3 Conversion Psychology Principles to Test on Your Landing Page

Peer inside the mind of your prospect to create higher-converting landing pages. Not in a creepy way. Image source.

Landing page optimization isn’t just about tactics.

Sure, there are many tactical ways to improve your conversion rate: test your CTA button copy, test a shorter page, change this picture, make that button bigger…

But if you don’t understand the more strategic side of things – the psychological wizardry that goes into a winning landing page – then your optimization efforts are just a shot in the dark.

Here are three psychological principles that will help you make your offer more persuasive – and turn your landing page into a conversion gold mine.

1. The psychology of pleasure: What will make prospects feel happy?

Epicurus was one of the first pleasure psychologists.

From his teaching, experimentation and deep thinking, Epicurus created a theory of happiness — a theory of human nature as a whole. And the bottom line is this:

People make choices based on what will make them happy.

The pursuit of happiness is every individual’s greatest desire, according to the philosopher. No one is going to intentionally choose pain unless they think it will somehow make them happy.

How do you apply the psychology of pleasure to landing pages?

When it comes to creating a high-converting landing page, there are many things you can do to align yourself with your prospects’ unbridled search for happiness:

  1. People think of themselves first. Focus on them. Use the word “you” a lot. Refer to their wellbeing, the choice they’re making and how it’ll make them feel.
  2. People feel happy when they have a clear sense of understanding about the product or service. Show pictures of the product in context, or at the very least, clearly describe it.
  3. People feel happy when they know that other people are happy (non-enemies, of course). Feature testimonials of happy, smiling customers.
  4. People feel happy when they are brought to a satisfying and logical conclusion. Use a longform landing page with a clear start, cognitive flow, conclusion and call to action.
  5. People feel happy when they see visuals they like. Incorporate visuals that humans have been scientifically proven to appreciate:
    1. Happy people.
    2. Cute animals.
    3. Bright colors.
  6. People feel happy when they read happy words. Write copy that is upbeat, delightful, optimistic and nonthreatening.

The psychology of pleasure in action

The landing page below by KISSmetrics packs many of these psychological insights into one powerful, pleasing page.


Notice their use of the word “you” (x2). Notice the clarity of the offer. Notice the smiling face. Notice how KISSmetrics does it all with absolute simplicity, obvious cognitive flow and an abundance of whitespace.

Or how about this landing page by Fast Track?


See what’s going on here? They’ve got a picture of a smiling dude. The headline and supporting copy are highly optimistic. An anxious seller receives the assurance that this company will sell their home – fast. Just look at that upbeat testimonial!


Don’t forget to test everything

Understanding these principles will only take you so far; you still need to test your assumptions. As CrazyEgg writer Scott Martin explains in this article about happiness:

It’s impossible to find significant testing data when it comes to stressing happiness over other approaches.

What he’s getting at is that every audience finds pleasure in something different.

So you’ve got to test.

What makes your audience happy? Learn the basics of the psychology of pleasure, then test.
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2. The psychology of pain: What do they want to avoid?

Epicurus, the philosopher who wrote about pleasure, once penned this:

The magnitude of pleasure reaches its limit in the removal of all pain.

Whether mental or physical, we’re wired to avoid pain. It sounds relatively simple, but understanding this can come in handy when setting up your next campaign.

How can you apply the psychology of pain to landing pages?

When it comes to apply the psychology of pain to your landing page, it’s about avoidance. What do your prospects most want to avoid?

If you can cause people to remember or feel the pain of something, then they will respond by seeking to avoid it — and, assuming you’ve done things correctly, that means they’ll convert.

A quick example should help clarify this:


Charlottesville Medical Research’s landing page is effective because:

  • It pinpoints where prospects hurt. The headline, “Do you hide your double chin?” exposes the feeling of shame that prospects may feel. Both the supporting copy and imagery (a woman trying to hide her chin from view) evoke feelings of embarrassment.
  • If offers the solution. The headline above the opt-in form promises a potential solution, in the form of a research study for reducing excess fat under the chin.

Similarly, check out how employs the psychology of pain on their landing page:

rsz_image09 cuts right to the heart of the matter. Image source.

Many people feel a high degree of anxiety due to finances. doesn’t shy away from poking that and digging around a little bit.

They want you to feel the pain of your debt so they can help erase it.

Starting the customer relationship off by making them think of pain and draws on individual incentives to alleviate that pain. And that results in a desire to find a solution – making prospects likely to convert.

To help prospects convert, pinpoint where they hurt and then offer the solution.
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3. The psychology of spending: How much do they want to spend?

When it comes to spending there are two kinds of people in the world: spenders and savers.

These tendencies seem to be hardwired into our personality, as described by Rick, Cryder and Loewenstein in their paper, “Tightwads and Spendthrifts.” (Great research by the way. I recommend it.)

The paper explains that every customer that buys from you will land on your page knowing a range of approximately how much they want to spend.

You can gently influence that price range with techniques such as framing, but the way they’ll react to the price of your offer is largely pre-determined and hardwired in their brains.

How can you apply the psychology of spending to landing pages?

Leveraging the psychology of spending on your landing page is all about aligning yourself with your prospects’ expectations:

  • Find your prospects’ ideal price point and show them that number.
    If you understand the ideal price point for your prospects, why swim upstream? Go with the flow and tell them what they want to hear.
  • Show prospects how much they’ll save by purchasing your product.
    Frugal people are driven by loss aversion. For penny-pinchers, the motivation not to lose something is greater than the desire to gain something; they want to see dollars saved. Similarly, you can experiment with telling penny-pinchers how much money they will lose if they don’t buy your product.

Check out this example from Geico:


Nailed it. They consistently focus on how much you’ll save if you switch to their insurance.

The psychology of spending can help you frame your pricing in a way that resonates with prospects.
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Psychology gives you the key to higher-converting landing pages

Peek under the hood of this wonderful thing called the human brain and you’ll find that there’s power in psychology.

Just remember that these principles aren’t silver bullets for conversion. Understanding them simply allows us to formulate smarter A/B testing hypotheses. You still need to test.

Our minds work in certain ways and operate on certain principles. When we grasp those principles, we are holding the key to unlocking torrents of conversions.

Ready to create landing pages that really resonate with prospects?

More to the point, are you ready to create pages that convert?

– Jeremy Smith


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3 Conversion Psychology Principles to Test on Your Landing Page


Adding Certificates & Payment Options on Product Pages Increased Clicks on Add to Cart

The Company

Manna is a Hungary-based online store that sells chemical-free, organic and handmade personal-care products like soaps, body butters, essential oils, etc. Their products are available for purchase in Hungary, Germany, Austria and Serbia.

The Hypothesis

Being a Hungarian brand in Germany, they have to deal with a lot of trust issues. To overcome the same they decided to test various certifications and payment seals on the website. The hypothesis was that adding these certificates and payment icons near the “add to cart” button on the product page will increase clicks on the button as well as sales and revenue.

This is how the original product page looked like:

Original product page - Manna A/B test

The Test

The team at Manna decided to a/b test 2 variations of the product page against the original. The first version had a big banner showing the payment options and 3 certificates below it. This is how it looked:

Variation 1 - Manna A/B test

The second version had 2 rows of various certificates. This is how it looked:

Variation 2 - Manna A/B test

The test was run on more than 3000 visitors split equally between the 3 variations.

The Result

Variation 1 won and 11.26% of the visitors, who viewed this version, clicked “add to cart” button, in comparison to 1.48% in original (and 8.73% in variation 2).

Here’s a screenshot of the bar graph from the VWO app showing conversion rate of each variation:

Result graph - Manna A/B test

Why Variation 1 Outperformed the Other Two Versions of the Product Page?

As an online store selling natural and organic items, the pressure on Manna to prove their credibility is much more than any other web-shop selling cosmetics and skincare. This is because in addition to having great product pages and a seamless web experience they also have to constantly re-iterate the fact that they sell authentic natural products made from chemical-free substances. Having certifications, right on product pages, thus helped them boost the clicks on “add to cart” button. This is why even version 2 recorded a whopping increase of 490% in click rate.

Variation 1 emerged as a winner because of showing the certifications and ease of payment option together. This addressed the two most common concerns faced by customers — whether the product is authentic and if their preferred mode of payment is available as an option.

Let’s Talk!

Have you done any tests on your product pages? I’d love to know what you learnt about your visitors from them in the comments section below.

Also, since you are here, why not sign-up for our webinar by Siddharth Deswal on “7 Inspiring Tests to Create High-Converting eCommerce Product Pages”. I promise you lots of useful insights in just 45 minutes on Oct, 29.

The post Adding Certificates & Payment Options on Product Pages Increased Clicks on Add to Cart appeared first on VWO Blog.

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4 Time-Tested Ideas to Make Customers Return to Your Site

Running an ecommerce business is a little like fishing in a lake with twenty million other fishermen, some of them equipped with magic fishing nets that attract all the fish in the lake.

While each fisherman out on the waters would love to lay their hands on those magic fishing nets, few take the effort to weave their own nets to catch the biggest and plumpest fish. More importantly, few nets are strong enough to keep bagging the choicest catch in the lake on a long-term basis.

Here are four time tested ecommerce tips to weave that magic net to grab your own super-haul every single day.

Put them to work in your business, and you’ll not only improve your conversion rate, you’ll ensure customers come back time and again, for even higher return on investment.

1. Make Your Website Easier To Use

One of the fundamentals of user experience design is that ease of use trumps nearly every other factor in any form of interactive design. From websites, to apps and physical stores, to furniture, living spaces and urban design; ease of use for the end user dictates how popular the product you created will be.

Easy Use


Whether you choose a plug-and-play ecommerce model like Wix or prefer a more DIY, open-source (and free!) approach like PrestaShop to set up your online store, a snappy, memorable and easy-to-use website is an essential to keep users coming back.

Some key usability guidelines to keep in mind include:

Easy Navigation

Make your website intuitive and easy to navigate. A navigation bar with clearly spelt out website sections and sub-sections helps users find their way around easily.

A good rule of thumb is to make sure your users can find what they are looking for on your site in not more than 3 clicks.

Site Search

Not all users need to browse through endless options to find what they want. Some users arrive at your site knowing exactly what they’ll pick up, right down to the model number and color.

For users like these, a prominent search bar that cuts the chase down to a simple search is all they need. This ensures that even if your categories and sub categories are not spot on, the user will still be able to find what they’re looking for on your site.

Uncluttered, Aesthetic Design

A cluttered website confuses users with too many sensory signals, leaving them at a loss of what to do next.

Make white space your best friend and use it generously across your website. By leaving enough white space on every page, you let users see and absorb each page element individually and help them focus on the most important aspects of your page.

Simple Copy

Keep your copy simple and conversational. Keep your typography and fonts minimal and use your typography to highlight important action items that you want to draw the user’s attention towards.

Test Obsessively

Don’t be part of the ‘build it and they’ll come’ club. In spite of following the most popular design principles to the ‘T’ you might still be missing out on something very fundamental and intrinsic to your business model that will only come to light when a user actually browses through your site with a specific goal in mind.

Design and carry out A/B tests and multivariate tests of the most important aspects of your website—your userflows, calls to action, copy and overall layout—using tools like Crazy Egg to help you along the way.

