We’ve gone beyond the point of video being an up-and-coming trend. It’s here, and marketers should be using it to attract audiences and keep them engaged. That goes for eCommerce as much as any other industry. Data shows that video isn’t just effective when it comes to marketing. There’s also a continuously growing demand for content in video form. And while some 43% of consumers want to see brands produce more video, it’s not just the consumers who want more visual media. More than half of marketers worldwide say video delivers the best ROI. Additional data from HubSpot’s State of…
With advancements in technology, the eCommerce sector has seen a major shift in its strategies over the years.
As an eCommerce business, you may be facing many challenges, owing to these shifting paradigms. Whether it is fighting the competition, reducing cart abandonment, or dealing with multiple sellers, the challenges can be multifaceted.
In this report, we aim to provide a solution for all these stages of challenges by using insights straight from the horse’s mouth.
We interviewed about 1,000 online consumers on their online buying habits and their experiences with current eCommerce enterprises. Consumers were primarily from the US and UK within the age group of 18-60.
With this report, you will understand some of the most common challenges, take a look below –
Market Expansion Challenge
As an e-commerce business, you are vying not only with other players in the industry but also with offline retailers and businesses overseas.
On being asked about their buying habits, about 51% of the customers said that they combine their online and offline shopping experiences before making a purchase.
The competition from international businesses also becomes intense as 56% of the respondents said that they had made a purchase from an international store, and another 31% were willing to experiment.
Low Website Conversions
After consumers choose to land on your website, there can be many hiccups before they complete a purchase.
These were some of the key findings in website optimization, which eCommerce enterprises should focus on.
Understanding Your Customers Better with Personalization
With the myriad of tools and technology available, personalization strategies are becoming a must-have instead of a good-to-have.
About 36% of buyers were more likely to buy if a website showed products, based on their browsing history.
Going Strong with Mobile Optimization
Optimizing for mobile is still super-important as about 47% of the respondents said that they preferred using mobile when shopping online.
The report also provides valuable insights around check process optimization and customer reviews.
Challenges with Logistics
The last part of the report talks about the logistics challenges that a customer may face after completing a purchase. These can include shipping challenges and challenges associated with multiple sellers.
In the Report
Based on the recommendations of seasoned eCommerce professionals, this report focuses on the 3 above-mentioned challenges facing eCommerce managers, as the digital channel grows and diversifies. The report is aimed at client-side eCommerce practitioners who have a hands-on role in managing and growing the eCommerce channel.
There’s no lack of data to suggest how visual-oriented we are as humans. For instance, “90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000x faster in the brain than text.” Or this: “65 percent of people are visual learners, and one of the best ways to drive messages home is through visual content.” This data helps explain why visual marketing has really exploded recently, and visual-centric content such as infographics are so popular. Seeing is one of our primary senses by which we intake information and understand the world. Basically, it’s a big deal….
Note: This is a guest article written by Devesh Khanal, Founder of Growthrock.co. Any and all opinions expressed in the post are Devesh’s.
It’s well established now that elite conversion optimization firms and experts do extensive user research to generate high-quality test ideas. Without this research, companies will resort to just “gut instinct” and guesses, instead of having a list of evidence-backed hypotheses.
But the typical suite of conversion optimization “user research” tactics falls into a small set of familiar categories:
Survey users on site.
Watch session recordings.
Do live user testing.
These are perfectly fine methods of learning about your user. This article, however, will focus on a treasure trove of user feedback that most ecommerce sites are underutilizing despite having abundant amounts of it: product reviews.
Product reviews give you a window into the psychology of the most qualified customers ever, those who purchased.
You can learn:
What features or benefits do they value?
What features or benefits do they not value?
Why did they purchase?
What words and phrases do they use to describe the products and benefits?
It’s also free and fast; the reviews already exist on your site; and there is no need to pay for participants or wait to collect data.
But the key to successfully using product reviews is in having a method to analyze them quantitatively. So you can extract actionable, numerical takeaways, not just vague high-level ideas.
