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Planning a website update on a white board.

Increase Your eCommerce Conversion Rate with 72-Hour CRO Sprints

Planning a website update on a white board.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with new links and examples for you to use! 

When you sell services, products, or platforms online one of the most important metrics is your website conversion rate. It tells you what percentage of your site visitors are converting to customers. 

Despite the importance of a website conversion rate, in our experience, the metric can get overlooked.

 

For Tuff, website conversion rate is one of the first places we turn – 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 the percentage of customers converting. 

The reason: you don’t need to increase your ad spend to convert more. You just simply 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.

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.

Full MonthTarget
Visitors36,68136,681
eCommerce CVR
0.19%
0.5%
Transactions95200
Average Order Value$1,143.96$1,143.96
Revenue$108,676.05$228,792

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!

Website CRO Test Sprints 

A computer measuring ecommerce conversion rate.

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:

  1. Added to Cart
  2. Initiated Checkout 
  3. Purchased

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 Cart5442.25%
Initiated Checkout4922.03%
Purchased4091.69%

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

A team of marketers sitting at a table with computers.

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. 

Best Practices

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. 

Monitoring

Data to measure your ecommerce conversion rate.

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. 

Website CRO Test Templates

Here are a list of 7 more website CRO tests you can do to increase the percentage of visitors converting to customers:

  1. Landing Page Offer
  2. Navigation Header Menu Organization 
  3. Homepage copy change
  4. Homepage creative change 
  5. Increase Site Speed 
  6. Exit Intent Offer Popup 
  7. Referral Widget  

If you’re curious to learn more about our process, or want to chat about your CRO potential, schedule a free strategy session with our team. Our team will analyze your marketing, website, and business and present your top CRO opportunities in a PDF.

Sketching website landing pages.

How To Write, Build, and Test Landing Pages

Sketching website landing pages.

Like a strategic blog post series or email marketing drip campaign, landing pages should be a part of any startup, eCommerce, or enterprise business’ online marketing toolkit.

From creation to testing, tweaking, and more testing, this conversion rate optimization process can help to increase conversion rates when done correctly.

Too many founders and marketers create landing web pages and forget about them. Even more frequently, marketers do one or two tests only to move onto another marketing initiative because they feel that they’ve learned all they can from their website visitors.

Think of your landing pages as a dynamic process. You should be able to learn from them on a recurring basis and leverage your winning results. Even after you’ve found scalable results, the landing page process will allow you to test those positive results and optimize further.

You can use your landing pages to qualify leads, test lead generation concepts with potential customers, and, of course, increase conversions. To do all of this and more, you’ll need a process.

Here’s the complete Tuff guide to help you write, build, and test landing pages.

Step 1: Landing Page Design Structure  

Landing page strategy sketch.

Before you start writing copy or considering your image assets, it’s incredibly important that you design a landing page structure that is the right fit for your industry and audience.

Depending on if you sell a product or a service, your landing page structure will be different. For eCommerce product companies your landing page might feature an offer discount for your product and for startup tech or Enterprise SaaS your landing page might be collecting email addresses through an email signup form field.

Figuring out the basic building blocks of your landing page is the first part in landing page design. When you have that plan, then you are ready to begin your design layout.

A great way to layout your design is through a process known as wireframing.

Wireframes are a blueprint to define the information architecture and layout of your landing page.

For each landing page, you create, you should have multiple versions, but you’ll want the structure of the landing page to be the same across all the landing page versions. Being disciplined with this part of the process will allow you to learn faster during the test phase.

Step 2: Write The Landing Page Copy

Writing copy for a landing page.

Now that you have the structure of your landing page design you can begin the process of writing your landing page copy. For each section of your wireframe, you will want to create a landing page with 5 different versions of the copy for you to use during the revision and testing stages.

For example, all landing pages have a headline, description, and call to action. For each copy component of the landing page, you will want to write 5 different versions – 5x headlines, 5x descriptions, and 5 calls to action.

Remember that your copy should be human, original, and succinct.

With a landing page, you’re focusing your user’s attention down to one goal – to take the call to action (email signup, demo booking, purchase with an offer).

The call to action should be clear and concise, the user should have no problem understanding what you want them to do and what they get in return using the copy you have provided.

Step 3: Build 5 Landing Pages and Add Images

By step 3, you should have your landing page section structured with 5 sets of copy assigned to each section. The next step is to build 5 landing pages with the sets of the copy.