Mind you, testing is not a one-off activity. Your website is not a static being. There are hundreds of little changes that you carry out on your site on an almost weekly basis.

Your users are not stuck in time either. Their preferences and abilities evolve with time. Hence, it is critical to make website testing a ritual that your site swears by.

2. Churn Out Complimentary Products & Upgrades

HP, Canon, Epson and their ilk have got a critical customer retention principle down perfectly. The printers that they sell may not make them very big money. But the cartridges that these printers require on a recurring basis are cash cows waiting to be milked.

To get users back to your site over and over again, build products that are complementary to the earlier ones sold through your site.

The games that users buy for their PlayStation or X-Box, songs that you buy on iTunes to hear on your iPod, the travel insurance that you buy on your air ticket are all examples of complementary products that make users go back to the original service provider on a repeated basis.



Another great way to keep ‘em coming back is to build upgraded versions of your existing products and promoting the upgrades as must-have, cutting-edge features.

To be fair, this approach works best for successful products that have already made a niche for themselves in the market. With a newer and better iPhone launched every couple of years or a new desktop operating system upgrade that comes along every few years or even a faster, more efficient processor being released on a regular basis, Apple, Microsoft and Intel use the product upgrade principle to their advantage.

3. Provide Great Value

Offering your users great value is not equivalent to offering rock-bottom prices. Great value can mean fantastic quality at prices on par with competition. It could mean a huge variety in SKUs. It could mean unique designs unmatched by anyone else.

A free product thrown in with the purchase or a free service contract are examples of value that make a customer return over and over again.



Whatever the value paradigm is in your industry, strive to offer it without charging a premium for it. Customers know value when they experience it once. A brand that offers great value the first time can be assured of a repeat visit, as no matter how wealthy a customer may be, being a value-seeker while shopping is an innate quality hardwired in all of us.

Research confirms this fact. An Ipsos study of affluent individuals in the US (with a minimum household income of $100,000) showed that 74% of these shoppers believed that good value for money was more important than the price tag of the item itself.

A successful example of perceived great value is an offering like Birchbox. For a monthly subscription of just $10, users get beauty product samples whose cumulative value is a lot higher than their monthly subscription amount.

4. Always Be Useful

A brand that goes out of its way to make users’ lives easier is one that will stick in their minds for a long time to come.

Don’t just sit tight after your user makes their first purchase. Reach out to them and offer them tips and tricks to best use the product that they just bought. Educate them about alternate uses for your product and complementary items that team well with it.



Offering users ideas on how to improve the longevity of their product or how to service it best to keep it in good shape are always appreciated.

Remind users to get a refill or renew their subscription (if it applies) to get them to come back on time and not experiment with other service providers.

Use big data and personalized communications to create product cross sells based on user information. Emails like ‘You bought item X. We think you might like item Y’ help to prod users in the direction of their next purchase.

In Closing

You don’t need me to tell you how important repeat customers are. You’ve probably heard it all a hundred times before. We all understand and agree that the bottom line for a successful business is its ability to get customers to keep coming back over and over again.

Whether your customers pay you in cash, credit or bitcoins, the only way to keep them coming back to your site is if you make their first experience memorable (in a positive way!) and a real breeze, and then follow it up with subtle reminder tactics to ensure top of mind recall.

Have any ecommerce tips that have worked for you? Share them with us and spread the love!

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Pratik Dholakiya.

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4 Time-Tested Ideas to Make Customers Return to Your Site


How To Run A Content-Planning Workshop

Back when my agency started taking content seriously, we invested a lot time in developing a process to produce content. The biggest challenge was always figuring out how to get clients onboard with this new process.

Most of our clients were totally happy riffing on how to meet the business objectives of a project or how to approach the visual design, but they always struggled to get to grips with our process for producing content. We found that the most effective way to get their buy-in was to run a content-planning workshop.

Workshops work really well to get everyone onboard with how to produce content (while also clarifying how to agree on content). By involving as many people from the client’s side as possible in these workshops, you can really underline people’s responsibilities, while also highlighting that this process won’t happen overnight.

In this article, I’ll share the approach we developed to run content-planning workshops with our clients. While you will need to adapt the format to your scenario, you should be able to apply most of the steps.

1. Prepare

You’ll have to sort out a few things before inviting your client to the workshop. These workshops have a few components, so put in the work beforehand to make sure everything runs smoothly and you don’t have awkward pauses during the session.

Put in some planning work beforehand to make sure everything runs smoothly and to avoid awkward pauses
Put in some planning work beforehand to make sure everything runs smoothly and to avoid awkward pauses.

Find a Venue

You’ll want to get a room with a large table and a whiteboard. You could bring the client to your agency’s boardroom or do the workshop somewhere off-site that you agree on. Having an inspiring new environment is always good for the client. Sometimes the client will be engaged, but I’ve been in a few workshops where no one wanted to be there and were constantly checking their email or not taking it seriously. Working off-site might hold everyone’s interest better; it also makes it easier to set ground rules (no phones, for example).

Invite the Project Manager, Project Owner and Senior Editor

These roles will vary hugely according to the project. Either way, involve some kind of senior manager and someone on the ground who will actually be producing the content. This way, you’ll get buy-in from the top and a realistic plan from the bottom.

Invite a technical person, too, so that they can talk about CMS formatting and any details regarding migration and publishing processes. By inviting people who represent key areas of the project, you are minimizing risk. I’ve been in workshops where someone from legal turned up and effectively redefined the requirements by sharing important legal requirements.

Invite Representatives From Different Teams

Invite one or two representatives from each of these groups: writers and producers, subject experts, and digital producers. Again, these roles will vary according to your situation. Essentially, you want to get managers from a cross-section of departments, as well as the people who will actually be carrying out the production process that you map out. Be aware of organizational politics and the workloads of the people you’re involving.

Bring Materials

Bring plenty of sticky notes and markers and some big sheets of paper. These will be used throughout the workshop, and you will need enough for up to three groups.

2. Map Your Process

First, look at the production stages that a piece of content will need to go through before it is ready to be published. This generally starts with identifying the key content types (for example, “product pages,” “course summary pages,” “how-to guides”). Content types are not necessarily “pages” as such, but could be more modular components of the website — things like product specifications or staff biographies.

Look at the production stages that a piece of content will need to go through before it is ready to be published.
Look at the production stages that a piece of content will need to go through before it is ready to be published.

Once you’ve identified the main content types, look at what’s involved in taking them from a basic page brief (which outlines what an item of content is supposed to achieve) to a product that is published and maintained.

Choose a Content Type

Choose a content type that you expect to appear on your new website, such as a service or product page, a blog post or a course outline. Choose something that everyone can relate to; avoid specialized content types such as legal documents and engineering reports.

Map a Publishing Process

In groups, map out a production process to get a single piece of content published on the new website. Again, this will vary a lot according to your team (for example, depending on who will be doing the heavy lifting of producing the content).

A simple workflow might look something like this:

  1. Draft content
  2. Edit tone of voice
  3. Review internally
  4. Get approval from client
  5. Optimize for search engines
  6. Import to CMS
  7. Review web page
  8. Publish
  9. Maintain

The workflow will vary considerably from project to project. You might need to account for legal and compliance reviews or technical accuracy, or you might need to specify phases for formatting and publishing content (such as formatting for mobile or converting items into downloadable PDF documents). This is another reason to start with a fairly generic piece of content, and then move on to creating more elaborate workflows for specific content types or sections of the website.

The bias that stems from people’s roles in the project is always interesting to see (which is why having people with different roles involved in the workshop is so valuable in the first place). You might find legal representatives claiming to need four separate stages for legally reviewing every page, while a copywriter might want to break the editing for tone of voice into multiple phases. A concerted team effort should result in a workflow that is balanced, realistic and agreed on.

3. Assign Responsibility

One of the most powerful things about these workshops is that you assign responsibility, making clear who exactly is accountable for which work. Failing to clarify responsibility over content is one of the most common causes for delays. Bottlenecks happen usually because people simply do not know they were expected to produce content or because responsibility has all been put on one person. This part of the workshop should prevent such trouble.

Failing to clarify responsibility over content is one of the most common causes for delays.
Failing to clarify responsibility over content is one of the most common causes for delays.

Assign Responsibility

Annotate each stage on your sheet with the person or role responsible for it. This might look something like this:

  1. Draft content: subject expert
  2. Edit tone of voice: copywriter
  3. Review internally: senior editor
  4. Get approval from client: project owner
  5. Optimize for search engines: SEO editor
  6. Import to CMS: CMS editor
  7. Review web page: project owner
  8. Publish: CMS editor
  9. Maintain: subject expert

Identify Lack of Ownership

Mark any stages that don’t have a clear owner. This is often a huge revelation. “We need to hire an SEO editor!” “We need a copywriter!” “We need a pastry chef!” By simply highlighting the parts of the process for which no one is responsible, you’ll quickly see where the challenges for your project lie. By acknowledging these now, you will save a huge amount of stress down the line. You might find that the plan is solid and has no gaps, or you might immediately see that hiring a copywriter will save you a whole lot of trouble. Either way, this part of the workshop is critical.

Clarify Responsibilities

Ask, “Do the people responsible know they are responsible?” This is another great opportunity to minimize risk. Make sure that everyone knows what’s expected of them, and see whether anyone has too much on their plate. A well-organized content inventory or dedicated project-management software comes in handy here.

4. Identify Risks In The Process

Building on the previous step, make sure the following questions are resolved to avoid bottlenecks.

“Do Too Many People Have a Say?”

Multiple heads are sometimes not better than one for producing content. Keep an eye out for pages or sections of the website that have a lot of editors and reviewers involved. I’ve seen so many projects delayed because content was bounced between editors for days on end, often just leading to over-edited and nonsensical text.

“Is One Person Overburdened?”

These workshops are the perfect time to assess the volume of work assigned to individuals and assess how realistically they can get it done. Give less outspoken people a chance to air their concerns, which is a lot easier when you’ve estimated the hours of work involved. Speak with each individual to review their workload.

“Do We Have the Skills Required?”

Is poorly written content a risk? Or could the content be misinformed (due to a lack of expertise)? Will the content be optimized for search engines? Go back to your content requirements and make sure you have the manpower to meet them all. If you don’t, call for some outside help.

“Where Might Things Get Political or Contentious?”

It’s an awkward subject to broach, but organizational politics could pose a serious threat to the project. I’ve often seen people hold back their opinion (or, more dangerously, overestimate their ability to deliver work) due to certain people being in the room or politics. The best way to deal with this is simply to treat all team members as equals and to ask probing questions of everyone in the room.

5. Estimate Hours

It might not be easy, but try to calculate the man hours of work required to complete each stage of the process. This isn’t the same as calculating how long it will take to complete a stage, although both are important when planning resourcing.

Estimatehow much effort is required to complete each stage.
Estimatehow much effort is required to complete each stage.

Estimate Workload

Estimate (in fractions of hours) how much effort is realistically required to complete each stage. Once you’ve come to an agreement on the time required, write the number beside each stage. If the debate about estimates is taking too long, you could try adapting the “planning poker1” technique used in scrum.

Calculate Time

Add up the time required to complete all stages. This might be a good time for a break.

