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Facebook Ad Expert Mari Smith Reveals Missed Opportunities (And What’s on the Horizon)

Facebook has over 1.28 billion daily active users.

To have more than a billion prospects in one place, literally at your fingertips, is a marketer’s dream (thanks, Mark Zuckerberg!). But turning those prospects into customers… well that’s another story.

As marketers, we know that a stellar Facebook campaign is made up of a lot more than clever copy, snazzy design and a hefty PPC budget. In a constantly changing environment of new features, products and ad units, it can be tricky to stay ahead of the pack — let alone stand out.

Facebook’s granular targeting makes it more possible than ever to reach the right person, in the right place, at the right time. But only marketers who are committed to making connections with real people and then maintaining those relationships will come out on top.

If there’s one person that knows this best, it’s Mari Smith.

Named Forbes’ #4 “Top Social Media Power Influencer,” Mari is one of the world’s leading social media thought leaders and educators in the world of marketing. Her knowledge of Facebook runs so deep that she was personally hired by the folks at Facebook to teach SMBs throughout the US at the Boost Your Business series of events.

Mari’s speaking at our Call to Action Conference this June, and here’s a quick word from the Facebook Queen herself.

PSST: Blog readers get 15% off tickets to Call to Action Conference until May 25th — just use promo code “blogsentme” at checkout

Despite her packed schedule, Mari recently took the time to sit down with Unbounce Marketing Educator Christie Pike to reveal some of her best kept Facebook advertising secrets. In this interview you’ll get Mari’s actionable tips and insights into:

  • Some of the biggest missed opportunities for marketers advertising on Facebook.
  • Companies that are crushing it in the social advertising space and what you can learn from them.
  • The next big thing on the horizon that Facebook marketers should be preparing for and investing in.
Christie Pike: You’ve been active on Facebook long enough to see its evolution from social media network to a performance tool not unlike AdWords. How has this changed the way that marketers run Facebook campaigns?

Mari Smith: The main thing to consider is the enormous amount of data that Facebook gathers, not only on the platform itself but in partnership with data companies. So every time you use your credit card, every time you make a purchase, surveys that you complete, any information that’s out there is moved into a kind of personal dossier that then gets matched with your Facebook ID. Because of all of this, people get scared and freaked out, Big Brother and all that, but it’s all anonymized and encrypted, so from a user standpoint I always say, “caveat emptor”, just recognize that in today’s day and age of privacy, everything is out there.

From a marketer’s or advertiser’s standpoint, it’s an unprecedented time that we’re in.  It’s a paradigm shift in terms of being able to reach the exact person that you want with Facebook’s granular targeting. Down to zip code, down to propensity to possibly make a certain purchase, from going on a cruise in the next six months, buying a BMW in the next three months, income, the number of kids you have, what you do for a career — all of this is just extraordinary.

So, we really do have to think of Facebook as a platform in which to get our message, our products and our services in front of our target market, but done so in a very relationship-oriented way. I think the businesses that are really standing out are the ones that can make us laugh or cry or go “awwww” and tear at the heartstrings — you know, create something that has viral shareability as opposed to how some business send a message that says “Hey, sign up for our stuff,” “Buy our stuff.”  It’s a cold market, you know.

CP: What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen on the ad platform itself?

MS: I would say that a big change is in terms of ad units, which initially were just a link and some basic visuals, but over the years they have a much, much, much more visual emphasis. I especially love the carousel ads you can swipe. I think Amazon is one of the best at doing retargeted multi-product ads. I remember seeing one of its ads that had about 32 cards on the carousel that you could swipe and I asked myself, “How did they know I like all this stuff!?”

And then what they call slideshow, which is really just images made into a video, but definitely the prevalence of video is key. One of Mark Zuckerberg’s favorite words is “immersive,” and so the introduction of more immersive type of content like canvas ads has huge importance in the current ad space.

I worked directly with a video creation company, and they shared a great case study from Brussels Airlines that pull up a canvas ad advertising flights to Mumbai in India. They got something like 27 times more time on site after doing this beautiful canvas ad, whereas their previous Facebook campaigns led to an average of three seconds on site. The reason behind this was because back in the day, ads were just a link with a tiny wee thumbnail, and then they got bigger and turned into GIFs, slideshows, animations, interactive content and full-screen content.

So, between (1)  the ad products (2) the placement and (3) the targeting, I would say those are the three key areas where there are the biggest changes. Placement being whether it’s Instagram, mobile news only or if it’s right rail (which still has its place), but users are in mobile more than anything else.

CP: Who is doing Facebook advertising particularly well? What do you like about their ad campaigns? Can you provide some examples?

MS: My favorite video ad that I include in almost every single one of my presentations is by a fun company called Chatbooks. It’s a simple app (a subscription service) that takes your Instagram and Facebook photos and prints them in a book format, it’s really clever.

They worked with a really good PR/creative agency and hired a professional actress/comedian. From there, they created this three minute and forty-second ad. The ad was first put out on their Facebook page, which had just over 100,000 fans (now over 200, 000). And when I last checked, that video ad had 69 million views and almost 500,000 shares.

This is what I love to teach — when you can craft your content to be visually appealing (ideally video). When people are engaged with it they’ll share it with others.


When you craft your content to be visually appealing, people are engaged + will share with others.
Click To Tweet


I’ve never found a better example than Chatbooks. In fact, I originally saw it in my News Feed as a shared organic post by a friend of mine, and after I watched the full three minutes and forty seconds, I was ready to sign up and buy the subscription!

Another great example is from our friend Rand Fishkin from Moz,  who I know is speaking at CTA Conference this year.

Rand is doing these really great video ads called Whiteboard Fridays. I see the most recent one from April has over 4,600 views and 15 shares.

Whiteboard Fridays. Image source: Moz.

It’s so good because it’s educational and it’s the kind of video ad that you can stop and watch or at least save and watch later. It’s really cool what he’s doing because he’s not saying, “Hey everybody, sign up for Moz, see what we can do for you!” Instead, he’s like, “Hey here’s some education on SEO,” and it’s the kind of stuff that people will stop and save and consume.

One last shout out to my good friend Ezra Firestone and his company called Smart Marketer. He does really amazing stuff with video ads and lead gen.

CP: Unbounce cofounder Oli Gardner estimates that 98% of AdWords campaign traffic is not being sent to a dedicated landing page. If you had to guess, what percentage of Facebook marketers do you think are sending their traffic to mobile optimized landing pages? Do you see this as a missed opportunity?

MS: I would have said it’s probably a lot lower. My guess is that 65% is going to a dedicated landing page on Facebook — I get the sense that Facebook advertisers, for the most part, are a little more savvy. They realize you can’t spend all this money and have a captive audience and then just send them away to figure it out for themselves.

But to Oli’s point, I do see a missed an opportunity — especially when marketers are not really thoroughly checking and having a small test group. It’s important to invest a small amount — about $60 – $100 dollars — towards some A/B testing to see which ad gets better conversions. Doing the pixel and tracking the standard events, all of these components are key.

The second part is mobile optimized websites/landing pages. If someone’s clicking through and it’s too wide for the phone,  or the pop-up appears and you can’t find the ‘X’ on it it takes less than a second and they’re outta there.

CP: Are you seeing good examples of Facebook campaign landing pages? 

MS: I think my good friends over at AdEspresso – they were recently acquired by Hootsuite, a fellow Vancouver company —  they’re doing some really good stuff. I love their blog. In fact, they quote you there.

I’d have to think really hard to narrow down a specific landing page example, but in terms of components, or landing page elements, less is always more, something simple that’s really congruent with the ad itself.


Drive FB ad traffic to a landing page that’s simple & consistent with your ad. Less = more.
Click To Tweet


The job of an ad and the job of an email is to get people to a landing page, and the job of a landing page is to convert, whether I’m asking for your email or I’m asking for you to make a purchase. And the beautiful thing about Facebook pixels is if someone doesn’t decide right then and there, you’re able to do some retargeting campaigns to refine further.

CP: Are there certain verticals that are more successful with Facebook advertising than others?

MS: I was just speaking at Marketo’s conference last week and they are, as you know, almost exclusively B2B, and so my talk was very geared towards the B2B audience.

I think Facebook has a reputation for being known to perform better for B2C, but I always like to say that businesses are running as “people to people.”

In terms of verticals, it’s probably easier to say what verticals are more difficult to reach, which are the highly regulated ones like insurance or finance —  but otherwise with every conceivable small business and niche or industry there’s a market that can can take advantage of generating leads on Facebook.

CP: When we talk Facebook ads, what are some missed opportunities?

MS: This comes back to the subject that’s close to my heart, which is really that relationship component: customer care, really engaging well when people are actually commenting and engaging on your ad.

I think what happens — especially with marketers that do the dark ads — is these ads can be very effective and you can be really selective in who you’re reaching without populating your wall, but then what often happens is out of sight, out of mind.  I’ve seen many major household brands where people are posting negative comments on the ad. There’s spam, people are asking questions about their products, and nobody is responding or acknowledging. I see that as a massive missed opportunity.

I think that’s one of the best investments that companies can make is having trained, qualified, passionate social customer care moderators. I always like to say that technology is moving at warp speed and it’s hard to keep up — but human beings, we’re not changing that much, and we want to know that we’re important, that we matter.

CP: What’s on the horizon?

MS: Right around the corner is Facebook television and that’s launching next month. Mark Zuckerberg is absolutely adamant that they’re not a media company, but just watch — just watch that space, they’re absolutely moving into that.

In the United States, the TV advertising industry is worth about $70 billion — it’s over $200 billion globally. And so Facebook now has licensed/paid for original content to be aired on video. And remember, they also have that app that they brought out not long ago that you can stream through your Apple TV or Amazon Fire.

