ecommerce optimization

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.


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.
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.

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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. @bmassey via @MarketingLand
Tweet: The job of the product page is to provide what the visitor needs to decide to “Add to Cart.” @bmassey
Tweet: Eye-tracking simulators estimate what an eye-tracking study would tell us without the expense. @bmassey
Tweet: When your marketplace offers a spectrum of prices and features visitors are paralyzed by choice. @bmassey

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)
  • 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.

They buy your “communication product” first.

Look at any product description on any website. Peruse any brochure. You will find a list of features designed to tell you why the product will do the things you need it to do to solve your problem.

Imagine a marketing department run like a product development department. How would that change the focus?

Communications Products are the first purchase

They will probably have a check mark next to them.

What you will not find on these lists are features like these:

  • A helpful website so you make the right decision
  • Informative reports and white papers offered free of charge
  • An active Facebook page full of the opinions of our users
  • A well-labeled box placed in the right part of the store so you can easily find it

How a product or service communicates is not considered an important feature. This is why marketers — who develop the communication features — struggle to keep their staff and budgets during a downturn. This is why Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) don’t have a seat at the executive table with the CEO, President, COO and CFO.

To the executives, marketing doesn’t create products or sales. Marketing is a cost center.

Prospects actually become customers when they buy your communication products

The first purchase a prospect makes from your company is a communication product. It is the flyer, brochure, website, report, article, press announcement, blog post, webinar, etc. that you provide, ostensibly to help them understand how your product will help them solve a problem or entertain them.

They only occasionally pay with money. More often, they pay with their time, their attention, or with their contact information to continue the conversation. Since they don’t pay with money, marketing never shows up on the bottom line. It’s always seen as a cost.

Now, if a customer is satisfied with their “purchase,” they become a repeat customer taking more communication products. They also buy your company’s offering — for real money. Sales will get credit for the latter.

The mistake marketers make is creating communication products that are only focused on persuading prospects to buy the money-based products. How would things change if they focused on building great communication products instead?

The New Marketing Department

Imagine a marketing department run like a product development department. How would that change the focus?

Marketing DepartmentCommunications Products Department
Develops campaignsDevelops products that communicate (educate, inform and entertain)
Creates promotional contentCreates relevant, educational, or entertaining content
Targets product usersTargets influencers, approvers and gatekeepers as well as product users
Watches marketing metrics and buzzWatches time spent with the “products,” customer satisfaction, repeat “buys”
Has a websiteProvides online services to help prospects solve their problems
Creates a competitive matrixCreates better communications products than competitors (who are stuck with a marketing department)
Prepares “messaging” and approved copy matricesDiscovers new ways to help their communications product customers
Stays “on brand”Improves the brand with great communication experiences
Bases budgets on the cost of campaignsBases budgets on the feature set needed to win in the communications marketplace
Builds brand with frequency and relevanceBuilds brand by frequently helping prospects find information they are looking for
Segments the marketplace and creates targeted messages for each segmentCreates buyer personas for their communication products, and then delivers the products that serve them

This list could go on. What would you add? Tell us in the comments.

I’ll be talking about how buyer personas drive bigger marketing budgets at ProductCamp Austin on Saturday, August 15. Come out and let’s talk about great communications products.

Photo courtesy lusi

Is Flavia going to help us get some x’s, o’s and some !’s?

Happy Valentines Day from Conversion Sciences and Flavia

Happy Valentines Day from Conversion Sciences and Flavia

It’s time for another special ConversionCast compliments of our friends at Flavia. We look at the three strategies that will make or break an eCommerce site:

  • Categories
  • Product Pages
  • Checkout Process

We also take a hard look at their Home page.
Flavia has one thing going for them: they have metrics installed. In fact, they are double covered with metrics from Omniture Site Catalyst and Google Analytics. This means they know if a change will make a difference in their sales.

Will their customers be their Valentines by buying their products? I’ll try to find out for you.
Brian Massey's social graph
You can submit your site or landing page for a ConversionCast. Don’t miss our ChristmasCast if you’re into Holiday conversion.
“Valentine” courtesy Daniel Adam Johnson via the Podsafe Music Network