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4 Ways Your eCommerce Store Can Leverage Video (and Why It’s So Crazy Effective)

video for ecommerce

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…

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4 Ways Your eCommerce Store Can Leverage Video (and Why It’s So Crazy Effective)

Your mobile website optimization guide (or, how to stop pissing off your mobile users)

Reading Time: 15 minutes

One lazy Sunday evening, I decided to order Thai delivery for dinner. It was a Green-Curry-and-Crispy-Wonton kind of night.

A quick google search from my iPhone turned up an ad for a food delivery app. In that moment, I wanted to order food fast, without having to dial a phone number or speak to a human. So, I clicked.

From the ad, I was taken to the company’s mobile website. There was a call-to-action to “Get the App” below the fold, but I didn’t want to download a whole app for this one meal. I would just order from the mobile site.

Dun, dun, duuuun.

Over the next minute, I had one of the most frustrating ordering experiences of my life. Labeless hamburger menus, the inability to edit my order, and an overall lack of guidance through the ordering process led me to believe I would never be able to adjust my order from ‘Chicken Green Curry’ to ‘Prawn Green Curry’.

After 60 seconds of struggling, I gave up, utterly defeated.

I know this wasn’t a life-altering tragedy, but it sure was an awful mobile experience. And I bet you have had a similar experience in the last 24 hours.

Let’s think about this for a minute:

  1. This company paid good money for my click
  2. I was ready to order online: I was their customer to lose
  3. I struggled for about 30 seconds longer than most mobile users would have
  4. I gave up and got a mediocre burrito from the Mexican place across the street.

Not only was I frustrated, but I didn’t get my tasty Thai. The experience left a truly bitter taste in my mouth.

10 test ideas for optimizing your mobile website!

Get this checklist of 10 experiment ideas you should test on your mobile website.




Why is mobile website optimization important?

In 2017, every marketer ‘knows’ the importance of the mobile shopping experience. Americans spend more time on mobile devices than any other. But we are still failing to meet our users where they are on mobile.

Americans spend 54% of online time on mobile devices. Source: KPCB.

For most of us, it is becoming more and more important to provide a seamless mobile experience. But here’s where it gets a little tricky…

Conversion optimization”, and the term “optimization” in general, often imply improving conversion rates. But a seamless mobile experience does not necessarily mean a high-converting mobile experience. It means one that meets your user’s needs and propels them along the buyer journey.

I am sure there are improvements you can test on your mobile experience that will lift your mobile conversion rates, but you shouldn’t hyper-focus on a single metric. Instead, keep in mind that mobile may just be a step within your user’s journey to purchase.

So, let’s get started! First, I’ll delve into your user’s mobile mindset, and look at how to optimize your mobile experience. For real.

You ready?

What’s different about mobile?

First things first: let’s acknowledge that your user is the same human being whether they are shopping on a mobile device, a desktop computer, a laptop, or in-store. Agreed?

So, what’s different about mobile? Well, back in 2013, Chris Goward said, “Mobile is a state of being, a context, a verb, not a device. When your users are on mobile, they are in a different context, a different environment, with different needs.”

Your user is the same person when she is shopping on her iPhone, but she is in a different context. She may be in a store comparing product reviews on her phone, or she may be on the go looking for a good cup of coffee, or she may be trying to order Thai delivery from her couch.

Your user is the same person on mobile, but in a different context, with different needs.

This is why many mobile optimization experts recommend having a mobile website versus using responsive design.

Responsive design is not an optimization strategy. We should stop treating mobile visitors as ‘mini-desktop visitors’. People don’t use mobile devices instead of desktop devices, they use it in addition to desktop in a whole different way.

– Talia Wolf, Founder & Chief Optimizer at GetUplift

Step one, then, is to understand who your target customer is, and what motivates them to act in any context. This should inform all of your marketing and the creation of your value proposition.

(If you don’t have a clear picture of your target customer, you should re-focus and tackle that question first.)

Step two is to understand how your user’s mobile context affects their existing motivation, and how to facilitate their needs on mobile to the best of your ability.

Understanding the mobile context

To understand the mobile context, let’s start with some stats and work backwards.

  • Americans spend more than half (54%) of their online time on mobile devices (Source: KPCB, 2016)
  • Mobile accounts for 60% of time spent shopping online, but only 16% of all retail dollars spent (Source: ComScore, 2015)

Insight: Americans are spending more than half of their online time on their mobile devices, but there is a huge gap between time spent ‘shopping’ online, and actually buying.

