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eCommerce CRO Audit Guide: How to Get Clear & Actionable Insights

If you've been wanting to create your own conversion rate optimization (CRO) plan, but aren't quite sure where to start, fear not. We’re here to walk you through conducting your very own eCommerce CRO audit, helping you uncover insights that will help you optimize your online conversion rates for the most important periods of the year for your business.

What’s a Conversion?

With the enormous variety of businesses online today, there is a large pool of customer and visitor activities that could be considered conversions. The most typical action considered as a conversion in the online world is when a visitor to an online business converts by completing a purchase. However, here are a few other conversions that may be relevant to your business and are worth tracking and optimizing over time, including:

  • Quote requests
  • Demo requests
  • Lead form submissions
  • Newsletter subscriptions
  • Add to cart

What Is a Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) Audit?

A CRO audit is a comprehensive review of your eCommerce website to pinpoint areas where you can improve your conversion rates. It's all about making your website smarter by enhancing the user experience and, ultimately, driving more leads and/or sales.

A CRO audit delves into factors like page design, load times, call-to-action buttons, and overall user-friendliness, among others. The goal is to uncover hidden potential and enhance your online store's performance.

When Should You Conduct a CRO Audit for Your eCommerce Store?

Timing is everything in the world of eCommerce. To maximize the benefits of your CRO audit, conduct it well in advance of your peak sales seasons — this gives you ample time to implement changes and see the results before the rush hits.

To that end, it's essential to know what conversions are being tracked on your site. Set clear benchmarks and consider your historical data. Be sure to also pay attention to trends to ensure you're staying ahead of the curve.

How To Ensure You Get Useful Insights from Your Conversion Audit

When conducting your CRO audit, remember that simplicity is key. Start by using your existing analytics tools to gather two pieces of information:

  • What is your historical data and what are the trends and patterns telling you about your conversion rates?
  • Use today’s conversion rates as your benchmarks to assess the success of your conversion rate optimization efforts.

Then:

  • Define your desired conversion rates so you know what you’re aiming for as your optimization efforts start to deliver results.
  • Carefully record each adjustment you make and observe impacts over time.
  • Set up triggers on your site to see what metrics you’re hitting and what areas need some improvement. 
  • Monitor as you go. Not every day or even week, but pay attention to the monthly and quarterly trends so you can make adjustments as appropriate.

A note about A/B testing: The idea of A/B testing is to develop two versions of an asset to deliver to distinct audiences of similar size — and whichever version delivers better conversions is the one you should use and will define future asset generation. The trick is that A/B testing requires thoughtful implementation on a scale that can give you meaningful results. For example, while valuable results will vary depending on visitor volume and test duration, a good rule of thumb for A/B testing to deliver meaningful results, you need at least 10,000 interactions (5k per version).

Helpful Tools & Tech for a More Impactful CRO Audit

There are two areas you should focus on to help your audit leave more of an impact: UX and Core Web Vitals

When it comes to improving your website's performance, Core Web Vitals are key ways to boost conversion rates. These are a set of metrics that measure real-world user experience for loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability of a page — all things that, when optimized, will lead to more conversions.

Don't overlook the critical factor of user experience (UX) in securing conversions. UX is a massive field of study not limited to the online experience, but for the purposes of your conversions, it is often considered in terms of:

  • Page design (functional layout and appeal)
  • Page speed
  • Site accessibility
  • Intuitiveness (navigation, context, calls to action, etc.)

One area worth calling out in particular is site accessibility. This is the means of making your website accessible to all users, including those with disabilities, which can broaden your audience, improve your SEO, and enhance your brand's reputation.

 

The 9 Steps of a Successful CRO Audit

A conversion rate optimization (CRO) audit has a thorough process, but it's a crucial one for maximizing your eCommerce site's potential. Here are nine key steps you should follow to conduct a successful CRO audit:

Step 1: Analyze Your Traffic Sources

Understanding the origins of your website traffic is the foundational step in optimizing your conversion rates. By examining your visitor journey, you can tailor your strategies to meet their specific needs and expectations. For example, are most of your visitors coming from search engines, social media, or direct links? Recognizing these patterns will enable you to fine-tune your content and marketing efforts.

