From local handicrafts to the latest smartphones, consumers are buying an increasing number of products online. In fact, the value of global retail e-commerce sales is set to reach a whopping $4.88 trillion by 2021, with more than three million companies competing for the attention of millions of shoppers. And as competitive advantage is increasingly gained or lost in the digital world, businesses use various tactics to ramp up their sales. One of these is conversion rate optimisation (CRO) software, which helps turn more website visitors into paying customers.
Navigating the world of conversion rate optimisation can be complicated, though, and to help you get a perspective on this industry, we’ve gathered and assessed four CRO tools, so you can additionally fine-tune your e-commerce operations and gain an edge over the competition.
Google Analytics: statistics and numbers lead to deeper insights
Gathering and analysing data such as customer demographics and user interaction will help companies discover which aspects of their online business can be improved and whether optimisation efforts yield positive results. It could be, for instance, that your website doesn’t rank on the first page of Google search results, which essentially means that you miss 75 per cent of users that “don’t bother to click beyond the first page of results”. As the digital marketer Neil Patel says, “All those statistics, analytics, reports, and numbers are intended to drive at something deeper and more enduring, which, in turn, enables the holistic optimization of a site for conversions.”
And when it comes to CRO analytics tools, Google Analytics (GA) ranks high on the list. It helps businesses track bounce rates, average website visit duration, conversion rate, and much more. You could, for instance, find out which particular internet browser converts better, or at what time of day visitors flock to your website. In return, this helps you decide when to publish a blog post or email your customers. GA also provides data on conversion by acquisition source. In other words, you can monitor whether users that come to your store from Facebook buy more compared to those that come from YouTube or search engines.
Hotjar: providing a superb user experience
E-commerce sites should be easy to use and navigate. However, providing a superb user experience is easier said than done, as various glitches, subpar design, or complicated forms can deter potential customers. In fact, almost 40 per cent of “users will stop engaging” if they think that the content or the layout of the website is of poor quality. And to understand what’s ruining user experience on a website, many companies turn to various CRO tools.
One of those is Hotjar, software that enables you to learn more about the online behaviour of your users. It provides heatmap analysis, showing where users click the most and how far they scroll down. More importantly, Hotjar enables you to watch a recording of real visitors as they click and navigate across pages. For instance, analytics tools might show you that users of a specific browser have low form completion rates, but in Hotjar, you get to actually see what those users experience on your site and can then fix any issue faster.
Trampoline Plezier, an e-commerce site for selling trampolines, is one of the companies that benefited from Hotjar and increased the click-through rate on its ‘buy’ button from 21.8 per cent to 33.02 per cent.
Optimizely: A/B test everything to find the winning formula
An important aspect of any CRO work is eliminating guesswork and relying on proven facts, and that’s where page optimisation tools, also known as A/B testing tools, can be of great value. They help companies boost the conversion rate of landing pages or campaigns by testing the effects of various images, colours, graphics, and other website elements on customers’ decisions. And this can lead to surprising results. For instance, tests show that reducing the number of form fields “from 11 to 4 can result in a 120% increase in conversions”. These details can make or break digital marketing campaigns, and that’s why 56 per cent of marketers use A/B testing, which remains the most popular form of CRO.
Programs such as Optimizely can serve as a page optimisation tool, enabling you to “examine two variations of a webpage”. This feature can be used to test, for example, which promotions will increase customers’ basket size, or what type of content can increase new customer sign-ups.
Pingdom: monitor the speed of your website
All these CRO efforts, however, could be in vain if the website is slow, since a one-second delay in page load time can “result in a 7% reduction in conversions”. That’s why it’s important to solve issues such as “slow-loading web pages, oversized images, too many plugins, or an unreliable web host”, all of which can ruin your web store’s online performance. Luckily, software tools such as Pingdom can be of great help in this regard.
This CRO program essentially enables companies to monitor the loading speeds of pages and filter data by countries, browsers, or devices. Also, Pingdom alerts users when their websites are down and provides them with tips on how to improve their site loading speed. The company claims its software is used by more than 800,000 businesses, including the likes of Amazon, Netflix, GitHub, and MailChimp.
CRO as a source of competitive advantage
As a growing number of people flock to online stores, entrepreneurs are relying on CRO tools to boost sales by identifying lucrative buyer demographics and optimising websites. Stephen Pavlovich, the CEO of Conversion.com, a CRO agency, says, “Conversion is expanding beyond just the core user experience. More and more, people are using experimentation as a way to optimise not just sales – but also pricing, functionality, and product.” To that end, various programs, such as OptinMonster, Hotjar, Optimizely, and others can be of great help. Some online companies are even spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on these tools each year, showing that rising profit justifies such large-scale investments.
The ever-growing list of CRO programs and their capabilities demonstrates the importance of tech for marketers’ day-to-day operations. Therefore, it’s important that marketers up their CRO ‘game’ and provide companies with a competitive advantage in the ever-changing landscape of online sales.