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10 Beautiful Website Color Palettes That Increase Engagement

Is the color scheme you’ve chosen for your website triggering a desired response? Everyone has favorite colors they tend to gravitate towards when it comes to their work or otherwise. But a skilled designer understands the importance of evaluating a color scheme based on the brand, the meanings of the colors, and the products or services being promoted. Good color choices take careful planning. It can influence how a visitor interprets what they see as much as a site’s layout and typography — and when done well, it can have a positive impact on each visitor’s evaluation of the brand…

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10 Beautiful Website Color Palettes That Increase Engagement

Our top 7 blog posts of 2017

Build the most effective personalization strategy: A 4-step roadmap Along with “artificial intelligence”, “personalization” has been a hot topic among…Read blog postabout:Our top 7 blog posts of 2017

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Our top 7 blog posts of 2017

How to create *emotionally relevant* marketing experiences for your shoppers

Marketers have more data than ever before. But even with all of this data, we still aren’t seeing a complete…Read blog postabout:How to create *emotionally relevant* marketing experiences for your shoppers

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How to create *emotionally relevant* marketing experiences for your shoppers

Win More Conversions from Impulse Buyers | 4 Ways for eCommerce Enterprises

In-store is a clear winner compared to online when it comes to impulse buying, as established by a 2016 Creditcard.com survey. Does that mean that there is a dead end to encashing impulse buys online?  No.

Recent tests conducted at User Interface Engineering show that impulse purchases represent almost 40% of all the money spent on e-commerce sites. For eCommerce enterprises, it is rather the right time to innovate and evolve to ramp up sales from impulse buying. The first step, however, is to understand the user who is to be targeted for impulse buying.

Whether you are an established eCommerce enterprise or an aspiring one, the following practices can help you convert more impulse buyers:

Leverage Social Commerce

Social media promises a positive outlook for e-commerce enterprises when it comes to impulse buying. Major social media platforms such as Instagram have rolled out nifty new buttons that let users buy what they like, as soon as they see it online.

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James Quarles, Instagram’s global head of business and brand development, analogizes an eCommerce website to something of a digital store window, a place to potentially win a sale when customers are in “discovery phase of finding something and not probably even deliberately looking for it.” Therefore, social commerce is, in a way, the answer to instantly gratify the consumer as soon as he realizes the want to buy something, regardless of the buying phase.

Pinterest launched buyable pins for the iOS and Android devices. Major retailers such as Macy’s and Nordstorm are early adopters of this move.

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eMarketer, in its talks with Michael Yamartino (head of eCommerce, Pinterest) found out that since buyable pins are a mobile product, people might just make impulse purchases while browsing social sites on mobile.

Another interesting aspect of social media driving sales has been highlighted by Yotpo. According to its study, reviews as a social proof lead to higher conversion rates on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Such reviews and recommendations are likely to push suggestive impulse.

Social reviews and Suggestive Impulse

In context to the impact of user-generated content on impulse purchases, Instagram has played a major role. Nordstorm is again one brand that has taken to Instagram for leveraging its impact on sales.

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Cognize Human Psychology

The Wall Street Journal lists reasons shared by professor Kit Yarrow at Golden Gate University, about who makes impulse buys:

  • People who are emotionally tapped-out because of family or work demands.
  • Inexperienced shoppers who tend to be swayed more by the stimulation overload they experience when they’re shopping. This makes them vulnerable to sales messaging and special offers.
  • People who are unable to express their anger. They typically have high standards of niceness or they’re simply overlooked by others. Impulse purchasing is often fueled by the anger that needs an outlet and the craving for relief.

All three reasons listed above reflect human psychology, and this is where the opportunity for eCommerce enterprises lies. The rule of persuasion is one such psychological trait that can be leveraged. 

To validate the rule of persuasion and increasing ‘clicks’, Dr. B J Fogg, psychologist at the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab says that three things must be present: motivation, ability and an effective trigger.

Fear of missing out or the scarcity principle establishes the motivation for purchase. Creating scarcity is one tactic that eCommerce enterprises have been using to their advantage to get improve as well as quicken purchases. A post on Marketing Profs lists four ways that the scarcity principle can be used to push impulse purchases. Take a look at the following points talked about in their post:

  1. Create “open” and “closed” periods for ongoing offers.
  2. Create limited production runs.
  3. Provide benefits to early adopters.
  4. Don’t record webinars (this point is for SaaS).