  • 29% of smartphone users will immediately switch to another site or app if the original site doesn’t satisfy their needs (Source: Google, 2015)
  • Of those, 70% switch because of lagging load times and 67% switch because it takes too many steps to purchase or get desired information (Source: Google, 2015)

Insight: Mobile users are hypersensitive to slow load times, and too many obstacles.

So, why the heck are our expectations for immediate gratification so high on mobile? I have a few theories.

We’re reward-hungry

Mobile devices provide constant access to the internet, which means a constant expectation for reward.

“The fact that we don’t know what we’ll find when we check our email, or visit our favorite social site, creates excitement and anticipation. This leads to a small burst of pleasure chemicals in our brains, which drives us to use our phones more and more.” – TIME, “You asked: Am I addicted to my phone?

If non-stop access has us primed to expect non-stop reward, is it possible that having a negative mobile experience is even more detrimental to our motivation than a negative experience in another context?

When you tap into your Facebook app and see three new notifications, you get a burst of pleasure. And you do this over, and over, and over again.

So, when you tap into your Chrome browser and land on a mobile website that is difficult to navigate, it makes sense that you would be extra annoyed. (No burst of fun reward chemicals!)

A mobile device is a personal device

Another facet to mobile that we rarely discuss is the fact that mobile devices are personal devices. Because our smartphones and wearables are with us almost constantly, they often feel very intimate.

In fact, our smartphones are almost like another limb. According to research from dscout, the average cellphone user touches his or her phone 2,167 times per day. Our thumbprints are built into them, for goodness’ sake.

Just think about your instinctive reaction when someone grabs your phone and starts scrolling through your pictures…

It is possible, then, that our expectations are higher on mobile because the device itself feels like an extension of us. Any experience you have on mobile should speak to your personal situation. And if the experience is cumbersome or difficult, it may feel particularly dissonant because it’s happening on your mobile device.

User expectations on mobile are extremely high. And while you can argue that mobile apps are doing a great job of meeting those expectations, the mobile web is failing.

If yours is one of the millions of organizations without a mobile app, your mobile website has got to work harder. Because a negative experience with your brand on mobile may have a stronger effect than you can anticipate.

Even if you have a mobile app, you should recognize that not everyone is going to use it. You can’t completely disregard your mobile website. (As illustrated by my extremely negative experience trying to order food.)

You need to think about how to meet your users where they are in the buyer journey on your mobile website:

  1. What are your users actually doing on mobile?
  2. Are they just seeking information before purchasing from a computer?
  3. Are they seeking information on your mobile site while in your actual store?

The great thing about optimization is that you can test to pick off low-hanging fruit, while you are investigating more impactful questions like those above. For instance, while you are gathering data about how your users are using your mobile site, you can test usability improvements.

Usability on mobile websites

If you are looking take get a few quick wins to prove the importance of a mobile optimization program, usability is a good place to begin.

The mobile web presents unique usability challenges for marketers. And given your users’ ridiculously high expectations, your mobile experience must address these challenges.

mobile website optimization - usability
This image represents just a few mobile usability best practices.

Below are four of the core mobile limitations, along with recommendations from the WiderFunnel Strategy team around how to address (and test) them.

Note: For this section, I relied heavily on research from the Nielsen Norman Group. For more details, click here.

1. The small screen struggle

No surprise, here. Compared to desktop and laptop screens, even the biggest smartphone screen is smaller―which means they display less content.

“The content displayed above the fold on a 30-inch monitor requires 5 screenfuls on a small 4-inch screen. Thus mobile users must (1) incur a higher interaction cost in order to access the same amount of information; (2) rely on their short-term memory to refer to information that is not visible on the screen.” – Nielsen Norman Group, “Mobile User Experience: Limitations and Strengths

Strategist recommendations:

Consider persistent navigation and calls-to-action. Because of the smaller screen size, your users often need to do a lot of scrolling. If your navigation and main call-to-action aren’t persistent, you are asking your users to scroll down for information, and scroll back up for relevant links.

Note: Anything persistent takes up screen space as well. Make sure to test this idea before implementing it to make sure you aren’t stealing too much focus from other important elements on your page.

2. The touchy touchscreen

Two main issues with the touchscreen (an almost universal trait of today’s mobile devices) are typing and target size.

