E-commerce is an industry where conversion rate optimization is extremely important and where it can give you amazing results, but only if you know what you’re doing. Are you testing “the right stuff” but get no results? You my friend, might be testing the right stuff, but for the wrong audience!
You start your conversion rate optimization tests from a logical point, define a goal, see where you could make improvement to help achieve that goal, throw out several ideas of how you’d improve that page and test the ideas. Somehow your ideas don’t produce any improvement in conversion rate? You might be optimizing for the wrong user.
New vs. Returning Visitors Conversion Rate Optimization
There are lots of ways in which we can segment our visitors – demographic and technical differences between them – but one of the most important ways of segmenting your visitors for the needs of conversion rate optimization testing is segmenting them into new visitors and returning visitors.
If you go to your Google Analytics and navigate to Audience > Behavior > New vs Returning, you’ll get something like this:
If you switch Explorer to E-commerce, you’ll be able to select E-commerce conversion rate instead of Visits in the table. This will give you something like this:
OK, it will look the same but your numbers will probably be pretty lower since this is a screenshot from one of our best converting clients.
What can you learn from this data?
- How many visitors of your store are new and how many returning.
- Do you sell much more efficiently to the returning visitors?
- Do returning visitors bring you more or less money than new visitors?
In case you have a store where returning visitors bring you much more money than your new visitors, it might be possible for you to invest a lot into acquiring a new customer – much more than that visitor will buy from you for the first time, as long as you have a good customer retention strategy in place.
Conversion Rate Optimization for Returning Visitors
New and returning visitors generally have different needs from a landing page. How can you optimize for returning visitors and not negatively affect conversion rate of new visitors? In most cases very easy: they often land on different URLs!
Log-in to your Google Analytics and navigate to Content > Site Content > Landing Pages. In the top left, click on Advanced Segments and choose only Returning Visitors.
You can repeat the same process for New Visitors advanced segment. In most cases of online stores with good SEO and SEM strategy, you’ll see that returning visitors and new visitors often land on completely different parts of your store.
Are returning visitors the majority of your homepage traffic? Awesome! Optimize the homepage for the returning visitor. Show him what interests him the most. You can experiment with different test but get into a mindset of a person who is a frequent visitor of your online store and figure out what he might find useful on his landing page and remove everything that he wouldn’t be interested in seeing again and again.
Are there lots of different category pages and product pages that are mostly landed on by a new visitor? Awesome! Make sure to give that visitor everything he’d need if he’s a first time visitor right on that landing page!
Getting into the right mindset when thinking about conversion rate optimization tests and figuring out for which audience are you optimizing will give you much more chance to achieve significant conversion rate improvements for your online store.