eCommerce Conversion Audits and Why They’re Important

If you’ve lately been hearing about eCommerce Conversion Audits or you have been worried about your conversions, you have come to the right place. 

90% of all the people on the Internet are seeing Google ads, according to Google. And Google claims to multiply every dollar spent on Google ads by marketers, eightfold. That’s right. Eightfold.

That means for every dollar you spend on a Google ad, you get 8 dollars in return. Best marketing practices and ads are the foundation to a successful online store today. Most stores rely on marketing and ads to get clicks and boost traffic. But, with that being said, it is often observed that along with the traffic, two other parameters run high: the bounce rate and the cart abandonment rate.

Advertising and marketing strategies are one thing, another are the offers, discounts, and deals you offer your customers. But none of these by themselves are good enough to drive sales. In fact, how optimized your online store is for conversions determines the degree of conversions you will see.

But how do you know where you’re losing a customer?

How do you know where your store site isn’t giving an experience that the visitor expects?

This is exactly where eCommerce conversion audits come into the picture.

Conversion audits open up the door to conversion optimization that in turn drives sales for your online store. If you’re new to the concept or your eCommerce design and development agency hasn’t told you about it, don’t fret.

Maybe it’s time we do.

Let’s get right into it!

What are eCommerce conversion audits?

eCommerce conversion audit or CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) audit is a complete roundup assessment of a website or online store to identify all the little technical problems related to ease of use, that might be a hindrance to the overall conversion rate.

The idea behind a conversion audit is to throw light on all the issues pertaining to conversion optimization. In simpler words – finding out what’s stopping your store visitors from completing a purchase on your site.

Therefore, the in-focus elements for a conversion audit are related to the overall user experience, and the store’s analytics and reporting.

All the data that you’ve been too overwhelmed to deep dive into. All the data that your design and development team has been shying away from.

Why should you conduct an eCommerce conversion audit?

CRO audit could be just another fancy marketing term right? Wrong.

It is in fact one of the more important things any online store owner should know. Why? Well, most store owners are in a hurry to go online! Are you not?

And when you are in a hurry, the number one, go-to thing to create your online store is the pre-existing ready-to-use templates. These ready-to-go templates aren’t exactly aware of your audience, style of business, clientele and therefore are seldom optimized for conversions. Instead of creating a wholesome strategy towards sales, most online store owners are thinking of getting the store up and running. Although a good-looking site offers a pleasing visual experience to the customers, it does little to nothing for the sales and conversions.

There is no denying that it is important that you are on point with your branding on your online store.

By all means, keep your color scheme and all the decorative aspects of your website.

But also understand that the number one thing that drives sales on the Internet today is data. And using that data, conversion audits are conducted. And these audits give you both an object as well as subjective insight into what your website lacks.

The audit report tells you what is sabotaging your sales! And what you need to do to fix it and get those conversions rolling.

Before we get into how to do a conversion audit, let’s take a quick look at the average conversion rate different industries see in eCommerce:

ecommerce conversion rate by industry

ecommerce conversion rate by industry

Steps for conducting an eCommerce conversion audit

Conducting a conversion audit is fairly simple. The following steps are an all-inclusive method of conducting a CRO audit for your website or online store.

PS. We also have an eCommerce conversion checklist ready for you. Get it here!

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Set Goals for the Audit

Like any other audit, conversion audits are done with a goal. These goals need to be thoroughly and comprehensively discussed amongst your team and every member should align with whatever the final definition of the goals are. The objectives of the audit could be many.

I know, it is a conversion audit so the goal is an increased conversion rate, right? Yes, conversion rate for your website could mean a lot of things.

Say you want more bulk orders, or you want to increase the conversion rate for high intent shoppers or maybe the goal is to reduce the cart abandonment rate. All these are directly related to conversion rates.

Pick and choose what matters the most to you at this point in time. Or if you want to keep in mind a few goals, prioritize them. But define your goals as accurately as possible within your existing realities as a business. Because these are the elements that will take the center stage for conversion rate optimization.

Define your Target Audience

Did you know that bounce rates differ for every industry on the internet? And so do cart abandonment rates? And many other marketing parameters? This is because every industry caters to an audience base and each of these sets of audiences projects different behaviors.

In order to analyze your website for conversion optimization, you need to be well aware of your target audience. And further you need to check if your ideal customer is even shopping on the website anymore. Because since the time you created your customer persona, maybe your audience base has changed.

You can easily get this information in your website analytics. The demographic information will tell you who your customers are, where they are hoping on your website from, and what are they shopping. These are certain very simple parameters that will guide you through in CRO audits.

ecommerce customer persona

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Research, research, research

By now you have a good enough base to conduct your CRO audit. You have a few goals in mind, and a few details about your target audience, now all you need is to dig deep and get the big picture stuff in order.

You need to run a technical review of your entire online store using analytics tools such as Google Analytics and bring out the deeper stuff. These are things like which web pages get more traction than others? Or which web pages have a high bounce rate? These analytics are simple pointers to your overall conversion funnel that will give you an insight into consumer behavior.

