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Growing revenue with CRO and UX research

Words by: Harriet Swan & Widerfunnel Last updated: October 29th, 2021 8 min. read

  • A/B Testing
  • Behavioural Science
  • Conversion Rate Optimization

In an ultra competitive e-commerce landscape, companies are always looking for new ways to acquire customers and grow their market share. When CRO and UX Research insights are combined, companies are able to make more impactful changes to their digital experience, both in terms of bigger increases in conversion, and larger improvements to the customer experience.

Combining Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and UX Research methodologies enable marketers to understand more about their user experience, unlock new opportunities, and grow revenue quicker and more effectively. Learning and understanding the fundamentals behind UX Research and CRO principles are crucial to tap into their customer acquisition potential.

Let’s take a deeper look at what they mean.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) in eCommerce

It’s no secret Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is perhaps one of the most important practices a company can adopt. CRO programs help guide the customer along their “buyer’s journey”, all while driving growth for your business at scale.

Sounds great, right? Here’s how it works:

At its core, CRO is about enhancing the e-commerce experience to increase the likelihood that a shopper will buy a product or service on your website. We can determine results through evaluative experiments that help guide the shopper through an experience that is both relevant to their needs and addresses their anxieties. This allows them to progress with ease through the journey to checkout.

CRO allows e-Commerce teams to measure how different tactics shift behaviour to help optimize a digital experience. However, CRO doesn’t help us understand why this behaviour occurred. It also doesn’t help us understand what our users expect. That’s where UX Research comes in.

How UX Research Improves the Customer Experience

Let’s back up a second: “How do I know what my users really want? How can I iterate and build on successes and learn more about the buyer’s journey?”

“One of the most humbling things about experimentation is that it’s impossible to predict the outcome of changes made to the user experience. After all, if this were possible, there would be no need to test.”

Michael St. Laurent, Director of Experimentation Strategy & Product Development, Widerfunnel

Here’s a way to look at it.

There are two concepts that we find particularly useful when creating and testing a user experience. First we must understand the why behind your customers’ behavior. It’s compulsory to know the broader reasons behind their visit to your website, and gain an understanding of their user experience.

The second step is to give them a clear path to what they are after. Ask yourself, have I successfully done this? Is there a better way to provide an improved experience? UX Research can help us answer these questions and grow our understanding of customer behavior.

Understanding Motivations with UX Research

The critical insights and understandings behind user motivations is the backbone of UX Research. It’s the way teams truly understand their customers’ deeper motivations—remember the phrase “walk a mile in their shoes..”? UX Research helps us do just that. It allows companies to:

  • Strategically prioritize testing ideas
  • Decipher motivations: What questions are my customers asking? How can I create an experience that is friction free?
  • Make informed pivots: What new ways can I delight my customers?

E-Commerce Synergies: Keeping a Constant Pulse on Who’s Visiting Your Website

The complementary nature of CRO and UX Research has brought forth new opportunities that are on the cutting-edge of marketing and customer acquisition. By working in tandem, CRO and UX Research helps teams keep a constant pulse on the visitors of their website. This helps create positive outcomes across the buyer’s journey – CRO is simply not as effective without UX Research.

A few ways CRO and UX Research work together:
  1. UX Research can help teams form new ideas and hypotheses about their customers: UX Research helps us understand what’s most important, or what causes the biggest friction to our customers. This allows us to prioritize which are likely to be the most impactful testing hypotheses.
  2. Avoiding stagnation through constant innovation: By utilizing the synergies created by UX Research and CRO, companies are often able to out maneuver their competitors and bring meaningful changes and opportunities to their business models ahead of the curve.
  3. UX Research can help discover why an A/B test had a surprising result: The motivations behind why a customer might pick A over B is just as important as the selection itself! UX research helps us to break down the ‘why’.

Validating Insights: What do People Really Want?

One of the challenges that often presents itself when looking at UX Research is the underpinning notion that people are complex, and often they don’t know what they actually want. Combining CRO with UX Research allows us to validate insights and determine whether people behave in a way we would expect them to or otherwise.

When conducting both UX Research and an A/B Test, we are able to build more confidence around a hypothesis. If the outcome of an A/B Test and the UX Research conducted state the same thing, then there is higher confidence with this insight.

However, if their results differ, a nuance has been uncovered which warrants further research and testing in order to better understand the differential. This outcome creates some of the most interesting insights, drawing attention to a newly discovered area of complexity for further exploration.

Prioritizing Value Propositions for Home Appliance purchasers

A global appliance manufacturer came to Widerfunnel to help them answer a key strategic question: What benefits should they communicate across their website to get the best conversion?

Combining UX Research and A/B testing was essential in tackling this complex question. Our first task was to figure out what was most important to shoppers looking for an appliance. Some examples of what might be important included delivery speed & service, perks & rewards, the return policy, as well as brand heritage. By conducting UX Research, we defined and prioritized which benefits would resonate most in driving an appliance purchase.

However, knowing what consumers view as most important is only part of the equation. We then asked ourselves – How do consumers behave when confronted with some of these benefits?

This is where A/B testing can help us move past what the user told us they want, and uncover what has the biggest impact in increasing conversion. A/B testing allowed us to dig deeper, and both validate the insights from the UX Research, as well as answer new questions that arose which could not be addressed solely through UX Research.

For more information on how A/B testing can reject hypotheses at different stages of the buyer’s journey, read our case study with The Motley Fool.

Expanding With An Agency Partner

Working with an agency partner can help you determine if UX Research is a good fit for your company. Often we work with clients who have previous CRO experience and are at an impasse in solving their business problem which require sufficient research and strategy to design a “right-fit” solution.

An agency will work with you to help launch UX Research efforts that will expedite the process, and bring to focus what’s working and what we can build on. By collaborating with you on new UX insights and optimization strategies, an agency can help you discover the “unknown unknown’s” — creating an optimized digital experience that maximizes conversion.

Interested in working with us? Contact us here to learn more.

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