Step 2: Review Your Landing Pages

Your landing pages are the digital front doors of your eCommerce site. When conducting a CRO audit, comb through these pages meticulously. Are they engaging and persuasive? Do they align with the expectations of your visitors? 

Consider eye-catching elements like clear headlines, visuals that complement your content, and compelling calls to action. Landing pages frequently serve as the first point of contact for potential customers, making their effectiveness a critical factor in the conversion journey.

Step 3: User Experience and Navigation

Examine the layout, navigation, and overall usability of your site. Is it intuitive and easy to navigate? Visitors should be able to effortlessly find what they're looking for, and how factors like page load times and mobile responsiveness factor into that experience. An excellent user experience encourages visitors to stay longer and explore, increasing the chances of conversion.

Step 4: Mobile Optimization

As we alluded to above, mobile devices are continuing to become the primary means of internet access (in 2023, 62% of global eCommerce transactions were conducted on a mobile device) — so ensuring your site is mobile-friendly is no longer optional. Mobile optimization is not just about having a responsive design, but also about adapting your content and user interface to smaller screens. A CRO audit must encompass the mobile experience to reach and engage the growing number of mobile shoppers.

Step 5: Content Evaluation

Your site's content plays a pivotal role in converting visitors into customers. During an audit, you should evaluate it for quality, relevance, and engagement. Is it informative and captivating? Does it address the pain points of your target audience? Great content can keep visitors on your site and build trust and credibility — so analyze your blog posts, product descriptions, and any other content so it is optimized for converting visitors into customers.

Step 6: Calls-to-Action (CTAs)

Calls-to-action (CTAs) are your digital sales representatives. They guide visitors towards taking the desired action — whether it's making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or contacting your support team. Review your CTAs for clarity and persuasiveness. Are they positioned prominently? Do they clearly communicate the benefits of the action? Targeted and compelling CTAs can be a cornerstone of your conversion rate success.

Step 7: Checkout Process

A smooth and considerate checkout process can make or break a sale. During your CRO audit, evaluate each step of the checkout process. Is it user-friendly, with clear instructions and minimal form fields? Are payment options diverse enough to cater to your customers' preferences? An optimized checkout process can reduce cart abandonment rates.

Step 8: Performance Optimization

A slow-loading website can deter potential customers and impact your SEO rankings. As part of your CRO audit, optimize your website's performance. This includes compressing images, leveraging browser caching, and ensuring that your hosting infrastructure can handle your traffic load. A fast, responsive site not only provides a better user experience but also contributes to higher conversion rates.

Step 9: Testing and Fine-Tuning

The digital commerce world is constantly evolving, and your website should evolve with it. Regularly conduct A/B testing to identify which design and content elements yield the best results. Additionally, gather user feedback and analyze data to make informed adjustments. Routinely fine-tuning your site based on these insights ensures that it remains relevant and conversion-optimized in a dynamic digital landscape.

Tips for Putting What You Learned Into Practice

Your eCommerce CRO audit is only as valuable as the action you take afterward. Here are two additional tips to help you turn insights into improvements:

  • Be Proactive: Don't wait for your site to underperform — continuously monitor and tweak it for the best results before your busy season arrives.
  • Prioritize: You don't need to improve the conversion rate on every page at the same time. Focus your efforts where it matters most, such as on key pages like the add-to-cart, checkout, and shipping pages before moving to less-visited pages.

By understanding the basics, employing the right tools, and following a structured approach, you can uncover valuable insights in your CRO audit that will drive engagement and boost conversion rates. To get the most out of the process, partner with an eCommerce agency on your audit — partner with IronPlane.

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