Knead that CRO dough into shape, ‘tis the season for the perfect prove

Whether you’re starting on your CRO journey or have been at it for years, chances are you’re after opportunities to give your bottom line a boost during the festive season. Taking some time to plan and carefully curate those optimisation journeys will not only go some way to making sure the additional traffic works better for you, it’ll result in a meaningful set of results and maximise learnings for the post-Christmas wash ups.

Having worked 5 years for a well-known UK health and beauty retailer, Christmas planning packs and aggressive yet meticulous trading plans drop into the inbox in July (and if you’re (un)lucky that’s slap bang in the middle of a heat wave).   Come the festive period and the first inkling of those shiny boxed mince pies sitting expectantly on the supermarket shelves, you’ll have bored yourself and others hypothesising about what might happen on Black Friday, how much the Black Friday/Cyber Monday will bleed into a longer holiday season, how effective your perfectly crafted campaigns will turn out and whether sales targets will be met.  Come this time you simply want to forget all about Christmas until the following…. July.

The Festive landscape

Amidst all the speculation, let’s remind ourselves that it’s in the context of online businesses finite demand for products and services that has led to optimisation programs emerging in the relentless pursuit of maximising website traffic, providing valuable insight into customer experience and understanding the fickle nature of online behaviour. Against the backdrop of an increasing trend towards a longer holiday period from Halloween through to Christmas, there’s more pressure than ever on CRO programs to deliver on exclusivity, differentiation and to assist brands in elevating their online presence where individual days (Black Friday, Cyber Monday) may have featured as the festive landmarks in the past.  These days may still continue to mark the trading plans, yet how many more offers can we squeeze into the two-month window before offer fatigue kicks in and how many more countdown timers and flashy red discount signposts can we fit onto pages? Remember our mobile and digital savvy shoppers don’t necessarily feel the same urgency we’d like to impart and have been carefully building their wish lists over months.

Brand USPs

This is the time to take a good hard look at your brands USPs and hone in on some of these towards gearing up a well-defined CRO plan, and how they can assist in defining key user journeys.  Let’s take free delivery and free returns as a topical case study for peak.  In order to keep up with competition, plenty of brands now offer free delivery and returns, and customers have come to expect it.  There may be a strong argument to maintain shipping charges, but at what cost? Even if it isn’t offered, there will always be those shrewd shoppers who fill their baskets just to hit the free delivery threshold, and then return anything unwanted using free returns.  Sound familiar? Fine-tuning the sweet spot of delivery thresholds to fuel growth with a careful eye on the sort of return shopping behaviour you want to avoid shouldn’t go overlooked in mitigating costs affecting your bottom line.

Experiential journeys

As the festivities gain momentum some brands have become synonymous with heavy discounting as a means to compete for customer attention over peak, creating risk and intensity around key dates and potential rising costs as an outcome to the unexpected and dreaded scenario… site outages.  Using CRO as a means to get smarter and wean customers off the discount drug and away from the path of deep discounts as the sole type of relationship with your brand is a sensible option.  Ideally your focus will aim towards putting forward a compelling experience whose focus is both on acquisition and retention with a long-term customer relationship in mind.  Not forgetting that some of the biggest wins and profitability will come from your preexisting VIP customers who will expect an exclusive treatment this season. Again, small gains can be had with simple messaging through product recommendations that, at the very least, provide customers’ ideas based on complimenting previous browsing behaviour and incentivising them to explore your site further. Take some time to think through how you want to promote and nurture returning customers to your site.

Mince pie fan or not, as the temperature takes a sudden drop, grab your CRO dough because the festive season has arrived, things have shifted up a gear and competition is fierce!

Whether you’re starting out your first CRO program or running fully fledged CRO and personalisation programs and looking to enrich your experiences with additional data and predictive modelling techniques, our team of CRO and data science experts are here to help!

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