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Today, I’m sitting down with Yuri Iskhakov, CEO of NANO Web group an eCommerce agency out of NYC, to talk about all things CRO and how you can be successful using CRO in 2017.
Sure, having a ton of traffic is great, but if you’re not converting, then what is the point?
While CRO can be very powerful, it is one of the most underutilized and somewhat unknown practices because of the grey area that it exists in.
To help you understand how to use CRO in 2017 and beyond, I created 15 questions based completely around eCommerce to ask Yuri.
Know future trends in CRO.
Know best practices with simple CRO for eCommerce.
Understand how to identify, analyze, and implement CRO practices for eCommerce.
Ron: What would you consider to be the biggest CRO pitfall with eCommerce businesses that you run into? I see a lot of different sites with a wide variety of conversion rates but is there one thing that jumps out at you?
Yuri: Ron, thank you for your time, really glad to contribute to fast growing eCommerce population. The biggest CRO pitfall that we notice is when merchants are trying to cater products to everyone in a very generic approach. This often winds up being a hit or a miss. Merchants need to own the user experience and merchandise their products to cater to their unique client profiles.
Ron: That’s a very good point about client profiles. How does one come up with the client profiles? Also, what if they are a large retailer with a wide variety of categories or target markets? Should they focus on a few client profiles or build out a larger variety of profiles?
Yuri: Client profiles identify who the buyers are, what their purchase goals are, how they think, how they buy, and why they make buying decisions. To understand clients on an individual level, businesses should use a combination of demographics and psychographics, which entails knowing the client’s gender, age, geolocation, income, shopping habits, personal beliefs, perceptions, motivations, and guiding principles. So obtaining this information may require deep research and use of outside help, but the more you know, the clearer your client profile looks. Profiles can be grouped into as little or as many groups as the business calls for.
Ron: I get a feeling that a lot of eCommerce businesses wonder if their conversion rate is good enough. How can they generally tell or get a good idea if it good enough?
Yuri: The average conversion rate in the US is 3%. Of course that rate varies by industry and brand recognition, however there is always room for improvement. Merchants should utilize tracking tools like Google Analytics to track their data as a starting point to understand their customer journeys and weaknesses in the user experience.
Ron: If an eCommerce businesses’ conversion rate is rather low, to their industry standard, what steps should they take to try to make it better?
Yuri: Whenever a user lands on your website, you’re providing them with an experience. The quality of their experience has a significant impact on their opinion, sharing possibility and ultimately, sales conversions. Good user experience depends on three major pillars – Information Architecture, User Journey and Speed Performance. When all three pillars are well-optimized the results are staggering. Merchants should look at their analytics to understand their client behavior and incrementally make improvements to the user experience. Incremental improvements will allow merchants to see if the changes resulted in a large or a small impact to the conversion rate. Additionally, I would recommend running an audit of their website’s performance using tools like Google Insights or GTmetrix and ask their agency to help resolve some of the performance issues. Keep in mind, the goal is to provide an easy-to-use, fast and convenient shopping experience. Every little detail helps reach that goal.
Ron: Does it make sense to try to perform CRO practices internally or should you look into hiring an outside vendor/agency?
Yuri: Ideally CRO should be done in-house, however its incredibly hard to build and maintain a quality CRO team on staff. It can also get fairly expensive over the long term period. Likewise, completely outsourcing CRO will result in lack of control. Our recommendation is to lean towards a hybrid in-house/outsource setup. Agencies specializing in CRO understand the need for researching existing data, planning and developing testable hypotheses, executing and analyzing tests and have the tools and resources to make great recommendations. However, agencies lack the in-depth business knowledge of the company and the industry. Hence, working closely with the internal team to reach a common goal, will allow for success through collaborative effort.
Ron: What do you think the future of CRO will be? What are the biggest trends you are seeing and what should everyone in the eCommerce industry know about?
Yuri: Great question Ron. With the marketplace getting more and more congested by the competition, it is more important than ever to own the user experience. Merchants should make every effort to help guide every visitor to find the product they want, through the use of sales funnels, questioners and tools like live chats. People need to be guided and the future trend in ecommerce is AI chat bots, mobile assistants and very soon VR commerce!
Ron: If someone is very advanced with CRO in the eCommerce industry and they may have tried everything “under the sun” when it comes to increasing their conversion rate… What is maybe one tactic they have not heard of?
Yuri: Predictive shopping experience. Very often consumers would like to be “pushed” in to making a decision on what product they should purchase, however in ecommerce we completely rely on the shopper to make the decision. Many merchants understand their industry and client buying habits so well that they can predict what type of client would buy a certain type of product. In those cases, it’s great to create a micro-marketing plan to target the client specific audience and push the curated product. It’s a time consuming, laser focused effort but with the right product the rewards are exponential.
Ron: We get a lot of questions with text helping for SEO. Of course, more text on a page helps for SEO but with eCommerce there needs to be a balancing act otherwise you will not convert as much. What do you see from your side? Can having too much text on a page hurt conversion rates?
Yuri: Content is king in world of marketing, but if not properly used, it can have a negative effect on the user experience. No one likes clunky text pages and overwhelming amount of information. Text should be well organized and used to convey the right message and educate the consumer, while still serving its purpose for SEO. When content is well written, a UX designer should be able to distribute the text across the page in an elegant and presentable way that will cover all bases.
Ron: Another thing we come across is merchants who are not quite ready to bring on an agency to perform CRO services or they cannot afford it. If you were talking to a merchant who cannot afford CRO services, what would be a good starting point for them to be learning or at least performing minor best practices?
Yuri: The old KISS method never fails. Keeping things simple and elegant so that visitors can find their way fast and easy. Maintain clear call to actions in order to guide clients to the right product. Sell benefits, not functions. Use beautiful enticing images. Showcase testimonials and product reviews. Clearly, state that their transactions are secure and their data is protected. Offer advice through a blog posts and maybe product video.
Thank you to Yuri with NANO Web Group for the time and thoughtful information on this post. For more information on NANO Web Group visit their site or contact YURI at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Ronald Dod is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end eCommerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces, and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.
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