What Is Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)?

What Is Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)?

Find out how you can utilise Conversion Rate Optimisation to encourage more visitors to buy from your store - and keep coming back.

Written by Matt

6 min read

What Is CRO?

Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is a process in which improvements are identified and incrementally made to your website, to positively impact your sales figures.

With the advent of online shopping, social commerce and digital advertising, the shopping experience can take many paths before a purchase is made. From seeing an ad on Google that directs a visitor to your site, before leaving without purchasing, then coming back later after being retargeted, before reading some reviews online, then finally buying from you a week later, there are myriad paths a consumer can take on the journey to becoming your customer.

With this in mind, it’s more important than ever that you do everything you can to predict customer behaviour and guide them on the right path. This is where CRO comes in. It’s all about removing friction, encouraging actions, creating a superb customer experience and ultimately, moving your website visitors to a point where they will buy from you - and keep coming back.

What Are The Benefits of CRO?

1. More Sales

CRO gives you more control over how your customers interact with your website and the routes they follow toward conversion. It can help get more of your traffic to where you want them to be on your site, and make it easier for them to make a purchase

2. Makes Better Use of Current Traffic

One of the biggest benefits is that it works with existing traffic that is already flowing into your store. CRO isn’t about driving more traffic from external sources, but making the most of the visitors already coming to your store and turning them into buying customers. Once you have optimised your site, a page or a flow, you really start to capitalise on the traffic your Shopify store is already receiving through organic and paid marketing efforts.

3. Improved Profit Margin

Even a relatively modest improvement in conversion rate can lead to a sizable increase in profit. This is because you’re simply improving on an organic process that results in more sales, without any cost implications such as advertising.

4. Keeps You Customer-Focused

Understanding your customers is key: what they want, and how to sell it to them. CRO can help in both of these areas and keep you focused on your customer base.

Data gathered from user insights, feedback, surveys and testing can help you understand how customers use your online store and where they encounter stumbling blocks that get in the way of a sale.

5. Can Positively Impact SEO

The objective of optimising your site is to keep your visitors browsing, and ultimately for them to make a purchase before leaving. In the eyes of Google, this behaviour is preferable to a flow of visitors entering then quickly leaving your site. It indicates that your store is delivering what visitors are looking for, which is algorithmically positive and can lead to Google serving your site in the SERPs (search engine results pages) more often, and higher up, for relevant queries.

6. A better website

Ultimately, the process of CRO results in a better website which evolves based on better decision-making. It’s better for you, as it will be driving more revenue, and better for your customers, as they will enjoy a superb user experience that makes it easy for them to buy from you, again and again.

What Is A Good Ecommerce Conversion Rate?

Conversion rate represents the percentage of your website traffic that ‘converts’ - by which we mean completing a defined goal, such as buying a product.

Ecommerce websites often produce a sales conversion rate of between 1% and 3%. The objective of CRO is to increase your rate of conversion from the traffic you already have. If this can be increased to 2% or even 3%, you’ve effectively doubled or tripled your customer numbers without having to bring in new traffic to your website.

How To Work Out Your Conversion Rate

It’s easy to work out your conversion rate - simply divide the total number of conversions, by the total number of visitors. For example:

100 conversions 2,000 website visitors

100 ÷ 2,000 = 5% conversion rate

When you are aware of and track your website's conversion rate, you can measure its growth and what impact it will have on your business when it changes. You can set clear forecasts and goals and utilise CRO amends to increase sales, basket value, repeat business, and profits.

What Conversion Metrics Should You Consider?

There are lots of ways to evaluate what success looks like on your site. The best way is to be specific about what metrics you track and how you measure them. Here are some examples of conversion metrics to evaluate on your ecommerce store.


This could refer to submissions of your onsite enquiry form, a livechat dialogue, an email, phone call, registration to an event, or download of content.

Sales Numbers (Revenue)

Track number of products, value of baskets, source, channel, campaign and new vs returning customers.