Typing on a soft keyboard, like the one on your user’s iPhone, requires them to constantly divide their attention between what they are typing, and the keypad area. Not to mention the small keypad and crowded keys…

Target size refers to a clickable target, which needs to be a lot larger on a touchscreen than it is does when your user has a mouse.

So, you need to make space for larger targets (bigger call-to-action buttons) on a smaller screen.

Strategist recommendations:

Test increasing the size of your clickable elements. Google provides recommendations for target sizing:

You should ensure that the most important tap targets on your site—the ones users will be using the most often—are large enough to be easy to press, at least 48 CSS pixels tall/wide (assuming you have configured your viewport properly).

Less frequently-used links can be smaller, but should still have spacing between them and other links, so that a 10mm finger pad would not accidentally press both links at once.

You may also want to test improving the clarity around what is clickable and what isn’t. This can be achieved through styling, and is important for reducing ‘exploratory clicking’.

When a user has to click an element to 1) determine whether or not it is clickable, and 2) determine where it will lead, this eats away at their finite motivation.

Another simple tweak: Test your call-to-action placement. Does it match with the motion range of a user’s thumb?

3. Mobile shopping experience, interrupted

As the term mobile implies, mobile devices are portable. And because we can use ‘em in many settings, we are more likely to be interrupted.

“As a result, attention on mobile is often fragmented and sessions on mobile devices are short. In fact, the average session duration is 72 seconds […] versus the average desktop session of 150 seconds.”Nielsen Norman Group

Strategist recommendations:

You should design your mobile experience for interruptions, prioritize essential information, and simplify tasks and interactions. This goes back to meeting your users where they are within the buyer journey.

According to research by SessionM (published in 2015), 90% of smartphone users surveyed used their phones while shopping in a physical store to 1) compare product prices, 2) look up product information, and 3) check product reviews online.

You should test adjusting your page length and messaging hierarchy to facilitate your user’s main goals. This may be browsing and information-seeking versus purchasing.

4. One window at a time

As I’m writing this post, I have 11 tabs open in Google Chrome, split between two screens. If I click on a link that takes me to a new website or page, it’s no big deal.

But on mobile, your user is most likely viewing one window at a time. They can’t split their screen to look at two windows simultaneously, so you shouldn’t ask them to. Mobile tasks should be easy to complete in one app or on one website.

The more your user has to jump from page to page, the more they have to rely on their memory. This increases cognitive load, and decreases the likelihood that they will complete an action.

Strategist recommendations:

Your navigation should be easy to find and it should contain links to your most relevant and important content. This way, if your user has to travel to a new page to access specific content, they can find their way back to other important pages quickly and easily.

In e-commerce, we often see people “pogo-sticking”—jumping from one page to another continuously—because they feel that they need to navigate to another page to confirm that the information they have provided is correct.

A great solution is to ensure that your users can view key information that they may want to confirm (prices / products / address) on any page. This way, they won’t have to jump around your website and remember these key pieces of information.

Implementing mobile website optimization

As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, the phrase “you should test” is peppered throughout this post. Because understanding the mobile context, and reviewing usability challenges and recommendations are first steps.

If you can, you should test any recommendation made in this post. Which brings us to mobile website optimization. At WiderFunnel, we approach mobile optimization just like we would desktop optimization: with process.

You should evaluate and prioritize mobile web optimization in the context of all of your marketing. If you can achieve greater Return on Investment by optimizing your desktop experience (or another element of your marketing), you should start there.

But assuming your mobile website ranks high within your priorities, you should start examining it from your user’s perspective. The WiderFunnel team uses the LIFT Model framework to identify problem areas.

The LIFT Model allows us to identify barriers to conversion, using the six factors of Value Proposition, Clarity, Relevance, Anxiety, Distraction, and Urgency. For more on the LIFT Model, check out this blog post.

A LIFT illustration

I asked the WiderFunnel Strategy team to do a LIFT analysis of the food delivery website that gave me so much grief that Sunday night. Here are some of the potential barriers they identified on the checkout page alone:

Mobile website LIFT analysis
This wireframe is based on the food delivery app’s checkout page. Each of the numbered LIFT points corresponds with the list below.
  1. Relevance: There is valuable page real estate dedicated to changing the language, when a smartphone will likely detect your language on its own.
  2. Anxiety: There are only 3 options available in the navigation: Log In, Sign Up, and Help. None of these are helpful when a user is trying to navigate between key pages.
  3. Clarity: Placing the call-to-action at the top of the page creates disjointed eyeflow. The user must scan the page from top to bottom to ensure their order is correct.
  4. Clarity: The “Order Now” call-to-action and “Allergy & dietary information links” are very close together. Users may accidentally tap one, when they want to tap the other.
  5. Anxiety: There is no confirmation of the delivery address.
  6. Anxiety: There is no way to edit an order within the checkout. A user has to delete items, return to the menu and add new items.
  7. Clarity: Font size is very small making the content difficult to read.
  8. Clarity: The “Cash” and “Card” icons have no context. Is a user supposed to select one, or are these just the payment options available?
  9. Distraction: The dropdown menus in the footer include many links that might distract a user from completing their order.

