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Five Ways to Create ROI in Customer Acquisition

7 Min Read
Clarissa Ceffalo

While there is much about rising customer acquisition costs that retailers can’t control, there are controllable aspects that can dramatically increase conversion rates and decrease customer acquisition costs.

Here are helpful insights from Corra’s experts designed to cut Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) and help retailers navigate these five key areas that are proven to increase ROI:

 

EMAIL MARKETING

Retailers only need two things from a potential customer to begin this effective outreach strategy: an email address and an opt-in (explicit agreement from the user to receive marketing emails). With a plethora of ways to gather this information—like the promise of a discount or free shipping—it’s so simple that it’s commonly underutilized.

Email marketing delivered the strongest ROI impact for over 30% of businesses that responded to Corra’s 2024 Planning Survey. It is the most effective marketing strategy with low investment required.

After gathering an email, retailers have the opportunity to send potential customers through a basic welcome series where they’re introduced to the brand, popular products/services offered, and can receive a discount code. Depending on engagement, users can be further segmented into a variety of email drips that range from abandoned cart to product recommendations to retention.

Gif scrolling through Saltair and Glossier emails.

Glossier and Saltair are great examples of simple emails with clear CTAs.

Successful emails need a few basic components: effective subject line, skimability, clear CTAs and an easy place to unsubscribe—trust us, if a user wants to leave, let them. At one point in time, it was believed the bigger the email list the better, however that is not the case. By maintaining list hygiene best practices and removing unengaged users, your metrics will more accurately reflect your target audience while increasing deliverability and lowering spam complaints. As email continues to evolve, so will opt-in and list hygiene best practices with inbox providers such as Google and Yahoo adopting stricter anti-spam protocols.

 

BRANDING AND DESIGN

Instead of opting for basic digital storefronts, more retailers are willing to experiment in order to create a unique site experience in line with their brand. From interactive microinteractions to larger, eye-catching animated pieces, retailers are thinking outside-the-box with design and visual brand narrative. These unexpected moments surprise and delight shoppers, which keeps them engaged while purposefully driving the eye to particular areas such as a specific category, item, or call-to-action where retailers can cross-sell products and upsell items the customer has shown interest in previously.

Cuadra's PDP

A subtle nod to the holiday season, Cuadra’s website had snowflakes falling on every page without affecting load speed.

To take an even more radical approach, design can be as big as an unconventional website or as small as bite-sized elements that disrupt the monotony of an average commerce experience. Check out Corra’s visual handbook on anti-design and discover ways to break the rules and redefine the norms of ecommerce.

Anti-Design and Brand Narrative

Learn how brands can embrace five elements of anti-design.

While B2C retailers have more freedom to go against the grain, B2B merchants are focusing on an user-friendly point-of-view. Even though these products are geared toward companies, a human approach is still needed to drive conversions. Design is used as a way to establish trust between not only brands but the representatives of these potential clients and partners. Simplified copy, robust homepage, and a user-friendly interface go a long way compared to clunky, outdated B2B sites of the past.

 

SIMPLIFYING CART AND CHECKOUT

Filling an online cart should be like using one in real life. A buyer needs to be able to quickly glance and see everything in the cart without three seconds for a new page to load. The online cart should include an estimated total so there’s no surprise at checkout. With a mini-cart functionality, buyers can easily view or edit their cart from any location on the website without the frustration of loading a new page.

All-Clad's checkout design

All-Clad’s tests proved that continuous flow checkouts yield higher revenue per use.

With AI-powered personalization and a streamlined checkout experience, All-Clad achieved a +38.42% increase in conversion rates.

One-page checkout is here to stay—for now. This simplified approach streamlines the checkout process with fewer pages, less questions, and even less time for the buyer to change their mind. Micro-optimizations like detecting accounts and auto-filling addresses reduce time and effort required from the buyer. Compared to checkouts that require multiple page loads– shipping address, shipping method, payment information, billing information, order review, order confirmation—this frictionless process reduces bounces and increases conversions by reducing the number of steps needed to make a purchase.

 

CONVERSION RATE OPTIMIZATION (CRO)

Conversion rate optimization is understanding how different aspects on a website can be personalized towards the diverse traffic sources and users that come to a site. The key to CRO is continuous testing. Images, call-to-actions, product placements, navigation—any variable on a website can be A/B tested towards the goal of driving conversions through data-based decisions. A common A/B test features top sellers versus trending items. Top sellers are based on overall revenue while trending products are based on sales within a certain time period, such as outerwear trending during the winter months for a brand most known for selling jeans.

Conversion Rate Optimization is the systematic force behind turning website visits into meaningful outcomes. It goes beyond attracting clicks; it’s about making each interaction count. CRO is the practical touch that transforms curiosity into conversions, making it an essential driver for online success.