Clickthrough Rate

This lets you see out of everyone who saw your content, how many clicked through. It helps you understand how your CTAs, copy and designs are performing. This works well in conjunction with A/B testing.

Cost Per Acquisition

This lets you understand how much it costs you to acquire a new customer. Ideally, you want your CPA to be lower than the revenue spent by that new customer in order to remain profitable!

Conversion Rate

As mentioned earlier, simply divide the total number of conversions, by your total number of visitors.

How To Improve Conversion Rates

The best approach to conversion rate optimisation allows for continuous evolution towards your goals. Our Growth, Optimisation and CRO specialists have developed a robust process that incorporates the following steps for incremental success:

1. ‘What do you want to achieve?’

This is the first question we ask all our clients - it allows us to understand their business goals and how we will work towards them.

2. Analyse

Using a number of techniques and tools at their disposal, our optimisation experts will create a comprehensive audit, gathering data and identifying areas of friction on the website which are suppressing sales.

3. Prioritise

The recommendations from the audit are prioritised in a roadmap of activity, based on what we expect to have the greatest impact on the bottom line.

4. Test

We launch our roadmap and implement the changes to the site, measuring against hypotheses and monitoring the impact the amendments have on conversions.

5. Learn

By constantly analysing and reviewing the changes we make, we’re able to understand the impact they’re having and tweak or amend in order to maximise the value from them.

6. Iterate

CRO is not a one-off exercise - every brand’s audience, and ecommerce itself, are constantly evolving, and there are always ways to enhance performance by reviewing and tweaking an online store.

Common CRO Amends and Tools

A/B Testing

A/B or split testing is a process in which versions of a variable (such as onpage elements like imagery, a CTA, a headline or copy) are shown to two different segments of your site visitors at the same time to determine which has the most impact. The data from these experiments enables better decisions to be made about changes to your website by demonstrating the best way to solve onsite issues or optimise a particular element for better results.

Conversion Tracking

Google Analytics is a free tool that allows you to gather invaluable information about visitors to your site and their behaviour. You can create funnels that show, for example, how far along the conversion path customers get and where the main drop-off points are. This enables you to review and improve those parts of the journey.

Site Speed Improvements

It’s well known that slow website speeds have huge impacts on ecommerce results. It can impact the customer journey so you lose sales. We have tips on how to understand website speed and also how you can take steps to optimise your Shopify site for speed.

CRO work can help avoid lost sales from slow loading pages or broken customer journeys.

Persona Research

This enables you to gain greater insights into exactly who your customers are. By speaking directly to them, you can design your site and content around this, and make decisions based on demographics, values, lifestyle and behaviour to help increase your conversion rate.

User Research, Surveys and Feedback

Surveying your visitors can provide insight into what is working, and where there is opportunity for improvement. There might be a difficult part of the user journey that you haven’t considered or perhaps your visitors have a question about your service or product that your website doesn’t answer?

Surveys are important to gather feedback from real visitors and learn about how your business and product are viewed externally. Use tools like heat maps and user behaviour stats to inform your decisions to make site improvements.


Conversion rate optimisation and user experience work in tandem, as they both help a website to work more effectively in its goals.

The key difference is that user experience is how a person feels when they use the website. It focuses on a deeper understanding of what users need and value, their abilities and limitations when using your site.

CRO, as we’ve discussed, is more focused on the processes to increase the percentage of people on the site who become customers.

CRO can tell you what is happening on your site, while UX gives deeper insights into why it is happening. CRO may confirm that page variant A performs better than page variant B, but UX lets you understand why page A performs better.


Apologies for that terrible pun. The benefits of CRO are clear - with iterative changes to your Shopify store, performance can be improved and more sales can be generated from the traffic that you’re already getting. So what now? If you’re interested in learning more about how our Optimisation and Growth Specialists can help you improve your store, generate more sales and create brand evangelists, simply get in touch and they’ll be happy to have a chat.

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