Editor’s note: This post is part of our ‘Beyond Email’ series — an extension of the Beyond Email Track at Klaviyo:BOS. Check out the slides from this session.
Let’s do a little imagining together.
Your emails are working really well and you suddenly see a huge surge in traffic. Traffic is through the roof, and so are you. It’s every business owner’s dream. But when you look at your sales numbers, you’re startled to see that they’ve barely gone up. Sure, you have a few additional orders, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of traffic you’re getting.
Something isn’t right. That something is your conversion rate.
It’s a trap that many companies fall into —they assume that more traffic equals more sales. But here’s the thing: sales and traffic rarely rise at the same rate. In other words, a 100% increase in traffic rarely equals a 100% increase in sales. The result is wasted traffic and money left on the table.
All of which raises the critical question: how do you convert traffic into sales?
The answer: Conversion rate optimization (CRO).
In this post, we’re going to break down the what, why, and how of conversion rate optimization. We’ll unpack the fundamentals of CRO, the types of data that matter most, as well as 9 strategies for converting more traffic to sales on your product detail pages.
What Is Conversion Rate Optimization?
At The Good, we define CRO in the following way: CRO is a data-backed system for increasing the percentage of website visitors that convert into customers, or more generally, take any desired action on a webpage.
Let’s break this down a little further:
CRO is Data-Backed
This can’t be stressed enough. CRO is not employing random tactics and hoping that something sticks. It’s not about doing an A/B test here, changing a button color there, and hoping that one of these things results in more conversions.
Rather, it’s about critically analyzing website data like clicks, traffic sources, the way visitors move through your site, how long they view certain site elements, and much more.
By relying on data, gut instinct, intuition, and guessing are removed from the equation — changes are only made if the data supports them.
CRO Is a System
Successful optimization is not found in a single tactic or “hack.” Unfortunately, there is no single silver bullet that will fix a website’s conversion problems.
Conversion rate optimization is a structured system in which actions are strategically implemented based on analysis and testing. Data is scrutinized, a hypothesis is formed and tested, changes are made based on the result, and the process is repeated.
With each successive change, the conversion rate increases, leading to a compounding effect.
CRO Focuses on Increasing the Percentage of Visitors That Convert to Customers
CRO is not primarily about offering discounts on products. Discounts may bump up conversion rates but they also decrease margins, which cancels out the increase in conversion rates.
True CRO is able to increase the overall conversion rate regardless of other factors, such as discounts, which tend to artificially inflate the conversion rate.
CRO Is About Getting Website Visitors to Take Action
The goal of CRO is to increase the percentage of visitors who take the desired action on a web page. That desired action could be purchasing products, completing the checkout process, signing up for an email list, or any number of other actions.
This focus on taking desired actions distinguishes CRO from other strategies, such as SEO or PPC, which focus primarily on getting visitors to a website. CRO emphasizes increasing the number of people who take the desired action once they arrive at a site.
The Data Types That Matter Most for CRO
There are four primary data types that we use to optimize conversion rates:
Obviously, this includes data from Google Analytics, such as total traffic numbers, traffic sources, and the ways people navigate through a site. However, CRO analytics also includes data like:
- Top sellers
- Revenue numbers
- Seasonality information
- And numerous other types of analytics data
We want to get a holistic sense of a website, not just pure traffic numbers.
Heat maps allow us to see where people click on a site, scrolling patterns, and other ways people evaluate a website.
The goal is to determine how visitors engage with different elements of a site. Once we determine how people actually engage with site content, we can compare that with how we want them to behave (the desired action).
When you work on a website day in and day out, everything seems normal, intuitive, and easy to navigate. It’s hard to see through the eyes of visitors, which is why user testing is so critical.
User testing allows us to observe real individuals using a website and talking out loud about their experience (we record their screen and audio). We can see exactly when something confuses or frustrates them, which helps us understand what they’re thinking (as opposed to pure analytics data).
Analytics, heatmaps, and user testing allow us to see what is happening on a website. They allow us to see patterns and glean insights on visitor behavior. From there, we can begin to develop hypotheses on why these things are happening, as well as how we can fix problems.