Estimate Total Workload

Multiply the total time by the number of pages anticipated for the website to get an estimate of the total amount of effort required for all of your content. As mentioned, you might be dealing with modules or items of content (things like product specifications or staff biographies), rather than pages. Either way, consider the average size of these items to get a realistic estimate of the time required to get the work done. I often group together additional content, such as microcopy, treating it as a single item in the calculation.

The calculation might look like this: 4 hours (time to produce and approve one page) × 125 pages = 500 hours of work.

6. Present The Process

Everyone should review the process at the end of the workshop to be clear on what’s going to happen, who is doing what and how it will be implemented. This is also a good time to outline the next steps.

Walk Through the Process

Each group should walk the whole team through their process (on a sheet of paper) and then open up the presentation for discussion. The person facilitating the workshop should go around and get input from everyone in the room. Address any concerns or anxieties immediately. Concerns tend to focus on whether there is enough time! Also, address any technical issues that people might not feel confident asking about.

Try to film the presentations so that any absent stakeholders can keep up with the discussion.

Following this discussion, move on to the slightly more serious task of setting realistic deadlines for the content and assigning responsibility. Talk about the software you might use to host your editorial calendar2, once you have a clear idea of the process that the software has to support. Choosing the software first could lead you to have to shoehorn the process in; this is best avoided!

Workshops Work

That’s the process we’ve developed to run workshops with our clients. Hopefully, this template will help you to run successful content-planning workshops of your own and, more importantly, help you to get content finished on time and to a high standard.

With everyone on the same page (literally), the risk of delays with content production will be far less.

Additional Resources

(al, ml)


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Your Ecommerce Site Will Die Without These 3 Trust Signals

Every ecommerce site needs trust signals. Without them, you can expect conversion rates and revenue to remain low. With trust signals, you can power your ecommerce websites to heights of power and success.

In this article, I want to share with you the secrets of trust signals that have worked for me and dozens of other extremely successful ecommerce websites. First, I’ll share a little bit about the science and psychology of trust signals and then explain exactly which trust signals you should have on your website in order to drive conversions.

trust - placeitSource:

What are trust signals?

Trust signals, put simply, are features or qualities of your site that inspire trust in the mind of the customer. Trust is what allows a customer to go from visitor to buyer. A user needs to trust a site in order to buy from the site. There are hundreds, potentially even thousands, of different types of trust signals. Some trust signals, however, are more important than others.

You are hurting yourself if you don’t have trust signals, which is why I can confidently tell you the title of this article isn’t just click bait. Your ecommerce site will die. According to a 2006 study by Taylor Nelson Sofres, customers will terminate 70% of online purchases due to lack of trust (source). This paucity of trust leads to a devastating loss of $1.9b+ annually.

A study of UK-based online retailers found that sites without customer reviews and recommendations were forfeiting £9 billion in extra revenue. The study asserted that including user-generated content like reviews could positively impact these retailers by 27%!

Ready to ramp up conversions and revenue? These are the three trust signals you need:

The #1 Trust Signal – Testimonials and Reviews

What do other people say about your product or service? This is one of the most trust-inspiring features. If you have no other trust signals on your website, you should have this one.

Here are 5 strategies to approach trust:

1. Provide Reviews

Reviews are when customers discuss their experience with and/or satisfaction with your product or service. They may leave these on third-party websites such as Yelp (for local businesses) or Amazon (for physical or digital products).

As cited in SEJ, Econsultancy declares that 88% of customers will check out reviews before making a final decision on a purchase. According to studies, 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (Local Consumer Review Survey, 2012).

Since two-thirds of consumers use online reviews either regularly or occasionally, this indicates a high percentage of people will be interested in reviews of your business. By corollary, if you don’t have them, you don’t have their trust.

Graph from SEL on a type of a trust signal. Two-thirds of consumers use online reviews either regularly or occasionally

You’ll need more than one glowing review on your website or product page. Most consumers read 2–10 reviews. A smaller number of reviews can indicate a lower level of trust.

This chart from the Local Consumer Review Survey (2012) indicates how many reviews consumers read as they considered a purchase.

Most customers read 2 to 10 reviews when considering to make a purchase.  based on trust signal.

It’s no surprise, then, that positive reviews are highly likely to influence a customer’s buying decision.

Positive reviews are highly likely to influence a customer’s buying decision

(Image source: SEL).

Need help getting reviews? These tips should help.

2. Include Social Proof

Of all the types of testimonials and reviews, social proof is probably the most powerful. One reason for this is because people tend to trust the recommendations of friends and family more than any other source. According to Nielsen 92% of consumers trust “earned media” — which is their friends and family.

To what extent do you trust following forms of advertising?

Google+ is a necessary source of social proof, because of the way that it impacts SERPs and CTR. Potential customers can see social proof right in their search results. When they are logged in to their Google+, Google will pull in people who are part of their circles, conveying a sense of trust to a given search result in the SERP.

Trust Signal use of Google plus

3. Add Reviews in Feeds

One powerful way of providing reviews is doing so by means of a feed of reviews — usually Twitter. Here’s how an article on Econsultancy expressed it:

BuildASign indicates a 7% increase in website conversion rates when visitors see a feed of reviews (as opposed to static ‘testimonials’ of dubious origin), compared to those with no reviews.

In combination with the trust quality from social accounts, review feeds are an impacting way to overwhelm the customer with the (hopefully positive) variety and origin of reviews.

This form of review isn’t available for every product or service. If it’s a possibility for yours, by all means, consider adding it to your website or landing page.

4. Add the Identity of Reviewers

The identity of the reviewer is a source of trustworthiness. You can probably identify with the way stock photos and generic names provide either no trust or distrust to a site.

The best way to overcome the blight of anonymous reviewers is to add pictures, full names, and links. Either that, or use a trust source such as Amazon or social media to cite reviews.

Sharefaith, a website provider for churches, does this. Although they use the surname initial, they do provide physical location and a link to the website along with a website screenshot:

Identity of Reviewers, use of trust signal

Amazon has built up an entire development infrastructure to support and validate the identity of reviews and reviewers.

Customers can get a snapshot of the overall rating of the products:

Identity of Reviewers - trust signal

If they choose, sellers can also dive into the individual reviews, rate the reviews, research the reviewers, and discuss the reviews.

For example, this reviewer has a name, a “real name,” a review page, and a rating.

Identity of Reviewers - trust signal

On a particular review, I can state whether I thought it was helpful or not, comment on it, report abuse, or even create a permalink to the review.

While your own site’s reviews may lack the robust features of Amazon, it’s nonetheless important to validate the legitimacy of reviews and the identity of reviewers.

Identity of Reviewers , two- trust signal

If you have small network or niche product, don’t despair. Econsultancy’s study concluded that when it comes to reviews, “smaller communities have a greater influence on a topic than larger ones (54%).” This is probably due to the fact that smaller communities are more familiar with one another’s names and identities and thus place a greater degree of trust in the network due to its close-knit composition.

If you are selecting the reviews to use, make sure you use one that has the greatest degree of validity. In a study of “users,” researchers at Temple University came up with the following trust flow diagram.

Temple University came up with the following trust flow diagram.

5. Include Seller Ratings

Seller ratings are a rich snippet markup that you can include in your product page. When your ad appears in the SERP, Google will display a star rating. PPCwithoutPity claims that this will “double your conversions.”

This is what it looks like.

Google will display a star rating

Google will display a star rating, type 2

Check out Google’s in-depth discussion of how seller reviews work, and how you can add them to your adwords entries for that extra trusty support.

The #2 Trust Signal – Contact and Communication

Companies without an established identity lack trust. It’s just that simple.

Despite the predominance of online purchasing, people still crave the trust that comes from a physical location, a phone number, and an email address.

An article in Business2Community put it like this:

Trust seals are essential trust signals for the survival of ecommerce sites. People tend to be extra cautious when conducting transactions online with all the reports of identity theft that continues to besiege consumers. Ecommerce sites need to show consumers that they are legitimate companies.

In the wake of data loss, cyber spies, Target’s breach, and Google’s tightening of security, consumers are wary and skeptical. You’ve got to do all you can as a retailer to earn and keep their trust.

1. Contact

One of the most basic ways to do this is to tell them who you are, where you live, and how they can get a hold of you.

This information is usually placed directly in the websites template, often in a footer. You should also have a contact page that is easily accessible from anywhere on the site.

Here’s what the contact page on E-consultancy looks like:

Example of trust signal - the contact page on E-consultancy

Each location has full physical address, phone number, map, and even discusses transportation options.

This website uses a physical address and phone number:

This website uses a physical address and phone number

Here is what the trust signals look like on another website’s footer (

the trust signals, contact info

Other websites, like this one but nonetheless provide a phone number. My website provides a way for people to connect with me socially and via email:

Jeremy Said Contact page

2. Communication

The most significant way to enhance trust in today’s social-media-driven age, however, is through a social media account. You still need the physical location and contact information, but social media accounts are an essential layer of trust that you need.

It doesn’t take any wild development tricks. Just a few social symbols are all that’s needed to help enhance this level of trust.

social plugins for trust signals

You see them everywhere:

social plugins for trust signals. part2

If you don’t have social plugins, you’re losing out on a major form of trust and assurance.

social plugins for trust signals. part3

These social symbols should be present on nearly every page of your website.

social plugins for trust signals. part4 There are ways to use these symbols without compromising UX in the least.

social plugins for trust signals. part5

People trust Facebook. They trust Twitter. They respect Google Plus. They use LinkedIn. They view cat videos on YouTube. They pin to Pinterest. These are places where users spend their time and connect with their friends. If you connect with them in this way, they are more likely to trust you and your messaging.

The headline from Time earlier this year captures this idea with insightful accuracy: Millennials: Trust No One But Twitter.

Millenials trust no one

Social media accounts are the forum of communication today. This is where the discussion happens. This is where people connect. As a result, contact and communication today require social media accounts. This is how you build trust.

The #3 Trust Signal – Payment Assurance

When it comes right down to it, people need the most trust assurance when they are about to spend their money. There are plenty of ways to inspire trust in a checkout process, but I want to focus on just two forms in this section.

1. Multiple payment methods

Customers spend money in variety of ways. You should provide the prominent payment form in the method that is most preferred by your customers. But even if your primary audience doesn’t use a certain payment method as commonly, you should still feature it in order to give them a sense of trust.

The wider variety of payment methods you accept, the greater the customer’s degree of trust in you.

2. Third-party badges and certifications.

The presence of images in the checkout process goes a long way to build trust. Consider this image, featuring (image from They’ve got trust. Why? It’s all those images of familiar payment method icons and logos like BusinessWeek.

Third-party badges and certifications

In a study from UXMatters, analysts discovered that “icons such as PayPal, VeriSign, Visa” were one of the highest rated trust elements on a website for first-time visitors to a site.

trust(Image source: Screenshot of UXMatters.)

When a customer parts with his or her money, they need assurance. This is the point in the process where they are most vulnerable to leaving the funnel (shopping cart abandonment). Do all you can with trust signals to keep them on the page. If they don’t trust you, they won’t buy from you.