Thom O’Leary, President, Fixer Group Consulting says, “Use countdown timers (on site or in emails) for increasing impulse buys.  Timing is everything, and no one wants to miss an opportunity. Customers have an easier time making a quick decision when they see time ticking away.  As email services and technology improves, it’s simple to add dynamic countdown timers to emails and on-site content, increasing urgency and making the decision to buy on impulse rather than making a well-considered decision.”

Seasonal sales, a technique that Ann Taylor and a number of other eCommerce players use, also create a sense of urgency in customers.  Promotional schemes such as ‘Thanksgiving Sale’ fetch more sales from impulse seasonal shopping.

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You can also apply the persuasion principle by providing users with free shipping when they have made just enough purchases online to win it. Coupling this with product recommendations can help them buy a little over and above the free shipping threshold.

Explore Newer, Smarter Technology

If you are thinking about going mobile, and there is every reason that you must, it would be reassuring to know that mobile commerce is a major contributor to impulse shopping. Consumers are spending more of their time browsing apps on phones. The on-the-go use that mobile phones offer make it one of the most obvious technologies to engage users:

Push Notifications

Not all your consumers would be aware about the discount running on your website. And, even if they do, they might not remember. Sending them a can provide the nudge that they need. The eBay app sends out push notifications to its users, informing  them about the start or end of any auction. That is how ebay combines technology with the persuasion principle to get more people to buy without much preparation.

 ebay push notification
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Internet of Things

Adding to the scope of conversions from impulse buys is the emergence of Internet of Things (IoT). The Amazon dash button has taken IoT to a higher level. This button allows its users to order from Amazon whenever their inventory/items need to be restocked, without signing in.

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Focus on Ease of Use and  Online Experiences

Earlier, we have already discussed how mobile commerce is tapping into the impulse of consumers. If you combine the ease of use of mobile technology with trustworthy payment solutions, you can delight your customers with frictionless online shopping experiences. Mobile technology optimization can further increase conversions for your business, as it did for Your Tea. They used VWO’s IDEACT services for a full redesign of the product pages. Structured Conversion Optimization got YourTea a 28% boost in revenue.

For the sake of simplicity though, let’s split ease of navigation and online experiences into two points.

Website navigation, should also be designed with ‘ease of use’ in mind. For a quick read, check these 22 Principles Of Good Website Navigation and Usability.

Although designing is the first step, how do you know that this design in fact is effective? This is when A/B testing comes into play. Set up two different variations of a navigation menu to find out which one scores better. You can also read this VWO post about 8 Ways to Refine eCommerce Site Search and Navigation for quick product finds. For making it easy for users to find products on discounts, eCommerce enterprises can also use approaches such as allocating sections such as ‘Deals on Discount’ or ‘New in Store’ to their home page.

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Conclusion

With an increase in touchpoints, the opportunities for converting impulse buys from online shoppers are growing each day. What eCommerce enterprises can do best is to leverage on each opportunity area that we have listed in this post, and innovate.

Have anything else to add? Drop in a line in the comments section.

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7 Eye-Catching Email Subject Lines to Catapult Your Open Rates

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“OMG, that email subject line totally reached out and grabbed me!” Image source.
Psst: This post was originally published in 2013, 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.

The first thing I do when I wake up is grab my phone and check my email. I go through and delete all the unimportant emails so that when I get into the office, a fresh inbox awaits.

However, when I see a subject that catches my eye, I typically read that email right away. That’s the power of email. Social networks come and go, but email marketing has been and still is a great way to connect with, engage and convert your audience.

But how do we cut through the noise and the huge amount of SPAM that hits your prospects’ inboxes every day? Let’s explore seven powerful email subject lines that you can use to better engage with your list.

1. Your AMAZING photos

I used the subject line above in a cold recruitment email and received a 70% open rate along with a 25% conversion rate.

Because it was a cold email, I made sure to tell the recipient where I came across their photos in the body of the email, followed by a quick introduction to the company.

This subject line shows that flattery is a great way to get your recipient’s attention. However, you want to make sure that you are not baiting your recipients with this subject line and then trying to sell your services.

I like to use flattery when I’m either recruiting someone or trying to interview an influential person for my podcast.

Key lessons:

  • Use flattery to your advantage.
  • Do NOT bait and switch. For example, do not use the subject line “Your AMAZING website” and then try to sell your SEO services.
  • Flattery is best used for recruiting someone or to land an influential person for your podcast, blog or web show.
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2. Were we boring you?

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Were we boring you? Image source.

This was a subject line used by Sperry Van Ness. At the time, they were receiving an average open rate of 30%, which is above industry standards. However, the company felt that it was mostly the same people who were opening the emails.

