online sales conversion

We test just about everything we can here at Conversion Sciences. We are always surprised by what new technologies teach us about people, even if the technologies aren’t widely available.
oPhoneWe’ve been fortunate to participate in a trial of the new oPhone, a device manufactured by Vapor Communications. The oPhone transmits scent across the Web, right to the desks of shoppers and to their olfactory receptors. Vapor has put the device into a large group of beta testers who keep it attached to their computers while they go about their daily tasks.
We designed a test to understand which scents drove more sales of which products on a client site that sold a variety of products. Would a leather scent sell more shoes? Would a male cologne make women buy more?
We designed a system that would send one of ten different scents to any individual oPhone beta users that visited a client website. They were never told when they were visiting an oPhone enabled site.
The scents we tested were leather, lavender, bubble gum, Old Spice cologne, new car, pine, Febreze®, Chanel No. 5, mint, and no-scent. Each  of these scents required that we have a separate oPhone attached wirelessly to a one of ten computers. These were then routed through our testing software for delivery to the oPhones attached to the beta testers’ computers.

Why odor is different from our other senses

Odor is of particular interest to us because of the way the brain processes odors. It is the only one of the five senses that bypasses the thalamus, the traffic-cop of the brain. Smells, it seems, have free and direct access to the limbic system – the “lizard brain” – and the neo-cortex, where memories and experiences are stored. This, it is believed, is why smells are able to transport us to places we’ve been before, affecting our moods, emotions, and appetite.
[pullquote position=”right”]Smell  requires fewer “clicks” to reach it’s destination.[/pullquote]
The oPhones device both “records” scents and “plays them back.” It will accept a scent in the form of a gas, spray or aerosol. The devices analyze the odor and transmit a signature to the host computer who then controls when that signature is sent (scent?) to the visitor’s computer via IP triangulation. If the visitor’s computer is connected to an oPhone, the odor is reproduced for them.
As our tests reached statistical significance, the “Old Spice cologne” odor was winning for all products in all categories, far above the other eight scents and the control (no scent).
“Why was mint so successful in driving sales?” we wondered. So we played the scent back on our oPhone.
It wasn’t Old Spice.
The subtle, yet nostril-inflaming aroma was quickly identified as belonging to the methane family of gases. Methane is rare in urban society, outside of the water closet.

One of our scents goes awry

It seems that keeping track of ten oPhones and ten computers and ten test treatments proved too much for the person setting up these tests. An investigation revealed that one of the team members dropped an oPhone into their lab coat pocket in a rush to get off to the bathroom.
During their extended visit to the loo, our test assistant was back in the lab capturing scent samples from each of the oPhones. She didn’t notice that one was missing. As far as we can tell, she captured a smell signature from the oPhone sitting in the pocket of his bowl-clearing colleague. It was supposed to be the “Old Spice” odor.
Of course, we were relieved to have discovered the error. We would have had trouble convincing people that this guy had the odoriferous secret to sales of almost any product.
We were also able to recommend some dietary changes to our colleague. Something just wasn’t right there.
Nonetheless, we were left with a puzzle. Why did a scent that no one would consider odorable win so handily in our tests.

