Look, there are about 1000 guides out there providing super valuable tips and tricks on how to do eCommerce conversion rate optimization (CRO). I’m not going to bother regurgitating them.
What I would like to share, though, is a new CRO-esque angle that eCommerce professionals can tack onto their ongoing CRO projects to help their efforts go the extra mile.
At Noibu, we call this angle Revenue Recovery… But that probably doesn’t mean much right now.
So let me set the stage.
What Is The Problem?
Put in the quickest way possible, the problem is site errors.
All the page optimization in the world won’t help you if, at the end of the line, your visitors are met with an error blocking them from completing a key buying action.
Conversion Rate Optimization is all about user experience and pulling focus into the right directions…
But no matter how many hours you sink into user research, heat-maps, new copy, revamped page structures, and A/B testing, and no matter how compelling your CTAs are, it’s not going to matter if the site itself isn’t letting users complete that conversion action! Your team’s hard work isn’t going to matter if an error on a key webpage is altering its functionality in a way you hadn’t anticipated or tested.
These errors create a bad UX and sometimes completely remove the viability of your conversion points; they’re nullifying your CRO efforts.
It’s like getting prepared for battle with training and armor, but not having a sword to actually do the fighting. (Yes, I did just watch House of The Dragon)
Or I guess, in a more eCommerce-related sense, it’s like hiring an interior designer to optimize the layout of your brick-and-mortar store only to not have a cash register.
How Does This Problem Occur?
Marketers know there are at least 100+ permutations of journeys on their eCommerce site: taking into account different browsers, browser extensions, ad-blockers, devices, page-paths, product pages, and more.
The fact of the matter is that it’s always going to be next to impossible to test out every single possible user flow.
Websites also aren’t completely self-sustained. There are numerous third-party integrations that go into your website to make it function as desired, and those third party platforms and softwares are going to be updating from time to time.
Every update or untested user flow opens the door for something to not react as expected or for a connection to break. This leads to an error message being served, a payment integration to be stuck in an infinite-load, pages to come up blank, a CTA button not being responsive, redirects to jump around… You get the picture.
With all that in mind, it’s no surprise that research shows that about 94% of eCommerce sites have at least 2 customer-facing errors live at any given time.
And without anything to properly pick up on those errors, your conversion numbers are going to be dropping and you’re going to be losing opportunities for more sales (aka, revenue).
How Do These Errors Affect Other Marketing Functions?
Conversion rates aren’t the only thing affected by eCommerce site errors.
Bounce rates and Avg Time on Page can also be negatively affected by customer-facing bugs.
Consumers today expect instant gratification. They expect it because they get it everywhere, including on your eCommerce site… Except for the times when they don’t.
If consumers are expecting instant gratification, and normally get that on your site, they’re going to be frustrated when there is something blocking them from reaching their goal, whether it’s to explore a new section of your site, view a product, peruse sizing, check their cart, etc.
If they can’t do that, the most likely next step they’re going to take is to exit out, or bounce, without spending much time on the page… And they will often do this without letting the brand know that there’s an issue. (Only 1 in 10 customers report site errors back to brands)
On a more technical side, eCommerce bugs can also cause elements on a page to load slowly, or not at all. Search engine bots take this into account when evaluating the health, reliability, and user friendliness of a website and it can affect your SERP ranking abilities down the road. As with the Time on Page metric, a slow time to load similarly creates a poor user experience.
How Can Mitigating Errors Be Used to Increase Conversion?
Once eCommerce brands start focusing on resolving bugs and improving site health, an increase in conversion is going to happen naturally.
If you’re cleaning up your errors, you’re improving your customer experience and eliminating forced (and previously undetected) drop-off points.
We have seen this positive impact with many major eCommerce brands, including Guess which saw a 6% increase in conversions after implementing Noibu’s error monitoring software.
Champion has also seen great success in improving conversion rates by focusing on resolving bugs.
How Can You Actually Monitor and Resolve Errors, and Why We Call This Revenue Recovery?
In order to start managing the health of your website, and in turn improving your conversion rates, you need to have an error monitoring software to pick up on bugs throughout your entire website. These softwares typically require a simple tag to be added to the code of your site, and from there they track sessions on your eCommerce environment.
When an error occurs, users are alerted to the issue and, in the case of Noibu’s error monitoring software, the session is recorded, the line of code that caused the error will be highlighted, the effects of the error will be captured, and it will be served into a site-errors overview list.
From that every-growing list of errors, you’re going to need to figure out what bugs need to be fixed first… You need a way to prioritize.
Most error monitoring platforms don’t actually provide a lot of data off the bat to help users prioritize errors beyond occurrence data. And occurrence data is fine… But that metric only hints at the real business impact users are trying to understand: conversion and revenue loss due to said error.
If an error isn’t affecting either of those, why bother prioritizing it?
If an error is affecting revenue or conversion, you’re going to want to solve it ASAP.
This is where the idea of Revenue Recovery comes in.
When Noibu detects an error, it also calculates the revenue impact and conversion impact of that error. This allows your teams to immediately know if your site is losing sales due to a given error, and can work towards a resolution to ensure no further revenue is lost, without wasting time on less urgent errors.
The idea is that this data helps bring attention back to the On Metric That Matters for eCommerce: Revenue. It changes the conversation from “What is the cost of the time to resolve an error?” to, “What is the cost if we don’t fix this error?”
Why is Revenue Recovery Particularly Helpful During Uncertain Economic Times?
Whenever tough financial times are looming, the first department’s budget to get cut is almost always marketing.
When companies need to save money, they’re going to be slashing your marketing budget which will make it a lot harder for you to fill up the top of the funnel with more traffic.
But, your budget isn’t going to stay slashed forever. Eventually, you will get your resources back and then it’s time to go full speed ahead.
The advantage of investing in cleaning up your website before this happens, and implementing a fool-proof way to pick up on any new revenue-impacting errors, is that the effort and investment actually compounds itself when the market recovers.
By eliminating conversion-blocking errors, when you do eventually start pouring more visitors into your website, they’re not going to be blocked from completing conversion actions.
Plus, with Noibu’s revenue-attribution calculations, you can also attribute a revenue-saved number to the time and effort being dedicated to error resolutions.
For a deeper dive into this topic, you can read my blog on Preserving and Growing eCommerce Revenue During a Recession.
Curious about the health of your site?