What is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

Conversion Rate Optimization: An Introduction

Conversion rate optimization is the process of analyzing existing data to help increase the percentage of website visitors who complete a specific action like signing up for a mailing list or making a purchase. You can see if there are any problem areas that could be improved by using the existing data from your store.  Once you have found an area that you think needs to be improved then you can run tests to see if they do, in fact, improve the conversions or even the flow of the site.  It is the process of testing to see if one element is better than another, with feedback from real data, rather than just guessing and hoping for the best.

Why should you use CRO for your eCommerce site?

The number one reason is normally to help convert more visitors into buyers.  If you are spending time and money to attract valuable traffic to your store, the last thing you want is for them to not buy anything from you. Even a small increase in your conversion rate can have a big impact on your overall profit.

So by using real data from your store you can make informed decisions and test improvements. With proper testing you will get real results back about whether your improvements made a difference or not.

 Even if you already have a great site that has good conversions, testing elements can still help you improve your site’s conversions even more. 

Increasing your conversion rate from just 1% to 2% would already double your conversions.

conversion rate optimization graph

So how can you improve your conversions?

If all you do is guess how will you know for sure that anything is better?

There are a few things that have been extensively tested that you should implement from the start.

  • A clear CTA on your landing page
  • Place your ATC button high on your product page
  • Make sure the ATC button stands out
  • Offer free shipping

The best way would be to use conversion rate optimization to gather information on the data of your site and then run tests to see if the changes make any improvements over the original.  e.g You could test to see if one banner heading with a call to action button converts more clicks than the other.

There are a variety of tools to help you gather data to see where your site could be improved, the most common ones being Google analytics and heatmaps like Hotjar.

Google Analytics

If you have your Google analytics set up properly it will gather a load of information on the visitors to your site and you can use this data to check for any areas that can be improved.

You can check: 

  • Conversion rates from different sources
  • dropoff points in your sales funnel
  • if your ads are converting weeks later
  • the bounce rate on each page

conversion rate optimization computer image


Heatmaps are a great visual tool as they let you see what visitors are actually doing on your site.

They can

  • track what visitors click on
  • track mouse movements across the screen
  • track how far they scroll down the page
  • record your visitors as they navigate around your site.
  • setup questionnaires to ask your visitors what they think

conversion rate optimization A/B testing

A/B Testing

Once all this data has been gathered and you have spotted an area that could be improved you can run A/B tests, a process that involves using two different versions of your site to see which one is the best. e,g You might have a plain black ATC button and then run an A/B test to see if a bright blue button would convert better.  So by using special software you make the color tweak and then set it up so that half of your visitors see the original black ATC and the other half the new blue ATC button.

Then once you have collected a large amount of data, usually for at least two weeks, you can compare the results.  If the new blue ATC button gets 5% more conversions then you know it is a better option than the black button. Then if you want, you could set it up to compare a red ATC button etc. in order to eventually pick the button color with the best conversion rate.

conversion rate optimization conclusion


As you can see Conversion rate optimization is a vital part of running an eCommerce site, alongside driving traffic, SEO, and UX/UI. If you can get all of these right, your business will be more competitive and will have a better chance of succeeding in the future.

Steven Hudspith photo
Steven Hudspith is a Storetasker Expert with over 30 years of retail experience and five years in eCommerce. His expertise is store setup and design. Want to work with Steven? Check out the services he provides in the Storetasker Marketplace or submit a custom project and mention his name.