So what’s coming next month are full one-hour shows that are highly professionally produced and then also small episodes — three to 30 minutes that will refresh every 24 hours, from what I’ve read.

For advertisers and marketers, we have to be thinking about quality video ads because that’s where Facebook’s next monetization horizon is (monetizing this digital streaming video with mid-roll ads). They swear they’re not going to do pre-roll, so let’s hope they stick to that.


Think quality Facebook video ads — for @MariSmith, that’s next on FB’s monetization horizon.
Click To Tweet


It’s all about being in that frame of mind — somebody’s watching a show they’re really engaged in and all of a sudden, just like television, it interrupts and your ad comes in.  So when it comes to video, it’s about how can you make it quirky, or fun, or entertaining, or emotional — I don’t think those things will ever go away as long as we’re human.

At the F8 conference, within the first 30 seconds Zuckerberg was talking about camera, and camera platform and developing for the camera. I saw some really cool augmented ads by Nike, and they were incredible.

Facebook is also really pushing live and they’re also deploying a lot of resources to combat fake news. They also announced two weeks ago that they’re they’re going to hire 3,000 more employees to make a team of 7,500 employees dedicated to watching for fake news plus anything untoward happening on Facebook live.

Really the key is for businesses and marketers is really education. I can’t stress that strongly enough. That’s why I just I love that you guys are doing this conference — you can’t get enough quality education.

PSST: Catch more from Facebook Queen Mari Smith at the Call to Action Conference this June. Blog readers get 15% off tickets until May 25th — just use promo code “blogsentme” at checkout.

Originally posted here – 

Facebook Ad Expert Mari Smith Reveals Missed Opportunities (And What’s on the Horizon)

What Facebook Advertisers Are Doing Wrong: Q&A with Mari Smith

Facebook has over 1.28 billion daily active users.

To have more than a billion prospects in one place, literally at your fingertips, is a marketer’s dream (thanks, Mark Zuckerberg!). But turning those prospects into customers… well that’s another story.

As marketers, we know that a stellar Facebook campaign is made up of a lot more than clever copy, snazzy design and a hefty PPC budget. In a constantly changing environment of new features, products and ad units, it can be tricky to stay ahead of the pack — let alone stand out.

Facebook’s granular targeting makes it more possible than ever to reach the right person, in the right place, at the right time. But only marketers who are committed to making connections with real people and then maintaining those relationships will come out on top.

If there’s one person that knows this best, it’s Mari Smith.

Named Forbes’ #4 “Top Social Media Power Influencer,” Mari is one of the world’s leading social media thought leaders and educators in the world of marketing. Her knowledge of Facebook runs so deep that she was personally hired by the folks at Facebook to teach SMBs throughout the US at the Boost Your Business series of events.

Mari’s speaking at our Call to Action Conference this June, and here’s a quick word from the Facebook Queen herself.

PSST: Blog readers get 15% off tickets to Call to Action Conference until May 25th — just use promo code “blogsentme” at checkout

Despite her packed schedule, Mari recently took the time to sit down with Unbounce Marketing Educator Christie Pike to reveal some of her best kept Facebook advertising secrets. In this interview you’ll get Mari’s actionable tips and insights into:

  • Some of the biggest missed opportunities for marketers advertising on Facebook.
  • Companies that are crushing it in the social advertising space and what you can learn from them.
  • The next big thing on the horizon that Facebook marketers should be preparing for and investing in.
Christie Pike: You’ve been active on Facebook long enough to see its evolution from social media network to a performance tool not unlike AdWords. How has this changed the way that marketers run Facebook campaigns?

Mari Smith: The main thing to consider is the enormous amount of data that Facebook gathers, not only on the platform itself but in partnership with data companies. So every time you use your credit card, every time you make a purchase, surveys that you complete, any information that’s out there is moved into a kind of personal dossier that then gets matched with your Facebook ID. Because of all of this, people get scared and freaked out, Big Brother and all that, but it’s all anonymized and encrypted, so from a user standpoint I always say, “caveat emptor”, just recognize that in today’s day and age of privacy, everything is out there.

From a marketer’s or advertiser’s standpoint, it’s an unprecedented time that we’re in.  It’s a paradigm shift in terms of being able to reach the exact person that you want with Facebook’s granular targeting. Down to zip code, down to propensity to possibly make a certain purchase, from going on a cruise in the next six months, buying a BMW in the next three months, income, the number of kids you have, what you do for a career — all of this is just extraordinary.

So, we really do have to think of Facebook as a platform in which to get our message, our products and our services in front of our target market, but done so in a very relationship-oriented way. I think the businesses that are really standing out are the ones that can make us laugh or cry or go “awwww” and tear at the heartstrings — you know, create something that has viral shareability as opposed to how some business send a message that says “Hey, sign up for our stuff,” “Buy our stuff.”  It’s a cold market, you know.

CP: What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen on the ad platform itself?

MS: I would say that a big change is in terms of ad units, which initially were just a link and some basic visuals, but over the years they have a much, much, much more visual emphasis. I especially love the carousel ads you can swipe. I think Amazon is one of the best at doing retargeted multi-product ads. I remember seeing one of its ads that had about 32 cards on the carousel that you could swipe and I asked myself, “How did they know I like all this stuff!?”

And then what they call slideshow, which is really just images made into a video, but definitely the prevalence of video is key. One of Mark Zuckerberg’s favorite words is “immersive,” and so the introduction of more immersive type of content like canvas ads has huge importance in the current ad space.

I worked directly with a video creation company, and they shared a great case study from Brussels Airlines that pull up a canvas ad advertising flights to Mumbai in India. They got something like 27 times more time on site after doing this beautiful canvas ad, whereas their previous Facebook campaigns led to an average of three seconds on site. The reason behind this was because back in the day, ads were just a link with a tiny wee thumbnail, and then they got bigger and turned into GIFs, slideshows, animations, interactive content and full-screen content.

So, between (1)  the ad products (2) the placement and (3) the targeting, I would say those are the three key areas where there are the biggest changes. Placement being whether it’s Instagram, mobile news only or if it’s right rail (which still has its place), but users are in mobile more than anything else.

CP: Who is doing Facebook advertising particularly well? What do you like about their ad campaigns? Can you provide some examples?

MS: My favorite video ad that I include in almost every single one of my presentations is by a fun company called Chatbooks. It’s a simple app (a subscription service) that takes your Instagram and Facebook photos and prints them in a book format, it’s really clever.

They worked with a really good PR/creative agency and hired a professional actress/comedian. From there, they created this three minute and forty-second ad. The ad was first put out on their Facebook page, which had just over 100,000 fans (now over 200, 000). And when I last checked, that video ad had 69 million views and almost 500,000 shares.

This is what I love to teach — when you can craft your content to be visually appealing (ideally video). When people are engaged with it they’ll share it with others.


When you craft your content to be visually appealing, people are engaged + will share with others.
Click To Tweet


I’ve never found a better example than Chatbooks. In fact, I originally saw it in my News Feed as a shared organic post by a friend of mine, and after I watched the full three minutes and forty seconds, I was ready to sign up and buy the subscription!

Another great example is from our friend Rand Fishkin from Moz,  who I know is speaking at CTA Conference this year.

Rand is doing these really great video ads called Whiteboard Fridays. I see the most recent one from April has over 4,600 views and 15 shares.

Whiteboard Fridays. Image source: Moz.

It’s so good because it’s educational and it’s the kind of video ad that you can stop and watch or at least save and watch later. It’s really cool what he’s doing because he’s not saying, “Hey everybody, sign up for Moz, see what we can do for you!” Instead, he’s like, “Hey here’s some education on SEO,” and it’s the kind of stuff that people will stop and save and consume.

One last shout out to my good friend Ezra Firestone and his company called Smart Marketer. He does really amazing stuff with video ads and lead gen.

CP: Unbounce cofounder Oli Gardner estimates that 98% of AdWords campaign traffic is not being sent to a dedicated landing page. If you had to guess, what percentage of Facebook marketers do you think are sending their traffic to mobile optimized landing pages? Do you see this as a missed opportunity?

MS: I would have said it’s probably a lot lower. My guess is that 65% is going to a dedicated landing page on Facebook — I get the sense that Facebook advertisers, for the most part, are a little more savvy. They realize you can’t spend all this money and have a captive audience and then just send them away to figure it out for themselves.

But to Oli’s point, I do see a missed an opportunity — especially when marketers are not really thoroughly checking and having a small test group. It’s important to invest a small amount — about $60 – $100 dollars — towards some A/B testing to see which ad gets better conversions. Doing the pixel and tracking the standard events, all of these components are key.

The second part is mobile optimized websites/landing pages. If someone’s clicking through and it’s too wide for the phone,  or the pop-up appears and you can’t find the ‘X’ on it it takes less than a second and they’re outta there.

CP: Are you seeing good examples of Facebook campaign landing pages? 

MS: I think my good friends over at AdEspresso – they were recently acquired by Hootsuite, a fellow Vancouver company —  they’re doing some really good stuff. I love their blog. In fact, they quote you there.

I’d have to think really hard to narrow down a specific landing page example, but in terms of components, or landing page elements, less is always more, something simple that’s really congruent with the ad itself.


Drive FB ad traffic to a landing page that’s simple & consistent with your ad. Less = more.
Click To Tweet


The job of an ad and the job of an email is to get people to a landing page, and the job of a landing page is to convert, whether I’m asking for your email or I’m asking for you to make a purchase. And the beautiful thing about Facebook pixels is if someone doesn’t decide right then and there, you’re able to do some retargeting campaigns to refine further.

CP: Are there certain verticals that are more successful with Facebook advertising than others?

MS: I was just speaking at Marketo’s conference last week and they are, as you know, almost exclusively B2B, and so my talk was very geared towards the B2B audience.

