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What is conversion rate optimisation? Your beginner's guide to CRO

Friday, August 3, 2018
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What is conversion rate optimisation (CRO)? If you’ve asked yourself this question before, this article’s for you!

CRO can be a great opportunity for businesses of any size. It enables businesses to convert more visitors into customers, and effective CRO can lead to better user experience and increased sales.

We hope you’ll find our beginner’s guide to CRO insightful and learn new things that will help you find ways to optimise your own website.

So first things first...

What is conversion rate optimisation?

Conversion rate optimisation is an important part of online marketing. The CRO ‘science’ consists in optimising your website in order to increase to likelihood that visitors will complete a specific action, or at least get closer to a desired goal (call, book a demo, purchase a product or service, etc.).

The average eCommerce conversion rate is about 1.2%. This means that 98.8% of visitors leave most websites without completing the customer journey.

In this article, we’ll explain how conversion rate optimisation can help you convert the remaining 98.8%.

The beginner’s guide to CRO - 8 things to try today

Now that you know what conversion rate optimisation is, this section is dedicated to helping you find ways to optimise your pages. So we’ve put together eight tips for beginners that will hopefully help your business achieve better CRO results.

Let’s get started!

1. Simplify your site with clear calls to action

If you don’t have an eye for design, making your website visually appealing can be challenging. A website’s homepage must be inviting, and most of all, easy-to-navigate in order for visitors to go down your funnel and convert.

It only takes visitors two tenths of a second to form a first impression on your business looking at your website, so remember that simplicity is key.

Your calls to action (CTAs) are your best closer, but it’s easy to go wrong. In order to increase your conversion rate, your CTAs must be clear, visible, and most of all clickable. No need to insert 5 different CTAs per page. One is enough, because the more calls to action a page has, the less likely it is that your customers will click on each one of them, or on any at all.

To make sure your pages are optimised, opt for a unique and clear goal per page, and therefore a single CTA - from booking a demo to calling, adding a product to a basket or checking out, remember: one CTA per page is the golden rule.


Spotify has a clear CTA and a simple, easy-to-navigate website design

2. Offer a good user experience

At Trustpilot, we want to help you create great experiences for everyone. That’s why we believe we can help you increase your conversion rate by optimising and fixing minor user experience problems.

A. Responsive design

Adopting a responsive design means your website layout will fit and adjust to any viewing device your visitors might be using. This will considerably improve customer experience and therefore influence your conversions.


Example of responsive design

B. Loading time

According to KissMetrics, nearly half of consumers would wait only up to 10 seconds for a site to load before abandoning it. This means a 1-second of delay could cost you a 7% conversion decrease.

A slow loading time is also likely to decrease your customer satisfaction and the probability that visitors will come back to your site. With this in mind, it’s easy to see how loading speed can impact conversion rates. Simply making your website faster with tools like Pingdom can help you convert more.

3. Invest in a good search bar

During its own conversion rate optimisation analyses, Topshop noticed that customers were having difficulty finding and using the internal search box, and that visitors who managed to use it properly converted 10 times higher than others. After doing some extensive testing, Topshop was able to improve its search box design, and increase its conversion rate by 5.8%.

A good search bar allows your visitors to skip through the customer journey and go straight to the product they’re interested in, and eventually, the checkout page. The search bar can be seen as a conversion ‘shortcut’, and is essential if you offer a wide variety of products.


Topshop’s search bar (top right) allows you to find any product you want, faster

4. A/B test your landing pages

You’ve got a landing page, but you’re not sure how to optimise it for conversions.

A/B testing is the way to go. A/B testing allows you to experiment, test two different strategies against each other, and compare the results in order to find the best option for both you and your visitors.

A/B testing usually lasts for as long as needed, until one of the two strategies is clearly more successful than the other. Here’s a list of things you can A/B test in order to optimise your landing page’s conversion rate:

  • Your landing page’s image
  • Your landing page’s unique selling proposition
  • Your landing page’s CTA
  • Your landing page’s content (list of benefits, customer reviews, trust symbols…)
  • Your landing page’s colours

Once you have enough data points to mark a significant result, you can opt for the better performing option, knowing you’ll increase your conversions.