Relief is a powerful motivator

We believe that the issue at work here is “relief.” Whatever our oPhone-stealing colleague had eaten the night before, the central compound in the odor was methane. This is true for all of us. After years of daily visits to our porcelain sculpture gardens, our brains learned to associate methane with a feeling of relief; a lighter feeling; a feeling that our vertical leap is maybe a few centimeters higher. All of these feelings were accompanied by one distinct smell: methane.
Methane means “things are good” to our limbic brains.
We speculate that people are tense when they shop. Perhaps the olfactory signal that relief has arrived made them feel more comfortable buying online. It could be true.
Another hypothesis is that the odor made them feel that they needed to empty their carts quickly, before they “had an accident.”
None of these conjectures can be verified without more testing.
What scent do you think we should test next? Let us know in the comments before April Fools day is over.
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Women’s Bay, Alaska – 98% of Shoppers abandon their full shopping carts.
In an event termed, “Reality imitating the Internet,” a trove of shoppers left shopping carts full of merchandise at the checkout counters of this small Alaskan discount retailer.
“Everything seemed fine, “ said store owner Edsel “Mac” Jones. “They were shopping, comparing prices, asking questions… then they just dropped off their carts and left.”
Jones estimates that some 100 carts were left for his employees to restock, and that only two store visitors completed their purchases.
When asked why they didn’t complete the checkout, shopper Marnisia “Seeya” Firth said, “Oh, I don’t have any money. I just love to shop! I still want to go abandon something at Crazy Lorath’s down the street before they close. Then maybe I’ll catch a movie.”
“Easy. The line was too long,” said abandoning shopper Mustapha Monty, who estimated he spent an hour filling his cart. “I wasn’t really sure I wanted all this stuff, and then there were these two other people in line ahead of me, so I bailed. I’ve got places to be!”
Another shopper complained that they were afraid the store bagging clerk would require a tip. “I wasn’t sure what was appropriate. Tip? Don’t tip? It was easier just to leave.”
Store owner Jones lamented that he and his staff would have to restock all of the items. “I’ll probably have to close down for a few hours. How do Internet stores restock all of their empty carts?”
“Restock?” asked a shopper overhearing our interview. “Can’t you just leave it here in case I come back?”
In related news, diners in a New York bodega request to read the store’s privacy policy before ordering.
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Are you collecting abandoned shopping carts at the end of your day? Let us help fix that!
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This is a guest post by Simon Campbell
Social media sites can be used in a wide variety of ways in many different industries. Though for most businesses, a site like Facebook is typically used to promote products and services rather than to sell them. With a few key tweaks, however, you can change that and actually use the social networking giant as a direct sales page for your products.
You can sell directly on Facebook? Yes! Some market analysts even think that Facebook will eventually spawn a whole new category of online e-commerce, called F-commerce.
Melding your social media advertising with your selling and creating one centralized hub might just be a great way for your small business to cut costs and increase productivity. Follow these five simple Facebook marketing steps to help you sell products.

Selling Products with Your Facebook Page

1: Building a Store Page
Creating a Facebook page (rather than a simple profile) is the first step in this process. Take advantage of the customizable tabs and other options on Facebook to fill in your company information, your mission statement, and other essential info about your business.
Use the cover photo of your page to present your brand’s logo and to create a clean, professional-looking environment that seeks to use Facebook for business and not for  personal interactions.
2: Constructing a Landing Page
You  need to create a separate landing page, where you will set up a store experience. Chose a platform that allows you to create custom pages, different categories, an SSL certificate, a responsive, adjustable format, and more. Just search around through different apps and platforms, read real user reviews, and find a store platform/app that’s affordable, feature-rich, and one that can be used to tie your store in with Facebook seamlessly.
3: Finalizing the Store
Once you have a landing page/store created and your Facebook page finalized, you have to bring the two together to create a seamless store experience on Facebook. To do this efficiently, you should use one of the e-commerce widgets on the market today.
Ecwid is a one widget to try out. It’s affordable, provides around 30 separate payment options, and you can sell shipped products, downloadable products, and more. It’s also a responsive widget, meaning that mobile users will go to the same fully functioning store that desktop users go to.
This isn’t your only option, though. Other widgets, including StoreYa, are available and allow you to create multiple product categories, list dozens of products, choose from a variety of templates, and ultimately integrate your store with your Facebook page to create a seamless e-store experience. Your Facebook fans will be able to purchase your products without ever leaving your Facebook page.
4: Marketing Your Products
Now that your store is created and running on your Facebook page, it’s time to implement some Facebook marketing to help you sell your products. Your first step  should be to check out some of the literature available on Facebook marketing tips and tricks. Look into third-party ad-management apps, various ad types, different organic methods, and other marketing staples.
To start out with a bang, however, you may want to try running a promotion right out of the gate. Spread the word around through targeted advertisements that you’re offering a free product or a hefty discount for people who like or purchase through your Facebook page.  You can use a wide range of apps to create games and other promotions, hold photo or slogan contests, and a slew of other promotions that will draw people in.
5: Performing Brand Upkeep
It’s up to you to stay entertaining and engaging as a marketer on Facebook. Make sure you post on a regular schedule, provide interesting material that your audience wants to see, solve problems for your niche, always add incentives, and give people material that they would want to share with their friends.
Paid advertising in the form of Sponsored Stories and Promoted Posts are great, but don’t forget basic methods like video reviews of your products, real user feedback, infographics explaining things, and other social-friendly and trending methods that will help keep your brand in a good light.
From creating your Facebook page and store page to promoting your products and working to engage with existing fans while attracting new ones, you have to play to the social context of the network. It’s hard not to come across strictly as an advertiser, so don’t try to be something you’re not. Promote yourself as a business – just make sure to include a personal side that likes to engage with people on Facebook, that cares for and appreciates fans and customers, and that always offer quality products and quality customer service.
Simon Campbell, author
 
 
About the author: Simon Campbell, a writer from a Facebook ad campaign tool – Qwaya. He loves to write different topics about social media and participates in some communities and forums. If you have more social media marketing questions, feel free to ask Simon on Twitter.

