With your customers in mind, your store needs to be planned.Whilst improving your traffic will generate more revenue, concentrating on converting your existing traffic into paying customers is just as important.There are new ways for you to make their routes faster, simpler, and more enjoyable at every stage of your customers' buying journeys. Conversion Rate Optimization is a technique for increasing the percentage of your website traffic that makes a purchase, also known as a conversion. Conversions are a big deal. They're that great moment when a casual visitor to your store finally buys one of your products.And, on a much smaller scale, conversions are happening all the time leading up to that moment, too.A conversion on your homepage, for example, may mean making a visitor click through to a product. A product page conversion could mean a customer clicking 'Add to Cart.' Conversions can depend entirely on the function served by a particular portion of your website.To optimize your online store for conversions, both big and small, you need to be constantly testing each and every aspect of your website.Is conversion rate optimization for you?CRO is a pivotal tool for business owners, but not for everyone. In order to optimize your online store successfully, you must first have enough traffic to carry out a test properly.Without the right amount of traffic, your results won't actually provide any real insight into how your customers are using your online store. To help you determine whether CRO is right for you, let's take a quick look at its fundamentals.An introduction to A/B testingOne of the foundational elements of CRO is a form of experimentation called A/B testing, also known as split testing.A / B testing offers a way to compare two versions of the same website to see which tests better. Two separate versions of a website are seen at the same time with A / B testing to two identical sets of visitors. The version which performs more effectively and produces a larger amount of conversions is eventually declared the winner.You'll need to find out whether your website receives enough traffic to produce statistically meaningful results before you run an A / B check. If your sample size is too small, you won't be able to learn much from your findings because they don't represent exactly how your content is being used by a wider population.If you want to calculate how large a sample size you need to perform an A / B test, you simply need to drop your current conversion rate for the web page you want to test in a conversion sample size calculator. When the traffic generated by the web page is less than the sample size needed for the study, focus first on bringing more traffic to your website, rather than optimizing it for conversions.Finding the current conversion rate of a single pageTo find your current conversion rate, you'll first need to make sure that your online store has Google Analytics set up. You'll be able to figure out the conversion rate for specific parts of your website with Google Analytics, including the web pages you'll be testing.Side Note: This method will just give you a glimpse of your current conversion rate and should not be used for measuring the outcome of your tests. Only use this piece of data for measuring whether or not you have enough traffic to perform a successful A/B test.The fastest way to find the current conversion rate for specific pages of your website is through Google Analytics using the Landing Pages report.First, go to the 'Behavior' section and then click 'Site Content' to get to the Landing Pages. Click on Landing Pages in the dropdown menu. Make sure the timeframe that you are looking at is the same length of time your test runs. Only using the past 30 days for the purposes of this part of the process.Now, select the web page that you'd like to test from the list of landing pages. For instance, if you'd like to test your home page, click on www.youronlinestorename.com.You'll need to add a secondary dimension to your report to find the conversion rate for a particular target that exists on this list. Type 'Second Page' and click 'Add Secondary Dimension.' The 'Second Page' aspect would tell us which pages visitors were going to next and which percentage of visitors went to certain pages on the first page.For example, let's say that you're interested in testing how many people navigate to the products page of your website from your homepage.To find your current conversion rate for this action, simply select your homepage as your initial page and then go to the 'Second Page' section of your report to search for your products. Your conversion rate for the action will be the small grey percentage specified in the 'Sessions' column. Create a separate goal for every action that you're trying to test on your website.Google Analytics targets are a way to assess how the website directs visitors to complete a particular task or goal. Goals can be anything: from purchasing a product to signing up for a newsletter to actually managing it. Through setting your test objectives, you will be able to track and evaluate the data behind the decisions customers make as they pass around your platform.Google Analytics has five different types of goals: Destination, duration, pages per session, event, and smart goals. Destination goals and event targets are the ones to focus on for CRO purposes.Destination GoalsSuch types of targets are used for conversion tracking when a specific web page loads and