Despite some companies making progress in leaps and bounds by boosting their conversions using conversion rate optimization (CRO), many remain to be sold on the idea and some remain ignorant altogether about the existence of CRO as a marketing discipline.

The conversion conundrum at its crux is the gap between awareness of CRO with all of its benefits and the implementation of CRO as a practice to boost conversions; witnessed most commonly in the eCommerce industry.

There are many versions of the definition of CRO, one that we find appropriate is offered by; “Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the systematic process of increasing the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action — be that filling out a form, becoming customers, or otherwise.”

CRO, in the context of eCommerce, is about increasing conversions that lead to revenue generation.

Undertaking a CRO program includes applying some well-established tactics such as furnishing your eCommerce platform with social proofs, an intelligent website search, prominent Call To Actions with the optimal copy and design, and many others. Most CRO tactics deployed have A/B testing as the validator for their proof of concept.

The question that remains to be answered is, why is there a conversion conundrum. Why are there many companies that still remain skeptical of the promise and potential of CRO?

1. The Opportunity Cost of CRO: eCommerce businesses inherently spend a greater share of their budget in SEM and SEO than on CRO and tend to sacrifice the efficiency that CRO adds, as a result. Hence, the outcome witnessed includes a rise in website traffic but not a proportional surge in conversions/sales.
An accurate testament to this scenario is the rise in the browser and cart abandonment rates. Investing in a successful CRO program alongside an SEO program can help bridge the gap between the disproportionate increase in traffic and sales.

2. The Problem of Overchoice: Overchoice or choice overload is a cognitive process in which people have a difficult time making a decision when faced with many options. Alvin Toffler first introduced the term in his book, Future Shock (1970). CRO leverages numerous technologies to solve use-cases that, when in combination, contribute to a CRO strategy.

The market of CRO solutions is riddled with bit-part / half-baked offerings that solve at best one to two use-cases. As a result, eCommerce platforms that do not opt for a full suite of services are required to adopt multiple solutions to implement on their site. The onboarding of various solutions opens a different can of worms and leads to the following obstacles:

  • Solving for x where x is the optimal solution for your CRO use-case. Due to the highly fragmented nature of the CRO solutions market, it is likely that an eCommerce company may need to evaluate over 5–6 solution providers before making their final decision.

And as discussed previously, most solutions fill at most 1–2 use-cases, a company may have to evaluate over 30 solutions before narrowing down and selecting the best 5 that it needs to implement its CRO program.

The investment of time and effort, to evaluate 30 solutions, can be cumbersome and inefficient for many SMB level eCommerce platforms.

  • While using multiple tools for fixing unique use-cases, you are likely to encounter the obstacle of integrating all of them to present the complete picture to you. Even with tools, such as Zapier, that prevent the need for developing an API from scratch, you are adding another tool to try and fix the problem of having too many tools.

3. Lack of Specialization: To conduct a successful CRO program that registers a measurable increase of conversions over a specified period, you will most likely need an entire team of professionals that specialize in their respective domain expertise.

To improve the design, placement, and copy of a CTA, you will need the assistance of a graphic designer, UI developer, and a copywriter. To continue that experiment and gauge the result of the exercise, you will need a business analyst to contextualize the results of the A/B test into a business impact model.

As you can imagine, the size of your team will continue to grow as you continue to experiment with CRO, and not every company can afford to have burgeoning marketing teams on the payroll; consequently leading to a lack of specialization and an ineffective CRO program.

The mix of the obstacles listed in the previous passages often leads to a company developing and implementing an ineffective CRO program. Hence, the conversion conundrum prevails; not implementing something even though it is proven to serve you well.

This article was written by Arun Kumar, co-founder and CEO of ConvertCart, an all-in-one conversion optimization tool suite powered by a world-class team of CRO experts.

An early-stage VC fund investing in technology product companies in India.