For example, if you have a product video page right before checkout that is seeing a very high bounce rate then you need to check the elements of that page. Maybe the video player isn’t good enough, or the overall user experience is being compromised just by the sandwiching of that video page or maybe the video isn’t right.

The above is a very simple example of what could be the problem. Like the above, you will find many noteworthy pointers that will potentially guide you towards your goals easily. There are two types of areas you generally need to focus on in your in-depth analytical research:

Areas of Optimization are problematic pages or areas of your online store that need to be improved on account of user experience.
Baseline Metrics are straight-up metrics specific to a day (hourly, in some cases) that show you the performance of the different web pages on your website. These are dependent on and may include factors like the device used, the channel of traffic, seasons, ongoing marketing campaigns, etc.

Analyze the analytics highlighted from the audit

Basically, once you have enough data on your hands, you need to apply something called qualitative methodologies to make sense of it. Following up with the example of the product video page used above, with data you know that this is the page that is causing many consumers to bounce. But now, with qualitative methods, you need to figure out the why.

This can be done using multiple ways. One is to run user testing. Wherein you subject the problematic area or web page to a number of tests based on a number of parameters related to the overall user experience.

Further, you can catalog session recordings, look for heatmaps for every web page and figure out the interaction areas on a webpage for any given user. Moreover, you can directly ask the consumer where they are facing a problem by conducting open format surveys. The idea is to find out why exactly is the consumer bouncing off or not interacting well with a given area or a webpage.

Hypotheses and Inference from your conversion audit

You’ve pretty much done it all now. You conducted in-depth research using analytics to identify the problem areas and applied qualitative methodologies to identify the reason for the said problems. Now, you should have a fair idea of the consumer journey. With that, you should now have enough data to observe a pattern of behavior.

This pattern of behavior is a doorway to identifying the exact points of problems throughout your website or online store that are becoming a real hindrance in conversion. You can pick and choose the most problematic areas and start working on them, or pick one or more elements that are causing trouble throughout your website. The process of investigation starts with one problematic area or element and will lead you into the endgame easily.

Based on your hypotheses is your investigation, and based on that is your inference on the conversion rate optimization. Throughout the audit, your goals and the data are two things you can always rely on to get you out of any confusing or bottleneck situations.

A/B test actionables from your eCommerce conversion audit

A good eCommerce conversion audit does not end at only finding the problems. It works towards finding solutions to these problems and creating an actionable plan to implement those solutions.

Typically, a conversion audit tends to highlight a number of loopholes on an online store site. No matter how thoughtfully it was designed, there is always room for improvement – especially owing to the increasing expectations of online shoppers.

The thing to keep in mind here is to not implement it all in one go.

Based on your goals, prioritize your actionables and the solutions you need to implement. Start tackling the list from top to bottom and give every new implementation at least two weeks to show the impact.

Once you’re sure of the solution working towards addressing a problem, move to the next one.

At every stage, continually monitor the impact on your conversion rate. After all, wasn’t that the end goal!

Think that’s too much work? Well, not to be someone who wants to scare you, but let’s give you a few signs that it’s high time for an eCommerce conversion audit!

Signs you need an eCommerce conversion audit – STAT!

If you have successfully managed to follow and perform a conversion audit using the above 5 steps then consider your website is on its way to optimization sooner than later. But, if you are finding the conversion audit overwhelming or awfully time-consuming then we’d like to share a few alarming signals you need to watch out for before you decide to NOT do an audit.

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  • Lower time spent on site
  • High bounce rate
  • Broken flow of visitor interaction
  • High exit rate
  • Low conversion rate
  • High cart abandonment rate
  • Low soft-touch conversions (newsletter sign-ups, social following, etc)
  • High live chat/ customer support requests
  • Scattered heatmap (you can use Hotjar to take a look at how people are interacting with your store site)
  • Low ROI on your marketing campaigns
  • Low ROI on your advertising campaigns
  • Dip in search engine rankings (yes, Google prefers a site that works well from all aspects too)
  • Stagnated conversions

And if you ask us how many signs you should be waiting for, we’d say if you nodded your head for two or more of the points we listed above, it’s time to get WORRIED.

With an average internet user seeing at least 5000 ads per day, there is no dearth of ‘choices’ available to the online shopper.

If they don’t like what they see on your site or somehow are not able to reach the product they’re looking for, there’s a high chance they will leave.

And you’ll be left wondering what you did wrong.

At Motif, when we begin working with any lifestyle luxury, beauty, and cosmetics or jewelry brand, we make conducting an eCommerce conversion audit a priority. But our first step is to understand who we’re targeting and how we’d like to optimize for that audience.

Yes, it means setting up a technology stack that lets us tap into the critical data points of your website. It means going through hundreds of rows and columns, and charts to understand your store site visitor’s behavior.

But what we have in the end, is a clear actionable plan. One that clearly states what needs to be done to convert visitors into subscribers or customers.

But more importantly, one that saves you from spending thousands of dollars on promotional campaigns that don’t lead to conversions!

Feel us?

We feel you every time you drop us a question about lowering your customer acquisition costs. Maybe it’s time to self-reflect – your website, we mean.

If you don’t know what an eCommerce conversion audit is or how to go about it on your own, reach out to us for one.