How to increase your conversion rate: An ecommerce CRO guide

How to increase your conversion rate: An ecommerce CRO guide

Conversion rate optimisation is crucial to ecommerce success because conversions are what drive the growth of your online business. So, making every effort to improve your conversion rate is a no-brainer. That’s where CRO comes in, and we’ve got all the info you need to do it right.


What does CRO stand for?


Let’s start with the very basics: what does CRO stand for? CRO stands for ‘conversion rate optimisation’, which is the process of optimising the conversion rate of a website. 


What is conversion rate optimisation?

Conversion rate optimisation involves optimising parts of a website to increase the percentage of users that take a specific action. In ecommerce, that action is usually making a purchase.

For an online retail store, your conversion rate would be the number of people who make a purchase through your site, divided by the total number of visitors. CRO seeks to increase this conversion rate, helping you to sell more.


How to increase your conversion rate

There are so many different ways you can increase your conversion rate that sometimes it can be hard to know where to start. But don’t worry - we’ve got your back. 

We’ve pulled together a helpful list of 8 effective ways to increase your conversion rate to guide your CRO journey. Let’s get to it. 


1. Review your data channels


How to increase conversion rate
Image source: Databox

Before making any changes to increase your conversion rate, it’s crucial that you have the right setup to assess the results of any changes you make. 

Data channels like Google Analytics, Hotjar and Databox give you important insights into the effectiveness, user journey and user experience of your website. However, we often see that these channels are not set up correctly, meaning they aren’t able to receive the right data from your site.

To accurately report on the effectiveness of any changes you put in place to increase your conversion rate, ensure these channels are set up and receiving data from your site correctly. Then, you’re ready to get started on the meaty stuff. 


2. Conduct an audit

Now that your data channels have been set up correctly, you can start your audit. 

Carrying out a CRO audit is a crucial step to increasing your conversion rate because it exposes exactly why your website isn’t performing as well as it could be. It also highlights areas you can enhance for maximum impact. Without an audit, any change you make to increase your website’s conversion rate will be a complete shot in the dark. 

Your audit should be based on solid, accurate data. You can gather this data yourself using one of the many CRO tools on offer online, or you can seek a more in-depth analysis from an expert CRO agency. The more information you can gather at this stage, the better. 


3. Track key ecommerce metrics and highlight the problem areas

So, you’ve gathered a mountain of really useful information as part of your CRO audit. But what does it all mean?

To effectively analyse your starting point, you need to know how your key metrics stack up against industry benchmarks, including average conversion rates and industry trends. 

How does your conversion rate compare to other businesses in your industry? What about your bounce rate? Are your visitors spending more or less time on your site than they do on your competitors’?

Measuring yourself up against these metrics will give you an idea of where your competitors are ranking, as well as an understanding of where you want to be in the future. This will help you establish where the problems with your site lie and arm you with the knowledge to overcome them and increase your conversion rate

Establish which key metrics you value most and use them to measure the success of any optimisations you carry out. 


4. Know your analytics

When you’re making changes to your website to increase your conversion rate, Google Analytics is going to be your best friend. However, it can also be a real minefield, even for those with years of experience using it. 

A key step in optimising your website’s conversion rate is to develop a good understanding of how Google Analytics works - or, at the very least, how it can work for you. 

Create a customisable dashboard full of the metrics you want to track - and don’t forget that if you’re adding goals, filters or funnel visualisations, you’ll need to set those up in your test view first. 

Something else to consider is that Google Analytics will be bringing Universal Analytics to an end in July 2023. While that might sound far away, it’s definitely something you should be looking into and preparing for now. 

Once Universal Analytics is retired, you won’t have access to your site’s historical data, so it might take some time to adapt to Google Analytics 4. If you want to ensure that you manage this transition effectively, we have experts on hand to help. Talk to our CRO agency specialists about how we can help.


5. Utilise qualitative research tools

Google Analytics is brilliantly useful for analysing the impact of optimisations you make on your site. But, to be in with the best chance of increasing your conversion rate, you’re going to need some other tools in your arsenal too. 



Image source: Hotjar

Heatmaps provide a visual representation of where your users are clicking during their visit to your site. This can help you see if your potential customers are taking notice of your new call to action (CTA), if they’re mistaking certain headings for buttons, or whether they’re following the journey you planned for them. 