records page views. You can use destination goals for tracking things like purchases or navigation.Simply set the 'Thank You' or order confirmation page as the destination and a conversion will be tracked whenever a customer completes an order and is redirected to the 'Thank You' page if you want to track a purchase.Event GoalsEvent goals can be used to track actions on your website that do not necessarily lead someone to a landing page.For example, if you want to track someone who subscribes to your newsletter or add an item to their cart, you can set a customer's activity by clicking on a specific button on your website as an event.20 CRO Experiments to get you startedOptimizing your online shop is not a one-size-fits-all eCommerce solution, it's an ongoing process that will allow you to continually learn more about your customers and how to best support them. It's not an endpoint tactic — it is something you should always do to get better.There's also no fixed rulebook to automate your website. Tactics can work extremely well for one store and may not affect another. That's why experimenting now is crucial for you because you can monitor your results and find out how they can help you create a more productive shop.Be sure to keep a handy list of all the experiments you plan to run in the future, so you're never without a new idea to explore.To get your list started, here are some ideas for different items that you can theoretically check in your online store.HomepageThink about your homepage as a physical storefront. It's the front window of your store: Capturing attention, igniting curiosity, and pulling people in.Your homepage has to feel inviting and make it easy for people to enter your store and navigate. It needs to be a visually pleasing and consistent environment that works to accomplish a common goal: bring customers into your shop to find items they want to purchase.1. Simplify the experienceSimplicity is crucial when it comes to designing an effective homepage. For a customer to create the first impression of your website it only takes two-tenths of a second, and you need to do whatever you can to make those moments count. Evite distracting the customers with inappropriate text and pictures. Instead remain on-brand and on-message with a clear, appealing visual design.Only take a look at the image above. They have used a big hero picture for their homepage which occupies most of the room above the fold. The version is straightforward and easy with a direct call-to-action that drives visitors right into a set.When you're not sure what your main hero should feature, it's usually best to go with either your best-selling or most popular items, or collections such as new releases or current promotions. This is especially true as 86 percent of website users want to see product details on a website's homepage.2. Show off coupon codes, real-time purchases, and moreYou have the opportunity to start building excitement and driving them towards your products as soon as your customers hit your homepage. If your goal is to get more customers to your items, Shopify store owners have a bunch of great apps that can help drum up demand and incentivize buying:Welcome Bars: Apps like Master Motivator, 3-in-one Master Marketer allows you to share your sales, coupon codes, deals, and more with your customers when they arrive at your site. These apps add a non-intrusive floating bar to the top of your homepage which instantly captures the attention of your customers and pushes them exactly where you need them to be. Promotion codes can be effective tools:Pop Ups: Popups and popunders are great at building up your mailing list. Try using an app like Promotion Popup with coupons to add a quick popup to your home page offering a coupon code in exchange for newsletter signup. According to a 2014 study, 80% of consumers who signed up for emails from a brand over a six month period ended up making purchases based on what they've received.Real-Time Purchases: Apps like Sales Pop add a small notice to your store's bottom corner, displaying real-time purchases made by other customers. These apps inspire a sense of urgency while also providing social proof to customers that other people are out there buying your products just at this moment. Behavioral psychology researchers at the University of Kentucky report that urgent situations cause people to act impulsively and quickly.3. Add Testimonials to Build TrustHave you been featured in major3 publications? Are there any high profile influencers that use your products? Beneath your main content, add testimonials, ratings, and badges to your homepage to build trust and prestige for the project. After all, 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews just as much as they trust their friends and family's recommendations.Product DiscoveryOnce customers are on your homepage, they need to be able to find the products that they're looking for and discover new products that they might be interested in.Your customers need to be able to navigate your website through a well-thought-out search function, smart category design, and engaging ways to discover products.4. Use intelligent searchIf your customers are looking for a product on your website, the chances are that they might not know exactly where to find it.When your store has a large number of items, you may want to suggest prominently displaying your search bar on your homepage, allowing your customers the ability to go straight to where they