I think Facebook has a reputation for being known to perform better for B2C, but I always like to say that businesses are running as “people to people.”

In terms of verticals, it’s probably easier to say what verticals are more difficult to reach, which are the highly regulated ones like insurance or finance —  but otherwise with every conceivable small business and niche or industry there’s a market that can can take advantage of generating leads on Facebook.

CP: When we talk Facebook ads, what are some missed opportunities?

MS: This comes back to the subject that’s close to my heart, which is really that relationship component: customer care, really engaging well when people are actually commenting and engaging on your ad.

I think what happens — especially with marketers that do the dark ads — is these ads can be very effective and you can be really selective in who you’re reaching without populating your wall, but then what often happens is out of sight, out of mind.  I’ve seen many major household brands where people are posting negative comments on the ad. There’s spam, people are asking questions about their products, and nobody is responding or acknowledging. I see that as a massive missed opportunity.

I think that’s one of the best investments that companies can make is having trained, qualified, passionate social customer care moderators. I always like to say that technology is moving at warp speed and it’s hard to keep up — but human beings, we’re not changing that much, and we want to know that we’re important, that we matter.

CP: What’s on the horizon?

MS: Right around the corner is Facebook television and that’s launching next month. Mark Zuckerberg is absolutely adamant that they’re not a media company, but just watch — just watch that space, they’re absolutely moving into that.

In the United States, the TV advertising industry is worth about $70 billion — it’s over $200 billion globally. And so Facebook now has licensed/paid for original content to be aired on video. And remember, they also have that app that they brought out not long ago that you can stream through your Apple TV or Amazon Fire.

So what’s coming next month are full one-hour shows that are highly professionally produced and then also small episodes — three to 30 minutes that will refresh every 24 hours, from what I’ve read.

For advertisers and marketers, we have to be thinking about quality video ads because that’s where Facebook’s next monetization horizon is (monetizing this digital streaming video with mid-roll ads). They swear they’re not going to do pre-roll, so let’s hope they stick to that.


Think quality Facebook video ads — for @MariSmith, that’s next on FB’s monetization horizon.
Click To Tweet


It’s all about being in that frame of mind — somebody’s watching a show they’re really engaged in and all of a sudden, just like television, it interrupts and your ad comes in.  So when it comes to video, it’s about how can you make it quirky, or fun, or entertaining, or emotional — I don’t think those things will ever go away as long as we’re human.

At the F8 conference, within the first 30 seconds Zuckerberg was talking about camera, and camera platform and developing for the camera. I saw some really cool augmented ads by Nike, and they were incredible.

Facebook is also really pushing live and they’re also deploying a lot of resources to combat fake news. They also announced two weeks ago that they’re they’re going to hire 3,000 more employees to make a team of 7,500 employees dedicated to watching for fake news plus anything untoward happening on Facebook live.

Really the key is for businesses and marketers is really education. I can’t stress that strongly enough. That’s why I just I love that you guys are doing this conference — you can’t get enough quality education.

PSST: Catch more from Facebook Queen Mari Smith at the Call to Action Conference this June. Blog readers get 15% off tickets until May 25th — just use promo code “blogsentme” at checkout.

See more here – 

What Facebook Advertisers Are Doing Wrong: Q&A with Mari Smith

How to Play Into Your Customer’s Need for ‘I Want It Right Now’

Although eCommerce receives most of the limelight, 91.6% of U.S. sales still take place offline. With all the benefits of buying online — lower cost, wider choice, no need to put on pants — how come retail stores are still a thing? According to a study by Ripen Ecommerce, 30.8% is explained by people wanting to be able to touch and feel the products. The second main reason (29.9%) is that people want their items right away. This need for instant gratification is a powerful one. And while a 4D online shopping experience is likely still some years away, there…

The post How to Play Into Your Customer’s Need for ‘I Want It Right Now’ appeared first on The Daily Egg.

Credit – 

How to Play Into Your Customer’s Need for ‘I Want It Right Now’

How to Optimize the Post-Purchase Experience for Higher Conversions & More Profit

post-purchase

Give yourself a pat on the back. It’s time to celebrate, right? After all your hard work you’ve finally got the sale or sign up you’ve been searching for. You’ve used your audience data to optimize your landing page design, finesse your language, and ensure everything on the page is as perfectly personalized as possible. So here’s to a job well done. But, and I’m gonna rain on your parade here. Your job is far from over. Sure, you’ve managed to get the sale, but that’s not the end of your job. It’s the end of the purchase journey, and…

The post How to Optimize the Post-Purchase Experience for Higher Conversions & More Profit appeared first on The Daily Egg.

This article: 

How to Optimize the Post-Purchase Experience for Higher Conversions & More Profit

2017 eCommerce Conversion Rate Trends That Are Here to Stay

We have hardly seen through the first month of the year and the internet is already overwhelmed with the advice and trend pieces on eCommerce.

In this post, however, we specifically focus on those trends that can influence eCommerce conversion rates this year. It is important to keep a watch on such trends to keep ahead of the game.

Let’s read through what eCommerce experts are saying.

On-Site Search Optimization

Effective site search is well known for increasing website conversion rates. Weblink’s internal study for 2016 points out that shoppers who use internal site search converted at a 216% higher rate than those who do not.

Internal site search stats
Source

In 2014, Smashing Magazine benchmarked the search experience of the 50 top-grossing US e-commerce websites, revealing a lot of untapped potential:

  • 60% of e-commerce websites do not support searches with symbols and abbreviations.
  • While 82% websites have autocomplete suggestions, 36% of implementations do more harm than good.

According to Paul Rogers, 2017 will see more and more eCommerce businesses fix and optimize their on-site search in order to increase their conversion rates.

Paul Rogers, eCommerce consultant

I think an area of eCommerce that more and more merchants are starting to address, with a view to optimizing conversion metrics, is on-site search. Many of the clients I work with have upped their game in this area this year, making use of things like self-learning capabilities (via a third-party solution, supporting merchandising), natural language processing (to better understand more complex queries), product / category / attribute boosting and also promoting the use of the function.

In my experience, users who complete a search are considerably more likely to convert. I’ve seen positive results from making search boxes more prominent and more of a core navigation focus (through encouraging more complex queries like ‘search for product, SKU, brand or help’ for example). There are some really good, advanced solutions available for eCommerce stores now that can handle far more complex queries and drive more trade — I really like Klevu for the NLP and catalog enrichment side of things, but Algolia is very strong too.

Using a third-party solution is generally the best route for optimizing search, as the majority of the eCommerce platforms on the market (with the exception of enterprise systems like Oracle Commerce Cloud and IBM Websphere) have weak search technology, some of which are unable to process even the most simple queries.

Amazon Rise Continues

A survey conducted by BloomReach 2015 revealed that approximately half of the online consumers conduct their first product search on Amazon. The survey gives some interesting insights into how and why Amazon continues to dominate American e-commerce market year-on-year.

In fact, the percentage of people who search for a product first on Amazon has gone up from 30% in 2012 to 44% in 2015. Check the graph for numbers on first searches made on Amazon vs. search engines vs. retailer websites.

amazon search vs. search engine vs. retailers
Source

Andrew Youderian believes that the same trend will continue well into 2017 unless other players are able to build a brand connection with customers.

Andrew Youderian, eCommerce entrepreneur

I think many merchants in 2017—especially those in the U.S.—will see continued downward pressure on their website conversion rates due to Amazon. As Amazon continues to gobble up market share, they are increasingly becoming the go-to place for consumers looking to purchase online. Unless merchants are selling something unique or have a strong brand connection with their customers, it will be difficult to win this battle, and it’s a transition that many merchants haven’t yet made.

Conversion Rate Optimization

Chris Lake, co-founder of EmpiricalProof

The main trend for 2017 is the widespread maturing of the Conversion Rate Optimization industry. It is reminiscent of the usability and analytics industry a decade or so ago. Budgets are on the rise, companies are adopting a structured approach to optimization, and hiring in-house staff for the same.

Chris backs his statement with an interesting study by eConsultancy, according to which over half of companies plan to increase their conversion optimization budgets in 2017. The whole CRO industry will attract attention from the C-suite, he adds further.

CTA_evolution

Personalization

A survey conducted by eConsultancy in 2013 concluded that 94% of the in-house marketers consider website personalization to be critical to the success of the business. This popularity of personalization in eCommerce has grown over the years. Evergage combines extensive data on personalization in a stats roundup for 2016. The gist of the report is that consumers are likely to buy from a retailer that:

  • Recognizes them by name
  • Makes suggestions based on recent purchases
  • Knows the purchase history of their consumers

While a lot is being discussed on personalization since long, Tracey Wallace opines that 2017 is going to be the year of personalization.

Tracey Wallace, Editor in Chief at Bigcommerce

The eCommerce industry has been talking about personalization for a while, without much data or fruition. In 2017, I think personalization is going to be the key to more sales from your already existing customers –– i.e. driving up AOV and retention. With so many channels for customers to check out on (and most brands being at least multi if not omnichannel), what will make them checkout on *your* webstore? VIP programs, special discounts, and early access will help to foster loyalty and drive up repeat sales. Plus, you can use this same type of segmentation to sell B2B and wholesale without having to take every single call. 2017 will be about efficiency, and there’s nothing more efficient than getting people who have already purchased from you to buy again, and again, and again.

Mobile Optimization

Throughout the day, the one device that consumes most of our time is mobile. comScore reports that digital media time in the U.S. has exploded recently – growing nearly 50 percent in the past two years, with more than three-fourths of that growth directly attributable to the mobile app.