So, in an attempt to clean their list, the company drafted an email with the subject line, “Were we boring you?

The opening paragraph included a message about how many of the subscribers were not opening the newsletter.

Sperry Van Ness then asked subscribers if they wanted to stay on the list or if there was anything that the company could do to better communicate their message.

The open rate skyrocketed to over 50% and they surprisingly did not receive as many unsubscribes as they originally thought.

In fact, people actually apologized for not being more involved.

Key lessons:

  • Try using a subject that is completely unexpected.
  • Using a question in your subject lines is a great way to get someone’s attention.
  • Don’t be afraid of being different.

3. How I grew the KISSmetrics Blog from 0 to 350,000 readers a month

Neil Patel is a master of writing catchy blog headlines, and if you’re an email subscriber to his blog, the headlines also become the subject lines of his emails.

In fact, email marketing is how he built his first business. In his blog post, he goes into great detail on how you can use email marketing to launch your first business. It’s a must read.

The reason why I love this subject line is that it tells a hero’s journey. We all start out as someone looking to build an audience. We don’t have any readers, any listeners or any viewers.

The subject line also implies that Neil will provide tactical action items that we can use to grow our respective audience.

Key lessons:

  • Use a subject line that relates to your audience’s current state of business.
  • Inspire them with real numbers and show them how you did it so they can do it themselves.

4. App business kit (60.34% opt-in rate)

I recently saw this subject line used by Trey Smith of GameAcademy promoting his free app business kit. Trey used this subject line as a follow-up email from the previous day.

The 60.34% opt-in rate immediately caught my attention.

Within the email, Trey explains that he A/B tested five different landing pages and that the one included in the email converted at a whooping rate of 60.34%. Makes you want to click on the landing page doesn’t it?

He also goes on to state that it’s one of the highest conversions he’s ever seen.

Lastly, he talks a bit more about the free app business kit and ends with a call to action to download the kit (which I did from the first email he sent).

This is a great subject line to use when you’re following up on those who haven’t registered for your webinar, downloaded an ebook or signed up for a course.

You don’t necessarily need to be A/B testing your pages. You can also share the amazing results you’ve seen from the previous email.

Key lessons:

  • Use mind-blowing stats in your subject lines to build intrigue.
  • Stats in subject lines are great to send reminders to those who have not engaged with your product or service.

5. Pat’s super secret way to find content to write about

Pat Flynn of SmartPassiveIncome uses the above subject line in his first auto-responder email, and he provides AMAZING content within this email. Pat knows that to build a loyal audience you have to give them your best stuff at the very start on the relationship.

And since his audience is primarily comprised of bloggers and online marketers, he understands that at times we all go through dry spells of coming up with great content to write about.

That is why Pat shares his super secret tip a day after you sign up for his email. He knows once you read this content that he has your attention for the full span of the auto-responder series.

Key lessons:

  • Share your best content in the beginning of your auto-responder series.
  • Use “secret” to attract attention, but use it carefully as not to disappoint your readers.

6. Would you like to unsubscribe?

I know what you’re thinking, the money is in the email list! Why in the world would I ask anyone to unsubscribe?

Well it’s simple. We want people who want to hear from us.

We often get email addresses from lead generation sources such as conferences and webinars. And while these leads may have been interested in the initial offering, they may not be interested in hearing from us ever again.

What we’ve found is that these people will most likely unsubscribe the next time you send any type of email, so we make it easy for them by sending an email dedicated to unsubscribing.

By doing this, we scrub our list from those who will likely never engage with us and also earn the trust of those who open the email and didn’t unsubscribe.

As an example, think of Jiro Ono, an 85-year-old sushi master and owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a Michelin three-star restaurant. He is also famously featured in the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

He attracts sushi lovers from all around the world who call months in advance and pay top dollar for a coveted seat at his 10-seat restaurant.

However, there’s a twist. Customers must eat whatever Jiro is serving that day and are not allowed to add anything to the sushi, which means no soy sauce and no wasabi.

He treats sushi as an art and spends hours and hours crafting the perfect piece. While he could easily expand his space and triple his revenues, he wants to make sure he attracts the right customers, so if you’re looking for a bento box Sukiyabashi Jiro is probably not the right place for you.

Key lessons:

  • Scrub your lead list of those who will likely never engage with you.
  • Don’t be afraid to be bold, it will earn trust with those who stay on.

7. Steve, where are you?

I used the subject line above to send a final reminder email for a webinar. It’s the very last email in a sequence of four emails I send promoting a webinar.

