Common CRO Mistakes That Every E-Commerce Startup Should Avoid

04th Jan 2019
10 min read

When it comes to e-commerce, conversion rates and conversion rate optimization (CRO) is one of the most debated and most talked about topics. There are so many complexities involved when it comes to conversion rate optimization and adapting your UI & UX accordingly. The basic aspects of preparing to optimize for conversion rates is to study your website thoroughly as if you were the user instead of the website owner. By entering your sales funnel, you can access whether or not your user’s expectations are being met and fulfilled by your website. Before you begin optimizing, you should set some benchmarks to know where do you stand before the optimization processes begins. You should examine the multi-channel reports, landing page reports and goal reports in Google Analytics.

Businesses should have sound knowledge of what landing pages; categories or product pages would be the most profitable to track. By profitable, we mean the ones that would yield the best results in terms of conversation rates.

Setting up tracking is also extremely important to test out your Call to Action buttons and other elements. When you are done with all of the above mentioned tasks, your business should articulate a hypothesis which encompasses all of your findings. Scrutinize the hypotheses based on factors including Return on Investment and projected impact of the conversion rate optimization.

Test your strategies based on your hypotheses and remember to be patient as it would take time to gather statistically sound data which can provide definitive answers. Besides the aforementioned processes, there are dozens of other factors to look at including the wrong implementation of tracking or testing during the wrong time of the year.

One of the most important elements of any ecommerce website is the way it is designed. The design actually plays a part in defining your conversion rates. There is always a huge debate about how the website should be designed and these revolve around the terms minimalism and maximalist. Before you begin optimizing, you should take a look at what design is the best for your e-commerce website. After you have optimized your design, then comes the major part of optimizing your product pages.

Now let’s discuss FIVE common conversion rate optimization mistakes most e-commerce startups should avoid.

1. CONVERSION RATE OPTIMIZATION ISN’T JUST A/B TESTING

A/B testing is the process of comparing two versions of websites or apps to determine which one performs more effectively. This process is also known as split testing or bucket testing. While A/B testing is an integral part of conversion rate optimization, there are many other aspects which have to be taken into perspective. A/B testing is one of the many tools deployed in order to increase the conversions on the website.

This testing method is usually used to test a single variable against another in order to determine which variable performs better and use it in the future. While on the other hand CRO is a complex integration of methodologies and tools that have one common goal of increasing the website’s conversion rates. By increasing the website’s conversion rates, your website will instantly rank better and provide lucrative results.

Basing your conversion rate optimization on A/B testing will not produce the required results. There are many problems that lie with the A/B testing including the sample data size. The webpage you are testing might only be getting a few hundred clicks a month and it would take ages to accumulate enough data to statistically analyze it and improve the conversion rates.

Furthermore, if you are running A/B tests on a low traffic page in order to implement CRO strategies then the results may be affected in a negative manner. This is due to the fact that the statistics provided by an A/B test will not suffice and can influence the outcome.

Although, A/B testing is the perfect way to initiate your CRO process, simply relying on this test will make you miss out on several other important tools. You should be educating yourself in the A/B testing but should not limit yourself to it and focus more on incorporating multiple CRO factors and tools. Let’s take a look at Sophie and Trey as an example. They regularly make changes on their homepage to increase conversions. In the image below you can see how they have optimized the banner on their homepage to reflect the holiday season.

2. WRONG CONTEXT FOR CONVERSION RATES

Context is very important when we talk about the statistics for conversions rates. Even for an e-commerce store a conversion could mean a website visitor, a sign-up on the email list, leads or purchases. When you are optimizing for conversion rates on your website and you see positive results, statements like “200% increase in the conversion rates” will not do justice to the conversion rate optimization process. Even if you notice positive results, it still does not explain the statistics as there are a plethora of influential factors which come into play.

Statements like “200% increase in the conversion rates” will not do justice to the conversion rate optimization process.

There are numerous factors that have to be evaluated when it comes to the testing phase. Time, day, month and year of the CRO testing process have to be taken into account. For example, weekends always attract more traffic than weekdays. If the testing is performed during the weekend and you base your hypotheses on these results, it would prove to be devastating for your brand as it will not reflect the actual standing of your webpage.

You cannot run tests during holiday seasons such as December and expect the conversion rates to be the same in March. Seasonality is a huge factor when it comes to conversion rates. For instance, during the holiday season, conversion rates are much higher as compared to ‘normal’ months.

The device type is another factor that plays into the conversion rates. People are more than willing to fill up a longer form on desktop devices whereas mobile users would prefer forms to be shorter. When optimizing for conversion rates, this is a very important factor you should take into consideration. Channeling is another aspect that affects conversion rates. You also have to remember that conversion rates are not the most important part of your business as your product or service will influence the outcome. Surely, CRO leads to more revenue per dollar spent, but that does not guarantee your business to be successful. Take a look at this case study which helped getkuna.com/ increase their revenue by optimizing their conversion rates. The context for the testing is provided in the case study making it more effective and easy to implement.