want to go rather than searching through categories.5. Organize your categories effectivelyNavigating your website should be easy, simple, and – most of all – obvious to your customers. Try not to split your products up into too many different categories. Instead, opt for 4 to 6 broad categories as a dropdown that contains more specific subcategories.Order your categories in your navigation bar based on their popularity, with your most popular category at the front.6. Take advantage of your 404 pagesDo your 404 pages end in a dead-end? Instead of leaving customers hanging when they hit a 404, try to guide them to more useful parts of their website. Customize your 404 pages to include links to the most popular collections, products, and promotions available.7. Add a shoppable Instagram feedInstagram is an incredibly valuable product discovery tool. Incorporating a shoppable Instagram feed into your website is a great opportunity to inspire your fans with gorgeous pictures and show off your products in everyday scenarios.Product pagesEach and every one of your product pages needs to be built around clearly communicating the value of your products to your customers. You need to build immersive experiences that cover every aspect of your products while removing any opportunity for doubt or frustration.8. Use high-quality product imagesPhotos of high-quality products are the most important part of an effective product page. More than 2⁄3 consumers say high-quality product photos are a very important part of the procurement process — in fact, more important than product details or reviews. Try to include images that show your products from every angle and accurately represent the look and feel of your products.Include a video showing your product in action, as a bonus. If you sell t-shirts, for example, add a video to your product page with a model walking around while wearing one of your t-shirts to give customers a better idea of how your shirts look in motion. Upon viewing a product ad, consumers are currently 85 percent more likely to make a purchase.9. Be upfront about price, delivery time, and out of stock productsThe worst thing you can do is deceive your customers—28 percent of consumers will give up their cart if they are paid with unpredictable shipping costs. Do not be afraid to let them know the full range of things such as pricing, delivery time and inventory.If you do an effective job of selling your products and communicating their value, your customers won't mind paying a little extra for shipping or waiting a little longer for delivery.If you own a Shopify store, you can also use apps such as Restocked Notifications to give your customers the option to receive notification when products are added to your store outside of stock.10. Showcase your product reviewsProduct reviews are a perfect way to ease the reluctant shoppers' fears and give your clients the social evidence they need to click Add to Cart. Indeed, 90 percent of customers say their purchasing decisions are influenced by reading online product reviews in one way or another.Positive product comments can make all the difference in convincing shoppers that a product really works and is worth purchasing, as well as helping them make more educated choices about size, coloring and more.Shopify store owners can use apps like Free Product Review with Photo and Yotpo to embed customer reviews directly onto their product pages.11. Add a curated Instagram feedLike with product reviews, curated Instagram feeds may also add a social proof feature to your product pages. When searching for product details, 51 percent of U.S. consumers truly trust in user generated content like images from Instagram over something else.To embed Instagram feeds on your product pages, try apps like Foursixty and Like2Have.it.Checkout experienceThe checkout experience is one of the final phases in the buying process of a customer, so it needs to be as frictionless and seamless as possible to avoid making irritated customers at the last minute abandon their carts.Your customers are at this point in their journey showing clear intent to make a purchase. You must make the purchase easily and comfortably without any stress or confusion.12. Pre-fill your customer's informationThrough prefilling their shipping and billing details with client accounts, you can make it even easier for your existing customers to make repeat purchases. The less customers need to enter in the details, the better. One study from last year even reports that conversions are increasing by 200 percent when businesses are allowing customers to autofill social media information.In your Shopify admin, head to ‘Settings' and then ‘Checkout'.Under ‘Customer Accounts', select ‘Accounts are optional'. With optional accounts, your customers will still be able to checkout as guests, but it also gives them the chance to save their information for next time after filling out their personal details.If you want to invite your current customers to make accounts, you can use the Bulk Account Invite Sender app.13. Send abandoned cart emailsAbandoned cart emails can be set up in the ‘Settings' section of your Shopify admin. Go to ‘Checkout' and then scroll down to the ‘Order Processing' section. You can choose to send abandoned cart emails either 6 or 24 hours after a customer abandons a cart.14. Optimize your thank you/order confirmation emailsIn the same ‘Notifications' section of your Shopify admin, you can also customize your Order