You need to determine what trust factors are most meaningful for your audience. Although there are trust factors that have universal appeal, trust isn’t a one-size-fits-all issue.

Your first goal in the trust-building process is to find out exactly what kind of trust your customers need. Then, deliver on it. The principles outlined in this article are the most necessary and compelling forms of trust.

  1. Testimonials and Reviews – Feature as many reviews as possible. Make sure that the reviews and testimonials themselves are trustworthy.
  2. Contact and Communication – Establish the real life validity of your business by featuring location and contact information. Social plugins are a must.
  3. Payment Assurance – Give customers peace of mind as they travel through your checkout process. Display a variety of payment methods, badges, and certifications.

Trust signals will not only enhance your brand as a whole, but also increase your conversions.

Neglect these trust signals at your peril. Embrace them to your success.

Read other Crazy Egg posts by Jeremy Smith.

The post Your Ecommerce Site Will Die Without These 3 Trust Signals appeared first on The Daily Egg.


Your Ecommerce Site Will Die Without These 3 Trust Signals


Reducing Abandoned Shopping Carts In E-Commerce

In March 2014, the Baymard Institute, a web research company based in the UK, reported that 67.91%1 of online shopping carts are abandoned. An abandonment means that a customer has visited a website, browsed around, added one or more products to their cart and then left without completing their purchase. A month later in April 2014, Econsultancy stated2 that global retailers are losing $3 trillion (USD) in sales every year from abandoned carts.

Clearly, reducing the number of abandoned carts would lead to higher store revenue — the goal of every online retailer. The question then becomes how can we, as designers and developers, help convert these “warm leads” into paying customers for our clients?

Before Cart Abandonment

Let’s begin by looking at recognized improvements we can make to an online store to reduce the number of “before cart” abandonments. These improvements focus on changes that aid the customer’s experience prior to reaching the cart and checkout process, and they include the following:

  • Show images of products.
    This reinforces what the customer is buying, especially on the cart page.
  • Display security logos and compliance information.
    This can allay fears related to credit-card and payment security.
  • Display contact details.
    Showing offline contact details (including a phone number and mailing address) in addition to an email address adds credibility to the website.
  • Make editing the cart easier.
    Make it as simple as possible for customers to change their order prior to checking out.
  • Offer alternative payment methods.
    Let people check out with their preferred method of payment (such as PayPal and American Express, in addition to Visa and MasterCard).
  • Offer support.
    Providing a telephone number and/or online chat functionality on the website and, in particular, on the checkout page will give shoppers confidence and ease any concerns they might have.
  • Don’t require registration.
    This one resonates with me personally. I often click away from websites that require lengthy registration forms to be filled out. By allowing customers to “just” check out, friction is reduced.
  • Offer free shipping.
    While merchants might include shipping costs in the price, “free shipping” is nevertheless an added enticement to buy.
  • Be transparent about shipping costs and time.
    Larger than expected shipping costs and unpublished lead times will add unexpected costs and frustration.
  • Show testimonials.
    Showcasing reviews from happy customers will alleviate concerns any people might have about your service.
  • Offer price guarantees and refunds.
    Offering a price guarantee gives shoppers the confidence that they have found the best deal. Additionally, a clear refund policy will add peace of mind.
  • Optimize for mobile.
    Econsultancy reports that sales from mobile devices increased by 63% in 2013. This represents a real business case to move to a “responsive” approach.
  • Display product information.
    Customers shouldn’t have to dig around a website to get the information they need. Complex navigation and/or a lack of product information make for a frustrating experience.

Unfortunately, even if you follow all of these recommendations, the reality is that customers will still abandon their carts — whether through frustration, bad design or any other reason they see fit.

After Cart Abandonment

The second approach is to look at things we can do once a cart has been abandoned. One tactic is to email the customer with a personalized message and a link to a prepopulated cart containing the items they had selected. This is known as an “abandoned cart email.”

The concept is pretty simple. At the right time, a customizable email is sent, complete with a personalized message and a link to the customer’s abandoned cart. Of course, this approach assumes that the customer has submitted their email address — effectively, they’ve done everything but paid. Abandoned cart emails represent one last attempt by the merchant to convince the buyer to check out.

In September 2013, Econsultancy outlined3 how an online cookie retailer recaptured 29% of its abandoned shopping carts via email. This is a huge figure and one we might naturally be skeptical of.

To get a more realistic perspective, I asked my colleagues at Shopify4 to share some of their data on this, and they kindly agreed. Shopify introduced “abandoned cart recovery” (ACR) in mid-September 2013 (just over a year ago at the time of writing). Here’s a summary of its effectiveness:

  • In the 12 months since launching automatic ACR, $12.9 million have been recovered through ACR emails in Shopify.
  • 4,085,592 emails were sent during this period, of which 147,021 carts were completed as a result. This represents a 3.6% recovery rate.
  • Shop owners may choose to send an email 6 or 24 hours after abandonment. Between the two, 6-hour emails convert much better: a 4.1% recovery rate for 6 hours versus 3% for 24 hours.

It’s worth noting that the 3.6% recovery rate is from Shopify’s ACR emails. Many merchants use third-party apps5 instead of Shopify’s native feature. Given that Shopify is unable to collect data on these services, the number of emails sent and the percentage of recovered carts may well be higher.

Given the statistics, abandoned cart emails are clearly an important part of an online retailer’s marketing strategy. Luckily, most leading e-commerce platforms enable merchants to send custom emails, either in plain text or HTML. Knowing how to implement these notifications is a useful skill if you are designing for e-commerce, and they represent added value to your services.

Creating An HTML Abandoned Cart Email

The implementation of abandoned cart emails varies from platform to platform. Some platforms require third-party plugins, whereas others have the functionality built in. For example, both plain-text and HTML versions are available on Shopify. While the boilerplates are very usable, you might want to create a custom HTML version to complement the branding of your store. We’ll look at options and some quick wins shortly.

In recent years, HTML email newsletters have really flourished. You only have to look at the many galleries6 to see how far this form of marketing has progressed. Sending an HTML version, while not essential, certainly allows for more flexibility and visual design (although always sending a plain-text version, too, is recommended). However, it’s not without its pain points.

If you’ve been developing and designing for the web since the 1990s, then you will remember, fondly or otherwise, the “fun” of beating browsers into shape. Designing HTML newsletters is in many ways a throwback to this era. Table-based layouts are the norm, and we also have to contend with email clients that render HTML inconsistently.

Luckily for us, the teams at both Campaign Monitor7 and MailChimp8 have written extensively on this subject and provide many solutions to common problems. For example, Campaign Monitor maintains a matrix and provides a downloadable poster9 outlining the CSS support of each major desktop and mobile email client. MailChimp, for its part, provides numerous resources on CSS10 and email template design11. Familiarizing yourself with the basics before tackling your first HTML email is worthwhile — even if you ultimately use a template.

Open-Source Responsive Email Templates

While many of you might wish to “roll your own” template, I often find it easier to build on the great work of others. For example, a number of great open-source projects focus on HTML email templates, including Email Blueprints12 by MailChimp.

Another example comes from Lee Munroe. His “transactional HTML email templates13” differ in that they are not intended for use as newsletters, but rather as “transactional” templates. To clarify the difference, Lee breaks down transactional email into three categories:

  • action emails
    “Activate your account,” “Reset your password”
  • email alerts
    “You’ve reached a limit,” “A problem has occurred”
  • billing emails
    monthly receipts and invoices

The templates are purposefully simple yet elegant. They also have the added benefit of having been throughly tested in all major email clients. Finally, because they are responsive, they cater to the 50+%14 of emails opened via mobile devices.

The Challenge

Lee’s templates are a good option for creating a simple HTML email for abandoned carts. Therefore, let’s move on from the theory and look at how to create an HTML template for the Shopify platform.

Let’s begin by setting some constraints on the challenge:

  1. make the fewest number of markup changes to Lee’s template;
  2. make use of the boilerplate text that is set as the default in the abandoned cart HTML template in Shopify;
  3. inline all CSS (a best practice for HTML email);
  4. send a test email with dummy data, and review the results in Airmail, Gmail and Apple Mail (on iOS).

1. Create a Local Copy of the Action Email Template

Having looked at the three templates, the “action” version appears to offer the best starting point. You can download the HTML for this template directly from GitHub15 if you wish to follow along.

The first step is to take the contents of Lee’s template and save it locally as abandoned-cart.html. A quick sanity check in a browser shows that the style sheet isn’t being picked up.

Basic template setup.16
Basic template setup. (View large version17)

Inlining all CSS is recommended (we’ll look at this in a later step), so add the styles to the <head> section of abandoned-cart.html. You can copy the CSS in its entirety from GitHub18 and then paste it in a <style> element. Another check in the browser shows that the styles are being applied.

CSS applied.
CSS applied.

2. Add the Content

Now that the template is working as a standalone document, it’s time to look at integrating Liquid19’s boilerplate code from Shopify’s default template. This can be found in the Shopify admin section under “Settings” → “Notifications” → “Abandoned cart.” If you wish to follow along with these code examples, you can set up a free fully featured development store20 by signing up to Shopify’s Partner Program21.

Hey% if % }% endif %,
Your shopping cart at  shop_name } has been reserved and is waiting for your return!
In your cart, you left:
% for line in line_items % line.quantity }x  line.title }% endfor %
But it’s not too late! To complete your purchase, click this link:
 url }
Thanks for shopping!
 shop_name }

All notification emails in Shopify make use of Liquid, the templating language developed by Shopify and now available as an open-source project and found in tools such as Mixture22 and software such as Jekyll23 and SiteLeaf24. Liquid makes it possible to pull data from the store — in this case, all of the details related to the abandoned cart and the user it belonged to.

Having studied the markup, I’ve decided to place the boilerplate content in a single table cell, starting on line 2725 of Lee’s original document.

After pasting in the boilerplate code, let’s double-check that the template renders as expected in the browser. At this stage, Liquid’s code is appearing “as is.” Only once the template is applied to Shopify’s template will this be replaced with data from the store.

Boilerplate text added.
Boilerplate text added.

3. Modify the Boilerplate Code

The next stage involves tidying up some of the boilerplate code, including wrapping the boilerplate text in <p> tags. Then, it’s time to work out how best to display the cart’s contents in markup. For speed, I’ve chosen an unordered list. Liquid’s refactored for loop26 is pretty straightforward:

% for line in line_items %
<li> line.quantity } x  line.title }</li>
% endfor %

After another sanity check, things are looking much more promising. However, we need to make a few final tweaks to make it work:

  • remove unwanted table rows,
  • add the correct link to the blue call-to-action button,
  • change the contents of the footer.
Tidying up.
Tidying up.

4. Make Final Adjustments

Lee’s template includes markup to create a big blue “Click me” button. You can see this on line 3827:

<a href="" class="btn-primary">Upgrade my account</a>

Let’s turn this into a relevant link by changing the markup to this:

<p><a href=" url }" class="btn-primary">Check out now</a></p>
Adding the call-to-action URL.
Adding the call-to-action URL.

In this case, url } represents the link to the abandoned (and saved) cart. I’ve enclosed the anchor in a paragraph to ensure consistent spacing when the email is rendered, and I’ve moved it up into the main section.

