The Science Behind Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is a relatively new class of business practices born out of modern eCommerce technology. CRO refers to strategies and tactics that increase the percentage of shoppers who perform the actions in an online store that the merchant believes will nudge them into becoming purchasing customers. This is a subtle point: CRO isn’t just about conversions. It’s about encouraging the behavior that leads to conversions.

This becomes important as eMarketers are beginning to see shopper behavior as a journey rather than as just a binary “buy/don’t buy” decision. This Shopper Journey begins at need awareness and ends after the point of sale. Along the away are keywords, images, and design choices help lead the customer to make a purchase.

The Marketing Funnel

A common way of conceptualizing the Shopper’s Journey is as his movement through the marketing funnel. The top of the funnel is the point at which the shopper realizes he needs or wants something. Actions, like signing up for your newsletter or creating a profile with My List, move them down the funnel. They “convert” from someone who doesn’t know you, to someone with brand awareness, to the ultimate conversion at the bottom of the funnel: making a purchase.

While “marketing funnel” is a common marketing term, you might not be aware of is how the funnel works. The funnel has stages; conversions are the points where the funnel narrows from one stage to the next. At each stage, the population of the funnel becomes smaller because shoppers are “dropping off,” no longer continuing their journey. Conversion Rate Optimization is about understanding these conversion points and maximizing the percentage that pass from each stage to the next.

The marketing funnel is the Shopper’s Journey from the perspective of the marketer. Let’s now take a look at it from the perspective of the shopper.

The Shopper’s Journey

The Shopper’s Journey has five stages. It begins when the shopper realizes he has a need or desire for a product. He then will go out and search for product and price information. He’ll then look at possible alternatives. Once satisfied with his information gathering and assessment, he’ll make a purchase decision. If that decision works out, if he likes the purchase, he’ll talk to his friends about it, he’ll reinvest in it, replenish it. He will make that purchase again.

Merchants need to support all aspects of this model, helping a customer identify what he’s looking for, understanding what the need is, giving him the right information about the product, helping him evaluate that info, and then making the decision.

Improve Conversion Rate Optimization with Personalization

These two models give us two pictures of the same path. One model describes the shopper’s needs; the other describes the marketer’s needs. The way to combine them to improve conversion rate optimization is by personalization. By personalizing his relationship with the shopper, by truly getting to know him, the merchant increases his likelihood of delivering what the shopper needs in order to proceed from one stage of the funnel/journey to the next.

Each customer is different. What triggers one to make a purchase may be different from what triggers the next. Collect relevant data on each customer’s journey and experience to help you understand his mindset and motivation. Use this customer data to make strategic decisions about marketing, email campaigns, and messaging. Make sure each customer sees the most relevant information, curated just for them.

Grow Your Business with Cue Connect

Amazon uses personalization to maximize the percentage of shopper visits to their site that lead to a purchase. Cue Connect gives you the tools to compete with Amazon. Tools that enable you to serve each shopper a customized experience. One that builds a strong relationship with your brand and leads to an emotional connection. By custom-tailoring shopper experiences, you create a rewarding customer journey, which leads to optimized conversions.

Originally published at on March 27, 2017.

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