From a conversion optimization standpoint, there’s only one thing worse than business porn, and that’s stolen business porn.
Do you know how copyright works? Are you sure you understand “fair use” of content? Are you vulnerable to having your trademarks stolen from you?
These are some of the questions Ruth Carter addressed in her Ungagged conference presentation Social Media Horror Stories. It may help you avoid copyright infringement, unline Perez Hilton and having your trademark taken by companies like Adecco.
My favorite line from her presentation is

Google: This is not where you go to find images. This is where you go to infringe someone.
Google: This is not where you go to find images. This is where you go to infringe someone.
She is quick to point out that this does not constitute legal advice. This will not qualify you to make legal decisions. And, as Crystal Cox found out the hard way, always hire a lawyer if you suspect you have an issue.

Copyright Infringement, Trademarks and More

This infographic is taken from my instagraph notes from her presentation.

Social Media Nightmares

Ruth opens her presentation with the cautionary tale of Justine Sacco’s journey to South Africa. She jumped on an 11-hour flight after launching an ill-advised tweet to her 170 followers. By the time she had landed, she had been vilified on Twitter. The hash tag #hasjustinelandedyet trended to the top. She had been fired.
Other nightmares can be found in the infographic. Infringer beware.

What are the characteristics of a high-performing organic web page? How would you measure it? What are the things that get it shared?
In his Ungagged Conference presentation “Increasing Your Content IQ” Jordan Koene gives us three strategies for SEO Content that pulls backlinks and organic visitors to the page, the relevant engaged kind of visitors.

Key Strategies for Effective SEO Content

His advice is well-placed based on the data he presented from his company Search Metrics.

  1. Focus on Content Topics (not just keywords)
  2. Know your real competitors (not just the ones you hate)
  3. Understand what people remember (not just what you want them to remember)

Here are my instagraph notes from the presentation.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks

Keep these proven copywriting hacks in mind to make your copy convert.

  • 43 Pages with Examples
  • Assumptive Phrasing
  • "We" vs. "You"
  • Pattern Interrupts
  • The Power of Three

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This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

During the holiday shopping season, everyone seems to turn into Santa Claus. An infographic from Slant states that “nearly 2/3 of the top 1,000 e-retailers offered discounts” last year.

Frankly, I’m more than a little surprised that it was only two thirds. Offering discounts during the holidays kind of seems like a given. Everyone does it from the largest brick-and-mortar chains to the smallest Etsy shop. These sales are so pervasive that I imagine there’s a good deal of social pressure to give deep discounts, and as a consumer, I’d probably be a little curious about why a business isn’t taking that route.

How did the discounting trend get started in the first place?

FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out, is a very real phenomenon.

FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out, is a very real phenomenon.

The fear of missing out is an emotional trigger that undeniably leads to people clicking the purchase button in higher numbers. And when I think about companies moving away from discounts, I’m reminded of the epic fail that was JC Penney’s rebranding and decision to stop using coupons in favor of lowering prices across the board. When the coupons went away, so did millions of dollars.

But what if discount culture isn’t helping you reap the benefits you think it is? Slant’s infographic makes the case that maybe you should reconsider discounts. If the thought of losing out on the upcoming money-spending frenzy that is the holiday shopping season is frightening, this infographic isn’t just dropping bad news on you and fleeing the scene. It also gives actionable solutions that are proven to drive sales.

Why Discounting Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be

Ultimately, the benefits of discounting are short-sighted. (And there was quite a bit more going on with JC Penney than getting rid of coupons. This is a prime example of a blunder that could have been avoided with split-testing.)

The short-term benefits of discounting aren't even all that convincing.

The short-term benefits of discounting aren’t even all that beneficial.

Cornflakes experienced a 500% increase in sales! That’s insane! I can clearly picture that email subject line turning up in the inboxes of the whole Cornflakes marketing crew. Too bad there’s a “but” in that sentence.

Groupon ran into this problem. Consumers love it, but it can be bad for businesses. One massage therapist complained that “everyone who came in for his promotion got a massage and then walked out. Most of them didn’t spend anything beyond getting the freebie. He lost money on the promotion itself and there was no way to recoup that loss.” That article about Groupon has both pros and cons, but the cons are big.