Here, we’re going to tell a story about a quantitative method of analyzing open-ended feedback like product reviews. We call this method the Sort and Measure method. The information you can extract from it helps uncover which benefits are most valued by customers which can help shape copy and site design choices. The ideas you extract from applying this method can lead to better, more data-backed AB test hypotheses.
Analyzing Product Reviews to Improve Product Page Copy
In this case study, we analyzed hundreds of product reviews for the site Amerisleep.com, a multimillion dollar online mattress company in the United States.
Using our observation, we were able to quantitatively rank how important different benefits were to the users—comfort, pain, relative temperature regulation, environmental manufacturing, cost, returns, shipping, and more.
Knowing how important these benefits were allowed us to craft detailed, long form product detail pages with confidence. Instead of guessing, we had real data that told us which benefits mattered and which did not.
If you have a 7- or 8-figure ecommerce brand, it’s possible that you can get the same results with this technique. Let’s meet the company.
Meet Amerisleep: An Online Mattress Leader with Multiple Product Benefits
Online mattresses is an ultra-competitive space right now. Amerisleep is a leading player in this space. It has a high-end mattress that it feels has several advantages:
(Comfort) Specially designed memory foam
(Options) Available in 5 different firmness levels
(Environmental) Manufactured in an environmentally friendly process
(Temperature) Designed to avoid overheating
(Cost) More affordable than retail memory foam mattresses
(Returns) They have a great “sleep trial” policy
Having lots of benefits sounds great, but it leads to unanticipated site design challenges.
The Problem: Which Benefit to Emphasize?
Imagine you are the VP of Ecommerce for Amerisleep and also in charge of AB testing new product detail page copy to improve sales.
It’s nice to have a lot of product benefits, but it means that you have some predicaments when improving your product detail pages:
Which of these benefits should you emphasize?
If you list all of them, will it overwhelm the shopper?
Do shoppers even care about [insert benefit]?
Which benefits should you put at the top of the page, and which down below?
How People Solve This: On-Site Surveys
How would you solve this problem and understand which benefits are more important than others?
The most typical ecommerce user research method for extracting this information is ask users in an on-site survey. This is a useful method and can work. You use a Hotjar, Qualaroo or VWO style poll and ask shoppers which benefits they care about.
You could ask an open-ended question: What are you looking for in a mattress?
You could ask a multiple-choice question: Which of these benefits of a mattress is most important to you?
This is a solid method of starting to understand your users. If you do this consistently, in our experience, you’d be ahead of a lot of competitors.
But this method has a key drawback—you don’t know how qualified the respondents are.
This is especially an issue for high-end brands. What if you get lot of responses about the price being too high, but the respondents weren’t your target customers and weren’t ever going to buy from you anyways?
This is where product reviews become extremely useful.
Product Reviews: You Already Have the Answers on Your Site
A great way to solve this problem is to survey only users who have bought the mattress. You can do this on the success page by asking: What were the key reasons you bought your mattress from us today? But the vast majority of successful ecommerce brands already have these survey results on their sites: these are in the form of product reviews.
Product reviews are exactly what benefits users consider important: it’s a survey of only customers who bought, and it’s open-ended and in their own words.
Note: The case study in this article used a buyer verification process for leaving reviews. If such a process doesn’t exist, it is possible that non-buyers could leave reviews. But in our experience, most stores have too few reviews, not too many.
Reviews also have a tendency of being brutally honest (something many store owners know too well), as many will include criticism of what they didn’t like and what could be improved, even though they bought anyways.
Sort and Measure Method: Extract Quantitative Answers to Make Decisions
But how are you going to turn product reviews into actionable information to inform your product page redesign or any other AB test on your site?
Enter the Sort and Measure Method. Here’s what it is, in a nutshell.
Casual Browsing: A Recipe for Personal Biases
Typically, what happens with survey data at an ecommerce company is that it’s emailed around and discussed a bit, and people then interpret it how they want.
One person says: “I told you, most of the reviewers were talking about back pain relief!”
Another employee says: “Well, what really struck me were the ones saying our environmental manufacturing was important.”