Finally, we’ve changed the unsubscribe link in the footer to a link to the shop:

<a href=" shop.url }">Visit  shop_name }</a>

After a few minutes of editing, the template looks more than respectable. However, we’ve neglected one section, the text in the yellow highlighted “alert” section. I’ve changed this, along with the title element in the HTML, to this:

Changing the header text and footer link.
Changing the header text and footer link.
Your cart at  shop_name } has been reserved and is waiting for your return!

Email notifications in Shopify have access to a number of variables that can be accessed via Liquid. A full list is available in Shopify’s documentation28.

5. Inline the CSS

To recap, we’ve changed the template’s markup very little, and the CSS is identical to Lee’s original (albeit in the template, rather than in an external file). Shopify’s boilerplate text is also intact, albeit with a very small change to Liquid’s for loop.

The next step is to inline the CSS in the HTML file. Because some email clients remove <head> and <style> tags from email, moving the CSS inline means that our email should render as intended. Chris Coyier penned “Using CSS in HTML Emails: The Real Story29” back in November 2007 — the landscape hasn’t changed much since.

Thankfully, taking your CSS inline isn’t a long or difficult process. In fact, it’s surprisingly easy. A number of free services30 enable you to paste markup and will effectively add your styles inline.

I’ve chosen Premailer31 principally because it has a few extra features, including the ability to remove native CSS from the <head> section of the HTML document, which saves a few kilobytes from the file’s size. After pasting in the markup and pressing “Submit,” Premailer generates a new HTML version that you can copy and paste back into your document. It also creates a plain-text version of the email, should you need it.

Premailer has the ability to remove native CSS which saves a few kilobytes.32
Premailer has the ability to remove native CSS which saves a few kilobytes. (View large version33)

Another great feature of Premailer is that you can view the new markup in the browser. You’ll find a link above the text box containing the new markup, titled “Click to View the HTML Results.” Clicking the link opens a hosted version of the new markup, which you can use to check your sanity or share with colleagues and clients.

If you are keen to automate the creation of e-commerce notification emails, then Premailer also offers an API34. A number of libraries that support it are also available on GitHub, including PHP-Premailer35.

The final task is to copy the new HTML code and paste it in the “HTML” tab of our abandoned cart notification in Shopify’s admin area. Once it’s applied, you can preview the email in the browser, as well as send a dummy copy to an email address.

Shopify admin.36
Shopify admin. (View large version37)

Below are the results in various email clients (both mobile and desktop).


Airmail rendering.38
Airmail rendering. (View large version39)

Apple Mail

Apple Mail rendering.40
Apple Mail rendering. (View large version41)

Gmail (Browser)

Gmail rendering.42
Gmail rendering. (View large version43)

Apple Mail on iOS

Apple Mail on iOS rendering.44
Apple Mail on iOS rendering. (View large version45)

The process of turning Lee’s template into a usable email took around 30 minutes, and I am pretty pleased with the result from such little input.

Of course, this process screams out for automation. For those who are interested, Lee has also posted about his workflow for creating HTML email templates46 and the toolkit he uses (Sketch, Sublime, Grunt, SCSS, Handlebars, GitHub, Mailgun, Litmus).

Taking It Further

The template produced above is admittedly quite basic and only scratches the surface of what is possible. We could do plenty more to customize our email for abandoned carts, such as:

  • consider tone of voice,
  • show product images to jog the customer’s memory,
  • add a discount code to encourage the user to return and buy,
  • add upsells,
  • list complementary products.

Dodo Case

Tone of voice is a key consideration and goes a long way to engaging the customer. Dodo Case4947 has a great example:

Dodo Case’s email for abandoned carts.48
Dodo Case4947’s email for abandoned carts. (View large version50)

As always, context is very important when it comes to tone of voice. What’s right for Dodo Case might not be right for a company specializing in healthcare equipment.

Let’s review a few examples (taken from Shopify’s blog51) to get a taste of what other companies are doing.


Fab’s email for abandoned carts.52
Fab5553’s email for abandoned carts. (View large version54)

While this email from Fab5553 is pretty standard, the subject line is very attention-grabbing and is a big call to action.


Chubbies’ email for abandoned carts.56
Chubbies57’ email for abandoned carts. (View large version58)

The language and tone used in Chubbies’ email really stands out and is in line with the brand: fun-loving people. There’s also no shortage of links back to the cart, including the title, the main image and the call to action towards the bottom of the email.

Black Milk Clothing

Black Milk’s email for abandoned carts.59
Black Milk60’s email for abandoned carts. (View large version61)

Black Milk Clothing62 includes a dog photo and employs playful language, such as “Your shopping cart at Black Milk Clothing has let us know it’s been waiting a while for you to come back.”


Holstee’s email for abandoned carts.63
Holstee6664’s email for abandoned carts. (View large version65)

Finally, Holstee6664 asks if there’s a problem they can help with. It even goes so far as to include a direct phone number to its “Community Love Director.” Having worked with Holstee, I can confirm that this is a real position within the company!


While there are many tactics to persuade customers to buy, inevitably some people will get to the payment screen and decide not to continue. Any tactic that helps to seal the deal is certainly worth considering, and given the small amount of work involved in implementing an email to recover abandoned carts, it’s a great place to start. Designers and developers are in a powerful position to help their clients increase their revenue, and being armed with tactics such as the ones outlined in this article will hopefully enable them to offer a wider range of services.

Further Reading

(al, ml)


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The post Reducing Abandoned Shopping Carts In E-Commerce appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

See original article here – 

Reducing Abandoned Shopping Carts In E-Commerce


5 Post-Conversion Strategies to Increase Customer Lifetime Value

A conversion shouldn’t be a one-night stand. After the initial conversion, you need to continue to nurture that relationship. Image source.

As marketers, we tend to spend a disproportionate amount of time focusing on creating customers compared to retaining customers. And while the latter may sound like the job of the customer support team, smart marketers understand that the two are linked.

It isn’t enough for marketers to generate leads to grow the business; marketers are responsible for attracting qualified leads – and laying a solid foundation for an ongoing relationship that continues to generate profit after the initial sale.

In other words, marketers are responsible for constantly optimizing for customer lifetime value (CLV).

This doesn’t necessarily have to mean increasing your prices, reducing customer acquisition cost or offering more services. Sometimes, improving CLV is as simple as optimizing the systems you already have in place – from your marketing funnel to your customer support.

I’m talking about post-conversion strategies:

After you secure a conversion – after people have invested time, trust and money in your business – they’re more likely to respond to a secondary request.

Here are five powerful post-conversion strategies for boosting your customer lifetime value that you can start applying today.

1. Focus on customer service

Your job as a marketer doesn’t stop after the initial conversion. If you’ve brought in qualified leads, the next step is to ensure that you have the systems in place to keep them happy – and convert them into repeat customers.

In a study by Zendesk, consumers ranked quality (88%) and customer service (72%) as the two biggest drivers of customer loyalty.

The importance of quality shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the emphasis on customer service is interesting; it’s rarely recognized as something so detrimental to developing customer loyalty and CLV.

HubSpot provides a good example of the influence that customer service has on CLV. By measuring their managers on customer satisfaction metrics, they were able to almost halve their churn rate and double the lifetime value of their customers in just over a year.

By measuring their managers on customer satisfaction KPIs, HubSpot increased their customer lifetime value (LTV on the graph above) by 215% in 15 months.

Improving customer loyalty ultimately comes down to fulfilling your customers needs and while doing so, displaying that you care. The greatest product in the world still won’t attract loyal customers if the company treats them poorly.

What could you be doing to improve the quality of your customer service?

There’s a virtually unlimited scope to how you could do this.

When you experience amazing service somewhere, consider whether you could replicate it in your company. Could you offer free upgrades? A quick phone call to check that the customer is happy with their purchase?

Anything that shows that you’re going out of your way to improve their day will inevitably end up influencing your customer lifetime value in a positive way.

Awesome customer service makes prospects more likely to buy from you again and again.
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2. Exceed expectations with unexpected surprises

Before we buy something, an area in our brain called the nucleus accumbens increases neural firing. This makes us feel great because there are lots of dopamine receptors in that part of the brain, and dopamine makes us feel good in anticipation of an event.

The dopamine receptors in the nucleus accumbens make us feel good in anticipation of an event – such as when we’re about to buy something. Image source.

However, as soon as we’ve bought something, we begin to feel various forms of cognitive dissonance – commonly in the form of buyer’s remorse, where we feel our decrease in purchasing power and the opportunity cost of what we’ve just bought.

It’s in this moment of dissonance that we can use the power of exceeding expectations to fire up our customer’s endorphins and make them feel happy again.

An example of how exceeding expectations can help increase conversions

A few years ago, I worked with a client on a deal for musicians, where we bundled hundreds of dollars worth of recording time and information products into affordable packages.

After a customer bought the package, we offered them the chance to get an extra $100 worth of free products in return for a Facebook share. This resulted in over 250 Facebook shares, which referred 34 additional sales over the five days that deal ran for.

Asking users to share the deal on Facebook referred 34 sales, driving over $2,000 in extra revenue over five days.

By targeting customers with an unexpected extra at the moment they were likely to feel cognitive dissonance, we were able to reduce refund requests to zero, while increasing social shares.

It also boosted the conversion rate of our other traffic sources from 5.6% to 8.3%.

This was largely attributed to the fact that we were displaying a lot of social proof around the landing page’s calls to action. The more people who shared the deal post-conversion, the more popular the deal appeared for potential customers.


How to exceed expectations in your marketing campaigns

How do your customers feel immediately after they’ve paid for your product or service? The more price sensitive your customers are, the more likely it is that they’ll feel some form of cognitive dissonance.

Are the ways that you could counter this by surprising your customers with something awesome?

Even better, could you leverage this opportunity to get your customers to market your product for you – raising your CLV via a reduced customer acquisition cost?

Constantly surprise customers with added value and they’ll thank you with more of their business.
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3. Incorporate upsells into your offers

If you’ve ever booked flights online, then you’re familiar with upsells and cross-sells.

According to a study of 176 airlines by Amadeus IT Group, airlines collect over $36 billion per year from upselling products like extra baggage, seat upgrades and onboard retail products.

Out of curiosity, I counted the number of upsells offered while booking an air ticket on the Jetstar website. I counted 19 separate upsells, cross-sells and add-on-sells just in their booking process.


But what is it that makes this favorite tactic of airlines so effective?

The first reason upselling works: “defaults”

In his TED talk, behavioral economist Dan Ariely explains some of the psychology behind upselling. One of the key components is the power of defaults.

The graph shows the consent rates of citizens in different countries to donate their organs in the event of death.


So why don’t the Danish, Dutch, Brits and Germans (the “gold countries” in the graph above) donate their organs? It comes down to this: By default, the “gold countries” opt you out of donating your organs. If you want to donate organs, you have to tick a box to opt in – and the opposite is true for the “blue countries.”

You also see the power of upselling at work when you buy a domain name through a registrar; you’ll find that email and whois protection is added to your basket by default. You have to make a conscious decision to remove it if you don’t want it.

Pretty simple, yeah? Well this is only one piece of the upselling puzzle.