Scroll Maps

Scroll maps also provide a visual representation of your site, but instead of clicks, they show you what percentage of your pages your customers are viewing. More specifically, they show you how far down the page they scroll before then lose interest and click off. 

Scroll maps are useful because they show you if your customers are viewing the important information you want them to see. If they’re not, you know you need to move those elements to the top of the page, and spice up the rest of the content on the page to maintain users’ interest. 

User Recordings

User recordings let you play back your customers’ visits to your site. You can see what they do, where they scroll, which pages they navigate to, and more. This is incredibly useful for gaining an understanding of your customers’ behaviour and identifying any bugs that your site may have. 

Qualitative research tools allow you to develop a more in-depth understanding of the effectiveness of changes you make in order to increase your conversion rate. Make the most of them to maximise your success.


6. Construct hypotheses and prioritise fixes

From all the information you’ve gathered up to this point, you can now construct hypotheses. Which areas of your site are performing poorly against your competitors? What do you need to fix to increase your conversion rate? What impact do you predict your improvements will have?

Make a list of everything that you’d like to change and put them in order of priority. Be strategic and prioritise the low-hanging fruit to identify quick-wins to increase your conversion rate

What’s included on this list is completely dependent on the findings from your audit and comprehensive analysis of your site. But, from our experience, there’s a good chance it might include the following:


  • Add more social proof to your site to generate trust from potential customers
  • Develop a clear positioning statement to immediately outline your offerings and USPs
  • Offer a wide variety of payment options to suit every visitor

For more ideas about how to increase your website’s conversion rate, take a look at our expert CRO techniques for ecommerce stores


7. Set up your tests

Any changes you make to your site in order to increase its conversion rate need to be tested and analysed to see how well they’re working - or if they’re working at all.

Once you’ve established your hypotheses and their order of priority, it’s time to set some tests up. When it comes to the type of test to run, you need to decide which of the following is most appropriate:


  • A/B test/Split test: A/B testing (sometimes known as split testing) involves comparing two different versions of a web page by sending 50% of traffic to each to see which one performs better. 
  • Multivariate testing: Multivariate testing involves testing multiple proposed changes to a web page by dividing traffic between a number of versions of the page. Multivariate tests are more useful for websites with a large amount of traffic and a larger number of variants to test.

Something else to think about here is how long to run the test for. As a rule of thumb, we usually suggest that you run tests for a minimum of a month to gain enough data to analyse if the change has increased your conversion rate.


8. Analyse your results

It goes without saying that after conducting any test on your site, you should be taking a deep dive into the results to establish the effectiveness of any changes you’ve made. The analysis phase of conversion rate optimisation is essential because it gives you an insight into what’s working (and what’s not), helping to cement future optimisation efforts. 

Even if you discover that your variation hasn’t had a positive impact, you’ve learnt something that will help inform further tests. It’s a win-win!

Troubleshooting Your Hypotheses

It’s always great when a test is successful, but sometimes you can actually learn more from a failed experiment. If your change/variant had a negative impact, try the following:


  • Ensure your hypothesis is correct. Look at the research. Does it back it up?
  • Validate your hypothesis with visual data such as heatmaps and user recordings
  • Review your hypothesis. Are there any new insights that could improve it?


If there was no difference in performance, try this:


  • Look at your hypothesis. Are you sure it’s correct?
  • Look at your implementation. Did you do this correctly?
  • Try testing your hypothesis against a different segment of users. It might have more of any impact amongst a different group. 

The key to increasing your conversion rate is persistence

Want to discover how to increase your website’s conversion rate? Well, it’s all about persistence. 

CRO isn’t a magical fix: it takes a lot of time, effort, research and analysis to get it right. But, if you follow these key steps, and take into account the conversion-driving techniques that work well for other ecommerce stores, you should reap the rewards. 

Here at Underwaterpistol, we cover all areas of conversion rate optimisation. From strategy to design to development, we have the expertise to drive conversions - and revenue - across your site. For expert support with your CRO efforts, talk to us


Learn to grow with CRO


For more expert insights into how to grow your business with CRO, read our comprehensive guide. 

No matter what stage your brand is at, our free ebook will arm you with the knowledge to transform your user journey and effectively optimise your site's conversion rate. Soon, you'll have game-changing data in your hands, and a revenue boost well within reach.

Download your copy now!


Learn to grow with CRO ebook