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By Stephen Da Cambra on April 8, 2014 6:14 am

The silver lining of appallingly low online conversion rates is that even small conversion improvements can produce big bottom-line improvements.

And whether you listen to the experts, like Neil Patel, or simply observe the experts, like Google (which performs thousands of tests each year – pardot.com) you’ll know that A/B or split testing is integral to improving conversion rates.

But, believe it or not, if you run any kind of testing program, you are in the minority.

Only 44% of companies use some form of testing to improve their conversion rates.

But Don’t Get Smug if You Split Test 

Perhaps the biggest misconception tests have is that, because they test, they maximize their conversion rates. There are two reasons that this isn’t necessarily true:

  1. AB tests are a means, not an end. Just like having a hammer, saw and level does not mean your building will be solid, merely having a testing program does not mean your conversion rates will be optimized, or even improved.In a nutshell, any test program that runs on ‘let’s change the CTA button to orange and see what happens’ has the same chance of wasting time and money, and not producing reliable results, as it does of improving conversion rates.
  2. The CRO Junkie Syndrome – While most seasoned conversion rate optimizers understand point one, they may not realize that they are CRO junkies.

AB Tests 01

What is a CRO junkie? If you get a shot of adrenaline every time you see an uptick in conversions during or following a test, you are at risk of being a CRO junkie. (That’s more or less all of us.)

What’s the problem with being a CRO Junkie? First, don’t worry, you’ll not have to check into rehab for this one. Indeed, a passion for better conversion rates is sorely lacking in digital marketing.

The CRO junkie problem is two-fold. First, CRO junkies tend to leap and the first sign of a win. As soon as they see an uptick in rates, they get their shot of adrenaline. Satisfied, they presume the test is a success.

The second problem is they tend to look for the win and the rush that comes with it. And they don’t stop until they score a hit.

It means many negative results, and the valuable lessons they hold, are overlooked, ignored or dismissed as invalid. As outlined in a case study by Unbounce, even ‘failed’ AB tests can be used to increase conversion rates.AB Testing 02AB Testing 03

You should benefit from every well planned and executed test, regardless of results.

“The goal of a test is not to get a lift, but to get a learning.”
Dr. Flint McLaughlin
MEC Labs

The Bad Habits of a CRO Junkie. The quest for the next hit of improved conversion rates means every CRO specialist can fall victim to habits and characteristics that don’t account for the margins of error that are inherent in every test. And their AB test results may not reflect the truth.

1. Incorrect Sample Sizing – How long have you been analyzing your landing page results? Hopefully from the beginning. That means, even if yours is a relatively new company, you could have two or three years of traffic, bounce rate and conversion statistics. For many, the base conversion rate that they set out to improve with a testing program may be the result of analyzing hundreds of thousands of visits, hits and misses.

But the conversion junkie may be tempted to make profound decisions about your conversion funnel based on a comparatively small sample.

To illustrate the problems that inadequate sample sizes can cause, let’s say you want to know which of two local schools offer a better education for your child. If you get two sample test results from each school and find that school A’s results are higher, is school A necessarily the better school? Of course not. The samples you happened to get from school B could be their worst results the results from school A could be their best results.

If, however, you checked every test result from both schools, you could make a very accurate assessment of which school was best.

Known in some circles as ‘statistical power” or , the basic principle is: the larger the sample size, the more accurate the results. (qubit.com)

2. Acting on False Positives – The quickest way to understand false positives and the negative impact they can have on your AB test is to do an AA test. Simply put, an AA test observes the performance of your landing page without comparing it to a variant. Every page goes through cycles of higher and lower performance. The CRO junkie looking for a 5% uptick in conversion rates will find it even in an AA test – or when there has been no actual change to produce the positive result.

Some ‘successful’ AB tests are the result of false positives.

3. Wearing Blinders – As mentioned, junkies tend to look for what they seek – higher rates. But in doing so, they can overlook or dismiss tons of valuable information that may be considered negative of not indicative of a successful test. Just as disastrous is the information that is never discovered because the test is concluded once the sought-after boost is delivered.

4. Failing to Follow-up – One of the best ways to battle incorrect sample sizes, false positives and missed information is to run follow-up tests to validate previous results. A well-rounded testing program will run the same or similar tests at different times, to account for external or unknown factors, like seasons, current events and economic climate, to confirm results.

The CRO junkie might not want to risk the win of a positive result with follow-up tests.

In the End: It’s way better to be a CRO junkie than to not test your landing pages at all. And it’s easy to kick those nasty junkie habits.

Website owners are often surprised by how giving visitors easy to locate options, and often repeating a “Call to Actions” multiple times on a page, can lead to significant increases in conversions.

The Problem

Our customer, Fulcrum Gallery, a company that specializes in selling of art pieces online, was facing major conversion issues. Our analytics assessment pointed to several areas, which we can focus on: the homepage, product pages, checkout process, etc. The conversion optimization team noticed that the website suffered from a high checkout abandonment rate. Analytics showed that the cart page had high exit and bounce rates as well. The team identified the cart page as one of the initial pages to work on.

Conversion Framework Analysis

Let’s go through the test.

This is what the original cart looked like prior to making any change to it:

fulcrum gallery original cart

The initial Conversion Framework assessment pointed out multiple issues on this page.