The debate can be never-ending. Most companies end up going with decisions based on either who is the loudest or who is the most senior.
For example, even before we used this technique, we did a large redesign and rewrite of their product detail pages. Using VWO to A/B test the redesign, we got a great, 14% lift in checkouts – a lift that’s worth 7 figures annually.
Although this was a great result, we had email exchanges like this between me and the copywriting consultant we partnered with, debating where to put emphasis. Here is an email I wrote to him about a certain benefit I felt wasn’t that important:
Here is his email to me:
Like I said, these debates are never-ending and get you nowhere. That’s why, while this test was running, we started using the Sort and Measure Method. Before the test was even over, we had a quantitative understanding of which benefits did and did not matter to Amerisleep customers (not prospects, but customers who actually bought).
Now, we don’t have to spend additional time and resources AB testing features and benefits that we know very few customers care about, and we don’t need to have endless email debates about what matters—we have data.
The Sort and Measure Method requires some manual effort, but it can be outsourced and the results are worth it. Here’s how it works.
Step 1: Sort
You list the product reviews in a spreadsheet:
Then you go through them one by one, create categories for common themes, and mark which categories they fall into.
It’s totally fine for a product review to be “sorted” into multiple categories.
As you work your way through the list, you’ll notice new categories and refine the list a bit, that’s okay. You’ll need to take a second pass to get it right.
Step 2: Measure
Now you just total up how many times certain categories are mentioned and you have your results, which any spreadsheet can do for you easily.
Here are the results for our analysis of Amerisleep’s product reviews, except that we’ve removed the benefit, to maintain data confidentiality.
(Yes, reviews are public information; and you can do this analysis for Amerisleep yourself, so it’s not really confidential…but will you? Probably not.)
Think about how useful this is. For the two smallest bars, we were able to clearly agree that this was not something happy customers talked about often.
We don’t need to have mentions of those benefits take up a lot of space, or be above the fold.
We should not prioritize AB testing to optimize sections that talk about these benefits.
We should not prioritize testing these benefits in the ad copy.
Benefits of the Sort and Measure Method
We were able to use this method to understand which benefits were valuable to customers and which were not. This understanding has allowed us to focus our testing efforts on the copy that emphasizes the benefits that matter to our customers. Thus, the Sort and Measure Method has become a useful tool in our user research arsenal.
Try this method yourself on your own store. Doing so will give you information on improving site functionality, help you identify friction points that could be hurting sales, and help you create better data-backed AB test hypotheses.
Good marketers are obsessed with numbers. They look at them every morning and end their day by checking them “one last time.” According to AdAge, 93% of CMOs are under more pressure to deliver a better ROI. The problem is, they can’t do that if they don’t understand performance at all stages of the marketing funnel. In this article, I’m going to outline key KPIs you must measure to help improve your ecommerce marketing. From awareness to retention, you’ll learn the metrics to watch daily and how to improve them. 1. Brand Name Search Brand awareness often gets a bad…
Being data-driven is good. Unless of course, all that data driving your decisions is wrong. Google Analytics does a lot of good. It might look fine and seem correct when Goals are firing properly. But just because it’s working, doesn’t mean it’s accurate. Most analytics programs have to make a few implicit assumptions. They’re taking leaps of faith in some cases. And unless you know where to look, you could fall victim to these little white lies. Here are seven of the most common (along with how to fix them). Lie #1. Growing ‘Dark Traffic’ ‘Dark Traffic’ sounds ominous. And…
The face of fashion ecommerce is undergoing a change. The transition from a brick-and-mortar store to an online one is accompanied by perennial problems, leading to a high return rate of ordered items.
However, the online fashion and apparel industry continues to adapt to this change through use of new technologies and strategies. Other than adhering to prevalent industry best practices, you can also come up with innovative ideas that can help you attract, engage, and retain more visitors on your website.
Here are 6 ideas on how you can grow your online apparel business while maintaining your brand esthetics. Based on these ideas, you can create variations and run A/B tests on your website.