Since mobile plays a critical role in significantly increasing reach, awareness, and engagement, it is time that eCommerce players start giving it the due attention. Look at the following graph to see how mobile and tablet usage has been increasing over time.

mobile optimization
Mobile and tablet usage combined, beat desktop usage for the first time worldwide in 2016

Google has already shown its inclination towards mobile by announcing a “mobile-first” culture. As a result, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is being talked about a lot.

William Harris, Growth Marketer & Entrepreneur

One of the biggest trends in 2017 will be the growth of AMP. I tested this out with a few merchants on Shopify Plus when they were running the beta, and the results were impressive.

We know that stripping pages down to the necessary elements tends to increase conversion rates.  We know that faster load times tend to increase conversion rates.  So when you combine the both, it only makes sense that conversion rates will go up on mobile devices. Since mobile accounts for the majority of website traffic, that’s where the biggest increase in conversions will come in 2017.

Look to see more merchants adopting AMP and pushing the mobile conversion rate even higher (especially when AMP gets better and more flexible).”

Smarter Buy Buttons

The busy consumer is looking for smarter ways to shop. While he browses his mobile to make a mental to-buy list, he compares the best deals on a desktop for making an informed purchase.

For retailers, there lies an opportunity in this challenge. With the help of buy buttons, social commerce has enabled eCommerce players convert the buyer at the first point of contact – mobile, tablet, desktop, email, Facebook, Pinterest, or anywhere else.

Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, founder of Retail Minded Magazine, says that buy buttons will be one of the major trends driving up conversion rates for eCommerce in 2017.

Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, founder, Retail Minded Magazine

The buyer journey will always evolve and as a result, retailers must, as well. Among the ways I believe eCommerce, in particular, will see change in the year ahead is by the introduction of smart buy buttons. Such buy buttons do not need as many steps to purchase as they have in the past. This will undoubtedly help conversion rates, as well as connect consumers to brands more efficiently and more quickly than ever before. Through the introduction of buy buttons via social media, email, video platforms and other digital avenues, I believe that customers will be able to skip steps they have not been able to in the past. And, as a result, retailers will benefit with stronger sales and customer engagement.

To Wrap Up

Personalization, on-site optimization, the continuous rise of Amazon, conversion rate optimization, buy buttons—eCommerce businesses can use these trends to their advantage in 2017.

Have any of the trends listed above had any impact on your business? Tell us and our readers in the comments section below.

The post 2017 eCommerce Conversion Rate Trends That Are Here to Stay appeared first on VWO Blog.

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2017 eCommerce Conversion Rate Trends That Are Here to Stay

Your growth strategy and the true potential of A/B testing

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Imagine being a leader who can see the future…

Who can know if a growth strategy will succeed or fail before investing in it.

Who makes confident decisions based on what she knows her users want.

Who puts proven ideas to work to cut spending and lift revenue.

Okay. Now stop imagining, because you can be that leader…right now. You just need the right tool. (And no, I’m not talking about a crystal ball.) I’m talking about testing.

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So many marketers approach “conversion optimization” and “A/B testing” with the wrong goals: they think too small. Their testing strategy is hyper focused on increasing conversions. Your Analytics team can A/B test button colors and copy tweaks and design changes until they are blue in the face. But if that’s all your company is doing, you are missing out on the true potential of conversion optimization.

Testing should not be a small piece of your overall growth strategy. It should not be relegated to your Analytics department, or shouldered by a single optimizer. Because you can use testing to interrogate and validate major business decisions.

“Unfortunately, most marketers get [conversion optimization] wrong by considering it to be a means for optimizing a single KPI (e.g – registrations, sales or downloads of an app). However conversion optimization testing is much much more than that. Done correctly with a real strategic process, CRO provides in-depth knowledge about our customers.

All this knowledge can then be translated into a better customer journey, optimized customer success and sales teams, we can even improve shipping and of course the actual product or service we provide. Every single aspect of our business can be optimized leading to higher conversion rates, more sales and higher retention rates. This is how you turn CRO from a “X%” increase in sign ups to complete growth of your business and company.

Once marketers and business owners follow a process, stop testing elements such as call to action buttons or titles for the sake of it and move onto testing more in-depth processes and strategies, only then will they see those uplifts and growth they strive for that scale and keep.”Talia Wolf, CMO, Banana Splash

Testing and big picture decision making should be intertwined. And if you want to grow and scale your business, you must be open to testing the fundamentals of said business.

Imagine spearheading a future-proof growth strategy. That’s what A/B testing can do for you.

In this post, I’m going to look at three examples of using testing to make business decisions. Hopefully, these examples will inspire you to put conversion optimization to work as a truly influential determinant of your growth strategy.

Testing a big business decision before you make it

Often, marketers look to testing as a way to improve digital experiences that already exist. When your team tests elements on your page, they are testing what you have already invested in (and they may find those elements aren’t working…)

  • “If I improve the page UX, I can increase conversions”
  • “If I remove distracting links from near my call-to-action button, I can increase conversions”
  • “If I add a smiling person to my hero image, I can capture more leads”, etc.

But if you want to stay consistently ahead of the marketing curve, you should test big changes before you invest in them. You’ll save money, time, resources. And, as with any properly-structured test, you will learn something about your users.

A B2C Example

One WiderFunnel client is a company that provides an online consumer information service—visitors type in a question and get an Expert answer.

The marketing leaders at this company wanted to add some new payment options to the checkout page of their mobile experience. After all, it makes sense to offer alternative payment methods like Apple Pay and Amazon Payments to mobile users, right?

Fortunately, this company is of a test-first, implement-second mindset.

With the help of WiderFunnel’s Strategy team, this client ran a test to identify demand for new payment methods before actually putting any money or resources into implementing said alternative payment methods.

This test was not meant to lift conversion rates. Rather, it was designed to determine which alternative payment methods users preferred.

Note: This client did not actually support the new payment methods when we ran this test. When a user clicked on the Apple Pay method, for instance, they saw the following message:

“Apple Pay coming soon!
We apologize for any inconvenience.
Please choose an available deposit method:
Credit Card | PayPal”

marketing-strategy-payment-options
Should this client invest in alternative payment methods? Only the test will tell!

Not only did this test provide the client with the insight they were looking for about which alternative payment methods their users prefer, but (BONUS!) it also produced significant increases in conversions, even though that was not our intention.

Because they tested first, this client can now invest in the alternative payment options that are most preferred by their users with confidence. Making a big business change doesn’t have to be a gamble.

As Sarah Breen of ASICS said,

We’re proving our assumptions with data. Testing allows me to say, ‘This is why we took this direction. We’re not just doing what our competitors do, it’s not just doing something that we saw on a site that sells used cars. This is something that’s been proven to work on our site and we’re going to move forward with it.’

Testing what you actually offer, part I

Your company has put a lot of thought (research, resources, money) into determining what you should actually offer. It can be overwhelming to even ask the question, “Is our product line actually the best offering A) for our users and B) for our business?”

But asking the big scary questions is a must. Your users are evolving, how they shop is evolving, your competition is evolving. Your product offering must evolve as well.

Some companies bring in experienced product consultants to advise them, but why not take the question to the people (aka your users)…and test your offering.

An E-commerce Example

Big scary question: Have you ever considered reducing the number of products you offer?

One WiderFunnel client offers a huge variety of products. During a conversation between our Strategists and the marketing leaders at this company, the idea to test a reduced product line surfaced.

The thinking was that even if conversions stayed flat with a fewer-products variation, this test would be considered a winner if the reduction in products meant money saved on overhead costs, such as operations costs, shipping and logistics costs, manufacturing costs and so on.

marketing-strategy-jam-study
The Jam Study is one of the most famous demonstrations of the Paradox of Choice.

Plus! There is a psychological motivator that backs up less-is-more thinking: The Paradox of Choice suggests that fewer options might mean less anxiety for visitors. If a visitor has less anxiety about which product is more suitable for them, they may have increased confidence in actually purchasing.

After working with this client’s team to cut down their product line to just the essential top 3 products, our Strategists created what they refer to as the ‘Minimalist’ variation. This variation will be tested against the original product page, which features many products.

marketing-strategy-product-offerings
This client’s current product category page features many products. The ‘Minimalist’ variation highlights just their top 3 products.

If the ‘Minimalist’ variation is a clear winner, this client will be armed with the information they need to consider halting the manufacture of several older products—a potentially dramatic cost-saving initiative.

Even if the variation is a loser, the insights gained could be game-changing. If the ‘Minimalist’ variation results in a revenue loss of 10%, but the cost of manufacturing all of those other products is more than 10%, this client would experience a net revenue gain! Which means, they would want to seriously consider fewer products as an option.

Regardless of the outcome, an experiment like this one will give the marketing decision-maker evidence to make a more informed decision about a fundamental aspect of their business.

Cutting products is a huge business decision, but if you know how your users will respond ahead of time, you can make that decision without breaking a sweat.

Testing what you actually offer, part II

Experienced marketers often assume that they know best. They assume they know what their user wants and needs, because they have ‘been around’. They may assume that, because everybody else is offering something, it is the best offering―(the “our-competitors-are-emphasizing-this-so-it-must-be-the-most-important-offering” mentality).

Well, here’s another big scary question: Does your offering reflect what your users value most? Rather than guessing, push your team to dig into the data, find the gaps in your user experience, and test your offering.

“Most conversion optimization work happens behind the scenes: the research process to understand the user. From the research you form various hypotheses for what they want and how they want it.

This informs [what] you come up with, and with A/B/n testing you’re able to validate market response…before you go full in and spend all that money on a strategy that performs sub-optimally.” Peep Laja, Founder, ConversionXL

A B2B Example

When we started working with SaaS company, Magento, they were offering a ‘Free Demo’ of the Enterprise Edition of their software. Offering a ‘Free Demo’ is a best practice for software companies—everybody does it and it was probably a no-brainer for Magento’s product team.