Discounts can hurt not only your business, but your brand. Slant’s infographic states that “81% of hoteliers [are] discounting more now than they were five years ago, with 75% saying this has done damage to their brand.” That’s an awfully big sacrifice for a boost in sales that isn’t even sustainable for more than a day.

All these sales mean you must be offing crappy merchandise.

All these sales mean you must be offing crappy merchandise.

The lower prices give your best item the intrinsic value of an outlet mall. To me, that means it’s kind of what I’m looking for, but I anticipate the Banana Republic outlet mall sweater I just bought is going to unravel much sooner than if had I bought it at a retail Banana Republic.

Is Discounting Just Treating the Symptoms?

Why are you offering discounts in the first place? To boost sales.

Which means people aren’t buying.

You may believe that you can’t keep up with competitors because they’re offering discounts. Are you certain that they would buy if your competitors didn’t discount? If so, then you are essentially resorting to bribery.

What are the reasons shoppers don’t buy from you?

Only 2 percent of online shoppers convert on their first visit to an online store.
If only 2% of shoppers are converting right away, you either need to figure out how to boost impulse buying without a sale or put in more effort to get customers to return.

Free shipping is an example of an impulse booster. If the power of free shipping hasn’t been drilled into you enough, consider this.

People are four to five times more likely to buy the first bag.

People are four to five times more likely to buy the first bag.

Are you getting that these are the same exact bag? And you’d be paying the exact same price? Understand what you’re losing when you don’t offer free shipping: 61% of shoppers would abandon what’s in their cart if free shipping isn’t an option.

Equally important as free shipping, 61% of shoppers read reviews of products. Consumer reviews are even more important than the product descriptions.

61 percent of customers read reviews before purchashing

Are Loyalty Programs the Anti-Coupon?

One of the alternatives to discounting from the infographic is the use of loyalty programs. If discounts and coupons hold appeal for you, and you think they’d work well with your clientele, loyalty programs might be a worthwhile option.

Loyalty programs may hold the appeal you're looking for

Loyalty programs may hold the appeal you’re looking for.

One of our Conversion Scientists is extremely loyal to Southwest Airlines and has gone to great lengths – like booking extra, random flights – to secure a companion. Another one favors the loyalty program at a bicycle shop that gave a steep discount on his new bike.

I personally drive several miles out of my way to a local local grocery store because I get 10% off my purchase every quarter and a few bucks back at the end of every fiscal year. The entire film Up in the Air places an airline loyalty program at the center of the story.

You may be occasionally offering a discount or a coupon to your loyalty program customers, but this person demonstrated that they are unlikely to take the discount and walk away. There’s a level of commitment here that you aren’t going to find with a door buster sale. People don’t commit to brands that they perceive to be low-quality.

Check out the entire infographic below for even more conversion boosting tips that will help stop the reliance on discounting.

How to drive e-commerce sales without discounting infographic

When you’re building a blog to bring traffic to your site, it’s the organic search traffic that makes or breaks your efforts. A blog post is an SEO landing page. It draws visitors through the graces of the search engines.

SEO landing pages are challenging, primarily because it takes time to see which of them are going to work. By publishing frequently on a blog, we get a chance to try out a wide variety of SEO landing pages. Over time, we can see which drive growing SEO traffic and which don’t.

We name our SEO landing pages based on the traffic patterns they produce. Last week, I told you about Icebergs, Eagles, Burps and Fizzes. Now I’m going to show you how to quantify these.

You can get the background in my Marketing Land column Evaluating Website Performance: I’m All About That Slope.


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A Flock of Eagles

Eagles don’t travel in flocks. However, when you have a bevy of eagles roosting on your website, the results are astounding.
Eagles are those blog posts which draw more and more traffic over time. Not all Eagles are created equal. Using the tools outlined in my column we can understand which of our posts is flapping along and which is using afterburners.

Following are the aggregated traffic of nine SEO landing pages that have begun to soar, or show signs of becoming an Eagle.

A bunch of landing pages with relatively slow individual growth can add up to some serious overall traffic.

A bunch of landing pages with relatively slow individual growth can add up to some serious overall traffic.

Of our top 25 posts, 14 are Eagles and two are Dodos, or Eagles that are slow to take off. Only eight are Burps or Burp Fizzes. Not bad.