FUDs (Fear, uncertainty, and doubt) is one of the main elements we evaluate during a Conversion Framework assessment of any page. The FUDs element is broken down into over 70 sub elements that we analyze on any given page. FUDs vary from one page to the next based on the type of page. The FUDs visitors face on the main homepage are different than those on the cart page. On the main homepage, a visitor is wondering if they landed on the right website or if the website has what they are looking for. On a cart page, the visitor is wondering if she is making the right purchase decision or if her items are going to arrive on time. One of the sub- elements of FUDs is “webpage element clarity and balance.” With element clarity and balance, the most important elements of a webpage should be highlighted and they must designed and placed in a way to draw visitor’s attention. When evaluating the “webpage element clarity and balance” on Fulcrum’s original cart design, we noticed that the “Continue to Checkout” button, which is the most important element on the page, is not placed in a way to draw a visitors’ attention.

The “Continue to Checkout” button was placed along a gray bar, which takes away from the visual draw of that element. The “Continue to Checkout” hadalso the same size and look as the “Continue Shopping” button. Finally, the “checkout with Amazon” button was placed next to the “Continue to Checkout” button had a better visual appeal. The “checkout with Amazon” button color stood out very clearly on the page.

Hypothesis

Prior to changing the size and the look of the “Continue to Checkout” button, we decided to simply place the button above the cart, thus drawing customers’ attention to it. The hypothesis was: Adding a second “Continue to Checkout” button on top of the cart will increase conversion rates.

Is it possible for two CTAs on the same page, which essentially have the same function, to increase conversion?

Here is the new design of the cart page:

fulcrum-gallery-after

The Results   

The results were quite exciting. Our customer saw a 20% increase in conversions from this simple change.

Conversion Optimization Insights from the test

Why did adding an additional “Continue to Checkout” button increase conversions?Introducing a top “call to action” did a few things:

  1. The top call to action is highlighted and appears as an important element on the page.
  2. The top CTA draws customers’ attention to both “Continue to Checkout” buttons since it is a top element and the eye is accustomed to the look and feel of it.
  3. For customers with multiple items in their cart, they don’t have to scroll down to start the checkout process since the “Continue to Checkout” button is now located on the top as well.

Lesson learned: if you want your visitors to take a course of action, place the corresponding CTA in an obvious and clear manner for them to find it.

This particular customer’s cart went through many changes. Follow the Invesp blog (@invesp) and twitter hashtag #piicasestudies to learn more about conversion increases through optimization and testing on Pii.

Posted in (Ecommerce)

While it’s always been a focus of ecommerce strategizing, the promise of a personalized online shopping experience remains largely unfulfilled. It’s a curious circumstance because the statistics show that there’s a big demand, and payoff, from customizing the offering each of your customers get when they visit your site.

  • 59% of online shoppers believe that it is easier to find more interesting products on a personalized online retail store
  • 56% are more likely to return to a site that recommends products
  • 53% believe that retailers who personalize the shopping experience provide a valuable service
  • 45% are more likely to shop on a site that offers personalized recommendations
    (Invesp Infographic: Online Shopping Personalization Statistics & Trends)

Online-Shopping-Personalization

The Lack of Personalization is Not All Your Fault

Ecommerce sites can’t take all the blame for the shortfall in personalized shopping. Online shoppers are notoriously protective of the sort of personal information required to personalize their shopping. However, the numbers show that many of them are willing to open up about their preferences if they know that it will improve their shopping experience.

With 59% of marketers experiencing good ROI after personalizing their online store, there are clear benefits for both the shopper and retailer. When done right, there’s no real reason for ecommerce sites to avoid personalization.

An Onsite Personalized Shopping Comparison – Amazon.com & Henrys.com

First, the following comparison is very unfair. Amazon is probably the most famous online retailer and a personalized shopping pioneer while Henry’s is a regional bricks and mortar camera retailer with an ecommerce site.

But the examples show the two ends of the personalized shopping spectrum. I visited both sites recently while online shopping for a digital camera. The screencaps below are the pages displayed when I returned to each site some days later.

Amazon.com

In an effort that might be the state-of-the-art of onsite personalization, almost every element on the Amazon page is personalized in some way, according to my account details, shopping history and my potential shopping needs, including the following particular points:

  1. Amazon immediately lets me know this page is personalized to me with the ‘Stephen’s Amazon.com’ link. It even sounds nice – imagine my own Amazon!
  2. A personal ‘Hello’ and link to My Account.
  3. My ‘Wish List’.
  4. Amazon knows my location and refers me to the local site.
  5. Hovering over ‘Your Account’ produces 14 personalized options.
  6. Appstore for Android. Having visited their mobile site, Amazon gives me a link to the Android Appstore (though I’m not sure why they think I’d be interested in ‘Garfield’s Escape’, whatever that might be). It’s refreshing for an Android user to arrive at a site that recognizes there are a few mobile devices and operating systems in the world not made by Apple.
  7. While I have never bought shoes online, at least they know I would be more interested in men’s sandals than women’s sandals
  8. A list of the cameras I checked out on my last visit. No need to click on anything, but everything right there, ready to go. If online shoppers are doing any serious comparisons, they are very likely to return to a site more than once throughout the process. How often have you been frustrated by having to search again for an item you just viewed a few minutes ago, before leaving the site and returning?

