Is your ecommerce website static, or are you intentionally launching tests in order to understand your customer better and ultimately increase sales? If the only updates you’re making to your website relate to product inventory and listings, you’re missing out on on a big opportunity.

The best and most successful ecommerce brands today are the ones investing big bucks into what’s known as Conversion Rate Optimization, or CRO.

In their guide, The Beginner’s Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization, Qualaroo defines conversion rate optimization as the following:

  • A structured and systematic approach to improving the performance of your website
  • Informed by insights—specifically, analytics and user feedback
  • Defined by your website’s unique objectives and needs (KPIs)
  • Taking the traffic you already have and making the most of it

If you haven’t been launching CRO tests on your ecommerce website this year, now is the time.

Here are 8 CRO tests you can use to drive more sales in the months ahead:

Test #1: Website Copy

Testing variations in copy is one of the simplest tests you can launch on your website. Think about all the areas where copy appears, such as:

  • Page Heading Copy
  • Subheading Copy
  • Paragraph Copy
  • Value Proposition Statements
  • Call-to-Action Statements
  • Copy in Your Navigation Menu
  • CTA Button Copy
  • Product Description Copy

These are all places where you can launch A/B tests to determine what kind of language and what kind of statements drive the most action from your visitors.

Let’s think about a few fictitious examples:

Example #1: You run an ecommerce shop that sells athletic shoes. You decide you want to test the CTA button that appears on your homepage that directs people to shop for your shoes. The standard button copy you’ve been using up until this point is, “SHOP NOW.” To determine whether this is the most impactful language you can use to drive action, you decide to test the original against two new variations of button copy: “START RUNNING,” and “SHOE STORE.”

Example #2: You run an ecommerce shop that sells camping gear. You decide you want to test the value proposition that you include in your main homepage headline. The standard copy you’ve been using up until this point is, “Top-Rated Camping Gear For Every Season.” To find out if this is the kind of language that resonates most with your visitors, you test the original against this variation: “Relax, and Leave The Packing to Us.”

To implement this test, think about your own website and the copy you could change. To actually launch your test, use a tool like Optimizely, or hire a company like Growth Rock to help.

Test #2: Social Proof

Another simple way to boost conversions is by testing different social proof statements in different areas across your website. Social proof statements are statements made by or about customers that help build trust and confidence with your website visitors. Examples include:

  • Total number of customers who have purchased from you
  • Number of customers who have purchased from you last week, or in the past hour
  • Product reviews
  • Testimonials
  • Number of products sold or shipped

The goal with social proof is to build trust with online visitors by proving to them that other people have purchased products from you in the past and are happy with their decision to do so. It’s all about eliminating fear and overcoming objections.

To boost sales on your website next month, consider using Optimizely to launch a second variation of your homepage that includes social proof statements. Homepage Version A will be your control—it’s your current homepage without any social proof statements. Version B will be your variation that leverages social proof.

Here are some ways you could incorporate social proof onto your homepage:

  • Add a customer testimonial in the hero image area
  • Add a review section right below the fold
  • Change your main header to include a statement like, “Trusted by over 50,000 people,” or “over 50,000 dresses sold last year!”
  • Include a video testimonial from a happy customer somewhere on your homepage.

Follow the guidelines from Optimizely to build your A/B test, and use the data from your test to decide whether or not social proof is something you should permanently add to your homepage.

Test #3: CTA Placement

Is the main call-to-action button on your homepage or other website pages easy to find? Are you worried you’re losing out on potential customers because of the placement of your buttons and links? If so, it might be worth launching a test that allows you to change the position, size, or behavior of the main CTA buttons you know your website visitors to see in order to convert.

Here are a few types of CTA placement CRO test you could launch in order to drive more sales:

  • Make your CTA button bigger or change the color. If you’re worried your CTA button is getting buried on your homepage, or you think it doesn’t stand out enough, consider making it bigger. You could also change the color to something brighter or more distinct in order to separate it from the rest of the content on your homepage.
  • Make your CTA hover. To make sure your visitors see your primary “SHOP NOW” CTA, add it into your main navigation menu and allow that menu to ‘hover’ with visitors as they scroll down your page.
  • Make your button a different shape. Do you use ovals  or squares for your CTA buttons? Try using irregular shapes instead to determine if they get noticed more by website visitors (see tip #4 in this blog post from Experiment Engine for more shape ideas).

Remember: a static, unchanging ecommerce website is a bad thing. Testing might sound intimidating, but often it’s small changes—like the size, shape, color, and placement of your CTA button—that can end up making the biggest impact.

Test #4: Exit Pop-Up

Another easy CRO test you can launch to boost sales involves adding an exit pop-up for visitors to see right as they are attempting to leave your websites. Pop-ups are used by nearly every ecommerce shop online today for one reason: they work.

Exit pop-ups can be particularly effective at getting visitors to stay and shop around longer, especially if they include the right language and offer. An effective exit pop-up is one that uses conversion-driven copy and an irresistible offer to create urgency and encourage visitors to act now.

