Conversion Rate Tips From One of UK’s Biggest Retailer

Connor Wilkinson is ECommerce Optimisation Manager at Asda. He will be sharing his tips on the afternoon of July 6th. Coming from a search and digital background, I wanted to find out how he started his career in CRO. Read the full interview.

“How did you get into Conversation Rate Optimisation (CRO)? For example was it working at Asda when you were studying the number of baskets being abandoned?

It was a little by chance. In my previous job – the senior management team wanted someone to look into A/B testing as one of our providers offered it. I took it on and rolled it out – I had no idea what A/B testing was when I started but being analytical helped me get to grips with it and then love the whole discipline. We were the first part of the business to really get going with it – something I’m very proud of – it wasn’t a small company!.

After I moved on from there – an opportunity came up while I was at Asda, I was very lucky to have the experience from my previous role. Reminds me of the Richard Branson quote –  “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”

2) In the sales funnel, where would you focus on conversion rate optimisation? For example is it at the check out stage?

I wouldn’t treat any specific page differently to another in optimisation, it’s all about the opportunity you can see and measure – the question is, do you have a reason / hypothesis that if you change something you will see a measurable difference and is that a higher priority than everything else? The same rule works no matter what part of the site it is.

I’m also a firm believer in the fact that every website is different, just because I find success in an area of my site doesn’t mean you will find the same on yours, quote from Jurassic Park; – “Your scientists were so preoccupied withwhether they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” – Jeff Goldblum – it works as well for genetically modifying dinosaurs as it does for CRO.

3) How do you get buy in from other marketing teams to implement CRO?

The benefit of CRO is also its biggest challenge, proving stuff works also has the converse outcome of proving you shouldn’t do something. From my experience it’s very difficult to tell someone you shouldn’t do something, but as soon as you get some buy in on that you’ll find it gets easier and easier. Another quote – “Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.” Thomas Edison

Apart from that – it’s about tugging on the heart strings of the team you are influencing, what’s in it for them? Do something for them they can’t get through other channels, if you set your capability up in the right way you will be able to deliver stuff no-one else in the organisation can, then you’re an enabler.

4) How would recommend someone in E-Commerce moving into Conversion Rate Optimisation?

As I mentioned before, any type of progression is about positioning yourself to seize opportunities. Be inquisitive, generate ideas, and get used to using and working with data. Optimisation is essentially a data discipline, the more you know and understand the more you will be well placed to be able to apply that knowledge and move when an opportunity comes up. If you do it really well you will be asked to run it… Quote time again – “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.” Brian O’Driscoll

5) What three tips would you give to E-Commerce sites to ensure that 90% of their baskets turn into conversions? Is it possible to have 100%?

It’s not really my place to be giving top tips on other websites, I don’t know the context, the market or the customers who shop on them. However, I would say there are always customers who are just there to browse, that’s ok – don’t forget about them. One of my least favourite remarks in the industry is “how do we make a customer do x?” you can’t make customers do what you want them to, just make it easier for them to do what they want to do.”

Thank you Connor for taking the time to be interviewed on our blog. We can’t wait to see you at Conversion Elite.

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