Ecommerce Personalization 01

Henrys.com

While not the behemoth that is Amazon, Henry’s has the means to produce a shopping experience that’s more personal than this:

  1. A link to ‘Your Account’.

Ecommerce Personalization 02

That’s it. No first-name basis here. No personalized options. No hint of what I shopped for when I last visited. To be fair, when I click on ‘Your Account’ I land on a page where I can enter my account information, which then leads to a page that has a ‘Wish List’, ordering history and account management options. All the personalization outlined on the Amazon page came without any clicking or logins.

Off-Site Personalization

A personalized shopping experience is not limited to your ecommerce site. From email to social media, you can stay in touch with and create a unique relationship with each shopper.

According to Invesp’s research, email is by far the most important digital channel for online shopping personalization. It consistently outperforms all other advertising channels, online and off, and lets you completely personalize your customer interactions.

Yet it remains underutilized as an advertising medium and its potential for personalization is even more neglected.

According to the 2013 Experian Email Marketing Study, as reported by marketingland.com, the majority of companies in the study asked customers for personal data, but 70% did not personalize their email messages.

That’s even more surprising when the same study shows that personalized email produces some astonishing results compared to generic messages.

  • 29% higher unique open rates
  • 41% higher unique click rates
  • 26% higher unique open rates just from a personalized subject line

A Quick Ecommerce Email Personalization Case study – EB Games Gets It

Take a look at the list of emails below. Do any of the subject lines stand out? Hint: it’s the only that’s personalized of the 11 emails listed.

Ecommerce Personalization 03

And EB Games carries the personalization through to the content of the email, including:

  1. A link to coupons targeted to my shopping history
  2. An invitation to visit my local bricks and mortar store
  3. My EDGE Level (whatever that is)
  4. My shopping reward points (which I didn’t know I had, but now I’m interested)

Ecommerce Personalization 04

Where to Start Your Ecommerce Personalization

In addition to using your customers’ account information and email addresses (all with their permission, of course), and their shopping history, another way to personalize their experience is by simply asking them. Here’s how Selfridge’s does it in the U.K: (via econsultancy.com)

Personalized05

By Stephen Da Cambra on February 27, 2014 10:59 am

If you have ever visited a tradeshow, you probably experienced a very clear example of the effect of social proof. Think back to the time you spent strolling the trade show floor, not with any particular booth destination in mind, but just looking to see what’s what.Social Proof for Ecommerce Conversion Optimization 01

Which booths caught your attention? Chances are you were drawn to those that had visitors and avoided those where the booth representative stood alone.

Yes?

The thing that attracts you to the busy booths, or crowded stores at the mall, is the social proof demonstrated by the mass of people.

According to Wikipedia, social proof is:
“a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation. This effect is prominent in ambiguous social situations where people are unable to determine the appropriate mode of behavior, and is driven by the assumption that surrounding people possess more knowledge about the situation.”
(emphasis is the author’s)

When you were just looking around the trade show floor, you didn’t know which booths were worthy of a visit. You assumed that the people visiting the busier booths must know something you didn’t, and you were drawn to those booths.

Now Think About Your Ecommerce Customers

They ‘stroll’ across the web looking to make a purchase. Sometimes they know exactly what they want and where to get it. But most often they are unsure what to buy, where to buy it and sometimes even why they want it.

Take for example digital cameras. Shoppers face an incredibly wide range of choices and options online. How are they to know which model is best suited to their needs? Which site offers the best value? And does the average shopper really need a 15 mega pixel camera and a 50X optical zoom?

More and more studies show that online shoppers depend on social proof to guide them in making a purchase.

  • 70% of shoppers consult online reviews and ratings before making a purchase (BusinessWeek)
  • 63% say they are more likely to buy from a site that has product ratings and reviews (Search Engine Journal)
  • 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals (Invesp)
  • Online reviews are the most popular user-generated content (Forrester)
  • Reviews generate 21% higher purchase satisfaction and 18% higher loyalty (PowerReviews)

It is undeniable that social proof works to generate traffic, conversions and sales.Social Proof for Ecommerce Conversion Optimization 02

How to Improve Your Social Proof Marketing

Compared to trade show booths, the problem facing ecommerce sites is that it’s impossible to show new visitors the crowd of shoppers on the site. But using the tools of social proof marketing tools will get the point across:

1. Customer Reviews and Ratings – the numbers outlined above prove the power of using reviews and ratings. If you want more proof, look around at the major online retailers. You’ll search for a long time to find one that does not have some form of customer reviews and or ratings.

Many ecommerce sites hesitate to use customer ratings for fear of getting too many negative responses. But fear not, 75% of reviews are positive. (PowerReviews)

And negative reviews carry two major benefits. First, they add authenticity to the positive reviews (no company gets 100% positive reviews, so customers will tend to dismiss those that claim to do so). Second, they give you the opportunity to address customer concerns and demonstrate a high level of engagement and customer service.

2. Testimonials – Sometimes forgotten in the tide of newer technology, testimonials are no less valuable than in the days when they were just about the only social proof tool in the shed. If you’ve ever received a thank you note or compliment over the phone, get permission to use it on your site. While ratings put a numeric value on your company and products, testimonials give them a story.