Cross-Selling Style-Based Combinations
Cross-sell an entire set based on season, style, festival, and others, while providing a stand-out description.
You plan to add sneakers with a new design, an offbeat color, and a slightly higher price compared to your current best-seller in the same category. On your website, it would show up in the Shoes and New Launches categories. Other than this, what can you do to have your visitors go for it?
Don’t leave the sneakers alone. Showcase those along with items from other categories with which these can go along well.
Look at what Zalando, UK does. Within each category such as Men, Women, and others, it has a subcategory Inspiration, which includes the Looks of the Week section.
This section showcases a new item with additional items to complete the suggested outfit. Over and above this is the vivid description, which can attract visitors to go for more than they are looking for.
The updates ensure freshness through new themes every week.
The above idea is primarily used for new launches during a particular season; but you can also A/B test and apply it for upcoming festivals, events, and other special days.
What to measure:
Increase in % of sales through clicks to the new upselling category link
Average order value (because of the new category)
Increase in clicks to the upselling category link
Increase in the revenue (with this category also contributing to the increase)
Resolving Customer Concerns through Additional Filters
At times, it becomes tricky for your customers when they find the desired apparel item, but not the desired price. The reverse is also a common sight. How do you save them from an endless search on your website pages?
Lyst has addressed this problem to an extent. There are additional, unique filters for its customers to fine-tune their search. In the above screenshot, two of these filters—sales discount and material—are used to narrow down the available options.
What to measure:
Average session duration
Number of visits to the product page as a result of these clicks
Total revenue due to this A/B test
Revenue per visit
Adding Variety to Navigation Options
Add color and designer name as filters along with size and price.
While adding size and price filters helps your visitors shortlist and display what’s available for them, having colors as a filter helps them personalize their choices. If this, along with other filters, still leaves the visitors with a high number of displayed options, you can provide more filters, such as designers.
In the screenshot from Otte New York, selecting 2 colors and 3 designers in the New category narrows down the comprehensive product listing to a more manageable 10 products on the screen.
What to measure:
Increase in the number of visits to the product page as a result of clicks on new search filters
Increase in the number of purchases as a result of the number of visits
Interaction Analytics: Use heatmaps to see if new options are resulting in increased activity on the filters.
Do you see the message between two products on the Lyst category page? While it’s good to have increased visitor engagement on your website pages, this message tells the visitors that if price is a bottleneck, then they have the option to “wait and get” what they are looking for. This can encourage them to not only indicate their choices, but also bookmark the website for a future revisit.
While you can go ahead with this idea and A/B test it; on the same lines, you can also go for similar triggers checking with the customers softly if they need any help while finalizing their current purchase.
Note: You should not test similar ideas together. It may make it difficult to attribute your results with the correct idea. Also, excessive triggers and interruptions can lead to unpredictable visitor behavior.
What to measure:
Change in the purchase frequency of repeat customers
Change in the repeat purchase rate
Change in the revenue for specific durations (when the earmarked products go on sale)
Providing Cross-Selling Offers on the Product Page
Use heatmaps and past data while planning such promotions. In the screenshot from Farfetch, UK, note the brevity and clarity in the cross-sell message, and the optimum position in which it is placed, as opposed to a “Recommended products” carousel after the product details. Your offer details should not mix with the product description.
Offer similar or complementary products together. Such offers should not distract visitors away from the product page they are on. Instead, the combined value of the products should attract them to go for it.
1) Provide the option to view close-ups of items on fashion product pages.
Remember those models on your television screen posing with the latest designer suits, followed by close-ups of the suits from different angles. This idea goes on to mirror the same experience for your customers. The above image from Ralph Lauren shows how visitors on your site can get to see a zoomed-in view when they select a particular section of the product.
What to measure:
Pages per session and session duration for product pages providing this option
Add-to-cart numbers from products with the new option
Interaction Analytics: Use session replays to see engagement with the feature.
There may not be a direct correlating impact on the revenue as a result of this change. However, increased engagement could mean a better customer experience.
