Conversion Optimization Simplicity

Conversion Optimization is a term that many people use, but few define or even wrestle with. To many, it is a formula or secret to convert shoppers into buyers. In truth, there are two critical elements of Conversion Optimization:

  1. Getting the right product/content in front of the shopper
  2. Getting the hell out of their way with a simple check-out experience.

For mobile or desktop, the approach is the same, and while easier for desktops, it is an even more critical approach with mobile (particularly smartphones).

Conversion Optimization for digital commerce doesn’t have to do with tricks or stunts that convert a shopper through crafty language and cut-rate deals with back-end costs. At its core, it is about making it easy for shoppers to find exactly what they are looking for.

Keep in mind, most often the shopper has an intent to buy a type of item, but doesn’t have an exact idea for its style, pattern, or even size.

The shopper is oftentimes met with one of the cost/benefit challenges of digital retail: a huge selection of items which, to the shopper, can actually be overwhelming. An exhausting quantity of items to search through across several pages of results, or digital aisles of merchandise, that can’t be visually curated until you go through each page.

With such an abundance of choice, it is critical for retailers to pick up on the preferences the shopper is expressing. These can be seen in the attributes of the products they view. Each click provides a clue to the shopper’s interests. Conversion Optimization is leveraging that insight to present intelligently curated and/or prioritized products, so the items with the attributes that correlate to the shopper’s interests are seen first. This brings the shopper closer and closer to the product they wish to purchase and helps them avoid swimming through the sea of noise that other, non-relevant products present. Putting the right products in front of the shopper, based on their expressed preferences, is the first step.

The second step to Conversion Optimization sounds very easy, but for many retailers it can be just as challenging as the first step: getting out of the way of the shopper. It has always been a straightforward rule on the Internet for registrations and purchases that the more questions you ask, the greater the likelihood of abandonment.

Each question has a price or a tax that it puts on the checkout event. If the tax is too high, the shopper leaves out of frustration.

The easiest way to experience this is to check out from a digital retail site on a smartphone as a first time visitor. Filling out all of the first name, last name, address, etc., becomes exhausting on a small display with a small keyboard.

I was recently at’s Merchandising Workshop and had a chance attend Jason Goldberg’s presentation on Solving the Mobile Conversion Gap. He did an excellent job of reviewing a project where decreasing checkout questions had a direct impact on conversion rates through checkout. Many of the elements Jason suggested and demonstrated were incredibly simple. His overall message was about cutting down the number of questions and eliminating every non-mandatory field.

As retailers, we have a plethora of projects and efforts that compete for our attention every day. Optimizing conversions might be the most valuable thing you can do for your business. It provides a better return on investment for digital advertising, starts to make you more competitive with higher margins per checkout, and also provides a competitive advantage to push back into digital advertising and customer acquisition.

Focusing on these two elements – getting the right content in front of the shopper and getting the hell out of their way – will allow you to master Conversion Optimization.

To dive deeper, check out one of our guides:

Unlocking the Power of Smartphone Conversions

Unlocking Shopper Intent: The Real Time Imperative

How to Maximize eCommerce Conversion with 1 to 1 Personalization

Kurt Heinemann

Kurt is Reflektion’s CMO. His resume includes CMO positions at Marketwired and Monetate. He’s also held senior executive positions at Priceline, Time Warner and Walker Digital Companies. Despite living in Yankees territory, Kurt is a die hard Tigers fan.