Conversion Rate Optimization: A Definitive Guide For E-commerce Brands

What is Conversion Rate Optimization

In everyday life, people decide to spend money on what they feel genuinely gives them value. Selling is all about convincing people that they are getting the right thing at the right price. So how does a business crack the right way to have people make a choice they genuinely believe in?


The answer is simple: Convert them correctly by empathizing with prospects’ pains and needs. With Conversion Rate Optimization, businesses can convert traffic into profit by systematically understanding people’s behaviors and needs. 


But what is the process of this seemingly simple answer? To decode that, we’ve compiled a Definitive Guide To Conversion Rate Optimization— so your D2C e-commerce business can maximize gains from existing channels. Let’s start!

What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) systematically improves a website’s performance to increase the percentage of visitors who take a desired action, such as purchasing, signing up for exclusive offers, or adding items to cart. Behind this seemingly complicated concept is one core philosophy: spend more time (and less money) converting existing traffic than driving new traffic. 

Free Resource: Download our ready-to-use CRO checklist for D2C and E-commerce businesses.

How does Conversion Rate Optimization work?

CRO focuses on optimizing various elements of your website, including design, user experience, copywriting, and call-to-action placement, to enhance the overall conversion rate. 

Imagine that you own a company that sells great and colorful sneakers online. Your goal is to get as many people as possible to buy sneakers from the website.

CRO can help improve your website and make it more effective in turning visitors into customers. Here’s how it works with an example:

Say a person named Riya visits the website. She likes sneakers and wants to buy a pair. But after looking around for a bit, she leaves without making a purchase. That is called a “lost conversion.”

To rectify this, start experimenting to discover why Riya didn’t buy the sneakers. Use tools like heat maps to determine how Riya and other visitors interact on your website and what actions they take. On that basis, you can run multiple CRO experiments. For example, with your analysis, let’s say you identified that not enough people are clicking on your “Buy Now” button and decided to run a CRO experiment to fix that. 

You changed the color of the website’s “Buy Now” button from existing gray to bright orange. You then track how many people buy sneakers with the orange button compared to the gray button. If more people buy sneakers with the orange button, the experiment worked! You have successfully optimized the website’s conversion rate. 

But let’s say another experiment doesn’t work. For example, you try adding a video showing people happily wearing sneakers on the homepage. But this time, the number of people buying on your website remains the same. It does not mean you should pause your CRO experimentation.

There is always room for other experiments. Maybe change the layout of the product pages, improve the product descriptions, or simplify the checkout process. Each experiment helps you learn what works best for the customers.

You continue testing, making changes based on the results, and finding the best combination of elements that encourage people to buy the sneakers. It’s an ongoing process of learning, experimenting, and improving.

Using CRO, you’re constantly fine-tuning the e-commerce website to make it more appealing, user-friendly, and persuasive. 

The best part? CRO experiments do not negatively affect traffic volume, and you can improve the user experience for visitors. If anything, CRO leads to higher conversions.

How to calculate Conversion Rate (CR)?

Calculating the conversion rate is essential to measure the effectiveness of your CRO efforts. Calculate CR with this formula:

Conversion Rate = (Number of Conversions / Total Number of Visitors) x 100.
For example, if a website receives 10,000 visitors in a month, and 500 of them make a purchase, the conversion rate would be:
(500 / 10,000) x 100 = 5%

Five percent is a good conversion rate for a business considering the latest CR benchmark for e-commerce at 2.5 percent. Typically, conversion rates range from one to four percent. Different industries have different averages—consider them before setting a business benchmark.

Additionally, use Velocity Insight to gain access to D2C industry benchmarks. 

Why Conversion Rate Optimization is important for e-commerce brands

While necessary for businesses, CRO is often shadowed by generating inbound traffic. It may seem more straightforward to implement SEO strategies, use paid marketing tools, and harness social media; however, as an e-commerce business owner, reconsider the end goal of getting more traffic. Without converting them, the traffic has no tangible benefit. Understand the following benefits of CRO while planning a business strategy:

CRO increases ROI

In an information-heavy world, most online traffic is inconsistent. The best possible conversion is in the first few visits since they are unlikely to return and complete it. Effective conversion rate optimization campaigns significantly boost your return on investment and seal the deal in the first few stages. 

CRO enhances UX

People make a choice according to how it makes them feel. User experience design involves understanding how prospects feel while using a website. Smooth, intuitive, and engaging UX designs help convert people by providing them with user satisfaction. 

CRO efficiently utilizes budgets

Think about it— with CRO, you use the business’s budget to get great value out of existing traffic without hyper-focusing on new traffic. It helps nurture only high-quality traffic, bringing down acquisition costs and maximizing businesses’ budget potential. 

Elements of CRO and how to optimize them

Conversion Research

Research is what differentiates guesswork from actionable insights based on data and analysis. Businesses can establish a solid base to start their optimization journey by using analytical tools, observing website heat maps, doing A/B testing, and analyzing customer behavior.

