Do I have to make big changes to my website to increase conversions?

As businesses delve into the world of experimentation, the pursuit of higher conversion rates is a never-ending endeavour. But with this, and particularly with people new to experimentation, there can be the assumption that you must make multiple changes to your website and create a completely new user experience. So, whilst exploring the world of optimisation is always a good thing, it can seem like a daunting task.

As a relative newcomer myself, this is an assumption I also had, but the short answer is that you don’t have to make big changes to your website to increase conversions, the small ideas can make a big difference too. In this blog, we are going to outline some examples where we have seen smaller, more straightforward, changes make big a difference and the impact this has had on conversion rates.

1. Changing the location of a banner

Successful tests can be a result of menial changes. A test with a travel client consisted of something as simple as swapping the location of banners. In the experiment, the control had external customer reviews as the first banner you see when scrolling down the page. After trialling different banners, the optimal test had Breaking Deals shown higher on the page.

Changing the location of the banners required relatively simple rebuilding but it had some really significant results. Changing this gave more prominence to hot deals and appeared earlier to ensure that customers saw them sooner. This test was projected to make the businesses a significant uplift in revenue per quarter.

2. Reviews that keep you on site

Whilst highlighting positive reviews is a good thing and can be an effective way to answer some FAQs, you want to be sure you are not taking visitors away from why they are shopping. Therefore, if you want to showcase something external on your website, like reviews or a review score, it’s better practice to not redirect them to another site.

We have found that allowing visitors to scroll through reviews whilst remaining on the website means they are more likely to continue with their purchase. Visitors can still access reviews, highlighting the positives and potentially answering any questions they may have, but they are not lost going to an external site.

3. Simple overlay with a Call to Action

By adding a sticky header or hello bar at the top of your webpage you can highlight important information or a specific call-to-action. By making it a sticky header it ensures it remains visible to users as they scroll down the page, increasing its visibility and likelihood of engagement.

Similarly, you can also use exit-intent pop-ups when users show intent to leave the page. These pop-ups can offer discounts, valuable content or incentives to encourage users to stay or take a desired action before leaving.

This is a simple change you can add in that provide visitors with additional information and persuade them to take a desired action. One of our clients, VIP SKI, had some great success with this and saw a 12% increase in online bookings as a result.

4. Auto-reload

We recently experimented with auto-reload for a subscription-based business, rather than customers having to manually click to update. In the control, customers could change whether they wanted to pay monthly, quarterly or annually, which date of the month they would like payments to leave their account, and whether they would like to make an initial payment. After selecting these options, customers then had to click on the ‘update payment plan’ button for this to take effect. Only when the page reloaded did the prices change to the latest option selected. This was causing a lot of confusion if customers did not click the button to update the plan.

The experiment we conducted meant every time there was a change (i.e. when a customer clicks on a different option), we triggered the click on ‘update payment plan’ in the back-end so the page reloads without the customer having do anything manually. We removed the two ‘update payment plan’ buttons and the page simply reloaded each time a customer clicks on any of the elements where there was a choice.

By adding in the auto-reload, it took out any confusion for customers and provided a much better user experience.

5. Button Styling and Position

By using contrasting colours and carefully positioning your buttons, you can make your Call to action stand out to easily catch the user's attention. You can also experiment with different button shapes, sizes, and hover effects to create visual interest.

A recent test with one of our clients, Unbiased, saw the success of this. A previous AB test had resulted in a more streamlined homepage, replacing a less intuitive interface with a set of three simple call to actions above the fold on the homepage. This was extremely successful, delivering 50% conversion lift.

However, the results showed that the Matchflow channel (the focus of the Unbiased website is to enable visitors to quickly find a financial specialist that meets their needs, and the tailored ‘Matchflow’ process matches visitors with an advisor), had become highly dominant.

Because the previous test directed visitors straight to the Matchflow channel, we created a follow up test that would direct customers to select either ‘browse a list’ or start the Matchflow process after clicking on any of the three CTAs. It was a great success. Aggregated across all devices, it showed a significant lift in visitors to both channels, the highest being for tablet visitors with 104% aggregated conversion lift.

6. Changing copy on a button

Sometimes, a test can be as simple as changing the copy on a CTA button. A test we conducted with a well-known retail brand saw the Control text as ‘Pay With Card’ when customers were on the check-out page. However, we experimented with some different CTA messaging.

Some other lines of copy were, ‘Select payment method’, ‘Continue to payment’ and ‘Go to Payment methods.’ However, the Optimal copy was ‘Continue to delivery’, which would then replace ‘Pay with card’.

This optimal was predicted to generate a +24.22% lift in visitors reaching the delivery page @99.99% to beat control, and a +21.16% lift in visitors reaching the confirmation page @99.99% chance to beat control.

Extrapolating the figures, based on similar traffic quality, the optimal could generate +8212 additional visitors reaching the confirmation page, (meaning approximately +£340K in additional revenue) each quarter.

Size doesn’t matter

It’s important to know you can start small and make little amendments which improves the user experience, thus encouraging them to convert and return as a shopper. As demonstrated above, you don’t have to completely redesign your website to get results.

That being said, it is important to conduct thorough research to identify where customers might be dropping off and why. It is also looking at the bigger picture as to why they have come to your website; is it due to different trends happening around the world, a new product release, a sale, or something else.

But it’s important to always test before committing any changes. Even if you are changing small aspects of your website, like the examples in this article, there can still be a positive or negative effect!

To find out more about how Webtrends Optimize can help you improve your experimentation strategy, get in touch!