3 key CRO strategies to increasing sales in online retail

With customers increasingly moving their purchasing power and attention to online retail, how can you make sure you are set to deliver the most optimized experiences to the online shopper and well positioned to increase online sales?

Here is how a well thought-through CRO strategy can build the foundation for this growth and differentiate you from your competitors.

Customers come first

Any digital experience you build needs to revolve around your customers and their needs.

That’s where you tap into various data points (site analytics, market research, online surveys, focus groups, former A/B testing results) to build a robust understanding of your customers, and their expectations from your online store.

Build a customer-centric navigation

Would you say your site navigation aligned to the internal company structure or prioritizes how customers consume information?

Transitioning from traditional businesses to online we observe some companies carrying their way of doing offline business to online. This leads to them designing their user experience based on their internal teams and not how their customers navigate through their content.

There are three main concepts you should look to test:

Reordering

Test concepts, like reordering the navigation menu items, to better align with the content areas your users interact with the most.

Site analytics data will show you content areas that customers are most interested in and you can use that data to reorder content that’s highly frequented and remove the ones that may not be getting any engagement.

Renaming

Do the menu headers reflect how your company is internally organized or does your navigation focus on how users search through the content?

If users have to decode what your menu means you will lose them very quickly. Look at the bounce and exit rates over time; if there has been an increase it’s time to make a change.

Restructuring

Understanding how your users search through products will help determine how to structure the navigation. Let’s say your site sells women apparel, including shoes. You originally thought that the best placement of shoes is under the “women” category.

However, when you look at the search keywords and there is a big cluster of “shoes” related search query. This may indicate that where the shoes content is placed today is not natural to the user and that shoes may need to branch out as a separate menu item. 

Define the product selection experience

The success of an eRetail site has a direct correlation to how easy it is for the customers to find the product they need. Especially, in a world suffering from short attention span, how do we ensure that the customers are able to get to the right content?

investing in a user-friendly site pays off

This is where investing in a user-friendly site pays off.

Visually arresting product images, interactive elements to engage the customers, optimized product descriptions, comparison functionality, and a clear way to select and add products to the cart are critical components.

Improve the product purchase experience

Having worked with various clients in retail, we know how important cart and checkout experience is. We also know from several site analyses that, in many cases, return visitors convert at a higher rate.

common problems are around streamlining the purchases steps

Features like being able to see previous cart selections on a subsequent visit and being able to pick up where the customer had left off, becomes very important. Usually a funnel view in your analytics data will give you a good sense of where in the purchase funnel your biggest challenges lie.

Past projects revealed that common problems/opportunities are around streamlining the purchases steps, weaving in trust building content, removing any unnecessary steps, merging steps where possible, and offering a good range of payment methods. These features that can help improve cart and checkout conversions.

Amplify the search functionality

You can always assume that there are couple of customer categories who land on your site.

we are seeing more and more companies invest in effective search functionality

Some customers may know the category of the product they want but may not have decided on an actual product. Some may have no idea and may need guidance to find what’s right for them. For those customers who already know the exact product they want, going through several steps to get there would be painful.

Therefore, we are seeing more and more companies invest in effective search functionality.

In recent years, search boxes got larger and larger, and are much more customer centric with questions like “What can we help you find today?”

Consider testing size of the search box, placement of the box, content within the search box, and the search CTA.

Engage with your customers

Improving online user experience is a perpetual mission. Several sources feed into understanding the user challenges and what needs to be changed. In order to get to the “golden nugget” of what your customers really want, you can utilize tools like online surveys, customer feedback, or usability reviews.

utilize tools like online surveys, customer feedback, or usability reviews

These are effective ways to gather the qualitative data that you’ll need to complement the quantitative data you could be receiving from site analytics, and/or testing data.

Tools like usertesting.com helps you gain insight into how you can improve user experience.

Personalization matters

Relevancy is the 21st century’s digital currency. Companies have been spending significant time and effort to understand their customers’ digital journeys, and determine how they can serve up the most relevant experience to them; as personalized as possible.

Today, personalization is a key building block for eRetail; spanning from personalized emails to offers that are based on the customer’s history, to checkout abandonment reminders, and to location-based deals. 

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