Looking at clickmap data, however, WiderFunnel’s Strategists noticed that Magento users were really engaged with the informational tabs lower down on the product page.

They had the option to try the ‘Free Demo’, but the data indicated that they were looking for more information. Unfortunately, once users had finished browsing tabs, there was nowhere else to go.

So, our Strategists decided to test a secondary ‘Talk to a specialist’ call-to-action.

marketing-strategy-magento-offering
Is the ‘Free Demo’ offering always what software shoppers are looking for?

This call-to-action hadn’t existed prior to this test, so the literal infinite conversion rate lift Magento saw in qualified sales calls was not surprising. What was surprising was the phone call we received 6 months later: Turns out the ‘Talk to a specialist’ leads were far more valuable than the ‘Get a free demo’ leads.

After several subsequent test rounds, “Talk to a specialist” became the main call-to-action on this page. Magento’s most valuable prospects value the opportunity to get more information from a specialist more than they value a free product demo. SaaS ‘best practices’ be damned.

Optimization is a way of doing business. It’s a strategy for embedding a test-and-learn culture within every fibre of your business.

– Chris Goward, Founder & CEO, WiderFunnel

You don’t need to be a mind-reader to know what your users want, and you don’t need to be a seer to know whether or not a big business change will succeed or flop. You simply need to test.

Leave your ego at the door and listen to what your users are telling you. Be the marketing leader with the answers, the leader who can see the future and can plan her growth strategy accordingly.

How do you use testing as a tool for making big business decisions? Let us know in the comments!

The post Your growth strategy and the true potential of A/B testing appeared first on WiderFunnel Conversion Optimization.

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Your growth strategy and the true potential of A/B testing

6 Ways To Send Emails Your Customers Will Love

e-mail me candy hearts
Young love in the 21st century, amirite? Image via Shutterstock.
Psst: This post was originally published in 2014, but we recently gave it a refresh during our two-week publishing hiatus. Since launching the Unbounce Marketing Blog, this post has become one of our top-performing posts of all time. We hope you enjoy the read.

Research shows there are over 205,000,000,000 emails sent each day. 205 BILLION.

The average professional sends and receives 122 emails per day and spends 3.2 hours of their working day in their inbox. That’s a lot of competition.

To give yourself the best chance of cutting through with your email marketing, you need to send emails your customers love.

But how?

By thinking about each customer’s current relationship with your business, you can send emails each individual customer will find relevant. Here are six ways you can send emails your customers will love.

1. Segment your users

The most obvious place to start in order to send emails your customers want to see is segmentation. Don’t send everyone the same thing! This sounds obvious, but very few businesses take the time to do any segmentation at all.

There are many, many ways to slice your customer base, ranging from something as basic as RFM:

  • Recency (when did a customer last buy from you)
  • Frequency (how often does a customer buy from you)
  • Monetary Value (how much do they spend)

…to much more complex statistical models that try and factor in a whole range of historical data and future estimates.

intermix
Click for full-size image. Internet Retailer covers this example from Intermix, who used this strategy to increase email conversions by 1,000%.

Even some simple segmentation will put you ahead of the pack. Next time you send out a promotional newsletter I’d recommend having at least two segments: Customers that have purchased before and new customers.

Use simple segments to change your offer in each email you are sending and, ultimately, improve your profit from this campaign.

For example, why not offer new customers — who have subscribed but never bought — a discount. Give past, loyal customers access to a “hidden” series of products for the new season as a reward for their loyalty.

The best part? Implementing this type of segmentation can be as simple as pulling the order history out of your database and adding a true or false value to your email marketing list.

And don’t forget to measure the net result and see how it compares to your normal promotions. I’d be surprised if the results haven’t improved.

Already doing basic segmentation?

A clever, more advanced trick, is to use trigger-based emails to send very specific emails to your customers based on what they do on your site.

Amazon is always a great example of this in action, as they hone in on your browsing history and actively follow-up on-site activity with a series of emails.

Setting up emails like this can be done with good lifecycle email marketing software that allows you to track your customers’ actions and trigger a series of emails to users who look at product category (cameras, for example) but do not checkout.

The point:

The web is a powerful place, and you are now able to access and use more information about your customers than ever before.

Use your customers’ information to segment when sending marketing emails and you’ll be ahead of (or at the very least on par with) your competition!

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2. Set up an automated campaign

Automated emails give you the power to personalize in a way you simply cannot recreate manually. Below are a few examples of quality automated emails that show their power:

1. A founder sending an email within an hour of a customer signing up

At scale this sort of email is impossible to keep on top of if you’re emailing manually. With a little engineering and (ensuring you keep things simple) you can quickly implement an email like this that goes out to customers automatically.

As long as you actually follow up on any responses, you’ll find that this campaign really resonates with new customers.

hellofax founder email

This example from HelloFax is a great one.

2. Drilling down your funnel, like this example from Flightfox

Every business has a funnel of some sort. You should be tracking where your customers are in your funnel and using email to move customers from one step to the next.

The best way to do this is to provide useful information each step of the way. Sending tens, hundreds or thousands of customers an individual email based on where they are in your funnel could not be done manually, but automated emails give you the power to send something individually relevant.

flightfox drilling down funnel email
Click for full-size image

This doesn’t mean you have use formal language or lots of pictures. Take a look at the example above from Flightfox, who used a simple, plain-text question-and-answer format to double the conversions on a lifecycle email.

3. This hyper-relevant example from Amazon

amazon lifecycle email

Sending emails based on a customer’s specific browsing habits is something you could never do with a team of people (it wouldn’t be very efficient!), but using automated emails allows you to trigger an email with content related to your customers’ experiences so far on your website.

Don’t underestimate the power of automated emails!

(I could spend a lot of time going through how to setup automated lifecycle emails, but this slideshow does the job faster and smoother than I can!)

3 Steps To Make Your Lifecycle Emails Soar by — you caught me, it’s me — Chris Hexton.

The point:

  1. Setup an automated email to guide customers through your funnel.
  2. Use a simple, personal question-and-answer style format to make sure the email is helpful.
  3. Consider sending a series of emails, not just one, and don’t be afraid to send the first email a few hours after your customer first triggers the action in question.

3. Send from YOUR email address

I did a search of my inbox the other day for the term “noreply” and got over 1,000 results since the start of March. Admittedly, I get a lot more emails than the average user, but that’s a lot of noreply@domain.com addresses.

These emails were from startups, big brands and everything in between. In many cases they were simple promotional emails or updates.

There is no REAL reason to use a noreply email address for a marketing email. Even if you’re sending the email to hundreds of thousands of people you can use an address like info@yourdomain.com or support@yourdomain.com. Active communication with your customers is the way of the future.

As HubSpot points out in their slideshow, What The F*ck Is Social Media?, brands are winning engagement with their customers at every opportunity across every medium.

There are all sorts of tools out there to help with managing customer responses, my favourite being HelpScout.

Bottom line: you should use a personal email and give your customers the chance to respond if they want, because…

What if your customers have a question about your sale?

What if your customers respond and ask how to setup a new feature?

For every 10% of customers that bother to head back to your site and find your support email or create a ticket, you can guarantee that 90% will simply bail when they can’t hit reply.

Do you want to miss out on 90% of what your customer base are saying? Talking to customers is everything when it comes to running an online business. You can’t chat to them over the counter but you can chat to them via email!

The point:

Use a REAL email address, not noreply@domain.com.

4. Run a simple A/B test

Thanks to awesome tools like Visual Website Optimizer and Unbounce (shameless shelf plug), savvy online businesses use A/B testing to regularly improve their landing pages and funnels.

…but hardly anyone I talk to A/B tests email campaigns like they should. Running an A/B test might sound complex but it can be as simple as you want.

As an example close to home, I have recently been testing the format of my blog post update emails:

  • Do customers prefer to receive the entire post in an email or do they prefer a summary with a link to the blog post?
  • Do customers want to see a “hand-written” synopsis of the post by me (adding a little flare to the summary) or are they happy to simply get to the point?
  • Does having an image in the blog post update email make a difference?

All of these questions stem from wanting to write emails that your customers will love more. Getting customers to open, click and convert from your emails is important, and seeing the results of tests like those above is simple, thanks to the email marketing software on the market today.

So… next time you’re writing a campaign, have it in your head to create a second variation.

  • Test the ‘From’ address (for example, using “Chris from Vero” as opposed to “Chris Hexton” lifted my open rates)
  • Test the subject line (are you better with all caps, no caps, shorter subjects, longer subjects, a subject the same as the heading, etc.)
  • Test the template
  • Test the format
  • Test the offer

…and so on. Here’s the results of a recent A/B test on a subject line I ran. To test a hypothesis I simply removed “[Vero]” from the subject line and changed my approach to try and be mysterious or enticing — interestingly, the open rate dropped dramatically with this variation. Lesson learned!

vero email subject A/B tests
Click for full-size image

The point:

The value of a simple A/B test can be very powerful stuff. With a few extra hours work (or even less), you can find some permanent ways to send emails your customers love.

5. Simplify your copy

Ryan Hoover wrote a great post sharing his theory on Email first startups. He mentions a number of reasons email is a great medium on which to build a business. Email forces you to be simple. There’s no room for bloat and, unless your emails are focused and to the point, they won’t get your readers attention.

Although Ryan was talking about email in the context of starting a business, the same concept applies to any email you send

Simplify your copy, spend more time writing content that relates to where the customer is in their relationship to your business and provide a single call to action. Joanna Wiebe also has some great tips in her article “Tone of Voice 101“.

