Driving traffic to your website is difficult. Convincing a visitor to buy from you is even more difficult. Ecommerce store owners and marketers often implement various conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategies in the pursuit of increasing conversions and resulting sales.
In many instances, these CRO strategies and tactics may backfire due to ill-informed decisions and can adversely affect your store sales.
We have compiled a list of seven common conversion rate optimization mistakes that Ecommerce store owners commit. We’ll also understand how you can correct them and what best practices you should follow.
1. Executing CRO Tactics in Isolation
Store owners, many times, implement random tactics to make quick sales. While they are successful initially, they fail to replicate the same success in the longer run.
There are two problems with this approach:
- Not making informed decisions
- Prioritizing short term gains over long term profits
CRO activities don’t exist in a vacuum. They should be devised based on careful research of your competitors, users/visitors, and website data.
CRO Best Practice #1: Establish a CRO Process
CRO isn’t a one-off activity. It’s a systematic, iterative process. You don’t stop once you start to see success. To boost your conversions, you need to find ways to maximize conversions further.
The process begins with research followed by the formation of a hypothesis. Once you put the hypothesis to test (i.e., running an experiment), collect and analyze the data. Rinse and repeat.
2. Not Researching the Ideal Buyer
Not every visitor that lands on your website are your ideal customer. Store owners get tricked into thinking this way and implement inefficient CRO tactics. Similarly, not all traffic behaves the same way. For instance, inbound traffic is more proactive in terms of making purchases than paid ad traffic.
CRO Best Practice #2: Identify Your Ideal Customer
Research common traits of your ideal customer(s)/personas. Know how they browse the internet, their behavioral patterns, their pain points, and how your offerings can benefit them.
Create multiple segments that group different personas by their characteristics.
Being able to differentiate between a buyer and a window shopper will bring more conversions from your CRO activities.
Simultaneously, distinguishing between different traffic sources, devices, and so on, will help you derive the correct insights.
3. Following CRO Tactics Blindly
There’s no dearth of CRO advice on the internet. Most of it is good, but its results are subjective. Just because one Ecommerce store changed the color of their call-to-action (CTA) and saw 25% more conversions doesn’t mean it will work for you too.
Many variables influence the conversion rate and target audience, location, device, the culture of the region (yes, it matters!), etc. are just a few of them. Also, there’s no way of knowing how the test was run, the sample size, and the duration.
CRO Best Practice #3: Ideate Your Own Experiments
The only way to know if something works for you is to test it out yourself. Seek inspiration online, but test its validity before introducing site-wide implementation.
A better alternative to this is to come up with your hypothesis based on the analytics data. Your assumptions will tend to be more reliable as they’re inferred from first-party data, i.e., your data.
4. Misinterpreting Trends and Seasonal Fluctuations
Seasons and latest trends influence the store sales as the user intent tends to tilt towards buying during such periods. Similarly, certain months during the year bring very little sales.
Testing the feasibility of CRO activities during festive seasons (or off seasons for that matter) may deliver skewed results as the high (or low) conversions may get attributed to CRO efforts.
CRO Best Practice #4: Run Experiments During Neutral Time Periods
To get optimal results, execute CRO related experiments during non-seasonal times when the traffic indicates a strong buyer intent. You can take stock of the past analytics data to see which months showed a higher conversion rate and run the experiments accordingly. Of course, you can test their validity at scale during festive seasons.
5. Not Experimenting With High-performing Elements
CRO is not reserved exclusively for campaigns and pages that are not performing up to the mark. Sometimes, a simple tweak on a well-optimized page can do the trick. You will often see well-known industry blogs relying on updating their top-performing content frequently instead of publishing new content.
CRO Best Practice #5: Optimize Top-performing Elements
The ‘Don’t fix it, if it ain’t broke’ approach in conversion rate optimization doesn’t work. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel every time. Ideating new experiments is time-consuming and may not always be the right choice. Therefore, it’s wise to take what’s good and make it better.
6. Committing the Most Basic A/B Testing Mistakes
A/B testing is one of the most potent ways to identify what would boost the conversion rate. But mistakes such as keeping the test duration too short or too long, running it on a negligible sample size, etc. can be detrimental to your CRO efforts.
Therefore, certain caveats should be followed to ensure that you are getting the right results (favorable or unfavorable doesn’t matter) from your tests. Let’s look at the five A/B testing best practices below:
CRO Best Practice #6: Follow the Standard Rules of A/B Testing
- You should have a goal in mind before running an experiment
- Don’t end the test too early or too late. Run your test long enough to complete at least one sales cycle
- Run only one experiment at a time. Testing multiple variables simultaneously will prevent you from identifying what brought in conversions
- Don’t generalize. Just because something worked once will work every time
- Small wins compound over time. Don’t discard tiny improvements just because they seem insignificant at the moment
7. Not Knowing What Customers Want
Even though you know the causes, it’s difficult to understand what the user/visitor wants.
CRO Best Practice #7: Survey Your Customers
Before introducing any major changes on your website, understand what your customers want. Now, opinions can be very difficult to act upon as different people have different tastes. An effective alternative to this is to run surveys. As you’re providing them limited options to choose from, you’ll know what they want, and it will be easy for you to implement these changes later.
The Bottom Line
CRO may look simple, but it’s not easy. If you were making any of these mistakes, now you know what not to do. Furthermore, it also helps to have a tool like HumCommerce that lets you measure the effectiveness of your CRO tactics.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask us in the comments below!