2) Target Categories for Specific Situations
Segmentation based on multiple requirements would just make it so easy for your customers. Here, Old Navy comes up with a standout idea. On the home page itself, size comes into picture right after the gender. For example, Women and Women’s Plus are two categories differentiated on the basis of size. Maternity comes out as another unique category.
In addition, the visitors can also specify their body types to narrow down their search. For example, the Boys category has Husky and Slim as two differentiators.
The category pages continue with the practice, as they ease your search further. For example, the tagline for Women’s Petite says “Specially designer for Women 5’4” & Under.”
What to measure:
Time to purchase should go down, as the visitors should be able to quickly self-select.
Conversion rate should go up.
Interaction analytics: Engagement should be higher.
By now, these ideas would have created a chain reaction of sorts for you, helping you come up with more ideas to A/B test. So if there’s something that you would want to add or suggest, please share your responses in the Comments section below.
State Of Buyer Personas 2016 established that approximately 60% of the survey respondents took their first-ever buyer persona development initiative within the last 2 years—a result similar to the previous year survey on personas.
It has been almost two decades since the term “persona” was first coined and used by Alan Cooper in his book “The Inmates Run the Asylum.” However, organizations still struggle to develop personas effectively. As a result, the gap between what the consumer wants and what companies provide has widened.
Look at this survey graph for a quick look into the mistakes that can taint customer-business relations, when the latter does not know its ideal customer well:
In this blog post, we walk you through the process of creating effective personas, how your business can benefit from these, and why these should be a part of your conversion optimization strategy. Let’s begin:
How to Create Effective User Personas
To create personas that are effective, it is important to first understand what personas should not be:
A demographic profile
A market segment
A documentation of behavior based on a research that lacks data
Having listed the “nots” of personas, let’s deep-dive into what effective personas comprise and how to develop these. Research, qualitative and quantitative, is the foundation of personas. When based on research, personas unveil:
What your users want to accomplish?
What drives your users’ behaviors?
What do your users think?
What are their expectations?
What will make them buy?
What could be their reasons for hesitation?
What could be their hindrances?
To develop personas that can give you insights as deep as finding answers to the above questions, and a few more tough ones, we advise you to:
Use Qualitative Research.
Use A/B Testing.
Perform Competitor Analysis.
Using Qualitative Research
Qualitative research tools such as on-page surveys, in-person interviews, and so on can help you uncover the expectations and motivation of a user.
We list some use cases for on-page surveys to help you understand how these can be wisely used for gathering information that is required for developing effective personas:
Use Case 1. Understanding Purchase Decision
Understanding customer motivation for buying a product plays a significant role in replicating the buying behavior. If you knew precisely what motivated a visitor to buy from you, it is the next step to motivate other visitors in the same direction.
What you could ask?
Did you find what you were looking for?
What motivated you to complete your purchase?
What triggers to use?
Goal Completion: As soon as a user completes a signup form or makes payment for items in the cart, this survey should pop up to understand the true motivation behind the purchase.
Use Case 2. Determining Purchase Satisfaction
It is important to know the purchase satisfaction level to determine if there are reasons that can stop them from buying or make them buy from elsewhere. It can also help you categorize people who have high or low purchase satisfaction levels, if you are able to observe a pattern.
What you could ask?
On a scale of 0–10, 0 being the lowest and 10 being the highest, how satisfied are you with your last purchase?
The reason behind your rating. What do you think is good/bad about buying from us?
Analyzing the information that you have from your survey:
With regard to the question on purchase satisfaction levels, the information that your users reveal can be smartly analyzed to create user personas. Let’s say that you have an online apparel business. Running such surveys can help you:
Identify users who are not at all interested in your product (those who rate you between 0–3), users who do not have a firm opinion on your product (4-7), and users who have purchase satisfaction levels (8–10).
Understand the reasons behind high and low purchase satisfaction levels for all categories of users mentioned in the previous point.
Identify patterns, if any, in those rating your product high/low. For example, do those who rate the product on a scale of 8–10 buy the product because of “fresh styles and patterns,” do most of these people fall in the age group (20–25), and so on.