Comparing SEO Landing Pages

We analyze blog posts based on the amount of organic traffic they bring, how quickly the organic traffic is growing, and how many subscribers they generate as measured by the conversion rate. Google Analytics offers a convenient Landing Pages report that provides the raw data for our analysis.

Here are two “Eagles.” Post A took off at a strong pace, while post B has been going for longer.

Which of these is the higher performer? The data tells us something that our eyes don’t see.

Which of these is the higher performer? The data tells us something that our eyes don’t see.

Which of these is the higher performer? The data tells us something that our eyes don’t see.

Using the SLOPE, INTERCEPT, and RSQ functions of Excel, we calculate a growth rate of 3.92% for post B and 6.30% for post A. Our confidence in the fit of the trendline for Post B is 0.81 and for Post A is 0.68. We have less confidence in Post A.

Post A seems to be flattening out, but many Eagles get new life and continue climbing. Maybe Post A will one day be an iceberg. So far, Post A has generated new subscribers at a rate more than double that of Post B.

Using Data to Guide SEO Landing Page Development

Here is a selection of SEO landing pages from The Conversion Scientist Blog and Course. I pulled this data from Google Analytics using the Behavior > Site Content > Landing Page report. We can get specific data for up to six landing pages by checking the box next to the item and clicking the Plot Rows button.

Checking the stories and clicking

Checking the stories and clicking “Plot Rows” tells Google Analytics to export your data.

These are ranked by the conversion rate for subscribers to our conversion mini course.

Trendlines: Slope, y-intercept, and R-squared value.

Trendlines: Slope, y-intercept, and R-squared value.

For each, I’ve calculated the key values of their trendline: Slope, y-intercept, and R-squared value. From this I can define the growth rate and organic traffic pattern.

We love the post “Can Live Chat Increase Conversions?” because it has a conversion rate of 0.61% and is growing at a nice clip at 3.52%. It’s a high-converting Eagle.

What do we do about the Low-R-Squared posts?

The R-squared values tell us that the slope and intercept data is suspect. Do we just ignore these?

For these, and the others that don’t make sense (71.38% initial growth rate?), I recommend zooming in on the most recent trends.
Our “5 Elements of Persuasive Writing” post is young and had a pretty big coming out via email. So, we’ll focus on the most recent trend in the data.

Taking a snapshot of the data can improve our confidence.

Taking a snapshot of the data can improve our confidence.

Here’s what it looks like in Excel.

Graph of blog post traffic with trendline

Graph of blog post traffic with trendline

You can see that we can increase our R-squared value to .54, and the rate for the more recent data is the slope (4.4956) divided by the intercept (17.975), which is 25%. So we have a .53 confidence that the orgranic traffic is growing at 25% for this post.

The infographic “What Makes Shoppers Click?” has an R-squared value of just 0.16.

Google analytics graph of traffic for blog post

Google analytics graph of traffic for blog post

However if we look at weeks 27 through 39, we get an amazing growth rate with a high R-squared value.

Graph of traffic from

Graph of traffic from “shoppers” blog post with trendline

For this more recent period, we see a growth rate of 34% (2.967/8.76920) and an R-squared value of 0.80.

Be Careful

If you’re not careful, you can choose your data points to tell whatever story you want it to tell. Furthermore, if you’re making decisions on too few data points, you may be making the wrong decisions.

When in doubt, choose the time frame that gives you the most data points and the most conservative results.

To understand the effectiveness of your SEO landing pages, count up  the number of Eagles you have as compared to those that aren’t growing. Use the landing page report in Google Analytics to find out which are resulting in the most conversions. Then calculate the slope and y-intercept to understand the future potential of these pages.

For additional reading, check out this piece on landing page best practices for optimal conversion.

Search engine algorithms are evolving at higher paces than ever before. The frequent updates to these algorithms – especially Google’s search algorithm updates – have made it harder to “game” the system using Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This has forced companies to bring at least one SEO specialist on board in order to gain and keep high rankings for their websites in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

At the same time, advances in data-collection tools has made conversion rate optimization (CRO) one of the highest returns on the marketing investment (ROI). Ironically, CRO is one of the most underused activities in the marketing department.

This paradox becomes apparent once you consider that obtaining the click that brings someone to your website is only the first step toward converting the visitor into a paying customer. From this perspective, CRO carries the burden of managing the entire user interaction, as opposed to SEO, which arguably only brings the visitor to the “front door.”