A/B and multivariate testing enable us to test these hypotheses to determine whether they’re true. For example, the data may lead us to hypothesize that the navigation menu confuses visitors. We can then test the original menu against a restructured one to determine whether or not that’s true.
If the statistics bear out the hypotheses, a change can be made to improve the overall conversion rate.
All of this together makes up the optimization process. It’s an iterative process of small incremental changes that add up to a more engaging site, tailored to consumer behavior.
9 Conversion Boosters for Product Pages
The Good has been tracking data for about 10 years now, and we’ve seen several trends that tend to impact conversion rates. Now that you know the what and why of CRO, let’s look at some specific ways to improve your conversion rates on product pages.
#1 // Use Plain Language
Few things turn people off more than jargon. You may love talking about all the detailed specifications of your products, but most people only care about how it will benefit them. So steer clear of confusing, overly technical jargon and create unique, clear, easy-to-understand descriptions for each of your products.
#2 // Include Multiple High-Resolution Images
Unlike brick-and-mortar businesses, people can’t physically touch or examine your products. This can create a barrier to purchasing, especially for those who are less likely to purchase online.
One way to overcome this is to include multiple high-resolution images, allowing people to inspect the product from numerous angles and perspectives. You want to help potential customers have confidence in your products.
#3 // Highlight “Lifestyle” Benefits
Consumers want products that will help them create their ideal lifestyle. One way to improve your conversion rate is to show people using your products. This will help consumers envision themselves using and benefiting from the products.
Additionally, highlight different ways your product will improve people’s quality of life. For example, if you’re selling running shoes, focus on how the shoes will improve running quality rather than on the technical makeup of the insole. One great way to do this is to show your product in use rather than simply on a plain background.
The example on the left below shows a simple “lay down” product photo that does not convey much information. In contrast, the example on the right shows the product in-use — conveying much more information on the product’s size, fit, and function.
#4 // Include Detailed Sizing Charts
If people are worried that something won’t fit and they’ll have to send it back, it’s much more likely that they won’t purchase. After all, returns are a hassle, and potential customers want to minimize them as much as possible.
Include detailed sizing charts to help people have confidence that their purchase will fit.
#5 // Highlight Pricing Bonuses
Everyone likes to feel like they’re getting a good deal, and you can improve conversion rates by highlighting pricing bonuses. Put your price beside the crossed out MSRP to help the visitor see what a great deal they’re getting.
If you’re offering a discount, strike out the discount and show the new price to highlight the deal.
#6 // Show Stock Availability
If a product is out of stock, make sure to tell the customer before they start the checkout process. Also, give them the option of being notified when the product is back in stock.
If stock is running low, you can highlight this fact to create a sense of urgency for the visitor. Learn how to capture more revenue with Klaviyo Back in Stock Flows.
#7 // Include User Reviews
There’s a reason Amazon encourages reviews so strongly. Reviews help potential customers understand the benefits of the product, have confidence in the product quality, and know how different people use the product.
Include user reviews on your product pages to improve the conversion rates.
#8 // Help Users Compare Products
Most shoppers like to compare different products before making a purchase. Having to flip back and forth between product pages makes it much harder to compare and has the potential to lower your conversion rates.
By making it as easy as possible to compare products, you can minimize hesitation and increase conversion rates.
#9 // Communicate Expected Shipping and Delivery Times
When someone orders online, they really want to know when it will be delivered. If they can’t figure out how long it will take to ship and be delivered, there’s a good chance they won’t order at all. Be crystal clear on exactly when something will ship and how long it will take to be delivered.
Turn Traffic Into Sales
It’s easy to fall into the “traffic trap” — the assumption that more traffic automatically means more sales. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Unless your site is optimized for conversions, there’s a good chance that your sales numbers won’t keep pace with your traffic.
If you’re paying for traffic, this means that your ROI on ad spend will be low, your customer acquisition cost will be high, and your profits will be eroded by marketing costs.
And frankly, it means that you’re leaving a lot of potential sales on the table.
The good news is that conversion rate optimization can take your existing traffic and mine significantly more profit from it. As your conversion rates and revenue increase, you have more money to put back into paid traffic, which then drives up your revenue even more.
It really is a virtuous cycle.
So don’t waste your traffic. Use these CRO product page best practices to turn more traffic into sales.
Back to Blog Home