Here are some examples of copy and offers that you might see in an exit pop-up:

  • Wait! Stay and Shop for 15% Off All Orders (Expires in 15 Minutes)
  • Don’t Go! Stay and Enjoy Free Shipping if You Order Now
  • Hey! Before You Leave, Enter your Email to Join our VIP Group & Get a $25 Off Coupon.

To build and launch an exit pop-up on your website, use WisePops—it’s completely free to try for 14 days. Click here to get started.

Test #5: Product Page Components

Another CRO test you could launch on your ecommerce website involves creating different variations of your product pages. If you haven’t made any big changes to your product pages in a long time because you’re afraid of negatively impacting conversions, creating an A/B test is a great option for you. An A/B test will allow you to show new product pages to a select group of website visitors in order to find out if adding or changing product page components can in fact drive more sales.

Here are some types of product page components you could test:

  • Incorporating Reviews Into Your Product Pages. If you don’t already, consider adding review sections onto your product pages. You could add the functionality for customers to submit their own reviews, or you can manually place reviews into an area within your product description. Reviews and word-of-mouth are incredibly powerful in building trust and driving new visitors to buy, so it’s definitely a worthwhile component to test.
  • Using Bigger Photos. Photos that are too small or poor in quality can also affect ecommerce sales. If you’re limited by the theme you’re using, consider working with a developer to build a new product page layout that you can test against the one you have now. Allow for bigger photos that visitors can click through and zoom into. If your test proves that this new layout is more effective, invest the resources into making the layout change across your entire website.
  • Adding Video and Interactive Views. Videos and interactive 360-degree views can also be helpful in driving visitors to convert. Again, if you don’t want to invest too much time and resources right away, test it on a small scale and determine how it impacts sales.
  • Long-form vs short-form copy. Depending on the type or product you’re selling, you might be able to get away with less copy on your product page. On the flip side, you might actually not be including enough copy for website visitors to feel comfortable buying from you. Test long-form product descriptions and short-form product descriptions to determine which is more effective for your audience.

For more ideas on how to optimize and improve your product pages, read this blog post from Conversioner.

Test #6: Live Chat

More and more ecommerce stores are now adding live chat functionality onto their websites in an effort to answer questions, build relationships, and move visitors closer to the shopping cart.

To determine if live chat could be beneficial to your audience, try incorporating a live chat tool onto your website for 60-90 days. Here are some recommended tools you can use:

  • Olark – Offers a 14-day free trial, monthly plans starting at $15/agent/month
  • Zendesk Chat – Offers a 14-day free trial, monthly plans starting at $11.20/agent/month
  • Driftbot – A bot that you can use to automate live chat during your 90-day test.

To learn more about the benefits of live chat for ecommerce, read through this post from LemonStand.

If at the end of your 90-day test, you determine that sales are up and you can attribute it to your test, incorporate it into your monthly budget. If it doesn’t do anything, shut it off and move on to another CRO test.

Test #7: Simplified Checkout Experience

Have you considered how complex or easy your checkout experience is for the people who decide to purchase your products? If you have a lot of instances where website visitors are adding products to the shopping cart and not following through at checkout, it’s a good indication that your checkout experience is too confusing and needs to be optimized. The best thing you can do to uncover opportunities and determine where people are getting stuck is to launch a CRO test that simplifies the experience for visitors. Here are some things you can test:

  • Remove Navigation: Prevent people from leaving your checkout page by removing the navigation once a visitor enters into the checkout phase. This will help reduce distractions and keep them focused on completing the checkout process.
  • Offer Social Login: Reduce barriers by allowing people to log in and create an account on your website using Facebook. To learn how to incorporate Facebook Login into your ecommerce shop, go here. Allowing people to log into Facebook to create an account will help reduce the number of steps and the amount of information they have to provide in order to purchase products from you.
  • Reduce Steps: Figure out if there are any pages or steps you can combine at checkout. If you include too many steps in your checkout process, you risk losing the interest or attention of your potential customers. Make it as easy and clear for them as possible to complete a purchase.

For more tips on how to optimize your checkout, read through this blog post from ConversionXL.

Test #8: FAQs on Product Pages

Another great way to boost conversions on your ecommerce website is to add FAQ sections on your product pages. Remember though: in order to determine if FAQs actually do lead to more sales, you’ll need to launch an A/B test. You want to test your original product page against a product page that includes frequently asked questions in order to prove with certainty that this is the type of content that your visitors need in order to choose to buy products from you.

To launch your test, use Optimizely. To come up with your list of questions, think about the conversations you are already having over email and live chat. Identify the questions that you get the most often, and the ones that you believe prevent people from purchasing from you the most. Come up with answers, then incorporate these questions and answers into a new version of one your most visited product pages. Use the insights provided by Optimizely to decide if it’s worth it to add FAQ sections to all of your product pages on your website.

Over to You

What CRO tests have you launched on your ecommerce website this year? Tell me what you did and what you learned in the comments below.

  • Rob Wormley