Consider Wyldsson’s CRO revamp story using heatmap research. They realized their current checkout process was frustrating for customers, leading to a high cart abandonment rate. 

Wyldssons-Conversion-research-example

Source: Wyldsson Website

Hence, they developed a strategy with developers and fixed the errors leading to delays. They made both logging in and the cart accessible without much back and forth. Through conversion research, Wyldsson was able to increase its sales by 30%.

Source: Wyldsson Website

At no additional cost, they were able to test and grow simultaneously. If the test failed, they could just try again— there were no creative limits, and every test would bring them closer to understanding visitors.

Landing Page Design

Picture this: You’re throwing a party, and your landing page is the VIP entrance. The design of the landing page pulls people in and gets them excited about what’s inside. It combines captivating visuals, snappy headlines, and persuasive messages that make visitors say, “Wow, I need this!” 

But it’s not just about looks; it’s about trust too. The landing page design showcases your brand’s credibility with testimonials, making guests feel confident about stepping inside. The structure is also carefully crafted: a visual hierarchy that guides guests’ eyes to the important stuff, like the “Buy Now” button. 

Intelligently utilizing chatbots, live chat, and well-crafted pop-ups can optimize conversion rate while maintaining a delightful user experience. By facilitating real-time communication, these features foster engagement, trust, and personalized interactions with visitors. They make information readily available, minimize friction, and enhance satisfaction. Furthermore, chatbots and pop-ups serve as powerful tools for propelling visitors toward desired conversions. 

Most importantly, mobile optimization is the key— according to the latest research, more than 50% of e-commerce purchases were made on smartphones in the holiday season alone. 

Materials Market, a UK-based construction supplies e-commerce company, used heatmaps to see the downsides of not optimizing for mobile. The map, as you can see, clearly showed users could not see the CTA after a certain fold. 

To rectify the problem, they moved the CTA high up on the mobile website and changed the color, font, and design of the two CTAs. In just a month, their conversion rate went up to 1.6%.

Website Communication 

Website copy is CRO’s secret weapon: it is the foundation for building trust and confidence with prospects. A dull, AI-generated website copy will do little for your business against a copy that makes people feel that someone understands their needs and speaks in their language.

 The Man Company’s website copy is an excellent example. Their copy breathes freshness into the men’s grooming sector and stands out because:

  • It is Authentic: The copy is written in a way that feels genuine and relatable as if it was written by someone who understands men’s needs.
  • It is Empowering: The copy focuses on the positive aspects of being a man and encourages men to care for themselves and feel good about themselves.
  • It is Informative: The copy provides clear and concise information about the Man Company’s products and services so that men can decide what to buy.
  • It is Entertaining: The copy is written engagingly and interestingly so that men will want to keep reading.
Website-communication-example for CRO optimization

Source: The Man Company Website

Accessibility Features

Words and design can only do so much if people cannot easily access them. Navigation and site structure significantly improve the likelihood of people buying products. With a well-designed menu and a clever site structure, one can create a seamless journey that feels like a breeze. Visitors easily find their way, effortlessly discovering what your e-commerce business offers. 

Page speed is crucial in CRO

A website loads quickly, creating a smooth visitor experience. Imagine exploring a website, and every page loads instantly without delay. It keeps you engaged and excited to continue exploring. On the other hand, if a website takes too long to load, it can frustrate visitors and make them lose interest. Fast page speed ensures that visitors can navigate the site effortlessly, leading to higher engagement and increased chances of conversion. It eliminates distractions and keeps visitors focused on purchasing or taking the desired action. 

Here’s how the e-commerce website Lenskart mastered its accessibility features:

  • The website is responsive, meaning it automatically adjusts its layout to fit the screen size on which it is viewed. This ensures that users can have a good experience no matter their device.
  • Lenskart has a simple and easy-to-use navigation system. The main menu is at the top of the page and contains links to all the essential pages on the website. A search bar is also located at the top of the page, making it convenient for users to find their choice quickly.
  • High-quality images drive its product pages. The photos are large and clear, giving users a good idea of what the products look like.

The website offers a variety of ways to contact customer support. Users can chat with a customer representative, call a toll-free number, or email customer support.

Source: Lenskart Website

Optimizing forms & CTAs

Unlocking the true potential of conversion rate optimization lies in the art of optimizing forms and crafting compelling CTAs. 

To entice visitors, streamline your forms by ensuring they are effortlessly fillable. Simplify the process, requesting only essential information while discarding unnecessary fields. Embrace user-friendly design principles, employing intuitive layouts and clear instructions. By eliminating friction, you create a seamless experience that encourages swift completion. 