3. Images and Videos – We all like pretty pictures and, to meet demand, the web becomes more visual every day. Five years ago there was no Pinterest, Instagram or Snapchat. And Youtube is the second largest search engine on the web.

Your testimonials are more likely to be believed when accompanied by a corresponding picture, especially when it’s from a recognized brand advocate. (KISSmetrics)

With the ascendency of image-based sites, customer-generated images and videos have been one of the biggest social proof trends of the past couple of years.

According to visual commerce platform developer GetCandid.com, people who look at user-generated photos are five times more likely to buy online than those who don’t.

Conversion-optimized social proof: GetCandid.com takes social proof to a higher level by letting ecommerce sites to create galleries of ‘shoppable’ customer-generated images. That means not only will your customers be able to see lots of images from other shoppers just like them, but each image carries its own call-to-action button that means viewers are just one click away from buying what they see in the picture.

Socila Proof for Ecommerce Conversion Rate Optimization 04

Shoppable User-Generated Product Shot

4. Social Sharing – Social media marketing has its fans and detractors, but, regardless of your opinion, there’s very likely a conversation about your products, brand or something very close to them going on right now on social media. While you may not want to pursue an active social marketing campaign, the numbers show that it’s folly to not let your customers share your content and products to their social networks or let them login to your site with their social accounts.

  • 65% of adult internet users have an account on at least one social network
  • 40% of consumers prefer using a social login over setting-up a new account or using a guest account
  • 68% of consumers use social sites to read product reviews
  • 50% use social networks to provide product feedback
  • 131% more time is spent on your site by consumers can comment and share using their social accounts
    (monetate)
Social Proof for Ecommerce Conversion Optimization 03

Social Sharing on Mobile Devices

 

The Bottom Line: Social proof works. On the trade show floor and for ecommerce.

  • It fosters powerful word-of-mouth advertising
  • It’s an endless supply of content (“Content marketing is the only marketing left.” Seth Godin)
  • It adds credibility. How? Just ask yourself: what’s my impression of a site that has no testimonials, social sharing icons or customer reviews?
  • It improves you site’s user experience (UX) – we all want to know what our friends and neighbors are doing
  • And social proof shows your customers that you are focused on them
By Stephen Da Cambra on February 10, 2014 9:09 am

Considering it’s just a few short clicks from beginning to end, your online conversion funnel has lots of tricky turns, bumps and exit points. Keeping prospects on track is key and you can’t let up on your efforts to do so until the final CTA completes the conversion.

Whether you want to generate leads or make a sale, the very last step in your funnel involves some sort of sign-up form. But, just because you got them this far doesn’t mean your prospects won’t bolt in a second if your form isn’t optimized at least as much as the rest of the funnel.

The following tips will help you improve your prospects’ experience when using your forms and plug the leaks that happen too often at the crucial end-point of your funnel.

1. Short is Sweet – Getting prospects to your sign-up form means you’ve conquered the fears, uncertainties and doubts (FUDs) that everyone experiences when shopping or ‘signing-up’ online.

The worst FUDs happen when they are asked to enter personal information. Online customers are increasingly aware of the value, security and misuse, of their personal data. So they are increasingly hesitant to submit it.

The more information you ask for, the more FUDs your customers experience, and the less chance you have of getting them to convert.

Check the epic length of the form below. Like sitting through a four-hour movie, you’d be exhausted at the end of this one.

Sign Up Form Tips 02

So many fields are absolutely not needed here, including:

  • Secondary email? Why?
  • The prospect is asked for a City, then State/Province/Region, then Zip/Postal Code, then Country. This isn’t rocket science. If your prospect enters a U.S City, a U.S. State and a U.S. Zip Code, they’re not likely to be from Scotland. Indeed, except for the actual street number, you can get all the same information, which takes up five fields here, from the single Zip/Postal Code field
  • Tax ID? Way too soon in the relationship (which hasn’t even started) to ask for tax numbers.

Getting Information vs. Getting Conversions – With the chances of conversion shrinking as the amount of information you ask for grows, it’s better to keep your initial sign-up forms short and sweet. Once customers take your initial call-to-action, they have entered into a relationship with you and are more likely to submit the info you need at subsequent stages of the relationship.

Contrast the form above with the one below from Zappos. Knowing they can get more information later, they use a very short form for their account registration.

Tips for Sign Up Forms 01

2. Keep Reducing the FUDs – A shortened form stops more FUDs from creeping in. But some already exist and the more you do to dispel them, the more success you will enjoy.

Zappos surrounds its sign-up form with a number of anxiety-reducing elements including: assurances against unauthorized charges; a “Safe Shopping Guarantee”; trust symbols like the BBB seal; a “How we protect your data” link and an assurance that returns can be made free of charge. (One of the biggest concerns online shoppers have is what to do if an item bought online needs to be returned or exchanged.)

SignUp03

3. What’s in it for Me? Even the humblest among us like to get things. And when you’re asking a prospect for something, especially closely guarded personal information, it helps to offer something in return.

This is particularly important for lead generation. An ecommerce shopper is motivated to complete your form because she wants to make a purchase. But the same is not true for a prospective lead.

The closer that you place the benefits of signing-up to your form, the better. At Invesp.com, the sign-up form is completely enveloped by the benefit.
Signup form Tips 04

Outlining the benefits the customer will enjoy can help your ecommerce sign-up too. Apple includes the following beside their AppleID sign-up form.

