Struggling with decreased conversion rates? You may be in the midst of a CRO strategy, or maybe you still need to start your project. 

With consumers searching for bargains more and more, conversion rate optimisation is a great way of attracting more customers. Even better? This can all be done in a relatively short time frame.

This week, we chatted to Heur’s Managed Services Director Rob McKenzie who provided expert tips on boosting your conversion rates.

What are the most significant risks when starting a CRO project?

Rob: By far the biggest risk around CRO is having unreasonable expectations from the outset. 

Naturally we all gravitate to the case studies which boast of huge CVR uplifts in the space of a few months, but most of the time this is glorified bug fixing on broken sites as opposed to genuine successful experiments. Those high expectations can lead to CRO programmes being set up to fail and then quickly abandoned.

Secondly, we tend to underestimate the amount of traffic that is needed to carry out a statistically sound split test. 

That lack of understanding, along with pressure to show results quickly, can lead to practitioners hurriedly making changes to the site which testing tools show as significant, but actually aren’t. A solid understanding of the underlying laws of statistics can help protect you against this.

What tips would you provide to someone with limited technical skills or resources?

Rob: A lack of technical resources will limit how sophisticated you can be with testing, but more sophisticated testing doesn’t always equal better outcomes. At its heart CRO is about how well you understand your customers, and there’s plenty of low tech ways to expand this understanding. 

Customer surveys, paying attention to customer service queries and monitoring the conversations that happen around your brand will generally lead to more success than overly technical testing.

What should a brand avoid when starting a CRO project?

Rob: Avoid pinning all your hopes on split testing for insights. Split tests can only definitively answer what someone has done, they can’t say why someone has done something with any certainty. 

To answer the why, you need to collect insights from other sources such as user testing, preference tests and surveys/ interviews.

What are the most straightforward CRO experiments a brand can start with?

Rob: In a perfect world, you should start with an A/A test, where you split traffic between two exact duplicates of your site. By the end you’ll know your testing tool is set up correctly and get an idea on how much traffic you’ll need to actually perform a statistically sound test. 

On a practical level, you probably don’t want to waste traffic doing that. Generally speaking, the product page is nearly always the best place to put your focus on for ecommerce sites. 

It’s the place you validate a person’s initial interest in your product and the place you can make the most gains. Of course, that general advice comes with a giant asterisk depending on your brand, business model and existing site.

How should a brand prioritise updates which have proven to improve conversion rates?

Rob: If a test is showing a truly positive impact then it should naturally find its place in the dev queue. Afterall, how many other pieces of work have been validated with a winning split test? 

At Heur we use the ICE scoring structure which prioritises tasks based on Impact, Certainty and Ease of implementation which allows us to compare many wildly different priorities in an objective manner.

In the current climate, more consumers are browsing to find cheaper deals. What tips would you provide a brand to reduce this happening to them? Is dropping their prices the only answer?

Rob: If you’ve spent the past few years growing with aggressive trading and discounting tactics then you’re going to have a hard time suddenly changing your narrative with your established customer base. 

The shift has to happen gradually so your audience has a chance to transition away from predominantly being value driven. If you do this too suddenly you’ll quickly see revenue dry up and will likely get some concerned emails from management.

Revise your growth expectations and have a steady hand. It can become extremely tempting to turn on the discount tap when all your usual KPIs start to dry up.

How do you determine the successful results of a CRO project?

Rob: Ultimately a CRO program isn’t about going on a hot streak of winning A/B tests, it’s about understanding your customer’s needs and motivations better and how your brand fits into that. 

That better understanding should manifest into a higher converting site, but in and of itself that isn’t the goal.

Have a list of questions at the beginning of a project that you want to answer about your customers and products. After 12 months of CRO work ask yourself how many of those questions you can now confidently answer. 

That’s your measure of success.

Any final tips and advice?

Rob: Understand how to calculate sample sizes and statistical power. Don’t rely just on the percentages that testing software spit out, they rarely paint a full picture on test effectiveness. 

About Heur

Founded by Chris Raven and Chris Nawrocki and located in London and York, Heur works with businesses and founders both nationwide and internationally to help scale their D2C brands, offering services such as fractional leadership, holistic growth strategy, managed audits and growth mapping.

The agency has helped brands such as Drakes, Fox Head Clothing and Jaded London, and many more since opening their doors in 2019.

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