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What is Conversion Rate Optimization (and why should you care?)

Ben Froedge

Shopify Growth Specialist

Conversion rate optimization is one path you can take that will seriously grow the amount of money you can make with a Shopify store.

There is so much written about increasing traffic, but what good does increased traffic do if none of them make purchases?

Conversion is what happens when someone comes to your website and does the important thing you want them to do: Buy something.

Conversion rate is the percentage of your visitors who convert. If 1,000 people visit your site, and 20 buy something, you have a 2% conversion rate.

Conversion rate optimization is the work you do on your website that increases the number of people who are converting. It's making your website objectively better at communicating with your target audience and getting them to buy from you.

Macro conversions are the big thing: purchases. That's the ultimate goal when someone visits your Shopify store. Micro conversions are smaller things that you want people to do as an alternative if they don't make a purchased.

A few micro conversion examples:

  • Adding something to cart
  • Sharing a product or purchase on social media
  • Filling out a lead generation form
  • Scheduling a phone call or meeting
  • Joining a mailing list

Micro conversions have some value, but only as a stepping stone towards a macro conversion.

So what exactly is CRO?

CRO is…

Taking a measured and analytical approach to making your site better. You find opportunities for improvement, make changes that you have good reason to believe will help, and measure the results so that you know whether or not the changes you made were good, bad, or neutral.

CRO isn't:

  • CRO is not throwing all kinds of plugins and tools onto your site in the hope that something works.
  • It is not randomly changing button sizes and colors because some other business made a lot of money when they changed their buy button to red.
  • It's not using gimmicky sales tactics that will make your audience hate you.
  • Adding popups to your site.

You might add new apps. You might use a pop-up. You might change a button color. But if you take the proven, successful approach to CRO, you will be doing those things because you have a good reason for it, and evidence that backs up your choices.

There are hundreds of blog posts about tools or tips that promise to increase your conversion rate. But they are kind of lying. They might work, but only if you have the problem they solve. If you don't know what problem you have that is holding you back, you don't know what will solve it.

Just pouring changes and apps onto your site is like a flashlight in Mordor. It might make you feel better, but it doesn't really help the situation.

The results of conversion rate optimization

The end result will be a site that is better at selling the stuff you want to sell.

You will experience:

  • More products sold
  • More effective marketing
  • Fewer abandoned carts
  • More user-friendly site
  • More email list signups
  • More money coming into your business and your pocket

Why doesn't everyone do this?

Because it's not the easiest thing in the world to do.

You don't have to be a genius (that would put me right out of a job), but you do need to be the kind of person who can handle finding out and acknowledging what isn't working in their business and then set out to fix the problem.

Your success at optimizing your site will be directly linked to:

  • How much you are willing to learn
  • How much time and thoughtful, intentional work you put in
  • How patient you are
  • How much you care about what works to get your specific audience to buy versus making decisions based on opinion and ego.

Your first step toward higher sales

Sit down and ask yourself, "Am I willing to find the weaknesses in my website, see that there is a process to make it better, and then do the work required to get better results?"

If the answer is yes, you are going to be just fine. Everything gets easier from there.

Grow your Shopify revenue

If you want to learn more, this piece is one of many about data-driven growth for Shopify stores.

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