ROANNE DE WEERD, Analytics & CRO Manager at Corra

Including lifestyle images on PDP’s is a useful tool because it breaks up the experience and better introduces a product. For Cuadra, there was an opportunity to A/B test the men’s PDP mobile redesign; instead of scrolling through 20 different types of men’s shoes, additional photography portrayed the overall value of purchasing the shoe, doubly so when paired with informative and compelling copy. The results were so impactful that the experiment was nominated to be featured on VWO’s website. 

Cuadra's winning mobile design.

Cuadra’s experiment outperformed the control driving a 9.3% increase in add-to-cart after A/B testing for 14 days.

Another technique to optimize conversions is by personalizing the experience for users. Creating an experience that is personalized to a specific user base (like new or returning customers) through product recommendations or even a different order of content on a homepage can be impactful when trying to increase conversions. Personalization can be as broad or as granular as a retailer can manage. The same top seller versus trending product A/B test can even be applied within personalization.

There many layers to conversion rate optimization and conversions don’t have to directly tie to revenue. CRO can be lead or behavior based with tests to UI that will ultimately impact revenue down the line.

 

1ST PARTY DATA AND ANALYTICS

First party data comes straight from a retailer’s potential customer. It’s behavioral data that uses opt-ins like cookies to track how a user interacts with a website. These cookies provide useful insights on how to turn casual browsers into customers through tracking and analyzing their behavior. This tracking functionality exists organically on many ecommerce platforms, such as Shopify Plus.

Retailers can better understand where friction points occur during the customer journey and take actionable insights to turn clicks into conversions through the behavioral analytics acquired from cookie opt-ins. Funnel analytics takes a homepage and tracks where users are most often going next. Retailers gain insights into the minds of customers by seeing what is working and what needs to be improved.

If a retailer is seeing high engagement from its homepage to a collection of products but low engagement to any specific product, that is a red flag that there is a friction point somewhere in the customer journey. It could be an image mismatch—a collection image of stainless steel pans leads to a product page of nonstick pans—causing friction because the collection image does not match the product page. By analyzing user behavior, these friction points can be narrowed down and remedied to maintain a consistent customer experience.

As data protection becomes more and more important for consumers, US states like California, Colorado, Connecticut, Utah and Virginia are beginning to pass comprehensive consumer data privacy laws. This coupled with third-party cookies being phased out by both Google and Apple, opt-ins and on-site tracking will become more important than ever for consumer and merchant alike.

 

AI AND CUSTOMER ACQUISITION

AI is set to transform ecommerce by personalizing the online shopping experience through predictive analytics and tailored recommendations. AI-powered chatbots and virtual shoppers will enhance the customer experience, driving more personalized product recommendations and streamlining online shopping. As it continues to evolve, AI holds the potential to reshape the landscape of ecommerce but there will always be a need for a human touch.

Discussions around in-store shopping are top of mind of retailers. While AI continues to grow, so does the importance of human interaction and third-places to build interpersonal connections. Ecommerce with integrated in-store experiences will rise as mall nostalgia continues to grow.

Modern customers expect shopping experiences to be personalized to their tastes and habits. The brands that utilize and tailor these AI tools the best will present shoppers unique experiences that drive them to make purchases. The higher the conversion rate a website has, the lower the acquisition cost for each new customer is. By implementing these next-gen technologies, brands build themselves an ability to invest in their solutions and to have that investment yield high ROI through acquiring new customers excited to experience a modern shopping experience.

Clarissa Ceffalo

Corra, a Publicis Sapient company, is the global commerce leader and SI helping brands and organizations grow by evaluating, building, and optimizing their digital commerce ecosystems. Our vast experience with composable and headless implementations speeds time-to-value and provides technical freedom to our clients. Our TotalCare managed services program provides gold-standard support, enhancements and ongoing commerce strategy. We are strategic thinkers, accomplished engineers, and award-winning experience designers. We believe outstanding customer experiences can’t exist without flawless technology, and that flawless technology is pointless without beautiful, human-centered design. Our clients are an integral part of our team. Together, we remove the obstacles that are limiting growth and discover new opportunities. We don’t rest until our clients achieve their full potential. Our clients’ KPIs are our KPIs. We have 20 years of experience in commerce technology, but we also know that customer expectations are constantly evolving. For this reason, we’ve built future-proof solutions and refined an agile execution process that helps our clients achieve more with less. As a Publicis Sapient company, Corra joins a global network spanning 20,000 people with 53 offices around the world enabling us to accelerate our clients’ businesses through designing and building the experiences and services their customers demand.

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