The second reason upselling works: price anchoring

Another psychological aspect of upselling is price anchoring. If you’ve just paid $500 for a plane ticket, it seems relatively insignificant to pay an extra $10 for on-board entertainment.

If, however, you’re already onboard and have $10 in your wallet, it may seem relatively expensive to pay $10 to watch a film for an hour.

As humans, we’re pretty awful at evaluating prices by intrinsic value. Instead, we’re good at evaluating price in relative terms.

How to use upselling effectively in your marketing campaigns

To recap, if you want to upsell effectively:

  1. Consider what you can upsell by default. Invite the customer to “opt out” instead of inviting them to opt in.
  2. Consider how your customers are evaluating the decision. What anchor are they using to decide whether you’re cheap or expensive? Can you influence this?

What anchor do prospects use to decide if your price is fair? Can you frame your offer differently?
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4. Keep the convers(at)ion going with marketing automation

In two years, marketing automation has grown from being a $500 million industry to a $1.2 billion industry. One of the key drivers behind this growth is the impact that marketing automation has on boosting CLV.

When Skullcandy switched to Adobe Marketing Cloud, they increased upsell revenue by 30%. Ben Meacham, their Analytics & Testing Manager explained:

“Switching from manually configured recommendations to Adobe Recommendations increased upsell revenues by 30%. Plus, it saves us time. Optimizing recommendations used to take about 10 hours a week. Now it takes just half an hour, which frees up staff to do other important work.”

There are a handful of reasons why marketing automation is so powerful, but ultimately it comes down to the fact that it makes personalized marketing really easy.

It’s a simple equation:

The more personalized a company’s marketing is, the more relevant it is. The more relevant an offer is to a potential customer, the higher the likelihood of a conversion, and thus more potential revenue per customer.

An example of marketing automation in action

One of my favorite case studies of this in action is by a wedding invitation company called PaperStyle.

By segmenting their visitors into brides and friends of brides, they were able to create email sequences that took them through the whole process of planning a wedding, upselling the right products at the right time.


This level of personalization raised their revenue per mailing by 330%.

How to use marketing automation in your campaigns to raise customer lifetime value

Create a flowchart like the one above to understand what your customers will likely want and need at different phases. This immediately frames your relationship with your customers as less of an event, and more of an ongoing journey.

From here, you can plan an email sequence that upsells and recommends different products and services at different stages, based on behavioral and action-based triggers, such as visiting a specific page or clicking on a button.

How personalized is your ongoing communication with customers? Conversions aren’t a 1-time event.
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5. Gather feedback to improve products

For many businesses, feedback is more valuable in the short term than revenue. Yet, for some reason, too few businesses proactively collect it.

When I launched several years ago, I couldn’t figure out why we were getting so many refund requests. After installing a chat plugin called Olark, it became clear that our customers thought they were actually buying actual (signed) contracts with record labels… for $19.99!

The pop-up chat box in the bottom right hand corner helped us determine why we were getting so many refund requests.

In reality, the website offers music contract templates. By adding that one word, we dramatically reduced refund requests. Since then, I’ve tried to make it standard to incentivize feedback from all customers and visitors pre and post conversion.

While this example is pretty extreme, it’s not quite as amazing as a story I heard a few years ago from a friend about the Disney website.

Apparently, the team behind Disney’s website couldn’t figure out why kids were creating ridiculously long passwords with 40+ numbers and letters. Did they really think their flash game scores were going to be hacked by international cyber-hackers?

It turned out that the kids had misinterpreted the instruction “passwords must contain at least six characters,” thinking that it had to contain the names of at least six Disney characters!

Regardless of whether this anecdote is true, the message is powerful: your customers can tell you things about your business that you hadn’t realized – and the more information you proactively gather from customers, the easier it is to improve your campaigns and find new ways to satisfy their needs.

Let your customers tell you how you can improve your products for them.
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Crunch some numbers and get experimental

As a marketer, you’re responsible for nurturing prospects at each stage of the customer lifecycle – including after the initial conversion. Being mindful of a customer’s experience post-conversion will give you the information you need to dramatically improve customer lifetime value.

The first step in growing your CLV is to know what it is – so pull out a pen and paper and crunch some numbers.

As Tony Robbins says, “Where focus goes, energy flows, and results show.” Unless we proactively measure it, it’s unlikely we’ll consistently be able to grow our CLV.

From here, it’s all about experimentation. Experiment with upsells, personalized marketing and everything else in this post. Some things will work and some won’t – you really just need to throw a decent amount of spaghetti at the wall.

– Marcus Taylor


5 Post-Conversion Strategies to Increase Customer Lifetime Value


How a Pro CRO Uses Crazy Egg Heatmaps to Drive 15.7% More Sales

Think about the last time you had an intense disagreement with a close friend or partner. Can you think of one? Remember the most intense part of the fight.

At some point this person might have said, “Nevermind. It’s fine.”

But, it wasn’t fine. You both knew it.

Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. Your friend just didn’t have the words to express the truth.

Your users are the same. If you ask them what they want, they’ll lie to you. They’ll lie even if they don’t mean to. They tell you they want something or intend to do this or that, but they often don’t.

People don’t know what they really want. We all believe we act differently than we do.

Your only solution is to forget about what your users say, and focus on what they do.

Heatmaps are one effective way to quantifiably tracking your users’ real behavior. As any Crazy Egg user knows, heatmaps show the hotspots where most users click and navigate.

They are great at revealing valuable insights that will help lift your conversion rates. They can help you rearrange a page so the most important content is in the right place to maximize your website’s clarity.

Want to try Crazy Egg for 30 days free? Get your heatmap here.

How To Improve Conversion Using Click-Tracking Heatmaps

At WiderFunnel, heatmaps are an integral part of our LIFT analysis process. The LIFT analysis is where we evaluate a webpage from the perspective of the page visitors using six conversion factors (see Figure 1 below for the conceptual graphic of the LIFT Model). Click-tracking heatmaps may reveal an impeded eye flow, thus helping us identify when a page lacks clarity and which items may be a distraction.

heatmap 1

[Fig1: The LIFT Model]

A Real Life Example:

Recently, WiderFunnel’s strategists worked with, a healthcare publishing property of Gannett Company, Inc. The goal of the optimization program was to increase the percentage of e-commerce sign-ups for nurse’s Continuing Education subscription.

heatmap 2

[Fig2: Original Page]

During the process, we used Crazy Egg to track the clicks on the Continuing Education (CE) page, a major inbound landing page for expensive traffic.

heatmap 3

[Fig3: Original Page – Heatmap]

Based on click-tracking heatmaps, we discovered that users did not have a clear idea of what to do on the page:

  • Users clicked on non-clickable areas.
  • Secondary links were getting more clicks than the main CTAs.
  • The main content areas were virtually ignored.

Winning Landing Page

Based upon the above insights and the LIFT Analysis, the team of strategists at WiderFunnel formulated a few hypotheses that were translated into 3 variations that were A/B tested.

The winning variation generated 15.7% more sales than the control with the same traffic level! The heatmap revealed a focused eye flow; the perfect proof that the winning page improved the clarity and relevance of the page and significantly increased conversions as a result.

heatmap 4

[Fig4: Winning Variation]

The changes made to the winning variation included:

  • Removing the links that were diverting the attention without adding value.
  • Keeping only one CTA and changing its color to yellow (which was getting more clicks than the green color in the original heatmap).
  • Bringing the main value points to an area that was getting a lot of interest (in the upper left side).

The click heatmap showed clearly that the winning page had a good reason to win. The page visitors had clearly focused attention on the most important area of the new page – on the call-to-action area.

heatmap 5

[Fig5: Winning Variation – Heatmap]

Other Valuable Insights You Can Gain from Heatmaps

At WiderFunnel, we also use Crazy Egg’s scrollmap tool. We run it before an A/B test to generate hypotheses, and to confirm or disprove them once the test is complete.

For example, we recently ran a scrollmap on the checkout page for one of our clients. The scrollmap revealed that the CTA was placed in an area that was missed. Moving the CTA resulted in a higher conversion rate. As simple as that!

If you notice that your value points (e.g., free shipping) are easily missed, something needs to change.

Some people use click heatmaps for nothing more than eyecandy, interesting pictures that don’t lead to real insights. But, there’s much more potential.

Learn More About Using Heatmaps for Conversion Optimization

In two weeks, on October 30, 2014, at 11am PST (2pm EST) I will present a new webinar showing the most important ways to use click heatmaps for conversion optimization. I’ll show case studies that illustrate how the world’s leading conversion strategists use them to create powerful test hypotheses and bring in more profit for their companies.

If you’re interested in learning more about using heatmaps to improve your conversion optimization, or if you want to see Crazy Egg in action—as it’s used by professional CROs—this webinar is for you.

Sign up for this free webinar now.

The post How a Pro CRO Uses Crazy Egg Heatmaps to Drive 15.7% More Sales appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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How a Pro CRO Uses Crazy Egg Heatmaps to Drive 15.7% More Sales


Design Accessibly, See Differently: Color Contrast Tips And Tools

When you browse your favorite website or check the latest version of your product on your device of choice, take a moment to look at it differently. Step back from the screen. Close your eyes slightly so that your vision is a bit clouded by your eyelashes.

  • Can you still see and use the website?
  • Are you able to read the labels, fields, buttons, navigation and small footer text?
  • Can you imagine how someone who sees differently would read and use it?

In this article, I’ll share one aspect of design accessibility: making sure that the look and feel (the visual design of the content) are sufficiently inclusive of differently sighted users.

Web page viewed with NoCoffee low-vision simulation1
Web page viewed with NoCoffee low-vision simulation. (View large version2)

I am a design consultant on PayPal’s accessibility team. I assess how our product designs measure up to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, and I review our company’s design patterns and best practices.

I created our “Designers’ Accessibility Checklist,” and I will cover one of the most impactful guidelines on the checklist in this article: making sure that there is sufficient color contrast for all content. I’ll share the strategies, tips and tools that I use to help our teams deliver designs that most people can see and use without having to customize the experiences.

Our goal is to make sure that all visual designs meet the minimum color-contrast ratio for normal and large text on a background, as described in the WCAG 2.0, Level AA, “Contrast (Minimum): Understanding Success Criterion 1.4.3523.”

Who benefits from designs that have sufficient contrast? Quoting from the WCAG’s page:

The 4.5:1 ratio is used in this provision to account for the loss in contrast that results from moderately low visual acuity, congenital or acquired color deficiencies, or the loss of contrast sensitivity that typically accompanies aging.

As an accessibility consultant, I’m often asked how many people with disabilities use our products. Website analytics do not reveal this information. Let’s estimate how many people could benefit from designs with sufficient color contrast by reviewing the statistics:

  • 15% of the world’s population have some form of disability4, which includes conditions that affect seeing, hearing, motor abilities and cognitive abilities.
  • About 4% of the population have low vision, whereas 0.6% are blind.
  • 7 to 12% of men have some form of color-vision deficiency (color blindness), and less than 1% of women do.
  • Low-vision conditions increase with age, and half of people over the age of 50 have some degree of low-vision condition.
  • Worldwide, the fastest-growing population is 60 years of age and older5.
  • Over the age of 40, most everyone will find that they need reading glasses or bifocals to clearly see small objects or text, a condition caused by the natural aging process, called presbyopia6.