It was a pleasure to spend some time with Craig Sullivan, the pleasant but focused Scotsman now residing in the UK.

He’s not a man to mince words, but he knows his stuff, so he’s earned the right to be cranky when he comes across the websites of companies that just don’t get it.
You don’t have to wait for his wrath, though. He spelled it out in his ConversionSUMMIT keynote, and the Conversion Sciences doodlebot captured his presentation in HD resolution. All for you.

You will find his presentation slides on Slideshare.
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Visitor Personas and Video Games | Orbit Media

@crestodina I spoke at the Conversion Conference #convcon this week about flipping your message according to your Web visitor. This can be applied to subject lines, search ads, display ads and landing pages.
One of the most powerful “flips” is between the four kind of visitors outlined by Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg in their book Waiting for Your Cat to Bark?.
Here is a creative twist on the four kinds of visitors you’ll encounter on your website: video game characters.
Is the page, post or email you’re working on right now targeting Frogger or Mario or Galaga or PacMan?
It should.

Let’s be honest; Brian is a bit biased on this subject. After all, he’s not just a conversion optimizer, he’s THE Conversion Scientist. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t right.
If you are currently spending money on a PPC campaign, there is no reason not to use a part of that budget to bring in a conversion optimizer.
PPC is all about conversion; how many people are seeing the ad, and how many clicked. What if you could spend the exact same amount of money on PPC and, with just a few tweaks from a conversion optimizer, you could increase the number of clicks without paying for larger volume (and less qualified) traffic?
By focusing on Average Order Value and Revenue Per Click instead of just Conversion Rate, a conversion optimizer can help you make sure your PPC budget is being spent wisely and giving you maximum sales for your money.
Read Brian’s entire article on Search Engine Land.

Your unique is a powerful tool, a tool that gives you over your marketplace. It is what makes making money, generating leads and growing your business look easy.
How can this be?
There are five big reasons that companies that understand their online equation win:

  1. They pay less for the exact same advertising as you.
  2. They hit your prospects several times to your one touch.
  3. Their content is about their prospects, not themselves.
  4. They don’t make mistakes more than once.
  5. They are waiting on search engines for your dissatisfied visitors.

There are two ways to learn more about these five advantages in my new Search Engine Land column 5 Ways Conversion Takes Market Share Like Candy From A Baby.
My upcoming book is only weeks away, and you can get at the .

In your rush to get as many Likes, Follows, Connections and +1’s as you can, have you thought about how you are going to turn those fans and friends into leads and sales? This 13 minute video introduces you to the tools you need. You’ll learn:

  1. What are the components of social conversion?
  2. What is a Social Media Landing Page?
  3. What is the difference between an on-network and off-network strategy?
  4. What can you do with Facebook applications to increase conversion rates?


Watch on YouTube

This was originally presented at PubCon Las Vegas and you can see me at PubCon Hawaii in 2012.

 

lemonade-standNo parent relishes having “the talk” about conversion rates. No one wants to tell their kids: “Kids, conversion rates are still only around 2 percent” or tell them the naked truth about all the sites out there that were never optimized. Or point out that they’re hanging with the wrong crowd when it comes to web development and creation.

But if we don’t tell the kids about the benefits of hanging with fake people—called personas—who will?

We have to just pick the right time and be ready to be vulnerable.

When confronted with a difficult question like “Daddy, should I put up a squeeze page?” we can just say: “I just don’t know. Let’s explore that together.”

As hard as this is, it’s better they learn about value propositions from you than off the street. Check out my article on Search Engine Land: 7 Things to Teach Your Children About Conversion to learn how to do this the right way.

The Iliad and The Odyssey, TV Sitcoms, your Website….what do they all have in common? The Hero’s Journey.
Recently I read that Dan Harmon, creator of the quirky TV show Community (NBC) uses the literary device of the Hero’s Journey to map out his episodes. They all involve taking someone from his comfort zone, through a process of seeking for something, finding it, paying a price, and coming away changed.
It’s a classic, universal theme every website can employ to connect with every visitor.
Think of it, all visitors to your site are on a quest. You need to make it possible for them to leave your website as heroes, having accomplished their objectives. Check out the map of this journey on my Search Engine Land article Eight Ways Landing Pages are Like a TV Sitcom.
Embryo-Dan-Harmon
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