ecommerce optimization

We were very surprised by the marquee results of a TrustRadius survey on Conversion Rate Optimization.

While 72% of the companies surveyed have implemented some CRO processes, only 18% of them consider CRO as “Part of their DNA”.

We would speculate that many of these 18% of companies are in very competitive commodity industries, such as travel, office supplies, and pet apparel. In other words, they had to optimize or die.
These aren’t the only industries in dire need of optimization, however. While CRO isn’t a zero-sum game, you do not want to find yourself playing catch-up with your competitors. As this survey shows, CRO is a key competitive advantage online, just as SEO has been.
TrustRadius is in a unique position to conducted a survey of businesses. They offer some of the most helpful reviews of business software on the Web, and were able to get 4100 companies to complete the survey. This is statistically significant stuff.
Here are some of the highlights from their survey.

  • 58% of companies spend more than $10,000 per year on digital analytics, while 44% spend that much per year on A/B testing tools.
  • 59% of companies have plans to spend more this year than in the previous year on digital analytics tools, but only 48% plan to increase spending on A/B testing tools. Download the TrustRadius Buyers Guide to see what they are spending that money on.
  • The vast majority of companies (91%) use between two and ten digital analytics tools regularly.

Check out the full report now and then give Conversion Sciences a call to see what you can do to inject CRO into your DNA.

As Conversion Scientists, we obviously eat this stuff for breakfast.  We’ll show you how much money you could be making with our 120-day Conversion Catalyst™ program.  It’s free, and it’s invaluable.
Jump on a call with us at (888) 961-6604.  You’ll be glad you did.

There’s an old (and probably sexist) saying that I often apply to many online marketing decisions.

If you’ve got it, flaunt it. If you don’t, flaunt it more.

The online store Magic Of Fire has “it.”

  • A great product or service.
  • A bona fide value proposition.
  • Top people working behind the scenes.
  • Customers who will tell your story.
  • A great guarantee, warranty or return policy.

We have a scientific name for guarantees, warranties and generous return policies: Risk Reversal.

Magic of Fire offered an amazing guarantee. It goes something like this:

“Shipping is free. If you trust us enough to buy from us, we promise that, if you have any issues with your product or our service, we’ll pay to ship your item back at our expense and refund your purchase price.”

Now, can you find this promise on their product page?

Magic of Fire Ecommerce Product Page

I put it through our Scanning Electron Microscope and eventually found a “Free Shipping” logo near the bottom of the page. I eventually found a link to their return policy, with the text “100% Satisfaction.”

Cliche is not flaunting. Avoid language like “Satisfaction Guaranteed” and “No Risk” and “No obligation.” These no longer mean anything.

If you’ve got it flaunt it.

Risk Reversal Means Never Having to Say Goodbye

When you purchase from a glass and cement store (nothing is brick and mortar anymore), you know that you have an easy out if you don’t like what you bought. You’ll march right in there, slam it down on the customer service desk and demand your money.

Not so much online.

This makes buyers delay hitting that checkout button. They procrastinate, surf other parts of your site and wait for circumstance to save them from making the final decision.

This is especially true if you’ve done a poor job building trust and credibility with your site. The fear is that they will get a lump of coal deposited on their doorstep when they expected a snuggly with a heart-shaped pattern. And they will have no store to storm into.

It sounds “risky.”

Relational buyers will fear getting stuck with the wrong product.

Transactional buyers fear that shipping fees will ruin their great deal, especially if they want to return it (and they will return anything they don’t like).

“Risk reversal” turns “risky” into “safe.”

I recommended that Magic of Fire bring their fantastic return policy right up next to the Add to Cart button on their all-important product pages. I also recommended that they make their free shipping available all over the site, especially in the checkout process.

These two changes alone should deliver a significant boost in conversion rates and revenue per visit.

Does Risk Reversal Really Work?

Magic of Fire’s Mark Oakley called me for a free consultation. After meeting Mark over Skype and hearing his shipping and return policies, I bought a beautiful “star and moon” fire pit for my house.

Zappos has the most famous risk reversal story in the online world. Their 365 day return policy with shipping both ways is one reason their sales reached $1 billion in ten years. That’s amazing growth for a commodity apparel store.

Are you flaunting it?

This is just one mistake that businesses make when selling online.

Businesses who have great products or services with amazing value propositions and great reputations continue to struggle online.

We’re the people who change that.

Jump on a call with us at (888) 961-6604. It’s free, and we’ll show you how much money you could be making with our 120-day Conversion Catalyst™ program.

Update

Mark has apparently taken my advice to heart, placing his free shipping offer all over the site and adding risk reversal near his “Add to Cart” button.

Magic of Fire sitewide free shipping offer.

Magic of Fire sitewide free shipping offer.

The feature free shipping in a visible place on the product pages as well.

Magic of Fire free shipping offer on the Product Page.

Magic of Fire free shipping offer on the Product Page.

Want to find out how this turns out? Subscribe to The Conversion Scientist.

Let me put a finer point on the concept of “flaunting.” This is flaunting:

Make your best risk reversal offers pop on your pages

Make your best risk reversal offers pop on your pages.

This 20 second design may not match your brand, but you should strive to find something that pops for something as important as your risk reversal.

I’ll give a free signed book to anyone who can tell me in the comments where I heard “If you’ve got it flaunt it. If you don’t flaunt it more.”