Let’s estimate that 10% of the world population would benefit from designs that are easier to see. Multiply that by the number of customers or potential customers who use your website or application. For example, out of 2 million online customers, 200,000 would benefit.

Some age-related low-vision conditions7 include the following:

  • Macular degeneration
    Up to 50% of people are affected by age-related vision loss.
  • Diabetic retinopathy
    In people with diabetes, leaking blood vessels in the eyes can cloud vision and cause blind spots.
  • Cataracts
    Cataracts clouds the lens of the eye and decreases visual acuity.
  • Retinitis pigmentosa
    This inherited condition gradually causes a loss of vision.

All of these conditions reduce sensitivity to contrast, and in some cases reduce the ability to distinguish colors.

Color-vision deficiencies, also called color-blindness, are mostly inherited and can be caused by side effects of medication and age-related low-vision conditions.

Here are the types of color-vision deficiencies8:

  • Deuteranopia
    This is the most common and entails a reduced sensitivity to green light.
  • Protanopia
    This is a reduced sensitivity to red light.
  • Tritanopia
    This is a reduced sensitivity to blue light, but not very common.
  • Achromatopsia
    People with this condition cannot see color at all, but it is not very common.

Reds and greens or colors that contain red or green can be difficult to distinguish for people with deuteranopia or protanopia.

Experience Seeing Differently

Creating a checklist and asking your designers to use it is easy, but in practice how do you make sure everyone follows the guidelines? We’ve found it important for designers not only to intellectually understand the why, but to experience for themselves what it is like to see differently. I’ve used a couple of strategies: immersing designers in interactive experiences through our Accessibility Showcase, and showing what designs look like using software simulations.

In mid-2013, we opened our PayPal Accessibility Showcase9 (video). Employees get a chance to experience first-hand what it is like for people with disabilities to use our products by interacting with web pages using goggles and/or assistive technology. We require that everyone who develops products participates in a tour. The user scenarios for designing with sufficient color contrast include wearing goggles that simulate conditions of low or partial vision and color deficiencies. Visitors try out these experiences on a PC, Mac or tablet. For mobile experiences, visitors wear the goggles and use their own mobile devices.

Fun fact: One wall in the showcase was painted with magnetic paint. The wall contains posters, messages and concepts that we want people to remember. At the end of the tour, I demonstrate vision simulators on our tablet. I view the message wall with the simulators to emphasize the importance of sufficient color contrast.

Showcase visitors wear goggles that simulate low-vision and color-blindness conditions
Showcase visitors wear goggles that simulate low-vision and color-blindness conditions.
Some of the goggles used in the Accessibility Showcase
Some of the goggles used in the Accessibility Showcase.

Software Simulators

Mobile Apps

Free mobile apps are available for iOS and Android devices:

  • Chromatic Vision Simulator
    Kazunori Asada’s app simulates three forms of color deficiencies: protanope (protanopia), deuteranope (deuteranopia) and tritanope (tritanopia). You can view and then save simulations using the camera feature, which takes a screenshot in the app. (Available for iOS6210 and Android6311.)
  • VisionSim
    The Braille Institute’s app simulates a variety of low-vision conditions and provides a list of causes and symptoms for each condition. You can view and then save simulations using the camera feature, which takes a screenshot in the app. (Available for iOS6412 and Android.)13

Chromatic Vision Simulator

The following photos show orange and green buttons viewed through the Chromatic Vision Simulator:

Seen through Chromatic Vision Simulator, the green and orange buttons show normal (C), protanope (P), deuteranope (D) and tritanope (T).14
Seen through Chromatic Vision Simulator, the green and orange buttons show normal (C), protanope (P), deuteranope (D) and tritanope (T). (View large version15)

This example highlights the importance of another design accessibility guideline: Do not use color alone to convey meaning. If these buttons were online icons representing a system’s status (such as up or down), some people would have difficulty understanding it because there is no visible text and the shapes are the same. In this scenario, include visible text (i.e. text labels), as shown in the following example:

The green and orange buttons are viewed in Photoshop with deuteranopia soft proof and normal (text labels added).16
The green and orange buttons are viewed in Photoshop with deuteranopia soft proof and normal (text labels added). (View large version17)

Mobile Device Simulations

Checking for sufficient color contrast becomes even more important on mobile devices. Viewing mobile applications through VisionSim or Chromatic Vision Simulator is easy if you have two mobile phones. View the mobile app that you want to test on the second phone running the simulator.

If you only have one mobile device, you can do the following:

  1. Take screenshots of the mobile app on the device using the built-in camera.
  2. Save the screenshots to a laptop or desktop.
  3. Open and view the screenshots on the laptop, and use the simulators on the mobile device to view and save the simulations.

How’s the Weather in Cupertino?

The following example highlights the challenges of using a photograph as a background while making essential information easy to see. Notice that the large text and bold text are easier to see than the small text and small icons.

The Weather mobile app, viewed with Chromatic Vision Simulator, shows normal, deuteranope, protanope and tritanope simulations.18
The Weather mobile app, viewed with Chromatic Vision Simulator, shows normal, deuteranope, protanope and tritanope simulations. (View large version19)

Low-Vision Simulations

Using the VisionSim app, you can simulate macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinitis pigmentosa and cataracts.

The Weather mobile app is being viewed with the supported condition simulations.20
The Weather mobile app is being viewed with the supported condition simulations. (View large version21)

Adobe Photoshop

PayPal’s teams use Adobe Photoshop to design the look and feel of our user experiences. To date, a color-contrast ratio checker or tester is not built into Photoshop. But designers can use a couple of helpful features in Photoshop to check their designs for sufficient color contrast:

  • Convert designs to grayscale by going to “Select View” → “Image” → “Adjustments” → “Grayscale.”
  • Simulate color blindness conditions by going to “Select View” → “Proof Setup” → “Color Blindness” and choosing protanopia type or deuteranopia type. Adobe provides soft-proofs for color blindness22.


If you’re designing with gradient backgrounds, verify that the color-contrast ratio passes for the text color and background color on both the lightest and darkest part of the gradient covered by the content or text.

In the following example of buttons, the first button has white text on a background with an orange gradient, which does not meet the minimum color-contrast ratio. A couple of suggested improvements are shown:

  • add a drop-shadow color that passes (center button),
  • change the text to a color that passes (third button).

Checking in Photoshop with the grayscale and deuteranopia proof, the modified versions with the drop shadow and dark text are easier to read than the white text.

If you design in sizes larger than actual production sizes, make sure to check how the design will appear in the actual web page or mobile device.

Button with gradients: normal view; view in grayscale; and as a proof, deuteranopia.23
Button with gradients: normal view; view in grayscale; and as a proof, deuteranopia. (View large version24)

In the following example of a form, the body text and link text pass the minimum color-contrast ratio for both the white and the gray background. I advise teams to always check the color contrast of text and links against all background colors that are part of the experience.

Even though the “Sign Up” link passes, if we view the experience in grayscale or with proof deuteranopia, distinguishing that “Sign Up” is a link might be difficult. To improve the affordance of “Sign Up” as a link, underline the link or link the entire phrase, “New to PayPal? Sign Up.”

Form example: normal view; in Photoshop, a view in grayscale; and as a proof, deuteranopia.25
Form example: normal view; in Photoshop, a view in grayscale; and as a proof, deuteranopia. (View large version26)

Because red and green can be more difficult to distinguish for people with conditions such as deuteranopia and protanopia, should we avoid using them? Not necessarily. In the following example, a red minus sign (“-”) indicates purchasing or making a payment. Money received or refunded is indicated by a green plus sign (“+”). Viewing the design with proof, deuteranopia, the colors are not easy to distinguish, but the shapes are legible and unique. Next to the date, the description describes the type of payment. Both shape and content provide context for the information.

Also shown in this example, the rows for purchases and refunds alternate between white and light-gray backgrounds. If the same color text is used for both backgrounds, verify that all of the text colors pass for both white and gray backgrounds.

Normal view and as a proof, deuteranopia: Check the text against the alternating background colors.27
Normal view and as a proof, deuteranopia: Check the text against the alternating background colors. (View large version28)

In some applications, form fields and/or buttons may be disabled until information has been entered by the user. Our design guidance does not require disabled elements to pass, in accordance with the WCAG 2.0’s “Contrast (Minimum): Understanding Success Criterion 1.4.34129:

Incidental: Text or images of text that are part of an inactive user interface component,… have no contrast requirement.

In the following example of a mobile app’s form, the button is disabled until a phone number and PIN have been entered. The text labels for the fields are a very light gray over a white background, which does not pass the minimum color-contrast ratio.

If the customer interprets that form elements with low contrast are disabled, would they assume that the entire form is disabled?

Mobile app form showing disabled fields and button (left) and then enabled (right).30
Mobile app form showing disabled fields and button (left) and then enabled (right). (View large version31)

The same mobile app form is shown in a size closer to what I see on my phone in the following example. At a minimum, the text color needs to be changed or darkened to pass the minimum color-contrast ratio for normal body text and to improve readability.

To help distinguish between labels in fields and user-entered information, try to explore alternative visual treatments of form fields. Consider reversing foreground and background colors or using different font styles for labels and for user-entered information.

Mobile app form example: normal, grayscale and proof deuteranopia.32
Mobile app form example: normal, grayscale and proof deuteranopia. (View large version33)

NoCoffee Vision Simulator for Chrome

NoCoffee Vision Simulator6634 can be used to simulate color-vision deficiencies and low-vision conditions on any pages that are viewable in the Chrome browser. Using the “Color Deficiency” setting “achromatopsia,” you can view web pages in grayscale.

The following example shows the same photograph (featuring a call to action) viewed with some of the simulations available in NoCoffee. The message and call to action are separated from the background image by a practically opaque black container. This improves readability of the message and call to action. Testing the color contrast of the blue color in the headline against solid black passes for large text. Note that the link “Mobile” is not as easy to see because the blue does not pass the color-contrast standard for small body text. Possible improvements could be to change the link color to white and underline it, and/or make the entire phrase “Read more about Mobile” a link.

Simulating achromatopsia (no color), deuteranopia, protanopia using NoCoffee.35
Simulating achromatopsia (no color), deuteranopia, protanopia using NoCoffee. (View large version36)
Simulating low visual acuity, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and low visual acuity plus retinitus pigmentosa, using NoCoffee.37
Simulating low visual acuity, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and low visual acuity plus retinitus pigmentosa, using NoCoffee. (View large version38)

Using Simulators

Simulators are useful tools to visualize how a design might be viewed by people who are aging, have low-vision conditions or have color-vision deficiencies.

For design reviews, I use the simulators to mock up a design in grayscale, and I might use color-blindness filters to show designers possible problems with color contrast. Some of the questions I ask are:

  • Is anything difficult to read?
  • Is the call to action easy to find and read?
  • Are links distinguishable from other content?

After learning how to use simulators to build empathy and to see their designs differently, I ask designers to use tools to check color contrast to verify that all of their designs meet the minimum color-contrast ratio of the WCAG 2.0 AA. The checklist includes a couple of tools they can use to test their designs.