SEO and CRO Are Meant to Work Hand-in-Hand

With SEO, the basic point of focus is the webpage. In conversion optimization, the central concept is a PPC ad and a matched landing page. Nevertheless, the principles of search engine and conversion rate optimization are undeniably compatible. In fact, here are a few fundamentals that apply to both SEO and CRO:

  • A conversion optimized page will prove user friendly and more likely to receive inbound links and referrals, thus improving SEO.
  • Having clear and relevant headlines, as opposed to excessively creative ones, will improve both SEO and CRO.
  • Using clear content hierarchy with proper heading tags will help with SEO and keep focus on the progression of the message, which will help with conversion.
  • A conversion optimized page should be using plenty of relevant keywords that match what visitors are searching for.
  • Replacing complex presentations with digestible pieces of content will improve your SEO and conversion rate.
  • Search engines will favor pages that are updated frequently. Keeping layouts and content fresh will prove beneficial for both SEO and CRO.
  • Pages that focus on a single topic or product achieve better search engine rankings and improve conversion rate.

SEO Factors Inform CRO Efforts

The SEO field has been revolving around the standards imposed by search engines, especially Google’s ranking factors. Some of these are documented by Google, some are relatively obvious, others are not confirmed, and some sit at the brink of speculation or wishful thinking.
Since SEO revolves around ranking factors, which basically dictate the actions and tools needed in this field, it’s only natural that the SEO insights most relevant to CRO are rooted in these ranking factors.

1. Focus on User Behavior

Conversion optimization is data-driven, much like SEO. Web analytics are your greatest asset, but you will need to do additional research into user behavior. Segmentation analysis becomes quite important. Ask yourself this: “How do different segments interact with your website, and how can you optimize their particular experiences?”
The user interaction factors most likely to be useful in CRO and impact on conversion optimization are:

  • Dwell time and click backs focus on how long people spend on your page before returning to the original SERP. Session duration is also important. It measures the amount of time people spend on your site and may be used as a quality signal by Google.
    Average session duration in Google Analytics

    Average session duration in Google Analytics

    If you’re having trouble differentiating dwell time, session duration, and bounce rate, read this article published by Neil Patel on Search Engine Journal. It will clarify the topic.

  • Bounce rate is used to calculate the percentage of users who navigate away from your site after viewing a single page. Bounce rate probably cannot be a ranking factor by itself. Metrics that can’t be applied broadly, with the objective of identifying relevant and quality content, usually are not Google algorithm factors. However, bounce rate will surely influence the way you strategize for conversion, especially in creating the A/B tests fundamental to CRO.
  • Direct and repeat traffic are powerful indicators of quality for Google. They use data collected through Chrome to determine how often users visit any particular site. Pages with a lot of direct traffic are favored in SERPs, because they are much more likely to contain quality and engaging content.

2. It’s Not Just the Landing Page, It’s Also the Website

Conversion optimization extends beyond single pages, creating what we call conversion paths throughout the website. SEO dictates that breaking up content into multiple steps is usually a bad idea. CRO specialists tell us that multiple-step landing pages can convert better, by engaging respondents in a mutually productive dialogue and facilitating proper segmentation. For this reason, some form of consensus needs to be achieved in order to allow both SEO and CRO specialists to reach successful results.
Some of the site-level SEO factors most likely to influence CRO are:

  • Site Architecture and Sitemap improve your site’s relationship with Google, since they allow the engine to index your pages and more thoroughly organize your content. Make sure your website can accommodate conversion paths without messing up its logic.
  • Domain TrustRank is a very important ranking factor. TrustRank is a link analysis technique described in the famous paper Combating Web Spam with TrustRank by researchers Zoltan Gyongyi, Hector Garcia-Molina of Stanford University, and Jan Pedersen of Yahoo!. SEO by the Sea tells us more about TrustRank.
  • Google indexes SSL certificates and uses HTTPS as a ranking signal. People are reluctant when offering credit card details and other personal data over the Internet. Obtaining an SSL certificate is crucial to offering assurance to customers and letting Google know that you are running a legitimate business.
  • Mobile friendly sites rank better with Google. Even before the April 2015 “Mobile Friendly” Google algorithm update, it was not unthinkable to assume that mobile friendly sites had an advantage in searches from mobile devices. Google actually displays “Mobile friendly” tags next to mobile search results.
    Google's mobile friendly tags

    Google’s mobile friendly tags

    Also, keep in mind that Google has precise standards for evaluating what constitutes mobile friendly design. Google WebMaster Central offers details about mobile friendly requirements. To assess your website’s current mobile performance, check out this Mobile Friendly Test.