Equally important is the art of captivating CTAs. Employ persuasive language, vibrant colors, and strategic placement to command attention. Grant them prominence, ensuring they are unmissable and seamlessly integrated into the design. An optimized form coupled with a magnetic CTA can inspire visitors to take that coveted leap, driving conversions skyward like a shooting star.

Here are some tips you can implement:

  • Use clear and concise language. Your forms and CTAs should be easy to understand and read. Avoid using jargon or technical terms that your visitors may not be familiar with.
  • Make your forms short and straightforward. The fewer fields you ask for, the more likely your visitors will complete the form.
  • Use specific instructions. Tell your visitors exactly what you need them to do. For example, if you’re asking for their email address, tell them why you need it (e.g., to send them a newsletter).
  • Use social proof. Show your visitors that others have converted by displaying customer reviews and ratings.
  • Test different versions of your forms and CTAs. A/B testing is a great way to see what works best for your audience. Try different variations of your forms and CTAs to see which generates the most conversions.

In terms of forms and CTAs, learn from the best—Amazon. The e-commerce website uses clear and concise CTAs throughout the website, such as “Add to Cart” and “Buy Now.” They also use short forms that only ask for the most essential information, such as name and email address.

Steps to start a CRO experiment for your website

Now you know exactly why CRO matters and what should be done for an effective CRO strategy. To simplify things, we have a step-by-step process to optimize the website.

  • First things first, get clear on the goals. What do you want to achieve? More sales? Reduced cart abandonment? Define targets and let them guide optimization efforts.
  • Next, it’s time to dig into the data. Use analytics to identify the pages where visitors drop off, discover conversion hotspots, and unravel the mysteries of user behavior. This intel will help focus your optimization firepower.
  • Simultaneously generate data from customers themselves. Talk to them, survey them, and maybe even bribe them with discounts. Find out what they love, what frustrates them, and what makes them enter their card details. Their insights are gold.
  • Now it’s time to dissect the conversion funnel. Where are people getting stuck? What’s causing friction? Map it out and start eliminating those roadblocks. 
  • With the hypotheses in hand, start testing. A/B tests, multivariate tests (tests modifying multiple variables) —choose the best test methods. One change at a time, measure the impact and see what suits customers’ needs.
  • As the data rolls in, keep monitoring the results. Analyze all these metrics: click-through rates, conversion rates, and average order value.
  • Once you’ve found the variations that work, put them into action. Implement those changes, update those pages, and watch the conversion rate grow.

Problems you might encounter during CRO experimentation and how to solve for it

Lack of data 

To run practical A/B tests, you need enough data to make statistically significant results. You may be unable to tell if the changes are making a difference. To solve this, run tests for a more extended period. Use Velocity’s analytics tools to get better insights from the tests.

Poorly-defined goals

Before running any tests, it’s important to define goals clearly. What do you want to achieve with your CRO efforts? Is the objective to increase sales, leads, or something else? Once you know what you’re trying to achieve, start designing tests relevant to the goals.

Not testing the right things

It’s essential to test the right things when doing CRO. Don’t just test random changes to the site. Instead, focus on trying changes likely to impact your conversion rate significantly. To do this, understand the audience and what’s important to them.

Not running enough tests

To get statistically significant results, run enough tests. With only a few tests, it may be difficult to notice the impact of changes. 

Not making changes based on the results

Changing the website once you’ve run the tests and collected the results is essential. Without any changes, there will be no improvement in the conversion rate.

Taking failure as a setback

In CRO, tests never fail simply because every test brings you closer to understanding prospective customers. It is okay for tests not to work— the key is to keep testing. Additionally, CRO takes time and effort. Don’t expect to see results overnight.

Not being able to manage CRO processes

Running A/B tests, tracking results, conducting research surveys, and making changes to the website can be a task. Use an e-commerce insights tool to bring data under one roof and make better decisions to optimize your conversion rate. 

To conclude 

This comprehensive guide is your go-to resource to launch or improve your Conversion Rate Optimization process. The benefits of CRO are multifold. However, the most important takeaway is how CRO uses data and insights to establish direct customer relationships and increase conversion rates. 

Using the strategies and examples detailed in this guide, you can create a stellar CRO process that maximizes gains for your D2C brands while fulfilling customers’ needs. 

Did you know that you can count on Velocity to gain access to crucial analytics and critical funds to launch your CRO journey? We at Velocity are proud to be India’s largest revenue-based financier and offer growth capital of up to Rs 4 crore to D2C and e-commerce brands. Apply here to get instant funds for your business!

Recommended Reads

  1. How D2C Brands Can Leverage Social Media for Customer Acquisition 
  2. Top 11 Customer Retention Strategies For E-commerce Brands
  3. Revenue Growth Management: Strategies for Maximizing Profit and Success
  4. Mastering Cost per Acquisition (CPA): How to Drive Growth and Boost ROI
  5. How to Maximize ROI in Advertising: Blended ROAS

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