As an ecommerce business, it's important to regularly audit your website's ability to convert website users into paying customers. By conducting a conversion rate optimization (CRO) audit, you can identify areas of improvement and make changes that could lead to more conversions on an ongoing basis.

Even a slight change in conversion rate can have a significant impact on sales. For example, if you have a 2% conversion rate resulting in $10,000 in sales every month. Just a half of a percent increase in conversion rate could result in a $2,500 monthly increase in sales -- that's 25% more revenue every month.

So let's dive in!

What is a conversion rate optimization audit?

A CRO audit is a comprehensive examination of your ecommerce website's user experience (UX) as it relates to conversions. The ultimate goal is to identify opportunities to improve conversion rates.

The audit will assess all aspects of your website's landing pages, including design, copy, functionality, and overall user journey.

When should ecommerce businesses do a conversion rate optimization audit?

There are several factors that can affect the conversion rate of an ecommerce business. So, it's essential for companies to regularly audit their conversion rate to identify any potential areas for improvement.

Consider conducting a conversion audit at these key times:

  • After a significant change has been made to the website, such as a redesign

  • If there has been a sudden drop in conversion rates

  • On a quarterly or yearly basis, as part of regular website maintenance

How to do an ecommerce CRO audit

An ecommerce CRO audit is a time-consuming but important process. So carve out some dedicated time to conduct it. It's a collaborative effort that will likely involve your web design team, too, so make sure everyone has the bandwidth for this project before you begin.

1. Decide which conversion actions you want to audit

The first step in conducting a successful CRO audit is deciding which conversion actions you want to examine. This will vary depending on your brand's goals, challenges, and any audits you've already conducted.

The most essential conversions are going to be your purchase conversions. Paying customers keep you in business, after all. So for your first audit, we recommend focusing on trying to improve purchase conversions. Then, you can zoom out and address micro-conversions like email and text sign-ups to make sure your entire customer journey is optimized.

2. Prioritize pages to conduct an audit on

Once you've decided which conversion actions to focus on, you'll want to pull some baseline data from your analytics software, like Google Analytics. This will help you identify which pages or categories of pages are falling short in terms of conversions.

Generally, there are three kinds of pages that have the most impact on your ecommerce business: your homepage, collection pages, and product pages. So focus the majority of your optimization efforts on these at first.

Since your collection and product pages likely have the same layouts, measure conversion rate both categorically and by individual page. Low average conversions across these page types mean they have something in common that can be optimized -- like page layout. On the other hand, low average conversions on individual pages compared to the average tell you there's something specific to that landing page that needs optimizing. For example, a product description might not resonate with customers.

Once you've gathered your baseline data, you should have a good idea of which pages to prioritize for your CRO audit.

3. Analyze website user behavior

After you analyze your website's traffic, take a closer look at how users behave on the site. This will give you insights into what works well and what needs improvement.

Use Google Analytics to track pageviews, session duration, and bounce rate. These metrics can help you understand how you can improve your conversion rate. For example, if you have a lot of traffic coming in, but people bounce right away, perhaps you didn't give your product a descriptive enough title. So when they arrive on the product page, it's not what they were expecting.

Then, get more granular with your analysis using heatmapping software. Heatmapping lets you see how users move around on your ecommerce website, where they spend most of their time, and where they click the most. Many heatmapping tools also offer video recordings that show your users' actual journeys through your website. Then you can compare recordings of users who have converted against those who have not to uncover differences.

4. Gather direct feedback from your customers

Surveys and customer interviews can help you understand the "why" behind the actions you're seeing in your data.

You can use non-intrusive widgets that offer a way for website visitors to give feedback on their experience as they browse.

And you can use pop-up surveys to help you uncover why users might not be converting. For example, when a user shows exit intent, you can ask why they're leaving and what you could do to improve.

5. Identify and fix quick-wins

After you've gathered all the data from your customers and analytics tools, it's time to start making changes to your website. Begin your optimization process with the easy-fixes that will have an immediate positive impact on your business.

Things like bugs, missing information, slow-loading images, or a lengthy checkout process can all be improved without testing different variants.

6. Hypothesize about more opportunities for conversion optimization

After your quick wins, it's time to develop educated theories about what could improve your conversion rate.

For example, say a customer reported that they left because they didn't understand the product. You might hypothesize that you need a clearer product description, more photos, a video that shows how to use the product, or an updated page layout that makes product information easier to find.

Or you might draw other conclusions based on website or product page best practices, like that you need to add customer testimonials or a related products section.

7. A/B test your way to success

Run A/B tests on your hypotheses to see if your theories are true. Run just one test at a time so you can tell which change is making an impact. You might do this several times with each element.

For example, suppose you theorize that a better product description will help customers understand the product better. In that case, you might test a feature-focused description against one that describes how a product fits into a customer's life. Then, once you know which converts better, you might want to test more specific copy, like which features you highlight in your description.

Track the data for each iteration to see how customers interact with the change and what results in more conversions.

By tracking these numbers, you'll be able to tell whether or not the change had a positive impact on your business, and you can move on to the next opportunity for optimization.

What's next? Optimize your marketing efforts.

Once you've optimized your website for conversions, it's time to focus on your marketing efforts to drive more qualified traffic to your ecommerce website.

You can run similar experiments with your marketing campaigns, testing images, copy, audience segments, tactics, and marketing channels.

Are you ready to expand your digital marketing strategy? Then, read up on 13 DTC marketing strategies successful ecommerce brands use to elevate their success.