SignUp05

4. Tell Them Why – It’s all well and good to know that you should keep your forms, but what can you do when you absolutely must have certain information to complete the conversion?

Fear about submitting personal information comes from not knowing what will happen to that information; how it will be used and who sees it. It helps to make your Privacy Policy easily visible and accessible, and include assurances, similar to those outlined above on Zappos.

But it’s even better to tell your customers exactly why you ask for certain information. Like Walmart does:

SignUp06

5. Clear Call-to-Action – It’s the single most important element of any sign-up form. You can minimize the information you seek, you can give airtight assurances and offer undeniable benefits, but if your prospect does not find and click on your CTA button, it’s all for naught.

Check all the images in this post. In those that have a CTA button, it is the most distinctive element on the page.

But we still see major sites with unispiring CTAs like the one below – a grey button that tells prospects to “Register”:

Sign Up Form Tips 08

Putting it All Together on Your Sign-Up Form

Some sites are getting it right. In researching sign-up forms for this post, the best one we found comes from ModCloth.com.

  1. It’s Short – They don’t even ask for your name!
  2. FUD Relief – They outline their Return Policy and include a link to their Privacy Policy immediately beside the CTA.
  3. Lots of Benefits – Including “Discover …”, “Gain …” and, best of all, “Get $10 Off”.
  4. Clear CTA – Big, orange and simple.
  5. Social Logins – This may not be an option for everyone, but it sure is the best way to simplify your sign-up form: eliminate it. The best part? Social logins increase registration rates by 20 to 40% (http://blog.gigya.com/real-roi-with-social-login/)

Signup Form Tips 07

Change Your Sign-Up Form Focus

No one intentionally creates poorly performing sign-up forms. Forms began as a technical way to get to customer information online. As a result, they focused on what your company needs from your customers.

The first step in improving them is to focus instead on what your customers need from you.

By Stephen Da Cambra on January 29, 2014 6:20 am

It’s simply no longer an option to ignore or underestimate the impact of mobile shopping on ecommerce.

Sales results from the 2013 holiday season underline why. According to Custora’s Ecommerce Pulse, as reported on marketingland.com, mobile e-commerce grew 50% during the 2013 holiday season versus 2012.

Almost 30% of holiday ecommerce orders were made on mobile devices.

But, in a June 2013 post, Marketing Pilgrim highlighted a study that showed 49% of ecommerce merchants did not have a mobile-optimized site and, remarkably, a further 17% didn’t know or weren’t sure if their sites were optimized.

Part of the problem is complacency. Many ecommerce merchants look at their desktop site on a mobile device in the comfort of their home or office. The site seems to look fairly good. Sure, the copy is a little small and you need to zoom in to get a proper look at images, but they don’t look bad.

But mobile users are, in a word, mobile. They are in a bricks and mortar store comparing prices, walking down the street or in line for coffee. They have no time for slow loading sites, pinching and zooming are awkward and, if they can’t spot your call-to-action at strolling speed, forget it.

In other words, on mobile, a desktop site can be a real conversion killer.

Your ecommerce site needs to go mobile and here are four best practices to make it so:

1. Find the Right Fit – Mobile screens that is. If this sounds like an obvious and simple task, it’s anything but. While mobile devices include smartphones and tablets, the variety of screen sizes for both types of devices has mushroomed in the past couple of years. They now include mini tablets and smartphone displays that are not much smaller than the mini tabs, and all sizes in between. And you need to keep in mind landscape and portrait orientations for each size.

Google recognizes three ways to build sites and landing pages for mobile devices and displays, including:

a) Create and maintain a separate mobile URL

b) Use the same set of URLs, but serve different HTML and CSS on each one, depending on the device.

But, by far the most popular and, not insignificantly, Google’s recommended way to optimize your pages is through responsive web design (RWD).

Simply put, RWD ‘responds’ to the device used to access your pages by using CSS code to render the page in a way that best fits the device’s screen size and orientation.

But there are a couple important considerations you should make before deciding on your best option:

a) Google does not rank RWD sites higher. Because Google recommends RWD, many people assume that means a responsive site will enjoy higher rankings. But that’s not so. As long as your site meets Google’s guidelines and best practices for mobile optimized websites, they will identify it as friendly to their smartphone bot, regardless of whether you used RWD or not.

Good to Know: Google makes it clear that they will demote your site on mobile search results if it does not meet their mobile site guidelines.

b) RWD may not be your best option. Major ecommerce sites, including Amazon.com, Ebay.com and BestBuy.com, use one of the other two options to build separate sites for mobile. Indeed, even Google does not use RWD for their mobile sites (see point 3 below).

Below: Zappos.com on three different screen sizes. Note the m.zappos.com URL on the mobile sites, denoting that it’s separate from their desktop site, instead of RWD.Ecommerce mobile landing pages 22

2. Get Your Colors Done – With your pages sized properly for mobile, the primary issue becomes readability. Color and contrast are a big part of that.

Many current desktop color trends, like using a shade of gray instead of black for text, may not work well on a smartphones.

In the two examples below, you can see the differences in colors (light blue background vs. white background) that ModCloth.com uses for their desktop (left) and mobile (right) sites.