Build user personas based on this information.
What triggers to use?
Time spent on a page: Show the survey after visitors spend “X” seconds on the first webpage they visit. Target the survey using custom targeting to those who have made an online purchase earlier from you.
Asking these questions at the right time can help you fetch actionable information, uncover user motivations, as well as apprehensions.
Similarly, exit intent pop-ups and in-phone surveys also help you find out if your product/service is providing the value that your users and/or customers expect out of it.
Your qualitative research findings can then be dissected to create personas. Consider an example:
You are an eCommerce business selling antiallergic bedding. Your in-phone customer interview and on-page surveys help you determine one of your persona “Jane” with the following attributes:
Aged 32, she has very sensitive skin, which is prone to allergies.
She is willing to pay a little more if the product quality is good.
She also cares about the product being eco-friendly.
Your qualitative research would further help establish:
Jane’s motivation to buy your product: The bedding suits her needs, is priced just what she thinks is right, and can be found easily online.
Jane’s mindset while making a buying decision: She cares about her health and skin. She will not risk investing in any product that can cause allergies. She is also quality-conscious.
Jane’s bottlenecks to buying: She might return the product if she does not find it comfortable and per the quality that she expects. Style and comfort go hand in hand for her.
When you have conducted qualitative research and listed down motivations, bottlenecks, and mindset, you need to gather insights on what your user/customer is doing online. So the next logical step is to unveil Jane’s onsite behavior.
For example, using form analysis can help you identify the form fields that lead to customer hesitation or customers abandoning the form.
Using A/B Testing
Let’s say that you have listed a few findings about your personas, after conducting an in-depth research. However, you want to be as sure as possible. The following attributes can be put to test:
Comfort vs. Style
Discount vs. Buy One, Get One Free
Value of free shipping and free returns
A/B testing can help you narrow down to attributes as close as true to your real users. Whatever assumptions, observations, and opinions you have about your users, you can A/B test them to find out what your ideal users associate more with.
Performing Competitor Research
Digital intelligence tools can help you dig deeper into competitor data to analyze their traffic. Using such tools, you can find out where your competitors are putting their effort into—social media, mobile, content, email marketing, and so on.
After you have an idea of where your competitors’ major efforts go into, you can work backward to identify the audience they are targeting for creating user personas. This elaborate and well-researched post on medium will tell you how you can crack competitor research to create user personas for your business.
Benefits of Personas for Your Business
Mathilde Boyer, Customer Experience Director at the House of Kaizen, lists 5 ways in which every business can benefit by using personas.
“Personas shouldn’t only be created to trigger user empathy within an organization. They should be built with a practical application in mind so that they can be instrumental in a Conversion Optimization Strategy. Validating personas through actual user data and connecting them to target audiences increases their ability to drive business strategies.
Creating and leveraging user personas brings 5 key benefits to Marketers and Product Owners.
Connect research insights
Develop a unified view of your customers and prospects by identifying commonalities and unique attributes to provide a deep understanding of motivations, anxieties, decision making styles and moments when users find inspiration.
Strategically manage marketing budget
User personas allow you to prioritize target audiences and shift spend based on channel performance for individual audiences. Maximize your marketing investment by focusing your efforts and budget on the profitable leads.
Develop powerful brand and product storytelling
User personas can be leveraged to tailor storylines and bring your value proposition to life. They are key to understand aspirations, desires and perceptions of your customers. They are also crucial to strike the right note with unique content created to move buyers from interests to purchase.
Go beyond marketing silos
User personas allow you to ensure continuity and complementarity of messaging and creative across all user touchpoints (ads, website, emails, offline campaigns, customer service script, sales pitch, etc.).
Prioritize product roadmap
User personas should be a valuable levier to inform your product development cycles and ensure that new features are developed to solve evolving prospects’ problems and needs.”
Other than the benefits that Mathilde talks about, personas are also helpful in bringing uniformity to every department of the business regarding who their customer is. From customer service representatives to sales to marketing to the administrators, everyone is aligned to consumer goals. This helps everyone across the business keep their ideal customers happy, and thus increase overall satisfaction as well as retention.