Here are four steps that you should go through mentally when writing a new email campaign (or any content you’re going to publish):

  1. Would I want to read this? This is really the starting point. When you re-read what you’ve written, you should constantly be asking yourself, “Would I keep reading? Or would I stop?”
  2. Am I speaking as I wish to be spoken to? Tone is hard to master: you need to be yourself and find a “voice” that makes sense to your customers and your business. You should always sense-check whether you’re talking in a way that is respectful, professional and consistent.
  3. Can I cut more out? Most people have a nasty habit of repeating themselves and writing too much. There’s nothing wrong with long copy (it often converts better) but long does not equal effective by default. Get someone to proofread your content and, if you need to, cut the crap!
  4. What is the call to action? Having a single call to action and repeating that CTA is something you should aim for in every email you send out. Keep it simple, keep it direct and make sure your customers get where you’re going with it.

The point:

Review your emails properly before you send them! Focus your emails with consistent, well-written content (take your time) and repeat your single call to action (CTA).

6. Give away your knowledge, for free

A tried and true tactic — customers will love you if you share your secrets with them.

Too many business owners worry about giving away information, as though a successful business is built on ideas alone.

The world’s most successful online business such as 37Signals, HubSpot and Net-a-Porter all use sharing as a core part of their marketing.

Take the 37Signals blog, Signal vs. Noise. Since 1999 they’ve shared their ups, downs and ideas about starting businesses, design and management online. This has led to successful books and has certainly been a dramatic aspect of the success of their products such as Basecamp or Highrise.

Net-a-Porter has always shared great content and style guidance on how to dress and look good. This magazine-first approach is a great way for Net-a-Porter to consistently market to their customers without seeming overbearing by simply offering coupons every week. Customers don’t buy clothes for the sake of buying clothes: they buy clothes to look and feel good.

netaporter 560
Click for full-size image

By sharing the secrets of how to do this Net-a-Porter constantly builds momentum, driving over 30% of their sales via email.

The point:

Give away as much information as you can to your customers. HELP them by teaching and they’ll love you for it. Email is a great medium for sharing content. It’s direct, it’s personal and it’s focused. Embrace this.

Rock and roll!

Focus on making your customers love your emails and you’ll increase your conversions as well. Use the huge amount of data you can now capture about your customers to send smarter emails, not more emails. Make each email count and you’ll be a long way ahead of the competition.

How do you send emails your customers love? Share success stories in the comments!

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6 Ways To Send Emails Your Customers Will Love

How to Build Your List Through the Amazon Kindle Store

What’s the best way to build your email list? It’s a question every marketer asks themselves on a weekly (or more likely daily) basis. We all know that email, despite competing against new kids on the block social media, SEO and their ilk, still provides the highest ROI. But there’s a problem. Email’s high return is dependent on having a high quality list. As a CRO nut you’re more than familiar with the best practices for landing pages, pop ups and the psychological elements to persuasion. The problem you face doesn’t lie in on page optimization, but in driving traffic…

The post How to Build Your List Through the Amazon Kindle Store appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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How to Build Your List Through the Amazon Kindle Store

Upsell and Cross-sell: Why It Works For eCommerce

“Buy me those chocolates.”

The kid said sternly, pointing his stubby finger at a big jar of sweets on the shop counter as they waited to check out.

The counter guy grinned. I smiled. The mother winced.

She just got cross-selled.

In 2006, Amazon reported that cross-selling and upselling contributed as much as 35% of their revenue.

Product recommendations are responsible for an average of 10-30% of eCommerce site revenues according to Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru.

There’s no reason why upselling and cross selling shouldn’t work for you. In this post we look at:

What is Upselling and Cross-selling?

Upselling and cross-selling are cousins of well, selling.

Buy a cow from me and I’ll offer you a better one for 50 bucks more: the better cow is an upsell.

What is Upselling?

Buy a cow from me and I’ll throw in a haystack for 5 bucks: the haystack is a cross sell.

What is cross-sell?

Upselling is a strategy to sell a superior, more expensive version of a product that the customer already owns (or is buying). A superior version is:

  • a higher, better model of the product or
  • same product with value-add features that raises the perceived value of the offering

How Macy's Upsell

Upselling is the reason why we have a 54” television instead of the 48” we planned for; the reason why we go for 7 day European Sojourns instead of 5 day simple French Affairs. It’s also the reason why we have unused annual contracts thinning away under silverfish attacks.

Cross-selling is a strategy to sell related products to the one a customer already owns (or is buying). Such products generally belong to different product categories, but will be complementary in nature. Like the hay-stack for the cow, or batteries for a wall-clock.

Cross-selling is a battle ready strategy. Here’s how McD does it: McDonald’s keep their apple pie dispensers right behind the cashier, in full view of customers. A year ago, the head of the U.S. division for McDonald’s Corp., Jeff Stratton, said in an interview that he felt moving the dispensers to the back kitchen area would probably cut apple pie orders by half.

Upsell and cross-sell are the reasons we buy things ‘just in case’.

There is one more popular selling technique known as bundling. Bundling is the offspring of cross sell and upsell. You bundle together the main product and other auxiliary products for a higher price than what the single product is sold for.

What is Bundling in eCommerce?

By bundling together the camera and two very related (even essential) products, Flipkart makes a compelling offer. Notice how there are multiple combos available.

Bundling in Action - Flipkart

Bundling is also quite often used along with a discount to increase the perceived value of the offering. Here’s more on the benefits of bundling.

Pure Bundle or Mixed Bundle?

Pure Bundling is when products are made available only in bundles and cannot be bought individually. Mixed bundling is when both options (individual buy and bundle buy) are made available.

Vineet Kumar from HBS and Timothy Derdenger at Carnegie Mellon University teamed up together and studied bundling as used by Nintendo in their video game market. Revenues fell almost 20% when Nintendo switched from mixed bundling to pure bundling. In the gaming market, prices fall each day, so customers looking to buy just that one thing will choose to wait until it becomes available, likely at a cheaper price.

Similarly, a study on the effect of bundling in consumer goods market, revealed that bundling is a great way to entice high value customers of competitors to switch over. But it does not significantly help category sales; and in some ways even discourages it because different category products are bundled together.

So should you use pure bundling or mixed bundling?

The safest option is to use mixed bundling: offer products individually and as bundle

But why settle for safe when you can A/B test it?

Here’s a way you can use bundling: Specify a minimum order amount to qualify for free shipping. Customers who are looking to buy only one item are likely to switch to the bundle in order to raise order value and qualify for free shipping.

Amazon does all of this brilliantly.

How Amazon Does Upsell, Cross-sell and Bundling

Why Is Upsell and Cross-Sell Important for eCommerce?

Upselling and cross-selling is often (and mistakenly) seen as unethical practices to squeeze more out of the customer.

They’d say, ‘the wincing mother in your opening paragraph is proof that customers hate being cross-sold to’.

I disagree, as will any white-hat marketer.

The Mother Who Winced (way better than ‘the wincing mother’) wasn’t the target customer there. The kid was. The kid found value, and he demanded it. The mother didn’t (add dental insurance to the mix), and she winced.

This dilemma of whether upselling/cross-selling is ethical or not, has its roots in the means and ends discussion. The end goal of any business is more profit. It is the means that make all the difference.

Cross-selling and upselling can be used unethically, in a pushy sort of way, to try and make the customer shell out more. But such tactics don’t last long and is often to the peril of such businesses. More on this under the heading “The Fine Line Between A Friend and A Creep”

As a strategy, however, upselling and cross-selling should be used to ‘help customers win’ as illustrated beautifully in this video by Jeffrey Gittomer. Looked at it that way, upselling and cross-selling become more of friendly suggestions and a helping hand to make the ‘right’ purchase.

Remind Bob to buy some batteries along with his new wall-clock

Jack might be looking for something more powerful than an i5 processor, show him the i7, too.

So how does upselling help you?

#1 Increases Customer Retention

If you leave aside impulse buys, customers buy products/services to solve a problem. They are aware of the problem, but might not be aware of the best solution to the problem.

I don’t belong to the Steve Jobs bandwagon, but he got it right when he said ‘people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.’ Upselling or cross-selling done right helps the customer find more value than he was expecting. You become his best friend.

Best friends return and drive 43% of your revenues.

#2 Increases Average Order Value and Life-time Value

Romance your repeat customers. Do it like Jerry Maguire. And they will show you the money.

Show Me The Money

Should You Upsell or Cross-Sell in eCommerce?

Despite the many ways upsell and cross-sell are similar, there’s a clear winner in terms of numbers.

According to Predictive Intent, upsell can work upto 20 times better than cross-sell.

A little over 4% of all customers who were faced with an upsell bought it while less than 0.5% of customers took bait when shown a cross-sell.

But when it comes to the checkout page, cross-sell kills it with 3% conversions.

PRWD head of usability, Paul Rouke explains why cross-sell works best on checkout pages

Why Cross-Sell Works For Checkout Page

What and How Should You UpSell?

The data from Predictive Intent’s study show that a mere 4% of customers convert on average through upselling. It’s not much, you might think.

4% of customers will buy a better product if offered, and are ready to pay a premium for that.

They aren’t looking for ‘just enough’. They will not shy away from going the extra mile to make sure the product (solution to a problem) is just right.

One of the commonest ways to upsell is to suggest the next higher model. But when it’s just 4% that you are targeting, the margin for error is as thick as the edge of a blade.

To make the most of these unicorns, here are some suggestions on how to upsell:

  • Promote your most reviewed or most sold products
  • Give more prominent space for the upsell, display testimonials for the upsell
  • Make sure the upsells are not more than 25% costlier than the original product
  • Make add-on features like insurance pre-selected and ask customers to deselect if not required
  • If you have customer personas in place, use those to make relevant suggestions
  • Make suggestions relevant by giving context: why should I buy that instead of this?

What do I mean by that?