Again, it’s important to note here that ModCloth has chosen a non-RWD option for their mobile site so they can serve different options and content. If you choose RWD, your color combinations must work for mobile first.
Mobile Landing Pages

3. Organize Your Content for Mobile – If there is a downside to RWD, it is that you have very little control of where each element is displayed when the page is re-sized for each device.

If you used more than one column for your RWD desktop site, the content in left side columns will appear before the content of columns to the right. The result is that elements that appear beside each other on your desktop site can be displayed far away from each other on your mobile site.

Elements like your call-to-action, which might appear above the fold on the right of your desktop site, can end up at the very bottom of the mobile page. Think of the impact that has on your conversion rates.

The solution for RWD is to design a one-column site, though it’s not a guarantee that you’ll be problem-free.

If you choose one of the dedicated mobile site options, you’ll have much more control over how the site displays on each device.

It’s the main reason why sites like Amazon use dedicated mobile sites. They have far too much invested in their site design and conversion path to risk it on the almost random re-sizing that comes from RWD.

Below: Even large, separate mobile ecommerce sites have problems fitting absolutely every screen size and format. Below is the m.zappos.com as it appears on a 4″ Android device in landscape format.
MobileOptimized11

4. Simple Forms – First, considering that too much complexity is a major drag on your conversion rates, all your forms, even those on your desktop site, should be simplified to gather only the information that is absolutely essential for conversion.

But the complexity problem is much more acute on mobile. Not only do mobile users not want to key in a lot of data, but longer forms can affect how quickly your page displays and its appearance on the device.

In addition to reducing the amount of information required, make sure each entry field is clearly marked to avoid confusion.

Mobile devices make online shopping more convenient for the shopper, but more complex for the seller. The variety of devices and screen sizes makes it almost impossible to have a site that will appear and function optimally on every device.

Mobile First: With the trend on desktop sites to sparse content, many businesses have adopted the ‘mobile first’ approach to their web design, building it for mobile and then enhancing it for desktop.

But there is no perfect answer. You’ll need to research your options mobile site options at least as much as you did for your desktop site.

And, of course, you’ll need to test everything.

4 in 10 Social Media users have purchased an item online or in-store after sharing it or marking it as a Favorite on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest. 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals. Check out our new infographic titled, “How Social Media Influences Purchase Decisions – Statistics And Trends” to know more about this topic.

How Social Media Influences Purchase Decisions – Statistics And Trends

 

Infographic by- Invesp

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Social Media Sites Most Likely To Influence Purchases

 Social Media Site %age
   
FaceBook 30.8%
YouTube 27%
LinkedIn 27%
Google+ 20%
Pinterest 12%
Twitter 8%

 

78% of respondents said that corporate social media posts impact their purchases

Why Consumers Follow Brands On Social Media

 Reasons FaceBook Twitter Pinterest YouTube
         
To keep up with activities 52% 57% 35% 41%
To learn about products and services 56% 47% 56% 61%
To leverage sweepstakes and promotions 48% 36% 28% 20%
To provide helpful feedback 32% 27% 22% 23%
To join brand fan communities 27% 26% 25% 19%
To make purchases 21% 15% 25% 21%
To complain about products and services 18% 19% 12% 9%

 

Social Media-Related Shopping Stats

After marking an item as Favorite:

  • 50% of the shopping within a week
  • 80% of the shopping within 3 weeks
 Social Media Site %age
   
FaceBook 38%
Pinterest 29%
Twitter 22%

 

How Social Media Influences Purchase Decisions

Reasons Pinterest FaceBook Twitter
       
Additional product information 43% 25% 26%
Product discovery 35% 31% 35%
Purchase location identification 28% 15% 38%
Purchase reminder 26% 23% 32%
Product recommendation 26% 19% 32%
Product sale or purchase alert 19% 37% 32%

 

41% of shoppers shop impulsively for an item after seeing it on social media.

88% of people deliberately searched for the item they purchased or marked it as Favorite

50% of Pinterest purchasers created a pinboard specifically for a purchase decision

Major Product Categories For Social-To-Sale Purchases

Product Category Pinterest Facebook Twitter
       
Food & Drink 24% 14% 13%
Art & Design 21% 5% 9%
Gardening & Décor 18% 8% 8%
Fashion & Beauty 17% 22% 18%
Tech & Electronics 6% 25% 34%
Other 14% 26% 18%
By Stephen Da Cambra on January 15, 2014 6:31 am

If anything, it’s a major flaw in accepted ecommerce strategy that we pay more attention to attracting customers than we do to the checkout process they follow. Never before has the need to study retail checkouts been so high than since the emergence of ecommerce. And, considering the pitiful conversion rates, never has it been more crucial.

Battle the FUDs

If your online customer had the same familiarity and certainty she has in the checkout line of a bricks and mortar store, where she is even willing to wait to checkout, you could expect your online conversion rates to move closer to the almost 70% that bricks and mortar stores enjoy.

But, conversely, even experienced online shoppers have certain fears, uncertainties and doubts that prevent them from converting at the same rate as they do in bricks and mortar stores.

If there is one overarching guideline to improving your cart/checkout abandonment rates, it is to reduce your customer’s FUDs.

As we go through the following tips, keep track of how many address FUDs and you’ll also get a clearer overall picture of how to improve your checkout process:

1. Answer customers’ questions before they checkout. Yes, this isn’t related to the checkout process, but customers will often start to checkout just to find answers they can’t get otherwise. Answers like shipping charges, taxes and payment options.