Why Should Personas Be a Part of Your CRO Program
Protocol80 compiles some interesting facts on why personas are awesome. We list 2 of these here as evidence on why personas should be a part of your conversion optimization program.
“In the case of Intel, buyer personas surpassed campaign benchmarks by 75%. They were more cost efficient than the average campaign by 48% DemandGen Report.
In the case of Thomson Reuter, buyer personas contributed to a 175% increase in revenue attributed to marketing, 10% increase in leads sent to sales, and a 72% reduction in lead conversion time.”
Personas can help you improve conversions by:
Improving your personalization efforts.
Helping enhance product user experience.
Improving Personalization – Content
Personas help bring in more clarity on crafting tailored content that appeals to the target audience of the business. Consider an example:
You are an eCommerce business. One of your user persona is say, Mary – The Loyal, with some of the following characteristics:
Visits your website frequently
Makes a purchase every month or two
Does not purchase expensive products
Does not buy more than 2 or 3 products in a single visit
Is fashion-conscious, but does not compromise with quality
As you understand the buying behavior of this user persona, you can run campaigns with content specifically focussed at converting these users. For example, when Mary-the loyal visits your website again, you can personalize recommendations based on her last purchase, which might interest her into making a purchase.
Enhancing User Experience – Design and Development
At the design and development level, personas work as a research tool for businesses intending to enhance browsing/buying experience for their online users. These personas that are based on usage goals, browsing and exploring behavior, as well as pain points, tell the why behind the actions that users take on a website.
Such information is critical for designing any product or service. Understand, relate to, and remember the ideal user Mary-The Loyal throughout the entire product development process. The following design and development problems can be sorted by making user personas a part of the process.
When design teams do not have an understanding of which design elements on the website to prioritize. In this case, design and development teams end up wasting time on either developing or optimizing features that their ideal customer, Mary-The Loyal, does not use.
When design teams are finding it difficult to pitch their proposal to the management. This is where they can use actual data to enhance their idea and show the actual problem they are trying to solve by making the proposed changes.
Mathilde adds to how personas help enhance user experience.
“From a UX perspective, user personas are crucial to prevent self-referential design as they allow to focus the efforts on the needs of the customers and help be mindful of designing experiences as if we, marketers, were the end users.
Data-driven personas are also the foundation to map out customer journeys and ensure full alignment between user needs or perceived needs and the relevancy and length of the experience they have to go through to achieve them.
Personas become extremely powerful when they are taken beyond their naturally descriptive focus and provide a predictive view on how your product or service improves your ideal customers’ lives once they’ve used it for a certain time. The predictive side of personas is a key asset to design future-proof products and experiences.”
To Wrap It Up
When you make personas a part of your strategy, you are trying to maximize value for your ideal users. Here’s how Alan Cooper explains this concept in The Inmates Are Running The Asylum:
“The broader a target you aim for, the more certainty you have of missing the bull’s-eye. If you want to achieve a product-satisfaction level of 50%, you cannot do it by making a large population 50% happy with your products. You can only accomplish it by singling out 50% of the people and striving to make them 100% happy. It goes further than that. You can create an even bigger success by targeting 10% of your market and working to make them 100% ecstatic. It might seem counterintuitive, but designing for a single user is the most effective way to satisfy a broad population.”
Ultimately, filling the gap between the product value as perceived by your ideal user and the actual value that your product provides, will help you convince and convert your users into buyers.
It’s not every day that marketers use the words “email” and “CRO” in the same sentence. After all, most email marketing strategies for eCommerce are mainly focused on sending newsletters, promotional emails, transactional emails, and maybe even cart abandonment messages. If you’re really savvy, you might even be sending post-purchase emails to leverage the traffic you already converted in the hopes that those shoppers will come back to buy more. But here’s the thing: When you focus your email marketing efforts solely on the end of your sales funnel, you’re actually neglecting the majority of your site traffic. That’s traffic…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.