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks

Keep these proven copywriting hacks in mind to make your copy convert.

  • 43 Pages with Examples
  • Assumptive Phrasing
  • "We" vs. "You"
  • Pattern Interrupts
  • The Power of Three

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

3. If Content Is King, the Webpage Is Its Kingdom

In both SEO and CRO, content is king. In SEO, this wins you links. In conversion optimization, it wins you customers. You should never allow technical aspects to eclipse what is truly important: compelling value propositions and meaningful brand experiences.

Page-level SEO factors that will prove crucial for conversion

Using keywords correctly throughout webpages is critical when trying to improve your search engine ranking and your conversion rates as part of your online marketing strategy. Keywords must be used in:

  • URLs.
  • Title tags. Place top-performing keywords in descending order and make sure that the title tag reflects the most important keywords used on that particular page. Here are 9 best practices for optimized < title > tags (Search Engine Land).
  • Description tags. This MOZ article states, “While not important to search engine rankings, [Meta Description Tags] are extremely important in gaining user click-through from SERPs.”
  • Heading tags. The heading tag is useful in outlining whole sections of content. It impacts both the SEO and usability of websites. For information on how to use these tags, consult this article from
  • The body text. Fairly distributing the keywords throughout the content is crucial. You may want your keywords to be the most frequently used elements on the page. However, do not overstuff content with keywords. Use them intelligently and always favor usability. A link or review from an established source – thanks to the quality of your content – will weigh much more than keyword density. On the other hand, keyword prominence might be an important relevancy signal. Make sure to include your keywords in snippets and in the first 100 words of your content.

A great page layout influences rankings and conversion, if not directly as a quality signal, at least by scoring in the “user friendly category.” This keeps readers coming back for more. The page layout on highest quality pages makes the main content immediately visible.
Content length. While life on- and off-line speeds up and our attention span keeps narrowing, you would expect content to get shorter in order to efficiently catch the attention of users. On the contrary, long articles rank and convert better than short ones. Review the results of an A/B testing experiment conducted by Neil Patel, demonstrating the superior efficiency of long copy.

4. Build Links, Build Trust, Build Rapport

One of the driving goals of SEO is link building. Conversion optimization deals with links mostly in terms of conversion paths. Landing pages usually do not contain links themselves other than for the call to action (CTA). However, many SEO factors concerning link building can apply to CRO in crucial ways. Here are some examples:

  • The quality and word-count of the linking content make a big difference in link value. For example, receiving a link from a 2,000+ word well-written article weighs in much more than a link from a short comment or a poorly written blog post.
  • “Poisonous” anchor text pointed toward your site may be a sign of spam or a hacked site. Either way, it can hurt your ranking and your conversion rates, particularly when the anchor texts in question are stuffed with pharmaceutical keywords.
  • If there are low-quality links pointing to your landing pages, or you receive unnatural links warnings from Webmaster Tools, you can always use the Disavow Tool. It will not remove the harmful links themselves, but at least it will eliminate them from Google’s assessment of your site.

    You have the option to disavow links

    You have the option to disavow links

  • Contextual links – links placed within the content of pages – are more valuable than links found in sidebars, footers, or anywhere else on the page. So on top of the PPC ads, try getting your landing pages mentioned in relevant content on relevant websites.

5. Your Brand Needs a Social Identity to Attract and Convert

In terms of the decision to purchase, user behavior has been shifting toward a multi-source, multiple stage process over the last few years. Regardless of how persuasive your landing pages are and how well they bring customers to the realization that you have the answer to their specific needs, your brand needs to back up its claims with a healthy social media presence and an SEO effort that encompasses social factors. Here are a few of the factors that can inform CRO specialists on what needs to be done:

  • Google officially favors real brands and real businesses, with real offices and real people, so it only makes sense they would verify businesses and brands by their website and social media location data. MOZ goes even further and suggests that Google looks at whether a website is associated with a tax-paying business.
  • Brands have Facebook pages with many likes and Twitter profiles with many followers. Moreover, serious businesses have proper company Linkedin pages. Interestingly, Rand Fishkin, co-founder of MOZ, states that having many Linkedin profiles that list working for your company will improve your rankings and might actually constitute a brand signal.
  • Social media account authority weighs considerably in SERPs, especially since social media has become a major influencer of consumer behavior. An infographic published by Social Media Today shows how social media influences consumers, the types of content that deliver the most impact, and more.
A link shared on multiple accounts will be more valuable than the same link shared multiple times on one account.

