With competition between online retailers growing daily, companies need to provide a user experience that is positive at every touch point. There are many reasons users might not return to your website, or just abandon their basket altogether: from a lengthy checkout process and difficult navigation to unexpected shipping costs. If a visit to your website is filled with friction, customers will simply go elsewhere and not return.

To put it succinctly, CRO is an essential marketing strategy for all online businesses looking to get a better understanding of their audience while lowering customer acquisition costs. With CRO, businesses can increase revenue through sales and order value, and leverage their existing data to make the most of their current organic and paid marketing efforts.

Unfortunately, many companies fail at finding the right balance between all the necessary CRO capabilities and implementing a test-and-learn mindset.

What do you need to run effective CRO?

CRO doesn’t have an obvious fit in every business. Sometimes it should sit with the web developers, sometimes it should sit with the analysts. Here lies the problem! The lack of natural fit means a nuanced approach is required for each individual business, the result being that CRO is not given strategic focus, or worse… completely ignored.

1. A dedicated team

The scale of your business will inform your exact approach to CRO, but regardless of size, all great CRO teams need an adequate resource of analysts, web developers, strategists, as well as a creative team and user researchers to call upon. A flexible, cross-departmental approach with proper training, support, and resources is a must.

2. A robust data architecture

No more guesswork! CRO requires reliable, consistent measurement of tests and their resulting impact. With a good analytics setup, you can identify the core audiences and behaviors that provide you with the majority of loyalty and revenue , as well as friction points and areas where most people leave your website. You can narrow down on the specifics needed to optimise the experience, and use qualitative research to understand why users stay or leave.

3. A test-and-learn methodology

All CRO teams must make testing a core part of their activity in order to grow their business. There are many different testing methods outside of A/B testing, so it’s important to be familiar with them and set up robust processes to scale tests efficiently.

Research, create hypotheses, and systematically experiment even with things you think are already performing well. Remember that there’s no such thing as a failed test! Sharing this approach across other channels is where marketing activity aligns and insightful learnings happen.

4. To in-house or outsource?

Whether you’re running CRO in-house or working with an agency, your team has the best understanding of the product or service you’re providing. They have an accurate track record of historical successes and failures, can oversee future plans for the business, and understand your source of truth data processing. They are best placed to dedicate their time to BAU activity from fixes to bugs while providing support to get buy-in from external stakeholders on using CRO as a growth stream.

Where does an agency fit in? Businesses planning for rapid scale may need to top their internal capability with an experienced agency that can provide consultancy and objective auditing of CRO activity, as well as specialist resource. They’ll be able to identify ways to increase test velocity, handle growth projects outside of BAU activity, and spot missed opportunities.

For example, tools like Google Optimize’s free A/B testing tool has been great for democratizing testing, but these are not always utilised to their full potential. Huge gains can be reaped when knowledgeable CRO specialists come in with experienced frameworks and strategic advice. For example, leveraging the Google Ads audience integration allows you to create dynamic landing pages only shown to users based on an ad they’ve seen.

However you choose to run your CRO activity, the important bit is that you actually do it. Prioritise it, invest in it, and keep testing – you won’t regret it!