Don’t just shove a front-loader washing machine in my face when I’m looking at a top-loader; tell me why it’s meant for me: I’m the discerning heavy user, who likes taking extra care of clothes and saving more on electricity.

And always, always, make sure you suggest products from the same category. Don’t ask me to buy a 17 inch laptop when I’m shopping for a macbook air. They don’t satisfy the same needs.

Let’s not forget cross-sell either.

Cross-sell gets up to 3% conversions when used on the check-out page.

Use cross-sell techniques more on the check-out page to tap into impulse buying:

  • Cross-sell products should be at least 60% cheaper than the product added to cart
  • Go for products that are easily forgotten: filters for lenses, earphones for mobile phones, Lighter for a gas stove and of course, scrub for cows.. the possibilities are endless

Here’s how removing cross-sell options from the product page increased order by 5.6%.

If you are manually pushing upsell/cross-sell suggestions, it would be worthwhile to automate the system. Products should be categorized and related products should be tagged so as to enable automation.

Now comes the interesting part.

Why Does Upsell/Cross-Sell Work and How Can You Ace It?

Upsell and cross-sell works when you are able to ease the decision making process of a customer.

In 2006, a study by Bain showed that reducing complexity and narrowing choices can boost revenues by 5-40% and cut costs by 10-35%.

Upsell Smart By Narrowing Choices

Too many choices can be paralyzing. Professor Iyengar and her research assistants conducted a study on the effect of choices in the California Gourmet market. They set up booths of Wilkin and Sons Jams — one offered an assortment of 24 jams while the other had on display 6 jam varieties.

60% of the visitors stopped by the larger booth while only 40% flocked to the one with lower number of choices.

But 30% of visitors that sampled at the small booth made a buy while only 3% of the 60% visitors to the larger booth went on to make a purchase.

Our ability to make a decision reduces as number of choices increases.

Actionable Tip: Don’t bombard your customers with many choices. If they’ve already said no to an upsell product do not push for it. Think of upsell as a gentle suggestion, not an aggressive sales tactic.

Bundle To Reduce Decision Complexity

Every action the user has to take makes the decision making more complex. Think of ways to reduce the number of actions in a buying decision. We’ve a limited amount of energy to be spent on decision making.

Bundling brings together related products that are of relevance to a customer. Buying them individually involves more decision making, and more steps. Whereas through bundling, in one a customer is able to buy multiple products together.

It’s also important to understand how we make decisions. How rational are we at decision making?

Turns out, not so much.

Customers Make Irrational Decisions

Dan Ariely does a brilliant break down of the irrationality of decision making and explains how we are not always in control of the decisions we make.

Let’s talk organ donations. Bear with me, thank Dan later.

The graph below shows the percentage of people of different countries that agreed for organ donation.

Irrationality of Decision Making - Dan Ariely

It seems the people represented in Gold don’t seem to care about others all that much, while the ones in blue care infinitely. Is that a cultural difference at play here?

But these guys are neighbours: Sweden and Denmark , Netherlands and Belgium, Germany and France. So what’s happening here.

They were presented two widely different consent forms.

Difference in the opt-in forms used

In the countries on the left, people were presented with an ‘opt-in’ form. People had to check the box to opt-in for the organ donation program.

In the countries on the right, people were presented with an ‘opt-out’ form, which meant unless they unchecked the box, they would be opted-in by default.

Surprisingly, people everywhere behaved the same way. They did not take any action and let the default choice be.

Dan Ariely explains our behavior was based on the complexity of the decision.

  • We don’t have complete information on the subject
  • We can’t differentiate sufficiently between the two options
  • We can’t decide
  • We do nothing

Buridan’s Ass: An ass that is equally hungry and thirsty is placed precisely midway between a stack of hay and a pail of water. It will die of both hunger and thirst since it cannot make any rational decision to choose one over the other.

Actionable Tip: So in your purchase funnel, make those little extra features checked by default, and give customers the option to deselect. Make it clearly visible, and never attempt to do it on the sly.

Unsure customers will go with the default selection.

Use Price Anchoring: The Surprising Power of Dummy Choices

A few years back The Economist ran an ad that looked like this

Price Anchoring in The Economist Ad

You get a web-only subscription for $59, a print-only subscription for $125 or both, again, for $125! Needless to say, the print-only option is a dummy choice. Who in their right minds would ever choose an inferior option when the price is the same?

Dan took the ad and took it to a 100 MIT students to see what they would choose.

Price Anchoring At Play - with the dummy choice

An overwhelming majority chose what seemed the ‘best’ option – both print and web subscription at $125. 16% chose the web-only subscription. Nobody chose the print-only subscription at $125.

Dan then took off the middle choice — the print-only one. And ran the test again on 100 people. This is how the opt-in rates looked now.

No Price Anchoring - without the dummy choice

Surprisingly, the majority (68%) people chose the cheaper option when the dummy choice was removed. The print and web subscription that saw 84% subscription in the presence of the dummy choice now got a significantly low 32% subscription rate.

An inferior choice makes a similar but superior choice look better even when other options are cheaper.

Actionable Tip: consider a customer looking at a top-tier entry level DSLR. Show him a mid-level DSLR without add-ons for a marginally higher price and the same mid-level DSLR with add-ons at the same higher price.

Upsell it with the proper communication — how does the mid-level DSLR help the customer win? — and you have a good probability of making the upsell.

The Fine Line Between Being A Friend and A Creep

In 2009, Graham Charlton at eConsultancy tore apart VistaPrint’s and GoDaddy’s checkout process in this post. GoDaddy’s process at the time contained almost 10 steps from selecting a domain name to finally completing the order – most of which were forced cross-sell attempts.

VistaPrint seems to have taken the critique well, and in a post published 5 years later, eConsultancy looks at how VistaPrint revamped their checkout process, making it much more pleasant and much less in-your-face in the process.

Here’s what you shouldn’t do:

  1. Suggest upsells and cross-sells before a customer picks a product
  2. Bombard customers with many cross-sell and upsell products
  3. Sly tactics like hiding pre-selected add-ons in the hope customers don’t notice it

If there’s one thing that is your takeaway from this post, it has to be this:

Upsell and cross-sell techniques should be used as strategies to help customers make better decisions, faster.

The post Upsell and Cross-sell: Why It Works For eCommerce appeared first on VWO Blog.

More: 

Upsell and Cross-sell: Why It Works For eCommerce

Upsell and Cross-sell: Strategies To Boost eCommerce Revenue

“Buy me those chocolates.”

The kid said sternly, pointing his stubby finger at a big jar of sweets on the shop counter as they waited to check out.

The counter guy grinned. I smiled. The mother winced.

She just got cross-selled.

In 2006, Amazon reported that cross-selling and upselling contributed as much as 35% of their revenue.

Product recommendations are responsible for an average of 10-30% of eCommerce site revenues according to Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru.

There’s no reason why upselling and cross selling shouldn’t work for you. In this post we look at:

What is Upselling and Cross-selling?

Upselling and cross-selling are cousins of well, selling.

Buy a cow from me and I’ll offer you a better one for 50 bucks more: the better cow is an upsell.

What is Upselling?

Buy a cow from me and I’ll throw in a haystack for 5 bucks: the haystack is a cross sell.

What is cross-sell?

Upselling is a strategy to sell a superior, more expensive version of a product that the customer already owns (or is buying). A superior version is:

  • a higher, better model of the product or
  • same product with value-add features that raises the perceived value of the offering

How Macy's Upsell

Upselling is the reason why we have a 54” television instead of the 48” we planned for; the reason why we go for 7 day European Sojourns instead of 5 day simple French Affairs. It’s also the reason why we have unused annual contracts thinning away under silverfish attacks.

Cross-selling is a strategy to sell related products to the one a customer already owns (or is buying). Such products generally belong to different product categories, but will be complementary in nature. Like the hay-stack for the cow, or batteries for a wall-clock.

Cross-selling is a battle ready strategy. Here’s how McD does it: McDonald’s keep their apple pie dispensers right behind the cashier, in full view of customers. A year ago, the head of the U.S. division for McDonald’s Corp., Jeff Stratton, said in an interview that he felt moving the dispensers to the back kitchen area would probably cut apple pie orders by half.

Upsell and cross-sell are the reasons we buy things ‘just in case’.

There is one more popular selling technique known as bundling. Bundling is the offspring of cross sell and upsell. You bundle together the main product and other auxiliary products for a higher price than what the single product is sold for.

What is Bundling in eCommerce?

By bundling together the camera and two very related (even essential) products, Flipkart makes a compelling offer. Notice how there are multiple combos available.

Bundling in Action - Flipkart

Bundling is also quite often used along with a discount to increase the perceived value of the offering. Here’s more on the benefits of bundling.

Pure Bundle or Mixed Bundle?

Pure Bundling is when products are made available only in bundles and cannot be bought individually. Mixed bundling is when both options (individual buy and bundle buy) are made available.

Vineet Kumar from HBS and Timothy Derdenger at Carnegie Mellon University teamed up together and studied bundling as used by Nintendo in their video game market. Revenues fell almost 20% when Nintendo switched from mixed bundling to pure bundling. In the gaming market, prices fall each day, so customers looking to buy just that one thing will choose to wait until it becomes available, likely at a cheaper price.

Similarly, a study on the effect of bundling in consumer goods market, revealed that bundling is a great way to entice high value customers of competitors to switch over. But it does not significantly help category sales; and in some ways even discourages it because different category products are bundled together.

So should you use pure bundling or mixed bundling?

The safest option is to use mixed bundling: offer products individually and as bundle

But why settle for safe when you can A/B test it?

Here’s a way you can use bundling: Specify a minimum order amount to qualify for free shipping. Customers who are looking to buy only one item are likely to switch to the bundle in order to raise order value and qualify for free shipping.

Amazon does all of this brilliantly.