We recommend using a tool to help facilitate your build. This process should be pretty straightforward since you have already done the planning.

If you have a habit of making changes in the middle of a process, don’t. If you can’t help yourself, then have someone else on your team put the landing pages together using the building blocks you already designed and defined.

Now is not the time for you to try to guess what will resonate with your audience – we’ll get to that in the next step.

Once you have your five versions of your landing pages built, then you’re going to pick two of them to use in your first round of tests. We recommend getting feedback from your internal team on what they think will be the most effective two versions to test against each other.

Remember the structure and goals of the two landing pages should be the same, the only variables that should be different are the copy and creative.

Step 4: Landing Page Testing

Woman biting pencil.

To effectively drive traffic quickly and learn efficiently which landing page converts best, you will create a test campaign with two ad sets that contain the same budget.

Each of the ad sets will contain identical ads to the other ad set, the only difference will be the destination that you send the audience to in each ad.

For example ad A will direct to landing page v.1 and ad B will go to landing page v.2.

Run each ad for the same duration.

After the ads have completed their tests, then measure which one is the winner. You can do this by measuring your lead generation results or overall conversions.

You now have a baseline to build new tests off of to optimize your landing page, but you’re far from done. The only real result that you have is that you know that the winning landing page performs better than the loser.

Next, you will need to put your land page winner up against an even better competitor to learn and optimize.

Step 5: Optimizing Landing Pages 

You will need to set up a new test where all the variables are the same except for one. Maybe you’ll choose to test a new headline or call to action in your second test.

To do a new headline, you would take your winning landing page and duplicate it, then change the headline to the new copy. You would then test the winning landing page from your first test against the new iteration.

For each new variable you test, you’ll need to do a new test. Once you have tested all the variables from your baseline winner then you should test against a new structure.

Finding a new structure will require you to repeat steps 1 – 4 to create a new landing page with a new structure and test it against your winning landing page from round 1.

To be successful at the landing page process you need to be disciplined at following the steps. Skipping them or combining too many tests at once within the process will result in a lack of understanding of what is driving positive results.

Tuff ecommerce case study.

How We Boosted Koala’s eCommerce Conversion Rate by 153%

Tuff case study image.

New Mexico based Hangtime Gear is an early stage startup designing innovative mobile accessories. 

Their core product is the KOALA Super Grip Phone Harness – a smartphone holder with a leash and clasp that secures to any fabric keeping your phone safe from drops, damage, and loss. 

The KOALA was originally a 2019 IndieGoGo Campaign that raised over $500K. It has been featured in Outside Magazine, The New York Times, Gear Patrol, The Boston Globe, and on CBS’ Innovation Nation with Mo Rocca. 

From crowdfunded campaign to eCommerce Growth Strategy

Hangtime Gear reached out to our team in March 2020 to help them build and execute an eCommerce growth strategy. After doing foundational research and reviewing the full user journey, we immediately got started on getting quality traffic to the site. This included: 

  • Google Ads
  • Google Shopping
  • Facebook and Instagram Ads
  • YouTube

As traffic increased, we turned our focus to conversion rate optimization. When it comes to increasing revenue, we knew it would take more than clicks. 

In this post, we’re going to break down how our website optimizations increased the eCommerce conversion rate by 153% by:

  1. Differentiating between a crowdfund backer vs eCommerce customer.
  2. Rewriting, redesigning, and rebuilding key sections of the site. 

Crowdfunding Campaign Design eCommerce Website Design 

A great crowdfunding campaign can pave the way for your eCommerce business by giving you access to the capital you need, market validation, PR, and product reviews. 

What it can’t do is provide a verbatim model of how to advertise to your customers and optimize your eCommerce website. 

Hangtime Gear’s existing website featured design elements that were pulled from their crowdfunding page, which didn’t translate into a high enough conversion rate for our paid advertising strategy to produce a high ROAS. 

This is a common situation for founders that launch with crowdfunded campaigns – what works for a backer audience doesn’t always translate.

A crowdfunding backer is supporting an idea – more times than not this idea isn’t fully realized or completed – which is okay. The point of the crowdfunding campaign is to give you a platform to test your assumptions. 

On the contrary, an eCommerce customer is buying a fully functional product to use for a specific need. 

Due to this distinction, the two audiences require different customer journeys and user experiences, especially when it comes to a website. 

