eCommerce CRO is a tactic that can make tremendous improvements to your bottom line, without acquiring additional traffic than what you’re bringing in today. An improvement in eCommerce CRO from 1.5% to 2% could lead to a 33% increase in sales – all without adding additional traffic.
When you sell services, products, or platforms online one of the most important metrics is your eCommerce conversion rate. It tells you what percentage of your site visitors are converting to customers.
As an eCommerce growth agency, when we onboard a new partner, eCommerce conversion rate is one of the first tactics we want to tackle head-on when working with a new partner.
Whether you’re a subscription-based business converting Free Trial Users to Paid Subscribers, a brand selling your product online, or a SaaS platform looking to grow – we undoubtedly will look at your eCommerce conversion rate.
The reason: you don’t need to increase your ad spend to convert more. You just need to know how to optimize your conversion rate.
At Tuff, a tactic called Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is at the heart of everything we do. From constantly testing paid ad campaigns across the internet to figuring out why more leads aren’t turning into customers, CRO is at the forefront of our learning and results.
What is eCommerce CRO?
Ecommerce CRO is the process of making continual changes to your ecommerce website to improve the rate of users visited to the number of purchasers (ecommerce conversion rate). The easiest way to track ecommerce conversion rate is to divide the number of purchasers by the number of total site visitors.
The simple formula of (purchasers) / (site visitors) = ecommerce conversion rate is the north star for all ecommerce CRO efforts.
Whether it’s making stylistic changes to your product pages to cut down scroll rate, adding an exit intent pop-up to convince users to make a purchase, or improving the visibility of reviews on your site to influence potential customers into making a purchase, ecommerce CRO is an ongoing process with the intent of making continual improvements.
eCommerce Conversion Rate Optimization
For eCommerce businesses we typically look at the eCommerce Conversion Rate to tell us how traffic is interacting and converting through the eCommerce sales funnel.
When our eCommerce clients at Tuff ask us how they can grow their online business without increasing their budget, we usually take a deep dive into what’s driving their eCommerce conversion rate.
For starters, take a look at the table below showing how much you can increase revenue when the only metric that is increased is eCommerce Conversion Rate.
|Average Order Value||$1,143.96||$1,143.96|
In the above example, our client can increase revenue by 110% by simply optimizing their conversion rate from 0.19% to 0.5% (a 163% increase).
That’s a $120,115.95 revenue increase from pure optimization – no additional resources or ad spend needed!
How to Tackle Ecommerce Conversion Rate Optimization with 72 Hour Sprints
To increase your conversion rate you will need to learn what factors contribute to your existing CVR.
At Tuff, an analysis we might use to learn more about your current CVR is to find out what percentage of your website visitors are getting to your checkout conversion funnel, which traditionally has three stages:
- Added to Cart
- Initiated Checkout
By analyzing your checkout funnel, we can use our analysis to make a series of hypotheses about what is preventing a higher conversion rate – we then use those hypotheses as frameworks for our tests. Maybe there are frictions in your checkout process that stops visitors from purchasing or maybe it can be increased with a different type of product or service page or completely different user journey.
Let’s pretend this is your checkout funnel for a month’s worth of visitors.
|Visitors||% of Total Visitors|
|Added To Cart||544||2.25%|
Based on this data, we know that a low percentage of total website traffic ends up adding a product to their cart, which will effectively produce a low number of conversions.
In addition, the amount of visitors decreases by 10% between Added To Cart and Initiated Checkout stages in the funnel. Between Initiated Checkout and Purchase, the decrease is 20%.
Therefore, hypothetically a solution for us to increase the conversion rate with the above metrics is to increase the initiated checkout percentage.
Now that we have our hypothesis, we must find a way to test it.
Developing a Test
Our hypothesis is – if we increase the number of visitors adding to cart then we will increase the conversion rate.
A simple way to find out if this is true is to run a test that gets more people adding to cart by providing users with a discount code in exchange for information that is valuable to you.