A link shared on multiple accounts will be more valuable than the same link shared multiple times on one account.

Wrapping It Up

Looking ahead, experts predict a major detachment from traditional ranking factors to a much deeper analysis of perceived site value, authority, structured data, and social signals. Automation is transforming digital marketing, turning SEO and CRO into much more precise and effective fields in the process. Ideally, within this decade Google’s services and search algorithm will evolve to a level that will allow us to fully customize our proposals according to our customers’ buying cycles.

Feature image licensed by Bgubitz through Creative Commons and adapted for this post.

“We’ve got mCommerce covered. Sincerely, the rest of the world.”

What if I told you that there was an under-served segment of your marketplace, a segment that is growing three times faster than your current visitors? What if I told you this segment was using mobile apps at an alarming rate?
Would you be interested in knowing more about this segment? Worldwide venture capital firms are investing in this segment, more than any other right now.
Yes, it’s the mobile commerce segment, that portion of your visitors that will purchase from their phones, install apps for your marketplace and fuel the growth of all of our industries. Mobile commerce is exploding in the US, but this growth pales in comparison to other countries.
If you think mCommerce is important outside the US because they have more mobile users to begin with, you may be missing the point. All countries have a lot of mobile users, and that portion willing to buy on their phone or tablet is growing. While the rest of the world would like to see us resting on our desktop laurels, you can’t afford to oblige them, according to this infographic.
The global trend in online shopping favors mCommerce over desktop eCommerce. That’s not to say that eCommerce isn’t also growing – both mobile and desktop online shopping are steadily increasing, but mobile growth eclipses desktop with a projected growth that’s 300% greater than traditional eCommerce over the next few years.

mCommerce is expected to grow at 300% the rate of traditional eCommerce

mCommerce is expected to grow at 300% the rate of traditional eCommerce

mCommerce is such an international trend that you might be surprised to see that several of the top mobile retailers of 2014 are companies that would be unfamiliar to the average American shopper. (Though the number one retailer is hardly shocking.)
The top 10 mobile retailers of 2014

The top 10 mobile retailers of 2014

It’s true that this mobile trend is all over the world – some Scandinavian countries will see growth of over 50% – but there’s one part of the world that is seeing increases at an especially aggressive rate.
China has the highest number of mobile shoppers

China has the highest number of mobile shoppers

With China’s ever increasing role in our international economy, its number of mobile shoppers compared to other countries is to be expected, and the rest of Asia isn’t far behind.
Asian users are dominating the mobile marketplace

Asian users are dominating the mobile marketplace

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about why we like adaptive web design (AWD) better than responsive web design (RWD) for mobile websites, and one trend we are seeing is the tendency for successful mobile websites to look and behave like apps, so the popularity of apps over browser could signal a change in approach for some companies.
Mobile shopping through apps

Mobile shopping through apps

Check out the full infographic, courtesy of infographic

Feature image by Philippe Put via Compfight cc and adapted for this post.

If it’s backed by data, it’s not sexist. At least that’s what we tell ourselves. If the data says it’s true, it’s not stereotyping. We all know men and women shop differently. Except when they don’t. So this daring infographic, conspiring with the numbers to perpetuate some of our favorite stereotypes definitely caught our eye.
We were intrigued because you could replace the word “Men” with “Relational Shopppers” and the word “Women” with “Transactional Shoppers” and this infographic would still make sense.
We’ve written about relational versus transactional buying behaviors before. Did you tune us out? Just like a man, amiright ladies?
If we were to take the low road, we’d gleefully embrace the stereotypes presented here. However, we’ve chosen to take this opportunity to redirect our attention to two important buying behaviors that you can use to increase sales on your website.
Yes, there are real differences between men and women. Take a few deep breathes if this comes as a shock.
The infographic from eCommerce Platforms affords us the view that men and women tend to fall on either side of the transactional/relational buying divide. Women tend to be more transactional whereas men are more relational.
What’s transactional about women’s shopping preferences? According to the infographic:


  • They are responsive to marketing emails, coupons, and sales.