Here are the four main changes we implemented to increase Hangtime’s eCommerce conversion rate from 1.36%  to 3.46%. 

Data from Google Analytics showing an increase in conversion rate.

We started with the homepage.  

The first step in the redesign process was the homepage section. Originally, the site featured all product information on one page like you would do for a crowdfunding campaign page or for an Amazon listing. 

You could learn about the product, read customer reviews, look through top-tier publisher testimonials, and add the product to your cart, all from the homepage. 

The strategy behind this is smart – lots of the world’s leading platforms utilize it from Amazon to IndieGoGo and Kickstarter. This design centers on the assumption that the conversion rate will be higher if people have to navigate to fewer pages. 

For Amazon and crowdfunding platforms it works for two reasons: 

  1. High levels of trust with those platforms. 
  2. Those platforms have spent thousands of hours and millions upon millions of dollars optimizing their single page layouts to perform at the highest conversion rates the world has ever seen. 

However, for early-stage startup brands with very little recognition and no resources to properly optimize a single home page and product page website, getting the conversion rate results to scale can be incredibly tricky. 

To help clean up the user experience, we started by breaking out the home page from the product page and utilizing a product benefit banner structure on the homepage featuring different creatives with product specific copy and different CTAs (Calls To Action) on each banner. 

We introduced a separate product page.

For the product page, we utilized the product page section from the original website but broke it out onto its own page for the above-the-fold content. Here’s what this looks like: 

Shopify website product page design.

Below the fold of the product page, we added a customer product review section using Stamped.io’s widget that highlights top reviews with user-generated content and chronologically ordered reviews. With Stamped.io, users can filter through the reviews using a query function as well as preset tags to see all reviews featuring a term like “iPhone.” 

After the review section, we added an additional product information section that dives deep into exactly how the product is used, how it was made, and why you should use it. We used an app designed for Shopify websites called PageFly Page Builder to build this custom section. The app also allowed us to utilize a feature called lazy loading which made the product page’s loading speed faster.

We built a dedicated review page. 

One of the great things about Hangtime Gear’s KOALA product, especially for an early-stage brand, is that it has over 400 reviews.  Given that they’ve only been around for a few months – this is amazing and speaks to their customer satisfaction. 

However with 400 reviews, we didn’t want to crowd the home page or product page showcasing all of the user-generated content. We decided to break out the reviews onto their own page using generated code that we injected into the Shopify page using Stamped.io.

Example of ecommerce reviews page using the stamped.io plugin for shopify.

The start of this page features a YouTube Video testimonial of the KOALA in action and is preceded by a scrolling page of the reviews. 

We restructured the header navigation to provide easy pathways to find the product, product proof, or helpful answers about the product.

The final change that we made to the KOALA Website was to reformat the header and footer navigation menus. We wanted to control the UX journey flow, so we took out specific menu items to push non-purchasers to either learn more about the product, read user reviews, or learn about the product on the FAQ page.

We removed: 

  • About 
  • Blog 


We kept: 

  • Shop
  • Reviews
  • FAQs

Website Optimization Results 

We launched the new version of Hangtime’s website on April 23 and instantly saw an increase in conversion rate that leveled out over the next 12 days.  

In addition to bumping up conversion rate, we saw added benefits: 

  • The average session duration increased by 299% 
  • Revenue increased by 36% 
  • Bounce rate decreased by 28% 
  • Page speed increased by 29% 

Not a one and done solution. 

At Tuff, ongoing optimization is part of our conversion rate optimization website design process. It can also be used for our clients who already have high conversion rates and would like us to test new variables in a safe testing environment. 

We typically implement 2x tests per week to optimize the conversion rate. We do either a copy or creative test followed by an offer based test. The process uses 72-hour testing increments to let us measure the success rate of the test. 

If the first test increases or perpetuates the baseline conversion rate, then we leave it and add a second variable into the mix. If the test decreases the conversion rate, then we pull the test variable and move the original variable back into place. Then we move onto the second test of the week. 

This testing process allows us to test new variables regularly without adding too many variables at once which makes it difficult for us to measure what contributed to an increase or decrease in conversion rate.

If you want to explore more about how to increase your eCommerce conversion rate with Tuff or want a first-hand look at the data showcased above, touch base to set up a free, 30-minute growth strategy session with our team. We’d love to learn more about who you are and what you do so that we can help you find your way to the next level.