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Why Data-Driven Optimisation is Important in Ecommerce (Even if You’re Planning a Website Rebuild)

If you’ve got an ecommerce site rebuild in mind, keep reading. Sammy Fraser, Lead Digital Strategy Manager at Swanky, talks through how you can use your existing website as a ‘testing ground’ to inform decisions on your new online store.

Written By
Sammy Fraser

So, you want to rebuild your ecommerce website? You might be rebranding or wanting to redesign the customer journey. You could be on a mission to optimise speed or improve responsiveness. Or maybe the technology behind your site is stunting your growth.

There are a number of different motives to undertaking a website rebuild. Whatever the reason though, one of the overarching outcomes you’ll be looking for is to generate additional revenue, from a much improved user experience delivered by your new site.

But there are two things to consider. First, you need your existing site to continue delivering revenue whilst you build the new site. Second, there’s the risk that your new site might not actually deliver a better user experience. This is where data-led conversion rate optimisation (CRO) comes in.

You may be surprised to hear that optimisation has a role to play in this situation. In this article, I’ll be showing you why data-driven CRO is important even if you’re planning a site rebuild.

First up, let’s talk data.

Leveraging customer data in a rebuild

When you decide to undertake a website rebuild, we’re sure you’ll have a whole list of pain points: “we don’t like this”, “this doesn’t work”, or simply “it would be easier if we could do this”.

But what do your customers think? Collecting data and insights on how users browse, shop, research and purchase on your existing site is vital to ensuring data-led decisions are made when building the customer experience on your new site.

Here at Swanky, we utilise a number of different data points to help inform the user experience and functionality of any of our new build projects, as part of our research and development phase. This ensures, alongside your business requirements and instinctive hunches on improvements, that your website continues to be ‘customer first’.

These are some of our most readily used data sources that we analyse before starting any new web designs.

Using Google Analytics and Shopify data, we research:

  • What your core demographic is;
  • How users are getting to your website;
  • Which devices they’re shopping on;
  • How they’re searching the site;
  • What their main journey to a product page is; and
  • Where most users are exiting the site from.

We use heat-mapping tool Hotjar to understand:

  • What information are your users engaging with?
  • How engaged with your content are your customers?
  • How do different segments of visitors use the information on your page?
  • Which CTAs are the most important?

Customer surveys help us investigate:

  • What the main reason for your user visiting the site is;
  • What intent to purchase do your customers have when they arrive on your site;
  • What your users’ main reasons or purpose for visiting your website are;
  • What do they like or not like; and
  • What their main friction points are when trying to make a purchase.

User personas allow us to confirm:

  • Who your main target audience is;
  • What their main reason for purchasing your product is;
  • What is their main incentives to purchase are;
  • How they compare your products to competition; and
  • What’s important to them.

We use marketing data to explore:

  • If you’ve done any A/B testing or whether you have any insight from your marketing which would help the new site build;
  • What type of messaging your users engage with; and
  • What types of imagery users like most.

If you have any previous CRO results, we’ll enquire:

  • What CRO tests have you done in the past?
  • What have been the key learnings from your previous testing?
  • What sort of iterations would you do as a result of these tests?

If you have any other insights we can use to drive our decision-making, we’ll make use of that too. The more insights, the better!

How can CRO help in the rebuild process? 

With this data at hand, we recommend a process of CRO on your existing site. Whilst this might not always have the aim of generating winning variants, it’s great to sense check your hypotheses and generate as much data for your new website build as possible.

Essentially, whilst we’re designing and building your new website, it’s a great idea to use your existing website as a testing ground.

Swanky’s strategists will ask ourselves questions like these:

  • What type of navigation works best?
  • What is the best customer journey to a product page?
  • What type of messaging and imagery do your audience best engage with?
  • Do users engage with product recommendations?
  • Do users engage with alternative payment methods like ‘buy now, pay later’?
  • Can we implement basic functionality to understand the need for bigger bits of functionality? (For example, you might want to implement a basic quiz to review engagement before committing to a more sophisticated quiz.)

The aim is to generate as much data to help understand what your customers want from your website as possible, and therefore how best to prioritise the functionality for your new build project.

This means that we’re entering into a new build with a significant degree of confidence that the design and customer journey will be a worthwhile investment.

Once your new website is launched, we then continue with a program of post-launch CRO to check all those designs where opinions were split, and to verify any major or innovative changes to the customer journey are being received well by customers. Our guide to CRO basics talks through our approach to CRO programs in more detail.

Talking about the importance of data-led CRO in the rebuild process, Matt Abbott, Head of Growth at Swanky, says:

“This process helps brands understand the importance of CRO, whatever the stage of their ecommerce growth they are at. Once the mindset has been adopted, CRO is much easier to buy into. Yes, it’s about delivering commercial growth, but it’s also about mitigating risk. You wouldn’t dive into something with your eyes closed; with CRO, you’re diving in with your eyes open.” 

Talk to the CRO specialists at Swanky

With proven results delivering transformative digital growth for ecommerce market leaders, our award-winning CRO specialists will become an extension of your team, leveraging data and customer experience to maximise opportunities and drive results from within.

Whether it’s optimising your paid ads campaigns, testing new website designs, or consulting on an experimentation roadmap, our first-class team of experts will work with you to unlock your full ecommerce potential.

Get in touch today to find out more.

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