Needless to say, my frustrations were confirmed. The WiderFunnel team ran into the same obstacles I had run into, and identified dozens of barriers that I hadn’t.

But what does this mean for you?

When you are first analyzing your mobile experience, you should try to step into your user’s shoes and actually use your experience. Give your team a task and a goal, and walk through the experience using a framework like LIFT. This will allow you to identify usability issues within your user’s mobile context.

Every LIFT point is a potential test idea that you can feed into your optimization program.

Case study examples

This wouldn’t be a WiderFunnel blog post without some case study examples.

This is where we put ‘best mobile practices’ to the test. Because the smallest usability tweak may make perfect sense to you, and be off-putting to your users.

In the following three examples, we put our recommendations to the test.

Mobile navigation optimization

In mobile design in particular, we tend to assume our users understand ‘universal’ symbols.

Aritzia Hamburger Menu
The ‘Hamburger Menu’ is a fixture on mobile websites. But does that mean it’s a universally understood symbol?

But, that isn’t always the case. And it is certainly worth testing to understand how you can make the navigation experience (often a huge pain point on mobile) easier.

You can’t just expect your users to know things. You have to make it as clear as possible. The more you ask your user to guess, the more frustrated they will become.

– Dennis Pavlina, Optimization Strategist, WiderFunnel

This example comes from an e-commerce client that sells artwork. In this experiment, we tested two variations against the original.

In the first, we increased font and icon size within the navigation and menu drop-down. This was a usability update meant to address the small, difficult to navigate menu. Remember the conversation about target size? We wanted to tackle the low-hanging fruit first.

With variation B, we dug a little deeper into the behavior of this client’s specific users.

Qualitative Hotjar recordings had shown that users were trying to navigate the mobile website using the homepage as a homebase. But this site actually has a powerful search functionality, and it is much easier to navigate using search. Of course, the search option was buried in the hamburger menu…

So, in the second variation (built on variation A), we removed Search from the menu and added it right into the main Nav.

Mobile website optimization - navigation
Wireframes of the control navigation versus our variations.

Results

Both variations beat the control. Variation A led to a 2.7% increase in transactions, and a 2.4% increase in revenue. Variation B decreased clicks to the menu icon by -24%, increased transactions by 8.1%, and lifted revenue by 9.5%.

Never underestimate the power of helping your users find their way on mobile. But be wary! Search worked for this client’s users, but it is not always the answer, particularly if what you are selling is complex, and your users need more guidance through the funnel.

Mobile product page optimization

Let’s look at another e-commerce example. This client is a large sporting goods store, and this experiment focused on their product detail pages.

On the original page, our Strategists noted a worst mobile practice: The buttons were small and arranged closely together, making them difficult to click.

There were also several optimization blunders:

  1. Two calls-to-action were given equal prominence: “Find in store” and “+ Add to cart”
  2. “Add to wishlist” was also competing with “Add to cart”
  3. Social icons were placed near the call-to-action, which could be distracting

We had evidence from an experiment on desktop that removing these distractions, and focusing on a single call-to-action, would increase transactions. (In that experiment, we saw transactions increase by 6.56%).

So, we tested addressing these issues in two variations.

In the first, we de-prioritized competing calls-to-action, and increased the ‘Size’ and ‘Qty’ fields. In the second, we wanted to address usability issues, making the color options, size options, and quantity field bigger and easier to click.

mobile website optimization - product page variations
The control page versus our variations.

Results

Both of our variations lost to the Control. I know what you’re thinking…what?!

Let’s dig deeper.

Looking at the numbers, users responded in the way we expected, with significant increases to the actions we wanted, and a significant reduction in the ones we did not.

Visits to “Reviews”, “Size”, “Quantity”, “Add to Cart” and the Cart page all increased. Visits to “Find in Store” decreased.