Color-Contrast Ratio Checkers

The tools we cite in the designers’ checklist are these:

There are many tools to check color contrast, including ones that check live products. I’ve kept the list short to make it easy for designers to know what to use and to allow for consistent test results.

Our goal is to meet the WCAG 2.0 AA color-contrast ratio, which is 4.5 to 1 for normal text and 3 to 1 for large text.

What are the minimum sizes for normal text and large text? The guidance provides recommendations on size ratios in the WCAG’s Contrast (Minimum): Understanding Success Criterion 1.4.34129 but not a rule for a minimum size for body text. As noted in the WCAG’s guidance, thin decorative fonts might need to be larger and/or bold.

Testing Color-Contrast Ratio

You should test:

  • early in the design process;
  • when creating a visual design specification for any product or service (this documents all of the color codes and the look and feel of the user experience);
  • all new designs that are not part of an existing visual design guideline.

Test Hexadecimal Color Codes for Web Designs

Let’s use the WebAIM Color Contrast Checker4239 to test sample body-text colors on a white background (#FFFFFF):

  • dark-gray text (#333333).
  • medium-gray text (#666666).
  • light-gray text (#999999).

We want to make sure that body and normal text passes the WCAG 2.0 AA. Note that light gray (#999999) does not pass on a white background (#FFFFFF).

Test dark-gray, medium-gray and light-gray using the WebAim Color Contrast Checker.43
Test dark-gray, medium-gray and light-gray using the WebAim Color Contrast Checker.(View large version44)

In the tool, you can modify the light gray (#999999) to find a color that does pass the AA. Select the “Darken” option to slightly change the color until it passes. By clicking the color field, you will have more options, and you can change color and luminosity, as shown in the second part of this example.

Modify colors to pass45
In the WebAim Color Contrast Checker, modify the light gray using the “Darken” option, or use the color palette to find a color that passes. (View large version46)

Tabular information may be designed with alternating white and gray backgrounds to improve readability. Let’s test medium-gray text (#666666) and light-gray text (#757575) on a gray background (#E6E6E6).

Note that with the same background, the medium text passes, but the lighter gray passes only for large text. In this case, use medium gray for body text instead of white or gray backgrounds. Use the lighter gray only for large text, such as headings on white and gray backgrounds.

Test light-gray and medium-gray text on a gray background.47
Test light-gray and medium-gray text on a gray background. (View large version48)

Test RGB Color Codes

For mobile applications, designers might use RGB color codes to specify visual designs for engineering. You can use the TPG Colour Contrast Checker49. you will need to install either the PC or Mac version and run it side by side with Photoshop.

Let’s use the Colour Contrast Checker to test medium-gray text (102 102 102 in RGB and #666666 in hexadecimal) and light-gray text (#757575 in hexadecimal) on a gray background (230 230 230 in RGB and #E6E6E6 in hexadecimal).

  1. Open the Colour Contrast Checker application.
  2. Select “Options” → “Displayed Color Values” → “RGB.”
  3. Under “Algorithm,” select “Luminosity.”
  4. Enter the foreground and background colors in RGB: 102 102 102 for foreground and 230 230 230 for background. Mouse click or tab past the fields to view the results. Note that this combination passes for both text and large text (AA).
  5. Select “Show details” to view the hexadecimal color values and information about both AA and AAA requirements.
Colour Contrast Analyser, and color wheel to modify colors50
Colour Contrast Analyser, and color wheel to modify colors. (View large version51)

In our example, light-gray text (117 117 117 in RGB) on a gray background (230 230 230 in RGB) does not meet the minimum AA contrast ratio for body text. To modify the colors, view the color wheels by clicking in the “Color” select box to modify the foreground or background. Or you can select “Options” → “Show Color Sliders,” as shown in the example.

Colour Contrast Analyser, with RGB codes. Show color sliders to modify any color that does not meet minimum AA guidelines.
Colour Contrast Analyser, with RGB codes. Show color sliders to modify any color that does not meet minimum AA guidelines.

In most cases, minor adjustments to colors will meet the minimum contrast ratio, and comparisons before and after will show how better contrast enables most people to see and read more easily.

Best Practices

Test for color-contrast ratio, and document the styles and color codes used for all design elements. Create a visual design specification that includes the following:

  • typography for all textual elements, including headings, text links, body text and formatted text;
  • icons and glyphs and text equivalents;
  • form elements, buttons, validation and system error messaging;
  • background color and container styles (making sure text on these backgrounds all pass);
  • the visual treatments for disabled links, form elements and buttons (which do not need to pass a minimum color-contrast ratio).

Documenting visual guidelines for developers brings several benefits:

  • Developers don’t have to guess what the designers want.
  • Designs can be verified against the visual design specification during quality testing cycles, by engineers and designers.
  • A reference point that meets design accessibility guidelines for color contrast can be shared and leveraged by other teams.


If you are a designer, try out the simulators and tools on your next design project. Take time to see differently. One of the stellar designers who reviewed my checklist told me a story about using Photoshop’s color-blindness proofs. On his own, he used the proofs to refine the colors used in a design for his company’s product. When the redesigned product was released, his CEO thanked him because it was the first time he was able to see the design. The CEO shared that he was color-blind. In many cases, you may be unaware that your colleague, leader or customers have moderate low-vision or color-vision deficiencies. If meeting the minimum color-contrast ratio for a particular design element is difficult, take the challenge of thinking beyond color. Can you innovate so that most people can pick up and use your application without having to customize it?

If you are responsible for encouraging teams to build more accessible web or mobile experiences, be prepared to use multiple strategies:

  • Use immersive experiences to engage design teams and gain empathy for people who see differently.
  • Show designers how their designs might look using simulators.
  • Test designs that have low contrast, and show how slight modifications to colors can make a difference.
  • Encourage designers to test, and document visual specifications early and often.
  • Incorporate accessible design practices into reusable patterns and templates both in the code and the design.

Priorities and deadlines make it challenging for teams to deliver on all requests from multiple stakeholders. Be patient and persistent, and continue to engage with teams to find strategies to deliver user experiences that are easier to see and use by more people out of the box.


Low-Vision Goggles and Resources

(hp, al, il, ml)


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The post Design Accessibly, See Differently: Color Contrast Tips And Tools appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Design Accessibly, See Differently: Color Contrast Tips And Tools


Conversion Optimization 101

Conversion optimization—it’s easy if you know what you’re doing, more challenging if the area is new to you.

We publish a lot of content on Crazy Egg for people who are in the know, but today we’re going back to basics with a beginner’s guide to conversions for those who want to know what it’s all about.

Step 1: Know Your Goals and Your Customers

conversion goals - placeit


If you’re in business and have a website, you want it to achieve something for you, but what should that be? You need to know your goals before you can optimize to achieve them.

Perhaps, like Kevin O’Leary of Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank, you’re all about the money, but there are other ways your website and marketing tools can work for you that may take a longer route towards putting income in your bank account. Typical conversion optimization goals include:

  • creating more awareness of your company and brand.
  • educating customers and community building.
  • getting more signups for email newsletters.
  • generating leads among your target customers.
  • getting sales of products and services.

Identify which goals are important for your business and what changes you want to see. That will give you a way to measure success after you have made changes.

While you’re at it, work out who you’re talking to. You should know who your target customers are and what their interests are to help with conversions. Check out this article on turning visitors into customers for some useful tips.

Step 2: Identify Problems

Conversion Optimization: Find Problems

Image: Pixabay

If you know what you want to achieve, then you also know what isn’t working. Often, this means asking questions like:

  • Why aren’t more people signing up for our email list?
  • Why are people not completing sales when they land on a product page?
  • Why are customers abandoning their shopping carts?

The actual questions will vary depending on your business.

You should also look at your analytics reports to see if there are any obvious issues with your website or marketing materials. Analytics tools are key to conversion optimization, whether you’re using Google Analytics, heat map analytics or another analytics tool.

Analytics will give you a clear picture of a clear picture of which pages are hot and which are definitely not, of what people love and what leaves them saying “meh.” Look at metrics such as average time on site, bounce rate, exit rate, engagement and social shares to help identify issues.

And analytics can also give you another route into figuring out the personas mentioned in step 1. Since Universal Analytics tracks users across platforms, you can get a much clearer idea of what the people you want to attract want to get from you in terms of information, content, products and services.

Step 3: Experiment, Test, Measure and Repeat

Conversion Optimization: Test

Image: Pixabay

When you know your goals, your audience and your potential problems, it’s time to start testing. This is at the heart of conversion optimization. You can test pretty much every element of your website and marketing materials, but here are five areas that are worth a special look. Use split testing tools to try variations on all elements and see which ones work best.

1. Headlines and Titles

If you want to grab attention and make conversions easier, you have do do it from the start. One of the first things visitors to your site or email subscribers will see is your headline or content title.

A good title will affect social media shares too, so test a couple of variations to see what works. Here on the Crazy Egg blog, every post has two potential titles which are shown to site visitors—the one that wins the clicks is the one we stick with! Things to look out for include:

  • Does your title appear as a hot area in analytics (or one that’s clicked multiple times)?
  • Is it being widely shared on social media?
  • Do people know what they are getting when they read the title?
  • Is it magnetic and appealing?

Read this advice on writing headlines that convert (plus templates) to improve conversions here.

2. Design Elements/UX

Have you paid attention to design elements on your page? This is a key part of the user experience. Visitors to your site, wherever they come from, need to find relevant information fast.

This means looking after everything from navigation to search to button shape, color and size (which are all elements you can tweak and test). And since most visitors now use mobile devices, your design has to work well there, too.  Check out these visual tricks to boost conversions and this advice on improving user experience (UX).

3. Forms

Nobody likes filling forms, so if you want forms to convert make them as easy as possible—you can always collect more information later. This is even more important for mobile device users.

Figure out what information you absolutely need and how to label fields so they really appeal. Check out this article on adding heart to your emails. You may not want to address your customers as “Cupcake,” but they might like it! The clearer the form, the better it will convert. Here are some tips on designing web forms.

4. SEO

Think you can’t test SEO elements? Think again! As Jeremy Smith points out, both SEO and conversion optimization rest on great content, and the two support each other.

Optimized content converts better—end of discussion! Look after elements like friendly URLs, good meta descriptions, page speed (something you definitely ought to test and mobile optimization. Here are some more tips on using SEO to improve onsite conversions and this SEO 101 guide from Search Engine Journal is also useful.

5. Calls to Action

You didn’t think we were going to forget about the call to action, did you? The single most important aspect of conversion optimization is letting people know what action you want them to take next. If they don’t know, they could easily leave without doing it, which means you won’t achieve your conversion goals.

Whether you want people to read another article, sign up for your email newsletter or buy a product or service, you have to ask. And the way you ask makes a difference to the conversion rate. A good call to action:

  • is clear about the next action
  • makes it easy for a customer to take action
  • is inviting, visible and encourages prompt action
  • is appropriate to the content it is in

Again, you can measure the success of your calls to action using analytics and results such as the number of signups. Keep tweaking till you are happy with your conversion rate.

Test the elements in this list, tweak and test again to maximize your conversions. What issues have you identified with conversion optimization?

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Sharon Hurley Hall.

The post Conversion Optimization 101 appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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Conversion Optimization 101