By adding that information to your product pages or when customers click “Add to Cart”, you will reduce the chance that they proceed to checkout to find it.

And don’t think that by giving them the information early that they won’t need it later. Many customers will have similar questions when they are deep into checkout, and if they can’t find answers then, they’ll abandon. So keep providing that information throughout the checkout process. You can’t tell them often enough that you have free shipping.

On the Cart page below, Zappos.com answers customers’ questions about shipping costs, estimated taxes, coupon/gift certificate redemption, shipping and returns information and privacy policy.

Ecommerce Checkout 01

2. Simplify the Process. In the infographic Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate Statistics, Invesp’s research shows that, when asked why they abandoned their shopping carts, 12% of respondents said the checkout “needed too much information” and 11% said the checkout was too complex.

Below are two examples of how ecommerce retailers have simplified their checkout process:

Zappos.com, which is owned by Amazon, lets customers login with their Amazon account instead of requiring a separate Zappos account.

Checkout02

One source of unnecessary checkout complexity is asking repeatedly for the same information, or for redundant information. An example of information redundancy is asking for City and State information, both of which can be easily found using the customer’s zip or postal code.

Henrys.com uses billing address information on file to eliminate the need for shoppers to re-enter shipping address information.

Checkout05

3. Treat Guests Like Family. 14% of customers abandon their checkout because they are required open an account. With heightened awareness of identity theft and increasing concern about information privacy, more and more shoppers are resistant to submitting personal information, particularly for small or routine purchases.

Guest checkout options let customers complete transactions quickly and easily without the fear that they have exposed their information yet again.

As a retailer, of course you would like to gather as much customer data as possible. But it’s value must be weighed against the cost of lost sales.

Checkout08

4. Have Credibility. Ecommerce retailers force customers to make a considerable leap of faith by asking them to shop online rather than a bricks and mortar store. A tangible store gives customers the reassurance that it will be there if the customer needs to make a return, if they want to buy complementary products later, if they need service, etc., etc..

That those reassurances do not exist in the same way online is one of the greatest sources of FUDs. Websites come and go, data gets leaked, deliveries never happen, and, when any or all of these occur, the customer has little or no recourse.

Your customers, especially new ones, need to know that yours is a trustworthy business and credibility symbols are a good way to let them know.

The image below shows just some of the credibility symbols and assurances that Zappos uses to reassure their customers.

Checkout09

5. Be as clear as possible about the information you seek. This is especially true of information entry fields. When designing your checkout process, assume that each customer is using ecommerce for the first time.

In the image below, the headline and each data entry field are clearly defined:

Checkout10

6. Clearly let them know when something is wrong. How many times have you been through a checkout, filled in all the information, double-checked your order and finally clicked the last “Submit Order” button, only to have absolutely nothing happen?

You first thought is that you did something wrong, then you figure there is a technical problem, then you worry about checking-out again for fear of being charged twice.

And then, after searching and scrolling around, you find out that all that anxiety, all those FUDs, were caused by a space in your telephone number that the form wasn’t designed to handle.

How frustrating was that? Have you ever left the checkout because if it? Many shoppers have.

So don’t let your customers experience the same frustration. Clearly indicate when information is missing or wrong, like Zappos does.

Checkout11

Posted in (Ecommerce)

Ecommerce sites all over the world are quickly realizing that a great customer experience is where the money’s at. Poor customer service negatively impacts a customer’s experience, as witnessed by 89% of eCommerce consumers. They quickly stopped buying at stores that offer poor customer service. Given the fact that it costs 6 to 7 times more to attract a new customer than to retain an old one, improving customer experience is all the more important. Check out our new infographic titled, “The Importance of Providing a Great Customer Experience ” to know more about this topic.

The Importance of Providing a Great Customer Experience – Statistics and Trends

 

Infographic by- Invesp

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Here’s what you’ll learn from our infographic:

  • You will learn how easily reports of bad customer experience spreads, vis-à-vis good experiences.
  • You’ll learn what constitutes good customer experience, and how to ensure it.
  • You’ll learn how quickly the average busy customer expects support from your site.
  • You’ll  learn what kinds of support channels customers prefer to use

83% of online shoppers need support to complete a purchase

Customer’s expected wait time frame for customer support access

Time Frame %age
   
Immediately 31%
Within 5 minutes 40%
Within 30 minutes 11%
Within an hour 5%
Within a day 10%

Consumers are 2 times more likely to share their bad customer service experiences than they are to talk about positive experiences.

It takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for one negative experience.

Top Elements Of Great Customer Experience

Factor

%age

   
Quick issue resolution 82%
Issue resolution within a single interaction 56%
Friendly customer service representative 45%
Follow up by the same service representative 37%
Ability to save a copy of interaction with brand 28%
Post-enquiry follow up 27%
Custom offers and discounts after issue resolution 27%
Ability to to get on other things whilst issue is resolved 21%
Issue resolution without speaking to representative 17%
A personalized experience 17%
Access to help via social media sites 4%

 

55% of consumers would pay more for a better customer experience

A customer is 4 times more likely to buy from a competitor after experiencing a service-related issue, as opposed to a price or product-related issue.