5. Make sure your contact page is comprehensive

Whether you’re a B2C or a B2B business, your contact page is more important than you think it is.

Far too many companies put their contact details in their website’s footer and just ‘give up’ on their contact page and hope for the best.

Big mistake!

Your ‘Contact us’ page is one of the most important and most visited pages of your website.

That’s why we think it should always include…

  • A reason to contact your business, how you can help, etc.
  • Your company’s phone number and email.
  • The shorter the form, the better. Include fields like ‘Name’ and ‘Email’, but don’t overdo it.
  • A single, clear call to action will reduce your bounce rate.
  • Link to your company’s social media accounts, just in case visitors would rather contact you via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
  • If they complete the form, make sure to send them a ‘Thank you’ message. Consumers like to know when their problem is being looked at.

6. Increase fear of missing out (FOMO)

Using live data can help increase your visitors’ fear of missing out, and push them to make a decision faster, based on the ‘wisdom of the crowd’.

Live data is usually used directly on product pages and can considerably improve your conversion rate.

This can include anything considered as ‘social proof’: from the number of visitors currently looking at your product, to the number of people who bought this item over the last 24 hours, other similar items people who have looked at this page ended up purchasing, your bestsellers, and much more.

Below is a great example of how uses live data as social proof to optimise conversions their product pages:


7. Add reviews and testimonials

We all know how easy it is to compare businesses by price, shipping cost, quality, and customer experience when we shop online. Unfortunately, that only makes it harder for companies to stand out, and therefore to retain and convert shoppers like us.

Today, 80% of us trust reviews as much as personal recommendations, which means that 80% of all consumers will be looking for third-party validation when comparing different products or services.

That’s why adding customer testimonials or online reviews to your ads or website helps build trust earlier in the funnel, reduces your bounce rate, and converts more visitors whilst creating great experiences for everyone.

Indeed, a Trustpilot research found that 82% of consumers in the U.S. & U.K., on average, find ads more trustworthy with the Trustpilot trust mark, even when there are only four stars. This is only a modest decrease compared to the original trust mark five star survey, which was 86%, on average.

Check out how these big companies have added third-party validation to their websites:




8. Don’t risk losing customers at checkout

A. Offer a guest checkout

Did you know that having to create a new user account is the second biggest reason for cart abandonment (22%)?

Guest checkout can help keep all bottom of funnel visitors stay engaged with your brand, whether they’re repeat or first-time buyers.

Most consumers don’t want to create an account every time they order from a new website, so why not offer a guest checkout option?

You can always email them afterwards to ask if they’d like to create an account.

B. Free shipping is nice!

Shipping cost is the number one reason for cart abandonment (25%) and 9 out of 10 consumers say free shipping is their biggest incentive to continue shopping online.

Charging for shipping could mean you’re losing some of your sales. As a solution, you could offer free shipping on all orders, have a minimum spend requirement, or simply give free shipping to shoppers for a limited period of time.


Boohoo offers free delivery for a limited time

C. Payment options are important

Today, 24% of consumers abandon their cart because the website didn't offer their preferred payment choices. All customers are different, which is why your website should offer as many payment options as possible.

Having multiple payment options means you’re likely to convert more visitors into customers. Don’t risk losing visitors who’ve made it down the funnel!

Here’s a great example of varied payment options: H&M offers its customers different types of payment methods, including ‘Pay Next Month’.


These 8 tips should help you master conversion rate optimisation.

We hope this article helped you figure out what CRO is, and how you can start optimising your website’s pages today.

If you found this article insightful, or if you have any other tips you’d like to share with us, do not hesitate to tweet us at @Trustpilot using #onTheBlog. Alternatively, if you'd like to find out more about Trustpilot and how reviews can help you boost your conversions, download a free copy of our 'Complete Guide to Reviews' below.

Download our complete guide to reviews

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