How Amazon Does Upsell, Cross-sell and Bundling

Why Is Upsell and Cross-Sell Important for eCommerce?

Upselling and cross-selling is often (and mistakenly) seen as unethical practices to squeeze more out of the customer.

They’d say, ‘the wincing mother in your opening paragraph is proof that customers hate being cross-sold to’.

I disagree, as will any white-hat marketer.

The Mother Who Winced (way better than ‘the wincing mother’) wasn’t the target customer there. The kid was. The kid found value, and he demanded it. The mother didn’t (add dental insurance to the mix), and she winced.

This dilemma of whether upselling/cross-selling is ethical or not, has its roots in the means and ends discussion. The end goal of any business is more profit. It is the means that make all the difference.

Cross-selling and upselling can be used unethically, in a pushy sort of way, to try and make the customer shell out more. But such tactics don’t last long and is often to the peril of such businesses. More on this under the heading “The Fine Line Between A Friend and A Creep”

As a strategy, however, upselling and cross-selling should be used to ‘help customers win’ as illustrated beautifully in this video by Jeffrey Gittomer. Looked at it that way, upselling and cross-selling become more of friendly suggestions and a helping hand to make the ‘right’ purchase.

Remind Bob to buy some batteries along with his new wall-clock

Jack might be looking for something more powerful than an i5 processor, show him the i7, too.

So how does upselling help you?

#1 Increases Customer Retention

If you leave aside impulse buys, customers buy products/services to solve a problem. They are aware of the problem, but might not be aware of the best solution to the problem.

I don’t belong to the Steve Jobs bandwagon, but he got it right when he said ‘people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.’ Upselling or cross-selling done right helps the customer find more value than he was expecting. You become his best friend.

Best friends return and drive 43% of your revenues.

#2 Increases Average Order Value and Life-time Value

Romance your repeat customers. Do it like Jerry Maguire. And they will show you the money.

Show Me The Money

Should You Upsell or Cross-Sell in eCommerce?

Despite the many ways upsell and cross-sell are similar, there’s a clear winner in terms of numbers.

According to Predictive Intent, upsell can work upto 20 times better than cross-sell.

A little over 4% of all customers who were faced with an upsell bought it while less than 0.5% of customers took bait when shown a cross-sell.

But when it comes to the checkout page, cross-sell kills it with 3% conversions.

PRWD head of usability, Paul Rouke explains why cross-sell works best on checkout pages

Why Cross-Sell Works For Checkout Page

What and How Should You UpSell?

The data from Predictive Intent’s study show that a mere 4% of customers convert on average through upselling. It’s not much, you might think.

4% of customers will buy a better product if offered, and are ready to pay a premium for that.

They aren’t looking for ‘just enough’. They will not shy away from going the extra mile to make sure the product (solution to a problem) is just right.

One of the commonest ways to upsell is to suggest the next higher model. But when it’s just 4% that you are targeting, the margin for error is as thick as the edge of a blade.

To make the most of these unicorns, here are some suggestions on how to upsell:

  • Promote your most reviewed or most sold products
  • Give more prominent space for the upsell, display testimonials for the upsell
  • Make sure the upsells are not more than 25% costlier than the original product
  • Make add-on features like insurance pre-selected and ask customers to deselect if not required
  • If you have customer personas in place, use those to make relevant suggestions
  • Make suggestions relevant by giving context: why should I buy that instead of this?

What do I mean by that?

Don’t just shove a front-loader washing machine in my face when I’m looking at a top-loader; tell me why it’s meant for me: I’m the discerning heavy user, who likes taking extra care of clothes and saving more on electricity.

And always, always, make sure you suggest products from the same category. Don’t ask me to buy a 17 inch laptop when I’m shopping for a macbook air. They don’t satisfy the same needs.

Let’s not forget cross-sell either.

Cross-sell gets up to 3% conversions when used on the check-out page.

Use cross-sell techniques more on the check-out page to tap into impulse buying:

  • Cross-sell products should be at least 60% cheaper than the product added to cart
  • Go for products that are easily forgotten: filters for lenses, earphones for mobile phones, Lighter for a gas stove and of course, scrub for cows.. the possibilities are endless

Here’s how removing cross-sell options from the product page increased order by 5.6%.

If you are manually pushing upsell/cross-sell suggestions, it would be worthwhile to automate the system. Products should be categorized and related products should be tagged so as to enable automation.

Now comes the interesting part.

Why Does Upsell/Cross-Sell Work and How Can You Ace It?

Upsell and cross-sell works when you are able to ease the decision making process of a customer.

In 2006, a study by Bain showed that reducing complexity and narrowing choices can boost revenues by 5-40% and cut costs by 10-35%.

Upsell Smart By Narrowing Choices

Too many choices can be paralyzing. Professor Iyengar and her research assistants conducted a study on the effect of choices in the California Gourmet market. They set up booths of Wilkin and Sons Jams — one offered an assortment of 24 jams while the other had on display 6 jam varieties.

60% of the visitors stopped by the larger booth while only 40% flocked to the one with lower number of choices.

But 30% of visitors that sampled at the small booth made a buy while only 3% of the 60% visitors to the larger booth went on to make a purchase.

Our ability to make a decision reduces as number of choices increases.

Actionable Tip: Don’t bombard your customers with many choices. If they’ve already said no to an upsell product do not push for it. Think of upsell as a gentle suggestion, not an aggressive sales tactic.

Bundle To Reduce Decision Complexity

Every action the user has to take makes the decision making more complex. Think of ways to reduce the number of actions in a buying decision. We’ve a limited amount of energy to be spent on decision making.

Bundling brings together related products that are of relevance to a customer. Buying them individually involves more decision making, and more steps. Whereas through bundling, in one a customer is able to buy multiple products together.

It’s also important to understand how we make decisions. How rational are we at decision making?

Turns out, not so much.

Customers Make Irrational Decisions

Dan Ariely does a brilliant break down of the irrationality of decision making and explains how we are not always in control of the decisions we make.

Let’s talk organ donations. Bear with me, thank Dan later.

The graph below shows the percentage of people of different countries that agreed for organ donation.

Irrationality of Decision Making - Dan Ariely

It seems the people represented in Gold don’t seem to care about others all that much, while the ones in blue care infinitely. Is that a cultural difference at play here?

But these guys are neighbours: Sweden and Denmark , Netherlands and Belgium, Germany and France. So what’s happening here.

They were presented two widely different consent forms.

Difference in the opt-in forms used

In the countries on the left, people were presented with an ‘opt-in’ form. People had to check the box to opt-in for the organ donation program.

In the countries on the right, people were presented with an ‘opt-out’ form, which meant unless they unchecked the box, they would be opted-in by default.

Surprisingly, people everywhere behaved the same way. They did not take any action and let the default choice be.

Dan Ariely explains our behavior was based on the complexity of the decision.

  • We don’t have complete information on the subject
  • We can’t differentiate sufficiently between the two options
  • We can’t decide
  • We do nothing

Buridan’s Ass: An ass that is equally hungry and thirsty is placed precisely midway between a stack of hay and a pail of water. It will die of both hunger and thirst since it cannot make any rational decision to choose one over the other.

Actionable Tip: So in your purchase funnel, make those little extra features checked by default, and give customers the option to deselect. Make it clearly visible, and never attempt to do it on the sly.

Unsure customers will go with the default selection.

Use Price Anchoring: The Surprising Power of Dummy Choices

A few years back The Economist ran an ad that looked like this

Price Anchoring in The Economist Ad

You get a web-only subscription for $59, a print-only subscription for $125 or both, again, for $125! Needless to say, the print-only option is a dummy choice. Who in their right minds would ever choose an inferior option when the price is the same?

Dan took the ad and took it to a 100 MIT students to see what they would choose.

Price Anchoring At Play - with the dummy choice

An overwhelming majority chose what seemed the ‘best’ option – both print and web subscription at $125. 16% chose the web-only subscription. Nobody chose the print-only subscription at $125.

Dan then took off the middle choice — the print-only one. And ran the test again on 100 people. This is how the opt-in rates looked now.

No Price Anchoring - without the dummy choice

Surprisingly, the majority (68%) people chose the cheaper option when the dummy choice was removed. The print and web subscription that saw 84% subscription in the presence of the dummy choice now got a significantly low 32% subscription rate.

An inferior choice makes a similar but superior choice look better even when other options are cheaper.

Actionable Tip: consider a customer looking at a top-tier entry level DSLR. Show him a mid-level DSLR without add-ons for a marginally higher price and the same mid-level DSLR with add-ons at the same higher price.

Upsell it with the proper communication — how does the mid-level DSLR help the customer win? — and you have a good probability of making the upsell.

The Fine Line Between Being A Friend and A Creep

In 2009, Graham Charlton at eConsultancy tore apart VistaPrint’s and GoDaddy’s checkout process in this post. GoDaddy’s process at the time contained almost 10 steps from selecting a domain name to finally completing the order – most of which were forced cross-sell attempts.

VistaPrint seems to have taken the critique well, and in a post published 5 years later, eConsultancy looks at how VistaPrint revamped their checkout process, making it much more pleasant and much less in-your-face in the process.

Here’s what you shouldn’t do:

  1. Suggest upsells and cross-sells before a customer picks a product
  2. Bombard customers with many cross-sell and upsell products
  3. Sly tactics like hiding pre-selected add-ons in the hope customers don’t notice it

If there’s one thing that is your takeaway from this post, it has to be this:

Upsell and cross-sell techniques should be used as strategies to help customers make better decisions, faster.

The post Upsell and Cross-sell: Strategies To Boost eCommerce Revenue appeared first on VWO Blog.

Original source:  

Upsell and Cross-sell: Strategies To Boost eCommerce Revenue