• Conversion Rate Optimisation

30th Apr 2013

3 min

It isn’t a new concept, it isn’t technical and it might not seem groundbreaking but working collaboratively is one of the most important elements of our conversion rate optimisation programmes.

Collaboration is defined as the act of working with another or others on a joint project. This probably sounds like most of the projects that you might work on, but the quality and the investment made in working together can reap amazing results.

Working collaboratively can improve and support knowledge sharing, learning and consensus building. It can also help to obtain greater resources, recognition and reward when facing competition for finite resources.

But at what cost? It can also have negative impacts. Collaboration can eat up resources and in the worst cases, result in design by committee and conflict. Below are three reasons we think it’s worth the effort.

Collaboration & CRO

Academic and business writer Robert J. Thomas1, suggests that collaboration is most successful when working on problems that:

  1. Don’t have an obvious solution — the problem addressed is not a routine one
  2. Lack structure — there isn’t always a familiar process to follow
  3. Require collective volition — some sort of sharing is needed but cannot be mandated

(Source: http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/06/the_three_essential_ingredient.html)

So what do these mean for CRO?

1. There’s no simple answer, if there was, they’d be doing it.

In many ways these criteria apply to the problems that need to be improved in order to run a successful CRO programme. For most companies embarking on a CRO programme for the first time, there aren’t going to be obvious solutions, otherwise you might have made the improvements already. For CRO to work really well we collect internal insights, dig deep into the data and carry out fresh user research. The skills required to do each of these tasks means that a team of people is almost always the best way.

2. There are endless ideas and limited resource to build and test them

Any CRO programme should be well planned with targets, milestones and a testing road map, but the reality is that CRO has such a wide scope that sometimes you need to re-prioritise as issues arise. From major conversion blockers to ‘just do it’ tweaks and everything in between data analysis and research will throw up all sorts of issues. CRO will typically involves a range people from different areas of the ecommerce team with different plans and priorities. By working collaboratively it is possible to focus effort and attention on the right work at the right time on the issues that will bring the greatest reward.

3. Who is responsible for sales? UXers? CROs? Developers? Designers? Merchandisers?

A successful optimisation programme will require buy-in from the whole team and involve everyone. It won’t always be clear at the start what type of areas of the site will need to be optimised and who has ownership of that area. We regularly engage with a wide range of specialists such as merchandisers, the customer services team and developers. Investing in working collaboratively allows you to spend time with the right people at the right time and get their buy-in as you go, rather than storing up objections until the end.

By working collaboratively we believe that you will see the best return on your conversion rate optimisation efforts.


1. An executive director of the Accenture Institute for High Performance and professor at Brandeis University International Business School.

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