And yet, although the variations were more successful at moving users through to the next step, there was not a matching increase in motivation to actually complete a transaction.

It is hard to say for sure why this result happened without follow-up testing. However, it is possible that this client’s users have different intentions on mobile: Browsing and seeking product information vs. actually buying. Removing the “Find in Store” CTA may have caused anxiety.

This example brings us back to the mobile context. If an experiment wins within a desktop experience, this certainly doesn’t guarantee it will win on mobile.

I was shopping for shoes the other day, and was actually browsing the store’s mobile site while I was standing in the store. I was looking for product reviews. In that scenario, I was information-seeking on my phone, with every intention to buy…just not from my phone.

Are you paying attention to how your unique users use your mobile experience? It may be worthwhile to take the emphasis off of ‘increasing conversions on mobile’ in favor of researching user behavior on mobile, and providing your users with the mobile experience that best suits their needs.

Note: When you get a test result that contradicts usability best practices, it is important that you look carefully at your experiment design and secondary metrics. In this case, we have a potential theory, but would not recommend any large-scale changes without re-validating the result.

Mobile checkout optimization

This experiment was focused on one WiderFunnel client’s mobile checkout page. It was an insight-driving experiment, meaning the focus was on gathering insights about user behavior rather than on increasing conversion rates or revenue.

Evidence from this client’s business context suggested that users on mobile may prefer alternative payment methods, like Apple Pay and Google Wallet, to the standard credit card and PayPal options.

To make things even more interesting, this client wanted to determine the desire for alternative payment methods before implementing them.

The hypothesis: By adding alternative payment methods to the checkout page in an unobtrusive way, we can determine by the percent of clicks which new payment methods are most sought after by users.

We tested two variations against the Control.

In variation A, we pulled the credit card fields and call-to-action higher on the page, and added four alternative payment methods just below the CTA: PayPal, Apple Pay, Amazon Payments, and Google Wallet.

If a user clicked on one of the four alternative payment methods, they would see a message:

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

In variation B, we flipped the order. We featured the alternative payment methods above the credit card fields. The focus was on increasing engagement with the payment options to gain better insights about user preference.

mobile website optimization - checkout page
The control against variations testing alternative payment methods.

Note: For this experiment, iOS devices did not display the Google Wallet option, and Android devices did not display Apple Pay.

Results

On iOS devices, Apple Pay received 18% of clicks, and Amazon Pay received 12%. On Android devices, Google Wallet received 17% of clicks, and Amazon Pay also received 17%.

The client can use these insights to build the best experience for mobile users, offering Apple Pay and Google Wallet as alternative payment methods rather than PayPal or Amazon Pay.

Unexpectedly, both variations also increased transactions! Variation A led to an 11.3% increase in transactions, and variation B led to an 8.5% increase.

Because your user’s motivation is already limited on mobile, you should try to create an experience with the fewest possible steps.

You can ask someone to grab their wallet, decipher their credit card number, expiration date, and ccv code, and type it all into a small form field. Or, you can test leveraging the digital payment options that may already be integrated with their mobile devices.

The future of mobile website optimization

Imagine you are in your favorite outdoor goods store, and you are ready to buy a new tent.

You are standing in front of piles of tents: 2-person, 3-person, 4-person tents; 3-season and extreme-weather tents; affordable and pricey tents; light-weight and heavier tents…

You pull out your smartphone, and navigate to the store’s mobile website. You are looking for more in-depth product descriptions and user reviews to help you make your decision.

A few seconds later, a store employee asks if they can help you out. They seem to know exactly what you are searching for, and they help you choose the right tent for your needs within minutes.

Imagine that while you were browsing products on your phone, that store employee received a notification that you are 1) in the store, 2) looking at product descriptions for tent A and tent B, and 3) standing by the tents.

Mobile optimization in the modern era is not about increasing conversions on your mobile website. It is about providing a seamless user experience. In the scenario above, the in-store experience and the mobile experience are inter-connected. One informs the other. And a transaction happens because of each touch point.

Mobile experiences cannot live in a vacuum. Today’s buyer switches seamlessly between devices [and] your optimization efforts must reflect that.

Yonny Zafrani, Mobile Product Manager, Dynamic Yield

We wear the internet on our wrists. We communicate via chat bots and messaging apps. We spend our leisure time on our phones: streaming, gaming, reading, sharing.

And while I’m not encouraging you to shift your optimization efforts entirely to mobile, you must consider the role mobile plays in your customers’ lives. The online experience is mobile. And your mobile experience should be an intentional step within the buyer journey.

