CRO: where to start and what to test?

Hey crew,

Today I want to talk to you about how to start conversion rate optimization testing on your store. Pretty much everyone wants to test everything in their business to understand how its going to affect their conversion rates, and what to test to start.

What I want to cover today is where to begin. If you want to start doing conversion rate testing what do you test first?

The caveat is that every store is different. Optimizing will be different for everyone and has to be assessed on a brand by brand basis to determine what is worth testing.

While I can’t tell you which part of your business needs the most attention, I can give you a framework for where to start and where to start thinking about what is worth testing and what is not in your brand.

1. Product Desirability.

The first thing you should be focusing on if you want to improve overall store conversion is product desirability.

When discussing CRO testing you’ve probably heard about minor changes to layout, and changes in button color. While these minor changes have their place and can be effective, product desirability will produce an overwhelming amount of leverage, and this is where you should be spending your time.

When assessing product desirability, we’re talking about imagery, storytelling, copy, videos.

Be strategic in the overall positioning of lifestyle photography that connects with your customer and helps them visualize themselves living a better version of their life with your product.

Anything you can do to enhance the overall desirability of your product for your customer is going to be the very first thing you want to implement to improve conversion rates, and then ultimately be testing through CRO.

2. Reducing Friction.

The second big framework you should be looking at to determine what to test is reducing friction on the side of your customer.

Reducing friction is all about getting your customer from Point A to Point B faster and easier, and it will improve overall conversions in your store. This concept can be further broken into two key areas.

  • Reduce friction around messaging and communication.
    Help your customer understand exactly what to expect when it comes to your product, processes for shipping and returns, warranties, etc.
  • Reduce friction in usability.
    Perhaps the best example in this area is navigation designs. Utilize features like Mega Menus to make it easy for customers to find the product they;re looking for. This can also include the positioning of search on your site and mobile navigation to product and collection pages. The key thing to remember when brainstorming in this area for your business, is that the goal is to make it easy for your customer to view more product and find exactly what they’re looking for.

Reducing the customer’s friction experienced while shopping with you will help improve overall conversion for your brand.

Before doing any type of CRO testing, or any type of conversion optimization, these are the places to start – improving product desirability, and reducing friction.

Fine Tuning the Engine vs. Getting the Tires on the Car

One of the things we always tell our clients at Blue Stout is there are always two stages to Conversion Rate Optimization. The first is filling the gaps.

Imagine that you’re building a Formula 1 racecar. There is a time to finetune the engine, and there is a time to just make sure you have all four tires on the car.

Most clients we work with are missing a tire – aka something huge in their purchase funnel or customer journey that is inhibiting customer conversions. Once these elements are in place, it makes sense to do more refined testing on elements of the funnel such as messaging, positioning, layouts, etc.

Before you try to finetune the engine of your own business, take some time to make sure you have all of the tires on your car. Understand where you’re missing the mark on product desirability and customer friction. Fill in those gaps, and then you can start thinking about more refined A/B testing on very specific elements of the funnel, messaging, layouts, etc.

Understand where you’re missing the mark. Fill those gaps, then start doing testing.

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