Customer Research As An Enhancer For eCommerce CRO Efforts
Because conversion optimization deals with improving website performance, and because websites are primarily technical constructs, it’s easy to lose sight of one simple fact: websites exist to draw customers, and customers are real people. This is Article 1 in a series that will examine the process, tools, and analysis of performing customer research for conversion rate optimization.
No matter the product or service you sell, the best way to see if your business is actually viable is to expose it to your target audience and see how they react. Often, this process can reveal unexpected insights or offer helpful guidance to the seller. It’s why developers deploy “beta” editions of software before launching their product, so real users can catch the bugs before the product hits the marketplace.
When you run a user survey, you’ll post direct questions to your visitors with the goal of discovering their perceptions of specific issues. For conversion optimization, you can also use user surveys to identify the most common sources of anxiety and friction. To get the most useful results, pose open-ended questions, like “What do you look for when you shop for bath products?” This type of question allows users to voice concerns or opinions freely, and they may bring up points you hadn’t even considered.
Qualitative research isn’t just about visitor surveys and user testing. While both of these methods give us the opportunity to directly observe visitors’ behavior and get a glimpse of the thought process behind it, surveys and user testing suffer from a serious limitation: visitors and testers are aware that they are being observed.
Numbers and words — or quantitative and qualitative research, as optimizers think of them — are two of the most important parts of thorough conversion research. The results are the basis for CRO testing. But while locating conversion improvement opportunities through quantitative data is relatively easy and straightforward (simply compare your numerical results to your expected results!), implementing qualitative feedback for better conversions (CRO testing) just isn’t as simple.