With this email I was able to achieve a 43% open rate and a 15% click-through rate. To give you a little perspective, the industry averages are 24% and 4% respectively (according to Mailchimp).

This subject line uses the psychological trigger (or internet slang) called FOMO (fear of missing out). It’s the feeling that one gets when you stray away from your normal social routine.

FOMO is emblematic of the social age, made popular by sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

When we scroll through photos and status updates, the worry that tugs at our minds is set off by the fear of regret, according to Dan Ariely, author of “Predictably Irrational” and a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University. He says we become afraid that we’ve made the wrong decision about how to spend our time.

While the subject line will gain your recipient’s attention, you must make sure your content is also worth the attention.

Key lessons:

  1. Personalize the subject line with the recipient’s first name to amplify the fear of missing out.
  2. Provide valuable subject matter within the body of the email.

Even with the proliferation of social networks, email marketing is still a powerful tool. The problem is crafting the right subject line to cut through the noise and get your readers’ attention.

Use the subject lines above as a template or as an inspiration to craft your own.

What successful subject lines have you used in the past? Of the list above, which one is your favorite and why? Share your comments below.

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7 Eye-Catching Email Subject Lines to Catapult Your Open Rates

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Web Development Reading List #134: AI, Keyboard Interactions And Living Style Guides

For a great project, we need a well-functioning team, solid style guides, smooth workflows and well-organized kick-off meetings. Last week, I found a couple of resources that help you achieve just that.
And, a bit further down the road, the developers shouldn’t miss out on anything either, of course, — having a proper workflow is essential to be productive, and that’s why it might be a good idea to start playing with Docker.

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Web Development Reading List #134: AI, Keyboard Interactions And Living Style Guides

Upsell and Cross-sell: All You Need To Know

“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 save 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 an 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.

Take a look at how removing cross-sell options from product page increased conversions

Here’s what you shouldn’t do:

  1. Suggesting upsells and cross-sells before a customer picks a product
  2. Bombarding 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: All You Need To Know appeared first on VWO Blog.

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Upsell and Cross-sell: All You Need To Know

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

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How your Color Choices can help you Increase Conversions (Part 1)

This is Part 1 of a 2-part blog post written by David Rosenfeld and Milad Oskouie on how colors can help increase your website’s conversions and revenue.

David Rosenfeld is a director at Infinite Conversions. David spent five years working as a lawyer in Australia and London and three years as an associate in the Mergers and Acquisitions department of a global Investment Bank focusing on technology startups. David’s experience has included significant work on campaign specific conversion optimisation. David holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Software Engineering from the University of Sydney and an MBA from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business.

Milad Oskouie is a former lawyer and current analyst at Infinite Conversions. Milad has a background in the law as well as in funds management and financial services.

Most people can choose their favorite color if you ask them to, and most people understand that we typically associate color with emotions. This makes color choice an important tool when trying to influence the choices consumers make, or so says the University of Winnipeg’s Professor Satyendra Singh. Singh has noted how retailers attempt to influence consumers using colors in order to drive up profits. Tactics that are used range from targeting consumer color preferences based on gender, to employing subliminal “tricks” such as using specific colors to entice customers to make a purchase. Online retailers take care in choosing their brand colors too, using color psychology to attempt to improve conversion rates when they design their site’s landing pages. If used appropriately, color becomes less of a tool, and more of a weapon.

Using colors to convey your Brand Personality

If you’ve a brand new detergent to send to market, then you’ll want it to be associated with cleanliness and purity, so white seems the obvious branding choice. If you want to express urgency on your site to entice your potential customers to finalize their purchase, then make the “Buy!” button green, as green equates to growth. If you’re an attorney, and you want to express your authority and to make people trust you, then blue is the correct choice.

Color is not just about capturing attention. Color also has a lot to say about a company’s branding image. What do the chosen colors say about a product’s personality? What message is a company trying to communicate? Branding choices need to take into account the way that people typically associate specific colors with different emotions.

Subway Homepage

The sandwich retailer Subway’s site is mainly branded green, which is the color of harmony, growth and good health.

Here are some more “green” businesses.

John Deere Logo

John Deere, a manufacturer of farming and lawn equipment

BP Logo

BP is one of the world’s leading oil and gas companies

As I stated earlier, the color blue inspires confidence and trust. Here are 2 examples where companies use this color to convey this particular emotion.

