By Scott Matthews
Your conversion rate is arguably the most important metric of your entire marketing campaign, and it’s easy to see why that is, because it clearly shows how many of your audience members or followers have turned into actual customers.
If you run an eCommerce business, that should be the first thing to be concerned about. However, your conversion rate, while essential, is the result of a whole slew of other activities and practices, such as SEO and paid ads to begin with, because you need to get all those people on your website or shop, so you can have a chance to convert them in the first place.
There also UX, the quality of your content, your call to action, as well as your landing pages, which makes matters very complex. Only about 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates, but working on your conversion rate optimization (CRO) can often prove to be harder than expected, not because you haven’t tried hard enough, but because there are plenty of myths, misconceptions, and half-truths out there when it comes to conversion rate optimization. So, if you are starting with a false assumption, you are probably not going to end up reaching your goal.
With that in mind, we have taken the liberty of putting together a short list of 7 eCommerce conversion rate myths that you should be aware of and which you should avoid. Keep on reading.
1. Implement Best CRO Practices and You’re Golden
You will come across a ton of articles and posts which list all the different practices and methods that you need to implement in order to get your conversion rate to skyrocket. The only problem is that there are no guarantees that any of those best practices will actually work. Sure, they may have worked for the person who wrote the article, but every business is different, which means that you might not be able to replicate the same results for your own.
Some practices, such as eCommerce heatmaps, are useful, but that is because they are based on gathering data and testing different versions of the website. And that’s where we come to the truth: your CRO strategy should be based on gathering and analyzing data, and using that data to optimize your CRO efforts. Needless to say, you also have to test to see if the changes are for the better. Blindly implementing best practice won’t work.
2. CRO Equals A/B Testing
Since we have mentioned testing, one of the most common myths that a lot of business owners have come to believe is that conversion rate optimization is basically A/B testing. This, of course, couldn’t be further from the truth. While split testing is one of the essential tools in your toolbox when optimizing your conversion rate, it is only that. It’s merely a tactic which you rely on to validate or discard your decisions.
CRO involves a number of other activities besides testing, such as design, content creation, analytics, and so on. All that stuff affects your conversion rate, and therefore, is a part of the bigger picture, not the picture itself.
3. Small Tweaks Produce Huge Results
Although there is plenty information online that shows how huge corporations have improved their conversion rates, your typical conversion rate is about 2.35%, and not 10%, as most content online would lead you to believe. But, even if you do manage to improve your conversion rate dramatically, the biggest myth out there is that you will be able to do it by doing design tweaks and cosmetic changes.
Sure, the color of your CTA button and the copy inside it can affect your conversion rate and provide a small uptick, but since CRO is a complex process, you will have to dig deep in order to produce an exponential improvement.
For example, you will have to roll up your sleeves and test functional aspects of your website in order to determine why your conversion rate is not as high as you were expecting it to be. In most cases, dramatic improvements are the result of dramatic, fundamental changes.
4. CRO Involves a Lot of Guesswork
As an experienced marketer, you will probably be able to determine what’s causing your conversion rate to be so low better than your average marketing rookie, but even then, your decisions and changes to your website should be based on the data you have gathered. Identifying pain points based on intuition is a myth that is still going strong, unfortunately. We have identified testing as one of the most important tools for validating your decisions, but how do you determine what needs to be changed in the first place?
Fortunately, there are plenty of tools, such as heatmaps, mouse-tracking, as well as user feedback which enables you to zero in on the elements which are the most lacking. As for user feedback, apart from your website, email, and social media, you can gather information via various surveying tools and platforms. Once you have all that data in place, you will be able to determine what it is that your users need in order to convert.
5. Copy What Your Competitors Are Doing
This is one of the most common pitfalls of running any kind of eCommerce business. You see that your competition is doing well, and you decide that the way to improve your conversion rate would be to copy them. On top of that, there are plenty of case studies and research, some done by your competitors, that show how they have gone about their CRO.
This is the wrong thing to do for at least two reasons. First, as we have already mentioned, just because something has worked for someone else’s business, that doesn’t mean that it will work for yours as well. There is no silver bullet, no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to CRO and marketing in general. Second of all, stats can’t always be trusted, because you don’t know the size of the sample that was used, and that means that the results might feature a lot of false positives.
6. You Don’t Need to Understand Statistics
In this day and age, there are plenty of great marketing-related tools which allow you to automate a great deal of your activities and to ease the workload. In the case of CRO, relying on just tools, which is tempting since most of them are pretty intuitive nowadays, will often land you in trouble, because you won’t be able to identify some problems without actually knowing a bit about statistics yourself. For instance, if you are running an A/B test, you are exposing yourself to dangers of false positives and false negatives.
The tools do their job, and after they are done, you will think that your hypothesis was true, but what tools haven’t told you is that your sample size wasn’t large enough. Also, they won’t tell you that external factors, such as holidays, can skew your test results. Also, changing your horizon and sample size during testing will not be a problem if you use tools, but you will end up with results which aren’t accurate, and if that’s the case, your reliance on tools might be doing your business more harm than good.
7. CRO Is the Solution to All of Your Problems
This brings us back to the beginning. As we have mentioned, CRO is probably the most important metric of your marketing campaign. However, even if you were to get your CRO to where you want it to be, your problems, and your work, are not done. Not by a long shot. That means that CRO, while an important segment of your business, is just the result of many other activities which have lead up to it. For instance, your conversion rate would plummet pretty fast if you were to give up creating great content and engaging your followers on social media, which is what drives more traffic to your website, blog, or store.
Also, today’s customers are looking for a unique user experience and a reliable customer service. And there is a whole bunch of other SEO activities, as well as advertising, which contribute to your conversion rate. Last, but not least, all of this would be pointless if you didn’t have a great product that you can offer to your customers. In fact, no amount of marketing money or effort would be able to help you.
As you can see, there are plenty of myths surround conversion rate optimization. While some can be pretty minor and almost harmless, others will lead you to not only waste your time, but also your money, which can have a seriously negative impact on your business. Keep in mind that you should always base your decisions on data, and only if you are fully aware of the context in which it was collected. Good luck!