Businesses that trade online are finding that the web space has become a marketplace so competitive that the user experience has become paramount – a factor which was for many years left unattended.
In order to be found online, businesses are having to invest in their digital marketing – consumers don’t just use the internet, they live online. Whether it’s through social media, a Google search or display advertising on popular sites, reaching your target audience has become increasingly more intelligent, and in most cases more expensive!
With it now costing more to drive qualified visitors to your site, the users’ experience of a website has now been brought into focus, because businesses that aren’t giving their users the best possible experience are inevitably losing out on potential revenue – revenue that could be worth hundreds of thousands.
The Design Process
Designing your website is not only about being conceptual and providing the wow factor, it’s also a key opportunity to plan your intended user flows:
- Where users will enter the site
- What information they’ll be exposed to
- How easy it will be to navigate to the basket or contact form
- What steps a user needs to take to have enough information to purchase
In many cases, you could audit a website and find it difficult to navigate, to find the information you need and most importantly find it difficult to check out and pay. Just imagine for a moment that your own website falls into this category – users are dropping-off at the checkout process, or worst still, can’t even get to the checkout. A user may be looking to purchase your product, add it to the basket, then find it so difficult to buy that they leave and purchase the same product elsewhere. They will then have used your site to gain all the information they need and thus a competitor has earned the business from your initial work and investment.
User analysis (which falls into the realms of Conversion Rate Optimisation) is a project undertaken to learn more about your users in order to make your site as user friendly as possible, to increase the number of transactions from the users on your site, and thus to increase your long-term revenue. This is a separate activity from increasing traffic – CRO is the process of refining your site to make it as profitable as possible.
The Data Analysis
Google Analytics is a free tool which provides a wealth of information on the way users interact with your site. GA is the glue that holds other data sources together and gives context and evidence for businesses to make informed decisions to improve their site.
With a backlog of historical and real-time information to interpret, analytics is a hub which will provide you with insights that will go above and beyond to help you understand your customer. With a bricks and mortar shop you may become familiar with your return customers, but the information that you have on them is likely to be relatively small. Even more so for the casual browsers that may be interested in what you sell – there’s seldom a targeted approach to pull them back in to make the sale.
Online is where all this becomes possible. Jenny from Blackpool who’s your best customer will be anonymous by name, but you’ll be able to see every piece of information that’s relevant to your business. You can see:
- The age and gender of your users (and the conversion rate of each)
- Whether they are a new or returning visitor
- What pages they visited
- What Google knows them to be interested in
- How they found the site
- Where they left the site
- And over 1,000 other factors about them as an anonymous web visitor
How do you become intelligent with this information?
The first instance of increasing your conversion rate is finding out points in the user journey where people are exiting the site and auditing that page to find the problem. Analytics is perfect for flagging up the issues; it’s then down to you to work on the solution.
Split test different variations to see what works better and gradually refine your site until you’re confident it’s as easy to use and navigate as possible, and then test it some more. What your idea of a good user experience is may be a completely different idea to that of your target demographic.
It’s also true that you can optimise your site for the wrong user, so be clear from the outset who your target audience is and focus on them; never try to please everyone.
Another intelligent way of using user information is to segment your users into suitable lists and then provide targeted adverts or emails to these users, as a prompt to visit the site and purchase (if they haven’t done so already).
What can CRO achieve for my business?
The process of engaging in Conversion Rate Optimisation is one which has no limits; after all, no website has a 100% conversion rate, so there is always room for improvement. A lot of interested business owners always ask what conversion rate they should expect for their industry, but realistically that answer is too ambiguous. There are hundreds of factors that can affect conversion rate and you can use all the benchmarking data in the world but it should always be looked at on a case-by-case basis.
Look at your all-time conversion rate, track how it has changed over the years and compare that to how you feel your business performed in that period of time. Then consider the market as a whole and whether that may have grown, shrunk or remained static.
If your E-commerce business has 80,000 visitors in a year and converted at 2% with an average basket of £35 then your revenue would be £56,000. If you kept both the visitors and the average basket the same and increased your conversion rate by just 1% your revenue would increase to £84,000 – a 50% uplift with 67 more sales a month (which is 0.08% of your total annual traffic).
Interested in Conversion Rate Optimisation services for your own website? Then contact affinity today via our contact page or by calling 01603 663093 to learn more.