a 7-minute read
Conversion rate optimization isn’t new.
It’s been around since the early days of eCommerce, and it has grown in popularity with every passing year.
The problem is that many eCommerce owners don’t realize what conversion rate optimization is really about. They see it as a short-term solution to their conversion rate problems where they run a few experiments and then call it quits when they get some results.
But this couldn’t be further from the truth – CRO isn’t just about getting immediate results; the goal of CRO is continuous improvement over time, which can only happen if you stay committed for months or years at a time.
If that sounds like a scary investment, don’t worry.
With the right process, most eCommerce businesses see an ROI to their conversion rate optimization efforts in a relatively short period of time. At ConversionAdvocates, our clients are typically ROI-positive within the first 6-Months of working with us.
But regardless, CRO isn’t just about the results it produces.
It’s also about uncovering hidden opportunities you didn’t expect or think about.
And it’s this combination of short-term results plus visibility into new growth opportunities that motivates people to continue investing in CRO long-term.
Simply put, the more data from experiments you collect over time, the better understanding you will have to not only improve conversions but also identify opportunities for growing your business long-term.
For those still thinking eCommmerce CRO is a short-term game, here are 5 reasons why you should be investing for the long-term
1) You will not only gain some immediate improvements, but you will also be gaining data and insights that can be applied to future growth
You’ve may have heard this before “CRO is about learning, not results”. We like to switch things up a bit and say that “CRO is about learning AND results”.
Because the reality is every experiment will not only produce short-term results, but also new data and insights that can be expanded on.
For instance, let’s say your CRO efforts have led to a conversion rate lift of 25%. This may seem like a significant improvement – and it is! But what you might not realize is that there’s a compounding effect to CRO where every experiment delivers new data and insights, which can lead to even more improvements over time.
Let me explain why:
If the first 25% conversion rate lift leads to better understanding of your product page or some other aspect of your business – like your product images – then it may lead to a second 15% conversion rate lift in the same area. That’s because, with more data and insight into that specific aspect of your business, product, and customer, leading you to run new experiments that can improve conversions even further.
And what about after those two areas have been optimized? Well, you can keep optimizing other aspects of your business with the knowledge and data you’ve learned from those first two areas.
In other words, every aspect of your CRO process will also generate new insights that can be expanded on to create more ROI-positive experiments down the line.
And those results can only happen if you’re committed to running a long-term CRO process.
2) You will understand customer segments better and maximize the conversion potential of your website
Your conversion rate is an average.
It’s made up of 100s or 1000s of different combinations of customer segments, buying paths, channels, device types, marketing strategies and more.
The reality is there will always be hidden optimization opportunities that you’re not aware of. And that’s why you need to be continuously digging into your data, testing and optimizing, because we never know which combination of those different factors will lead to the next big increase in conversion rates.
For instance, let’s say your CRO process has led to a 30% conversion rate lift on one customer segment.
From there, it may generate insights like “customer segment A has higher conversion rates than customer B.”
Because CRO is data-driven practice, it relies on quantitative and qualitative inputs from your customers, as well as insights discovered by running experiments and analyses to help you discover the hidden opportunities in your business.
The more time you spend digging into your data, testing and optimizing, the more you’ll opportunities you’ll find for improving customer experience, conversion rates, and growth in your business.
Simply put, if you’re not using CRO to continuously test and optimize, then your business is missing out on big opportunities for growth.
3) You won’t be wasting time and opportunity even if some of your experiments don’t have an immediate return
Too many eCommerce owners expect immediate improvements in sitewide conversion rates from their conversion rate optimization efforts.
But with this lens, you run the risk of either stopping before getting any results, or leaving opportunities on the table for long-term growth and optimization.
CRO isn’t just about getting quick wins; it’s about having a long-term commitment to continuous improvement and innovation. You can’t expect sitewide conversions to improve noticeably from a few months of experimentation. And even if it does, it shouldn’t mean that your work is done.
The real value is in the compounding effect of CRO, where every experiment leads to more improvements over time which in turn leads to more ROI-positive experiments down the line. This can only happen if you’re committed to running a long-term CRO process.
If you’re only looking to invest in CRO for the short-term, you will likely either
a) Give up before seeing a return, often “two feet from gold”, or
b) Leave incredible growth opportunities on the table long-term
It won’t take years for you to start seeing the benefits and if you’re committed to consistently pushing the needle with experiments, then those benefits will compound and become even more pronounced over time. Well worth the investment you made in order to get there.
4) You will be able to solve complex conversion problems unique to your business
Your conversion problems (and opportunities) are complex and unique. You need to stop looking for a simple solution. Because there is no “silver bullet” in CRO.
You, your product, your customers, your industry, your brand are unique. If there was a perfect answer that solved the conversion rate problem for all businesses, there would be no value in collecting data, testing and setting up a continuous improvement process.
The reality is that your approach to CRO needs to be tailored to your business, which means it will take time for you and your team to truly understand the problems in every aspect of conversion.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution that solves all conversions problems. Your sales funnel has many points where a customer can abandon their cart with nothing more than a click.
Your business, your channels, and marketing campaigns, all play together to create the environment that drives conversions up or down.
Because of this complexity, CRO is not about looking for one silver bullet solution; it’s about testing dozens of different solutions to see which combinations will have the biggest impact on conversion rates of unique customer segments. Only then will you know what your best approach is and maximize your conversion rates.
5) You will never stagnate; the goalposts will continue to move
As a business leader, you know there is no “end game”. If you want to grow, you need to be continuously innovating and finding new opportunities.
The goalposts are always moving, and they keep getting closer.
As you continue to refine your CRO process and start leveraging the insights it generates for your business, it will help you uncover new data that can drive more improvement in conversion rates. But it will also open your eyes to new growth opportunities and verticals for your business.
This is how a company becomes truly successful long-term: by leveraging past learnings to adapt its strategy to find new growth opportunities.
It could mean expanding into a new market. Developing a new product line. Or it could be as simple as improving your product marketing to better target customers.
When you commit to continuous improvement in CRO, with a commitment to continue running tests and optimizing your website for better conversions, the growth opportunities will keep expanding and the goalposts will keep moving. This is how businesses grows over time.
- CRO is about learning, not only the result. When you run an experiment and get a good result, that’s great! But it doesn’t mean your work is done – instead, use this as a starting point to find out what might be causing success in one area and then apply those insights to other parts of your site or business.
- You’ll be able to uncover insights about your customers and use that to optimize your website to its maximum potential! If one experiment fails, use that to learn, iterate, and push you forward. There are plenty of other experiments that can be run to try and achieve the result you want. CRO is about never giving up on finding success for your eCommerce store – it’s not a one-time deal. It can take a while before you start seeing massive hockey-stick results but, if done correctly, there you will see an ROI in every experiment you run.
- Most CRO success comes from a process of continuous improvement, not one big fix. The last thing you want is to optimize your site for a certain single conversion metric and then stop. You need to know that the impact of CRO compounds on itself giving you massive ROI in the long-term.
- CRO will give you insights into optimizing your entire business ecosystem, from optimizing conversion rates on your website all the way down to customer service and tech support experiences – everything can get better.
- When you commit to continuous improvement in CRO, your growth opportunities don’t obscure and the goalposts will keep moving. Continuous improvement means continuous success. The more time you spend testing and optimizing, digging into your data and finding new opportunities, the more you’ll opportunities you will find for growing your business, customer base, marketplace, and brand.