A 10% increase in customer retention levels results in a 30% increase in perceived company value

Top Support Channels Customers Would Like To See

Customer support channels

%age

   
Telephone  number 61%
Customer support email 60%
Live chat 57%
FAQ section 51%
Click-To-Call 34%
Online customer forums 17%
Help Videos 12%
Video Chat 7%
None of the above 16%

 

 

 

By Stephen Da Cambra on January 7, 2014 6:56 am

Here’s how to improve you’re your ecommerce results: make your product pages the main focus of your business online.

Your product pages are the final turning point on the journey an online shopper takes from initial browsing to paying customer.

If you think in terms of sales funnels, your product page is the pinnacle of the cone without which your funnel is incomplete and obsolete.

So how are your product pages doing?

Conversion rates are the best judge of product page performance. And your conversion rates improve the according to how often customers heed your “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart” call to action.

So, if your product pages should be the ultimate focus of your sales funnel, your purchase call-to-action should be the ultimate focus of your product page.

1. Calls-To-Purchase

It’s the last step, but the primary concern of your page. Every aspect of your call-to-purchase buttons must be carefully considered – even the fact that maybe they shouldn’t look like buttons.

Clarity – By using size, shape, color and positioning, your CTP button must be quickly and easily spotted – distinct from every other element on the page.

Check the Zappos.com product pages below. On both their desktop and mobile sites, the call-to-purchase button has a unique color among all CTA buttons and it’s the only one with an icon on the button.

Ecommerce Product Page 03Wording – While “Add to Cart”, “Buy Now” and their variants have become standard for most consumer product pages, if your product is more service oriented, your calls-to-purchase might do better by highlighting a benefit.

In the images below, check the wording on the calls to purchase. While it is clear and distinct, the CTP on the left asks you to “Sign Up”. Ugh! Really?! After all the shopping, reading and comparing, “signing up” is not a particularly inviting call.

By contrast, the call to purchase on the right gives you a benefit for all the work you’ve done to get there. Click that button and you “Get” a free calling feature Of course you will have to sign-up, but by highlighting the benefit of doing so, you are more likely to click the button and complete the process.

Ecommerce Product Pages 01

2. The Big Picture

Shoppers are touchy/feely. No matter what it is, from apples to zebra-striped pajamas, we all want to pick it up, feel the weight, check the size, get a closer look and generally assess the product.

And it’s perhaps the biggest difference between bricks and mortar shopping and ecommerce. Technology has taken care of almost everything else, including quick answers to your questions, but it has a long way to go before you can reach into your monitor and grab a product.

If they can’t touch and feel, the next best thing is to give them a closer look.

It means big, high-quality images, multiple angle shots and the ability to zoom in.

And if you want to give them the best idea of how your product looks and works, show it in action with a video.

Check the Zappos product page below, including multiple angles on the left, a “Click-to-Zoom” feature and a video link.

Ecommerce Product Page 02
3. Balanced Design

So far, we’ve recommended clear, distinct CTAs and big, multi-angle images. But if you designed your page around those two criteria, it might not be very pleasing to the eye.

From headline to footer, your product pages have many elements and each one must have its place and space.

Check the Amazon product page below. I count over 50 (disclosure: I stopped counting at 50) elements on the page, including headers, CTAs, price, stock information, etc.. Yet the page does not feel overly crowded and each element is easily distinguished.

Ecommerce Product Page 04

4. Get Your Ship Together

Another thing shoppers can’t do on your ecommerce site is leave with their purchase in hand. That makes shipping info very important.

Indeed, high shipping costs and not clearly mentioning shipping costs are by far the biggest reason for ecommerce shopping cart abandonment.

In other, completely different words, you should offer free shipping whenever possible.

Check any of the Zappos pages we’ve mentioned. “Free Shipping” is mentioned in three different places.

5. Give & Get Social Proof

There’s a reason why, even if you are not a Mac fan, you still go into the Apple store at the mall. It has a lot to do with the almost constant crowds there. No matter how stubborn we are in denying it, we are all interested in what’s popular. Popularity and word-of-mouth sell a lot more customers than the most expensive advertising.

Together, line-ups in a store and word-of-mouth buzz are social proof that shows a product is worthy of purchase – it must be good if so many people like it.

The problem online is that no one can see the crowd in your store. But social sharing lets shoppers tell everyone that they were on your product page and either bought or are thinking of buying. By adding social sharing buttons, you encourage and get social proof from your customers.

And you can give them the social proof they seek by including authentic customer reviews on your page. This is as close as it gets to real word-of-mouth. Even bad reviews are good because they add authenticity to your reviews, they give you the chance to respond to concerns and they offer great product research information.

Modcloth puts social sharing and customer reviews above everything except the product header:

modcloth-2

6. Provide Answers

Your potential customers are full of questions and concerns about buying from you. We’ve already mentioned some of them, including what the product looks like and it’s shipping details.
By giving your customers a quick way to answer as many questions as possible, you eliminate their concerns and increase the chance that they will buy.

The following are among the common answers your customers want:

  • Product specifications
  • Sizing
  • Options
  • Color choices
  • Package contents
  • Feature list
  • Benefits
  • Accessories
  • Return Policy

Check all the images above to see how each retailer chooses to present certain information to answer customers’ potential questions.

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