  • They are more selective about products and are more likely to buy something that fits all of their requirements.

And what’s relational about men’s shopping preferences?


  • They need detailed product descriptions and product comparisons.

  • Their need is immediate, so they’re less likely to be shopping just for the sake of shopping.

  • They are less interested in discounts.

Different buying behaviors of men versus women

Different buying behaviors of men versus women (women are pink and men teal)

Some statistics that sum it up best tell us that price is less important to men that it is to women. The greatest fear of a transactional shopper is paying too much and, as women are more likely to do, will shop longer to get a bargain. Relational shoppers see the shopping process as part of the cost. Like men, they will pay more to reduce shopping time.
Shopping behaviors of men versus women

Women’s behaviors are in pink; men’s in teal.

That stereotype that women love the experience of shopping holds up if we’re to believe that they shop based on future needs and that they are more likely than men to be shopping for other people as well as themselves. It’s the opposite for relational shoppers and men. Shopping needs to be easy and uncomplicated.

Move Past the Stereotypes

Not every woman is a transactional shopper and not every man is relational. But designing for your stereotypically transactional woman will pay off for transactional men as well. Relational shoppers will respond to relational buying cues regardless of their sex.
As I studied this infographic, I couldn’t help but think about my own (female) shopping behaviors. I mentally went through a checklist for each item that supposedly applied to me and which did not. Turns out, I’m kind of a dude.
With this realization, I was immediately taken back to my middle school and high school days when my older, cooler brother asked me to go to the mall with him. If that was the road to his approval, obviously I was going to be into shopping. New favorite hobby, right? Wrong. I hate shopping!
I went back through the entire infographic, checking off his behaviors this time. Turns out, he’s kind of a girl.
For the most part, I’m pretty girly and he’s a bro, but we don’t fulfill gender expectations when it comes to online shopping. What stuck out the most to me is that my needs are immediate and his rarely are. If you don’t have an immediate need, why else would you be looking to spend money except that you enjoy the experience?
future vs immediate needs
It’s the same idea with impulse buying or being logical with your purchases. I almost always spend a lot of time mulling over whether I actually need something, and I try to think through all of the ways that buying a particular item is going to make my life easier or how often I’ll use it if I buy it.
impulse vs logic
A more subtle character trait is how we choose what we’re going to buy.How to choose which product to buy
Here are a few of my brother’s most trusted review sources.

My brother's review sources

My brother’s review sources

Nope, you don’t know these people. They’re just a bunch of his friends.  On the other hand, I used to be a librarian, so the reviews I trust look a little different.
My review sources

My review sources

I also noticed an area where marketers could easily get my brother to spend more money.
The online shopping experience
He has never really been into social media, but he recently joined Instagram, and it felt like our family dynamic changed overnight. I now get a play-by-play of his life complete with as many hashtags as he can imagine.
Documentation of a very successful shopping trip

Documentation of a very successful shopping trip

Since he’s still new to social media his hashtags are mostly jokes, but eventually he’s going to realize that he can use them so that they’re searchable. When that day comes, I’m sure I’ll be flooded with hashtags about Yeti coolers, Bud Lite with Lime, and whatever brand makes those flip-flops with the beer bottle opener in the sole. He will absolutely love sharing and being able to see how other people are using all of the things he loves.
Since I’m on the other end of the spectrum, I don’t have a Facebook screenshot to share about the Warby Parker at-home try-on sunglasses that just came in the mail. You just won’t find me posting about my online shopping experiences. Instead I’ll be posting cute pictures of my cat.
This is Frankie, and she's wearing a cute hat.

This is Frankie, and she’s wearing a cute hat.

What’s the moral of the story?

There is actual data to support the claim that, in general, the shopping behaviors of men and women are different. But there is also plenty of evidence that stereotypes don’t always hold up or that individuals are complex in their buying behaviors. And even that transactional versus relational shopping behaviors are situational.
When it comes to increasing conversions for your own business, being able to generalize about your buyers could be helpful, but not as helpful as using data specific to the visitors of your own website, not just the internet as a whole.  What if all of your customers are just like my brother and me?
Infographic describing the differences between men's and women's shopping behaviors
Thanks to for sharing.