3. NOT FULLY UNDERSTANDING THE STATISTICS

One of the biggest mistakes that companies make is trying to implement CRO strategies without understanding the statistics involved. Statistics is the mainstay of CRO and without having a comprehensive knowledge of the subject, you cannot execute CRO successfully. Statistics will help you run your tests successfully and without them you might hamper your marketing efforts.

Generally, businesses stop the analysis process when they reach the statistical significance of 90% and do not focus on increasing these figures. For most of the people, 90% is a good number. Or is it? The answer is NO! Statistical significance is similar to placing bets. Of course, this is an odd example but it perfectly explains how you should focus on numbers.

Would you rather place your bet on something that is 90% likely to win or something that is 98% likely to win? The answer is very simple. Practicing and learning over time would make you an astute marketer and your processes would become far more effective and bear fruit.

4. NOT PAYING ENOUGH ATTENTION TO PAGES THAT ARE PERFORMING “WELL”

It is very common to mistake a well performing page as an optimized page. Just because something is performing really well, does not mean that it cannot be optimized for better results. If your page is performing really well there is a high possibility that it has the potential to perform even better. Let’s discuss an example to better understand this common CRO mistake that every ecommerce startup should avoid

In the above shown images, Morphsuits’s check-out page has been re-designed and optimized. The check-out page was already doing well but it did not mean that the page cannot be optimized for better results. For a high performing page there can be many elements present on the page that may be under performing. Morphsuits found out that their order review page had elements that were underperforming and they needed to be revamped.

Through thorough A/B testing, analytics and conversion audits, they were able to design an order review page that made their conversion rates go up by 37%. The key point to understand is that there may be several elements of your page that may be underperforming and it eventually pays out to have them optimized for conversion. A/B testing and style changes can go a very long way in helping you increase your conversion rates and create a huge impact on your customer base.

5. NOT BASING THE CRO PROCESS ON RESEARCH

Another one of the most common mistakes that businesses usually make is relying on tactics instead of conducting research. Process and methodology is literally everything when it comes to CRO. Every business should adopt a holistic approach to CRO and should follow certain protocol and processes. Every CRO process should start with research instead of relying on tactics that may improve your marketing reach. The more research and analysis you perform on your website, the more you learn about the underlying problems that would otherwise not be highlighted through your marketing campaigns.

Identifying and understanding the problems regarding your website, is the first step in any business towards effective CRO. Identifying and understanding them would help you form a meticulous hypothesis that you can base your future tests on. A simplified CRO process should look like:

  • Do thorough research
  • Form the hypothesis and validate it
  • Establish control and implement treatment
  • Experiment
  • Analyze the data from experimentation
  • Conduct follow up experiment if necessary
  • Constantly scrutinize the process to identify its efficiency
  • Utilize as many CRO tools as possible
  • Invest in third party CRO evaluation and services

When you are going through these steps make sure that you are recording your CRO journey every step of the way and documenting your findings. It is always important to conduct follow up experiments to make sure that your website is winning.

WRAPPING IT UP

There are lots of mistakes that companies make when it comes to CRO. There is a lot of knowledge connected to the testing phase of CRO. Testing will always remain the key towards effective CRO but these tests should always be backed up with statistical data and a thorough analysis.

After every test you should analyze your accumulated data and if you find any anomalies then you should test again to determine the root cause. Even if your tests fail or do not show positive results, your business will still learn something and this is very important.

If you don’t fail, you’ve already achieved your desired goal or objective. Don’t give up after your first test, or the second one or the third one.

Don’t give up at all. Approaching every test in a systematic manner setting aside your previous assumptions would definitely help you yield better results. Additionally, if your business is not equipped with the required resources to effectively implement CRO strategies then you can invest in third party service providers.

We hope that the above list has given you many ideas and inspired you to take another look at your conversion rate optimization processes. Conversion rate optimization is a learning curve and there are no shortcuts. You would learn with practice, experimentation and hard work. There are no shortcuts.

You can save a lot of time, money and resources by avoiding the common CRO mistakes that usually start ups make. Have you made any of the above CRO mistakes in your business? If you have any other common CRO mistakes to add to the list provided above, let us know in the comments and we’ll try to include that too.

About the author

Jenny Harrison is a passionate marketing and business blogger. She loves to engage with readers who are seeking B2B and B2C marketing related information on the internet. She is a featured blogger at various high authority blogs and magazines in which she shared her research and experience with the vast online community. Currently, she is associated with www.PNCDigital.com, an Orlando based E-Commerce Development Company specializes in OpenCart, Magento, Shopify Web Development.

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