One Republic’s breakout hit in 2007 was “Apologize.” It’s a very sad-yet-beautiful tune.
It’s also one of those songs that our brains like to play with.
“It’s too late to order fries. It’s too laaaaate.”
Every year when September rolls around, my brain hears a different word than “Apologize.”
“It’s too late to optimize. It’s too laaaaaate.”
Do you hear it? Many of the businesses we work with have huge spikes in traffic during the November and December holiday season. Unfortunately, if we hear from them in September, we have to confess that they’ve missed the window to do meaningful conversion optimization before the holiday rush locks everything down.
“It’s too late to optimize…”


It may not be too late to optimize.

Right now, it’s not too late to optimize. We can make meaningful progress on your conversion rate before Black Friday and Cyber Monday hit.
If you would like to ride the holiday season with 10% or 15% more sales, we can help you.
But we have to start soon.
Contact us now and ask about our Conversion Catalyst™, our proven 120-day process for finding improvements quickly and scientifically.
Optimize so you don’t have to apologize.
You tell me that you need me, then you go and cut me down.
You tell me that you’re sorry, didn’t think I’d turn around, and say.
It’s too late to optimize. It’s too laaaaaate.

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If Psychology is the practice of understanding a person through their actions and behaviors, isn’t website optimization pretty much the same thing?
The folks who invited me to speak at the Chinwag Psych Conference in London think so. Here’s why.
What a person says they are feeling and thinking doesn’t let a psychologist know what is going on in their subconscious. It’s the subconscious that drives our behaviors more than our rational, conscious minds.
No, the psychologist has to read between our words, evaluate our unconscious behaviors to begin to see deeper.
A Conversion Scientist can ask a web audience what they expect from a website and why the did or did not buy. The answers will be rationalizations, and often will contradict the actual actions of these visitors.
We have to read between the lines, watching their online behavior. Our analytics database is like our couch.
In the end, both the psychologist and the Conversion Scientist must speculate as to why people behave the way they do.
The psychologist may recommend additional therapy. They may prescribe medication. If they are good, they will monitor the patients to see how the treatment worked.
After seven years of website optimization, I may need medication.
The Conversion Scientist may prescribe building trust, stronger language, more social proof, better images and more. And we always measure the effectiveness of these “treatments.”
So, if you’re in London on May 15, you should come and see an amazing lineup of psychologist-marketers. Nathalie Nahai, Craig Sullivan, André Morys, and Bart Schutz round out my list of favorites.
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P.S. Get nine articles that I’ve personally selected to round out your knowledge of website optimization. Signup right here.

World Market Opacity What parts of your ecommerce product page are seen in the crucial first seconds of a visit?

What’s the worst and the best thing that could happen to your e-commerce site?
The answer is that a Conversion Scientist tried to buy something from you.
It’s good because, we are very likely to write about our experience. It’s bad because we are going to point out what you’re doing wrong.
We recently tried to buy some stand-up desks for some of the team here at Conversion Sciences. Like so many shoppers, we found ourselves paralyzed by choice.
In true Conversion Scientist form, we decided to collect some data to help us with our choice. We compared desks at National Business Furniture, Rakuten and World Market. However, our decision to buy was based on how their product pages performed, not on price and features.
We invented the game Product Page Roulette.
Find out which site won our dollars (and probably the dollars of many other visitors) in my Marketing Land column An Expensive E-commerce Game: Product Page Roulette.


Subscribe to the Podcast

Please Click to Tweet one of these

Why the @WorldMarket site is winning the ecommerce game.
Tweet: Roulette is a game of chance. Your product pages shouldn’t be a game of chance. http://ctt.ec/0Kv4R+ @bmassey via @MarketingLand
Tweet: The job of the product page is to provide what the visitor needs to decide to “Add to Cart.” http://ctt.ec/bN7e1+ @bmassey
Tweet: Eye-tracking simulators estimate what an eye-tracking study would tell us without the expense. http://ctt.ec/n5EGO+ @bmassey
Tweet: When your marketplace offers a spectrum of prices and features visitors are paralyzed by choice. http://ctt.ec/96a3c+ @bmassey
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7 Conversion Lessons Learned From Eye Tracking

@neilpatel collects some of the most interesting eye-tracking images available and provides seven insights that can help you design your pages and choose images. We have done our own eye-tracking study of business video and you can get the full report now. The report offers similar conclusions for the use of video in a landing page. It includes over 30 minutes of embedded video that you can watch yourself.
Neil’s conclusions include:

        

  • Be careful you you use [images of] people
  •     

  • That people love media (especially on search results pages)
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  • That men and women look at images differently
  •     

  • That simple images can be more effective
  •     

  • The power of the left side of the page
  •     

  • The power of faces
  •     

  • That people love hand-written notes (my favorite)

Enjoy the images he provides.

Shopping Cart Abandonment: Why It Happens & How To Recover Baskets Of Money

@peeplaja offers a great post on shopping cart abandonment
In my book I say that abandonment is like cholesterol: There is a good kind and a bad kind. For each there is a strategy for reducing the impact of abandonment on your business.
Good abandoners leave because they aren’t done with their shopping process. The challenge is to get them to come back and buy when they are done. There are several strategies here for retargeting the visitor who abandons using email and ads.
Bad abandoners leave because you surprised them or didn’t provide the information they were looking for. This kind of abandonment can be treated by improving the checkout process and by using pricing and shipping strategies.
Abandonment is the most heartbreaking of conversion killers. it is also a fertile place to increase the performance of your website.