What is your first impression when you enter a new airport? Confused, disoriented, engaged, in autopilot? The navigation of an unfamiliar place is a learning experience; we look for clues and signs to help us find our way. This concept is called wayfinding. It is how people figure out where they are and how they navigate from place to place. To compare this to navigating a website, it’s no different.
When potential customers enter a website for the first time, they see a home page message with navigation and secondary links spread out. The customers are scanning for something familiar, looking for clues on where to start. They are thinking to themselves, “Is this site safe, and is the information reliable?” Once they do find the products, then they ask themselves a new set of questions: “Is there a guarantee if the product is defective?” and “Is the shopping cart secure?”
When a customer can easily navigate a website and have these questions answered, it creates a positive experience. This eases anxiety, reduces time, and generates conversion.
Some, if not most, people tend to look for short cuts or the path of least resistance. It could be from building projects, driving to work, or going to a specific store in a shopping mall. Surfing the internet or visiting a website is no different. People use intuition instead of reading thoughtfully. They rapidly click on buttons and scan content until they find what they need. With this in mind, helping the customer with shortcuts and removing hurdles is critical for a successful transitioning from landing page to conversion.
One method of providing a seamless online experience is using Conversion Rate Optimization. Its purpose is to give online visitors a better web experience — and help close the sale.
What is Conversion Rate Optimization?
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the method of improving the number of online sales by optimizing the customer’s steps to conversion. It’s a continuing process of reviewing, discussing, evaluating, testing, and more testing. This process could be implemented in big stages or in fine-tuning; there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. The best practice for one website may not apply to another.
People convert for several reasons. We don’t know until we test and evaluate. CRO is not a one-time occurrence but a long-term project. Like retail store owners who install signs and posters and create an organized showroom, they want the best for their customers and help close the sale. In a similar vein, the CRO professional looks for stumbling blocks: improve messaging, adds good images, proper button placement, insert a call to action text, and more to provide a seamless web experience.
Some of a CRO professional’s tools include the following:
Tracking. Following customers’ behavior is a good indicator of link touch, scroll, and movement.
Web analytics. A CRO professional will look at high bounce rates and shopping cart abandonment.
Usability testing. Show the product to individuals and, through observation, record their actions. Usability testing can reveal up to 95% of usability problems that can be resolve before the product goes live.
A/B split testing. A method of comparing two versions of a page against each other to determine which one performs better.
One-on-one conversations. Speaking with customers allows the CRO professional to gain insight into their needs, pain points, and expectations. It can open new doors to problem-solving and provide better solutions to the web experience.
One hammer can’t build a house. Similarly, tools alone are not enough to do the job of CRO; there must be a skilled worker. A CRO specialist has years of experience in design, psychology, marketing, code, usability, and more. In the spirit of a good detective, the CRO specialist finds trouble spots, tests theories, clears up noise, and makes recommendations to improve sales. Sound CRO methodology has proven to generate and increase revenue and improve conversion rate and sales. In short, a CRO specialist can deliver an excellent customer experience.