For many eCommerce websites, a piece of information that is extremely valuable is an email address.
To find out if our hypothesis is correct, a lean and easy to implement 72 hour CRO Sprint test would be to ask for an email address (or other desired action) in exchange for an offer code.
This type of test’s results are easy to track because you can see how often the promo code is used through your eCommerce platform. Removing this test is also easy should you find that it’s not working or is causing more problems than it’s solving in your customer checkout funnel.
Implement The Test
To implement, the test needs to contain a time-sensitive offer, which will increase the likelihood that the offer is used at a faster pace than one that is not time-sensitive.
Here are two examples of time-sensitive offers:
- 15% off your purchase when you order in the next 10 minutes.
- Limited Time Offer: Free 2 Day Shipping Today
Create the pop-up through your email service provider (ESP) so that it is triggered when a visitor has been on a specific product page for more than 50% of the average page session duration.
If your average product page session duration is 30 seconds then the offer should open at 15 seconds.
Do not set it to trigger when someone lands on the homepage. You want the visitor to be more qualified than a unique visitor.
The offer should contain an email signup field and clear copy that compels the potential customer to use the offer within a specific amount of time.
Be advised that a best practice for this is to provide the promo code to the customer on the form after they provide their email address and click submit. You can provide it in a separate email as well, but you want to make it as easy as possible for the customer to get the code and continue on their customer journey.
Once you have the test launched, then set it to run live for 72 hours, but don’t just forget about it.
You’ll need to closely monitor it. You must make sure that the test is either perpetuating your average conversion rate or increasing it. If it decreases your conversion rate then you will want to abandon the test and return the variables back to their original flow.
Once your split test is complete then you can take your learnings and create a new test to run. Remember, you only want to run one test at a time or else you risk changing too many variables at a time and not being able to point to what works. Realistically, you don’t want to run more than 2 tests per week.
Ecommerce CRO Test Examples
Here is a list of 7 more ecommerce CRO tests you can do to increase the percentage of visitors converting to customers:
Landing or Product Page Offer
If you’re using Shopify, an easy way to test pricing as to how it affects ecommerce conversion rate is to add a “compare at” price field and show that the product is “on-sale”, even if it truly isn’t. Doing this periodically will help you guage your pricing and how your audience responds to deals.
Navigation Header Menu Organization
Test changes in your navigation by prioritizing your top selling products and categories. Or, alternatively, push seasonal products by prioritizing them in the navigation structure as well.
Homepage copy change
Using Google Optimize, you can test updated homepage content to see which copy variations speaks best to your target audience. Test, analyze, rinse, repeat.
Homepage creative change
Like a homepage copy change, you can test updated creative assets (images, featured products, etc.) to see what imagery works best for your site visitors. Is it product photos? Is it use-case photos? Does your audience want to see reviews above the fold? Test it!
Increase Site Speed
Site speed is directly correlated to conversion rate. If you have beautiful product photos on your site, make sure they are sized properly. A good CRO strategy will make sure the technical elements to the site are in good-standing.
Exit Intent Offer Popup
One quick test to implement for your ecommerce CRO efforts is to put an exit intent popup on your site with an offer to persuade users who may be on the fence. Even a small discount such as 10% off has been shown to improve ecommerce CVR.
Have an engaged customer base on your site? Encourage them to share the good word! Many programs such as a “Give 10%, get 10%” encourages existing customers to share referral links to friends and family so they get a reward as well.
Ecommerce CRO can lead to big wins
If you’re curious to learn more about our ecommerce CRO process, or want to chat about your CRO potential, let’s talk!
John is a Growth Marketer based in Denver, Colorado who has years of experience growing eCommerce Brands and working with consumer-focused organizations. He also has experience working in the Tech, Outdoor, and Travel spaces. When he’s not optimizing website conversion rates or launching influencer marketing campaigns, you will most likely find him on a bike or in his kitchen.