February 14, 2018
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According to a study by Econsultancy, for every $92 a business spends on acquiring a customer, they only spend $1 converting them. Kate Morris, founder and CEO of Australia’s first beauty site Adore Beauty, thinks that’s “just bonkers.” In her Imagine 2017 session, Morris shared her insights on the value of optimization and her tactics to increase site conversion.
“I think the other thing to think about when we think about conversion optimization, people kind of get hung up on the idea that it’s changing the number of fields, and the checkout, or using different colored “Add to Cart” buttons,” said Morris. “And yes, that can be part of it, but it’s about testing every aspect of not just your website but also your value propositions: how do you communicate to customers on the site, where do you display the messaging about the different promotions that you have? Are there things you can test about value, like free shipping, different promotions, different payment methods that you can test. And obviously every aspect of the website experience: it’s site design, product merchandising, personalization, where you put products, what your categories are, and obviously speed as well, your website performance.”
Here's how Adore Beauty approached their conversion rate optimization:
1. Collect Data
Morris advises gathering as much data as possible to find out how people are actually using your site. A wide range of methods, including Google Analytics, customer surveys (e.g. on-site, post-purchase), heat mapping, session recordings, supervised user testing, will help you compile a more complete view.
2. Identify the biggest pain points
Think about maximizing the audience. Don’t just identify pain points at checkout because only 5-10 percent of your customers will experience that. Look for where the biggest opportunities for uplift are: your website features and your customer value propositions.
3. Research Potential Solutions on Similar Sites
Research sites that your demographic is particularly interested in. What are your customers seeing when they shop online, and on mobile? What are they expecting to see? This will help you come up with ideas for what you could test out on your site.
4. Test, Test, Test & Test Again
Adore Beauty uses a visual website optimizer for ad testing, but Morris notes that there are a lot of options. The goal for testing is finding out what’s going to resonate with your customers overall, and with specific customer segments, such as new versus returning customers. What do customers really need to know that is going to change their mind about whether or not to shop?
Here are a few examples of what Adore Beauty tested on their site:
Communicating Value Props to Customers – Which ones are going to resonate most with new customers versus returning customers? What do people really need to know that is going to compel them to complete a purchase. After three iterations, Adore Beauty found that reducing the amount of information in a homepage banner actually helped boost conversion.
Creating Urgency – Adore Beauty’s testing revealed that creating urgency around a promotion created uplift which increased again when they tested extending the cutoff and shipping time. However, data showed that this wasn’t the case on mobile, so Morris advises paying attention to how your strategies work on different channels and being ready to offer appropriate experiences.
Offering Different Payment Options – Adore Beauty tested a new payment method called After Pay, where customers can order and pay for a purchase over 8 weeks in installments. It was immediately well received at checkout, but they wanted to promote it in more trafficked areas to get the biggest improvement. They added it to the product page and saw a lift in conversion. They also measured a revenue goal which showed an increase in basket size. The lesson is to make sure you’re looking at multiple key metrics during the test. On mobile, putting After Pay above “add to bag” decreased conversion a bit, but putting it under add to bag increased conversion by the same amount.
Offering Free Shipping – When they tested various free shipping offers to try and improve conversion, Adore Beauty saw a really good initial uplift, then sharp drop-off—and not the return business they were aiming for. Realizing that they were actually testing the efficacy of free-shipping promotions, rather than free shipping itself, Adore Beauty switched entirely to free shipping and eventually saw an increase in conversion, but a decrease in basket size.
Implementing New Customizations – One of Adore Beauty’s challenges is a large catalog for customers to navigate. With an add-on tool from Emarsys, they created a custom personalization module that helps clients narrow down the selection. Emarsys let them test it out and Adore Beauty saw an immediate conversion increase.
While Morris noted that optimizing conversion is not a one size fits all approach and must be tailored to your unique business, she also emphasized that it’s critical. “Conversion optimization has a multiplier effect on everything that you do. If you can lift that conversion rate just a teensy, eensy bit, it multiplies across every single customer that touches your website. It’s absolutely essential.”