What are online shoppers looking for?  No matter what you’re selling, knowing the answer to this question is the first step to figuring out how to give them what they want.
The Conversion Scientists here spend their time testing ecommerce sites, and they know that the recommendations in this infographic can work for your online store. But not always.
For example, you should be careful about offering more shipping options.

Though 50% of the people in a survey said they wanted more shipping options, our tests have shown that too many choices reduces sales.
Though 50% of the people in a survey said they wanted more shipping options, our tests have shown that too many choices reduces sales.
Online shopping is constantly growing, and now over two thirds of consumers shop online at least once a month. A whopping 0% never shop online, that is, 0% of people who respond to shopping surveys. Don’t you love statistics?
Numbers like that are pretty solid motivation to figure out exactly what’s going to make a person press the buy button, and an illuminating infographic sharing tips and trends for eStores is a great place to start.

It probably comes as no surprise that offering free shipping helps nudge people into spending money, but it may be surprising just how much it matters.  For 80% of online shoppers, free shipping makes them more likely to buy something. More than three fourths of online shoppers will add items to their shopping cart if it means not paying for shipping.
With the US spending billions of dollars in ecommerce, how much money are you losing by not offering free shipping?
Customers are also much more likely to convert if they know they can easily return an item they no longer want.
This is another factoid with a catch. You must state your “shipping both ways” return policy such that the visitors see and understand it. This usually takes some testing of language and placement.
Too many ecommerce sites have an amazing return policy that is invisible to their shoppers.
Too many ecommerce sites have an amazing return policy that is invisible to their shoppers.
Of online shoppers, at least half of them will use their smartphone or tablet to make purchases over the course of three months.  Having a mobile strategy is crucial to serving those potential customers, especially since many of them won’t do any comparison shopping if they’re using an app to shop.

Give Shoppers What They Want Infographic from

Will any of these ideas work on your ecommerce site?

Conversion Sciences turnkey testing team will find out what will and won’t work. Get a free consultation and quote from an experienced website optimization expert and find out how much revenue you’re missing out on right now.
Thanks to Alight for sharing.

Feature Image Photo Credit: Fosforix via Compfight cc

One of the great benefits of speaking at great conferences is getting to learn from your peers in the industry. Joel Harvey and I did our first LIVE tag-team presentation called “The Chemistry of the Landing Page.”
Tim Ash gave an insightful and “inciteful” keynote presentation at the PPC Hero Conference here in Portland Oregon. Here are my instagraph notes taken live as he spoke.

Tim Ash Hero Conf 2015 Context Power of Framing

Click to Enlarge

If the Zombie Apocalypse struck tomorrow, and the only way not to become the walking dead was to throw away your mobile device, who would be the winners and losers?

According to an intriguing infographic, you’d be more likely to be file-swapping on Dropbox than binge-watching on Netflix. You’d be more likely to get your news the same way your grandparents do. You’d be back to reading the New York Times online instead of Buzzfeed, which now interprets world events by comparing them to your favorite episodes of Friends.

Would you have predicted that Sears would suddenly be more popular than Pandora.  I guess we’ll be needing somewhere to buy a new Walkman to take to the gym.

Somehow Google would still manage to rule the Internet world which is hardly surprising since

“Encarta it” just doesn’t have the same ring as “Google it.”

In case you’re wondering where Encarta falls into the mix, I had to Google it to read a Wikipedia article about it.

This little thought exercise underscores the winners and losers in the mobile game. Many businesses claim that mobile isn’t important enough yet, or that their offering doesn’t lend itself to mobile. Netflix and Buzzfeed dominate their marketplace in part because they embraced mobile early and often.

If you believe your visitors are hunched over a desktop when they visit your site, you are setting yourself up to be the mobile-unfriendly loser in your marketplace. Are you creating your own Zombie Apocalypse?

Ask Conversion Sciences how we turn low-converting mobile visitors into leads and sales.

And let’s all breathe a collective sigh of relief that Craigslist would still be a solid option for finding your next creepy roommate since its popularity doesn’t take quite the hit of more fashion-forward websites in this mobile-devoid alternate universe.

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