I studied Business Administration (Bachelor) and Marketing Management (Master) while I was working at Deutsche Telekom, the largest telecom provider in Europe. I was responsible for the user guidance in the online shop (www.telekom.de). 2017 I became self employed with SEO and conversion rate optimization that I am offering to clients worldwide.
Improving the user guidance in online shops to increase conversions is my absolute passion. When I visit a website I always see things that hold users back from buying and I want to fix it. Also I think, that conversion rate optimization is a blind spot for many businesses. They only try to get more traffic through SEO and marketing, but they do not care a lot about optimizing the shop. But CRO has a huge leverage on sales and there should be much more attention on it.
Mostly it is a summary of many things that add up. It can be the general design, which is outdated and not optimized for mobile. The navigation structure and the wordings are oftentimes too complex. The category pages do not help the user enough to make a decision between similar product variants. There are not enough information (texts, images, videos) to convince users to buy a product. Or the price is not competitive enough.
The analysis of the data is the first step and the fundament of doing CRO. It is important to know, who the users are, from which channel they are coming (SEO, SEA, direct …), what pages they visit and what they buy. By having these information it is much easier to optimize the shop in the right direction. Also data from Google Search Console or other tools are very important because SEO is a very important traffic channel, especially for conversions.
At first the header design and navigation structure needs to be optimized. The header must be slim and the products must be easy to find. Then the homepage structure is important to guide users to the product categories and top sellers, because many users start their journey here. On the category pages filters are extremely helpful for users to find the best product variant. On the product page the following things are important: great images, video(s), many reviews and informative texts. With Shopify and other shop systems the cart and checkout process are mostly not a big issue anymore (sometimes not enough payment options).
When there is a newsletter pop-up, it should not appear immediately when the user starts visiting the website. It is likely that he will close it because he first needs to orientate on the page. The pop-up can be shown after 10 - 20 seconds. It needs a good offer (minimum 5 % discount code). The user also needs more reasons to stay subscribed, for example exclusive deals, information about new products, tipps etc. In the footer a sign up form is standard because users expect it to be there when they search for it.
Generally the more data the better. If the company has the capacity to evaluate the results of a survey then it is definitely helpful. The „problem“ with surveys can be, that users describe their actions rationally, but act emotionally/ instinctively on the website, which is not the same. Therefore it is important to additionally evaluate the data from analytics tools that show the „real“ behavior.
There should only be 1 pop-up per page. Otherwise users are annoyed. Also Google does not like pop-ups which they state in their guidelines. After a pop-up was closed once it does not need to show up again. The decision of the user must be respected. As I said before, if the pop-up has a good offer and is well designed they are fine for users.
Honestly after more than 100 clients I can not find an example where I had a challenge with CRO. All what is needed is a commitment from the website owner. To get a commitment you need to argue with data and logic. When something needs to be changed on the website I use data wherever I can. I describe the problem from the perspective of the user in detail and then I give a specific solution for the problem. The shop owner understands the problem, has trust in it because of the data and implement my recommendation. If he is unsure he always can do A/B-tests, but in 99 % of the cases they directly implement it.
Put you in the shoes of a standard user and try to buy a product or service in the shop. Write down what holds you back from buying. Mostly business owners and employees are too much into their topic and are not able to put themselves in the shoes of the user. Therefore it is important to let real users test the website or to let a CRO-expert screen it. Analyse as many data as possible to learn about the user behavior. This is also important to measure success after things have been implemented.
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