Deutsche Bank Logo

JP Morgan Chase Logo

So, what are you trying to sell? Life insurance, organic bread or console games? For life insurance, choose the blue path, as blue is associated with confidence and trust. Organic bread? How about green and browns to create a natural, rustic and wholesome image. Console games? Black and reds will excite the minds of your target audience, which is likely to be male teenagers and young adults.

Everything of course depends upon the atmosphere that you are seeking to create, and the way your potential consumers will react to your marketing. Making the proper color choice can mean the difference between a missed opportunity and a successful conversion.

Creating red-hot logos and headlines – even if they ain’t red!

Mr Average has an attention span of around half a minute. A website is lucky if it can maintain the attention of a semi-interested visitor for longer than ten seconds. The average consumer, according to Jakob Nielsen, will spend between 10 and 20 seconds on a page looking for what they want before giving up (if they don’t find it) and looking elsewhere. Amazingly, in this short expanse of time, nine out of every ten purchasing decisions are influenced by color alone. Is this surprising? Well, most of the information we receive about the world ends up in our heads via our eyes, after all. Let’s take a look at some examples.

Coca Cola color scheme

Coca-Cola’s red and white scheme has been a permanent success. Red evokes feelings of courage, vitality and strength. The palette also allows headlines and text to be used that’s both eye-catching and easy to read. It’s a palette that’s served Coca-Cola effectively for over a decade.

Apple color scheme

When it comes to their branding, Apple likes to keep things clear, uncluttered and simple. Black and white creates the impression that Apple’s products are technological marvels, and yet are easy to understand and operate.

Rocket Lawyer color scheme

The site of Rocket Lawyer makes excellent use of the color red which makes their site look vibrant and energetic. However, they also make effective use of whitespace to make sure a visitor’s eyes are not overwhelmed.

RIPT Apparel – a Case Study

RIPT Apparel, a Chicago based online retailer, managed to up their conversion rate by a whopping 6.3 percent simply by A/B testing the color of their CTA button from red to green using Visual Website Optimizer.

Control

RIPT apparel - control

Variation

RIPT apparel - variation

The question that arises here is that, if green is such a compelling color, why isn’t every single CTA button you see on the internet colored green? The answer is that in this scenario, it wasn’t the specific color of the button that mattered, it was how that color contrasted with the rest of the page. The green button blended in with the rest of the site’s palette, while the red button created a contrast. This is what drove the increase in conversion rates.

Convincing colors to convince customers

People generally do not like to make decisions. From minor decisions like deciding what to have for breakfast, to life-changing decisions such as breaking up with a long-term partner, people prefer to have decisions made for them, or to have only limited choices.

In addition, as discovered by Psychology Roy Burmeister, they don’t like to read, either. To be an effective businessman, it’s really down to you to help your consumers make an effective choice in a way that takes little effort. You can give them a gentle shove in using color to highlight what you think would best solve their needs.

For example, consider Coca-Cola again. Their easy-to-recognize red and white logo has worked so successfully for them since it was created in 1885 that they’ve barely ever changed it. But what’s the secret behind their success?

The rather simple yet sleek design is intended to be associated with youthful exuberance. If a friend or vendor asks you if you’d like a Coke, then the Coke logo instantly pops into your head, re-awakening memories of the beverage that supplies that all-important buzz.

How different would Coca-Cola’s logo appear if they chose to drop red in favor of, say, yellow? Yellow is often used as a branding color that hints at fun and frolics, but it’s also associated with illness and cowardice, which are not aspects you’d necessarily want associated with a thirst-quenching soda (although such a re-branding may work brilliantly in Egypt where the color yellow is associated with prosperity and happiness.)

In Conclusion

The internet is still in its infancy, so further color studies need to be undertaken to ascertain how effective color choices really are when it comes to influencing purchasing decisions. There already exists a wealth of evidence to suggest that the correct use of color in the correct context goes a long way to reassure and inspire site visitors in a way that will boost conversions. In short, taking the time to increase your knowledge of color psychology will help you in making intelligent branding decisions and turning people on to the idea of purchasing your products.

How to Create WInning A/B Tests through Stronger Research

The post How your Color Choices can help you Increase Conversions (Part 1) appeared first on VWO Blog.

Originally posted here:  How your Color Choices can help you Increase Conversions (Part 1)

The Art And Craft Of Arabic Type Design

The beauty of typography has no borders. While many of us work with the familiar Latin alphabet, international projects usually require quite extensive knowledge of less familiar writing systems from around the world. The aesthetics and structure of such designs can be strongly related to the shape and legibility of the letterforms, so learning about international writing systems will certainly help you to create more attractive and engaging Web designs.

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The Art And Craft Of Arabic Type Design