Confirmation emails.After a customer has placed an order, there's still an opportunity to put them back into your purchasing funnel by optimizing your Order Confirmation email to encourage them to sign up for your newsletter, link them to content on your blog, or offer them exclusive discounts and promotions for future orders as a token of appreciation.Shipping and returnsEven after a customer has completed the checkout process, it is important to note that the transaction is not finished until the product is in their hands. Think about how you handle shipping and return as yet another opportunity to delight your customers and transform all those one-time shoppers into customers for a lifetime.Waiting for a package is an experience which induces anxiety. It's even worse to receive a product that you're not satisfied with. To make shipping and returns enjoyable for your audience you need to do everything in your power.15. Offer free shippingCostly shipping can be a major pain point for consumers and potentially discourage them from making purchases. Seek to deliver free shipping to inspire your clients to place an order, no matter how far they have to drive. Free shipping will significantly impact conversions.16. Have a clear refund policyNo wonder some consumers are reluctant about making online purchases. When buying items like clothes it can be hard to know how a piece will fit in-person. To help ease the worries of your customer, make sure your company has a straightforward return policy so they know exactly what they should do if they are not pleased with an order.Additional informationAlthough optimizing elements such as your homepage, product discovery tools, and product pages is crucial to moving your consumers through the conversion funnel, you also need to make sure your website contains additional information such as contact details and a section about them.17. Tell a story with your about pageYour About Page is so much more than a short story summary. It should tell your clients a story about your products and the mission of your brand. Your About Page 's aim should be to create a lifestyle around your goods which your audience wants to be part of.Try to build a story around both your products and your customers' relationship with them. Ask yourself questions like: Where did your idea come from? What makes them special? What does an average day in your ideal customer's life look like?18. Create a comprehensive contact pageIf your customers want to contact you, they will be able to do so with ease. In fact, if there is no contact information or phone number available, 44 percent of visitors will leave a website.It is an incredibly frustrating experience for consumers not being able to express their thoughts and feelings – whether positive or negative. Your contact page will provide ways for your customers to reach out when something goes wrong, and incentives for them to interact in fun and exciting ways with your brand.Here's a quick checklist of everything that your contact page should include:An email address or contact formYour physical location, along with a map and directionsYour retail store hoursLinks to your social media profilesSupport-specific contact options, including a phone number or emailWebsite speed and performanceThe performance of your website is closely tied to your success as a business. In fact, if a website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, 40% of visitors will automatically leave. That's a huge amount of traffic that you could be turning away without even realizing.Imagine waiting outside a store, and waiting for the owner to come to the door to let you in. Sure, you could wait a second or two to get them to the door. But a quince? Twenty? Try to count those seconds out loud and you will soon know what your customers might be going through.19. Make sure your site is mobile responsiveBeing sensitive on the mobile should be a huge priority for your company. In reality, if the one they land on is not mobile-friendly, 40 percent of people will choose another result. Fortunately, if you own a Shopify store, every Shopify theme is automatically optimized for proper display on any screen.20. Optimize your website's loading timesWith Google's Pagespeed Insights tool, the easiest way to check how long your online store will take to load is. Pagespeed Insights will provide you with a detailed report of how quickly your website is loading, along with any issues you may resolve to improve your load times. You may also use load time measurement software such as WebPageTest and Pingdom, as an alternative.While optimizing the load times for your store may be a complicated process, there are a few things to keep in mind at all times. The size of your images can greatly affect how quickly your website loads. Using a tool like ImageOptim, try to compress and optimize each image. ImageOptim strips away all of the unnecessary data in every image file, resulting in a much smaller file size with no noticeable visual difference.Additionally, for Shopify store owners, try uninstalling any apps that you're no longer using as these apps can still put an additional load on your website even if they're disabled.Start your first experimentNow that you have some ideas, it's time to start optimizing! Get out there, run experiments, and discover exciting new ways to increase your conversions.Remember: Always be testing.Have any more questions about Conversion Rate Optimization? Let us know in the comments below.