What does your ideal mobile shopping experience look like? Where do you think mobile websites can improve? Do you agree or disagree with the ideas in this post? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Your mobile website optimization guide (or, how to stop pissing off your mobile users)

How To Turn Your iPhone Into A Video Marketing Machine

These days, being able to produce video is becoming more of a necessity than a “nice-to-have” for online marketers. Check out these stats: Creating a video of a product increases the likelihood of a purchase by 144% Having a video on your homepage can increase conversion rates by 64-85%. 100 million hours of video was watched on Facebook just over a year ago. Guess what that number is now? As the figures show, video is the future, and video marketing is the key to the right promotion of your product or service. Lucky for us, the iPhone shoots beautiful video…

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How To Turn Your iPhone Into A Video Marketing Machine

5 Standard Pages on Your Website That Almost Always Suck – and What They Could Be Doing for You

5 pages

Word association: Content marketing. You’re thinking ‘blog post,’ ‘infographic,’ maybe ‘video,’ ‘white paper.’ That kind of thing. Right? Not FAQs, 404 pages, About Us… The thing is, those pages are content too. Visitors read them to learn, understand and make decisions. FAQs are one of the most underused content marketing opportunities out there. About Us pages? They’re an incredible opportunity to tell your brand’s story. Put like that, it seems obvious – yet they’re often a lifeless formality. It’s the same with 404s, out of stock pages and thank you pages: in each case, you have a visitor’s attention when…

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5 Standard Pages on Your Website That Almost Always Suck – and What They Could Be Doing for You

6 Reasons Your Mobile Ranking on Google Sucks

drinking straws

2017 will forever be known as the year Google adopted a mobile-first strategy. Some people will think of that way, at least. Probably not too many, actually, but that doesn’t lessen the significance of the shift. Your mobile web strategy is now, simply, your web strategy. Why is this so important? By late 2016, more than half of all Google searches were conducted from mobile devices, and over 77% of web searches are through Google. So when the company announced this year it would prioritize mobile sites over desktop to determine relevance and ranking, it was kind of a big…

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6 Reasons Your Mobile Ranking on Google Sucks

Using Personalization To Increase AOV And Conversion Rates

Dear |FNAME|,

As a valued customer, we’d like to…

For many eCommerce companies, the first personalization project begins with FNAME. We have become really good at personalizing emails because we know that it works. Emails personalized with recipients’ first names increase open rates by 2.6 percent.

Shoppers are more attracted to marketing that targets their interests and purchase patterns. This doesn’t only apply to emails–using personalization in your eCommerce branded store is the best way to build a relationship and keep customers converting.

The more often customers return, the better you become at delivering relevant suggestions and content for them. According to an Adobe study, 40% of online revenue comes from returning customers…who only represent 8% of site traffic. Using personalized recommendations, enterprises can build a stronger, more profitable relationship with their users.

Now is the time to optimize revenue opportunities and become better at selling to the right customers at the right time. Read on to learn how to use personalization to drive up average order value, or AOV.

Importance of Good Data

Personalization doesn’t work if you don’t know anything about your customers. The more relevant and accurate data you gather, the more refined and detailed picture you can draw. Customers are happy to help you get to know them too. 75% of shoppers like it when brands personalize products and offers, while 74% of online customers get frustrated with a website when content that appears has nothing to do with their interests.

When customers sign up on your site or check out for the first time, use this opportunity to collect information. This will help you with informed promotion and planning recommendations in the future.

As your relationship grows, you can continue to learn more about your customers.

  • How often are they buying?
  • What is their AOV?
  • What campaigns have converted for them?

Finally, customers have the most information about themselves. Allowing them to personalize their own experience by sharing their gender or interest information is a simple way to ensure that you aren’t showing them irrelevant information or products.

Customer data can come from anywhere, and it’s necessary when personalizing experiences. In summary, look for the following data points:

  • Location/IP address
  • Channel of entry (social/email/Amazon)
  • New or Returning customer
  • Previous searches
  • Shopping history
  • Shopping patterns (based on parameters such as the AOV)
  • Customer segments (people who are like them)
  • Customer-provided information (gender, interests)

Enabling social logins like Connect with Facebook will also help you get demographic information about your customers, without them having to provide it themselves.

Now that we’ve got a good picture of our customers, we can start personalizing their experience. There’re three main ways to do this—by segmenting, history, or trend analysis.

Personalization by Segmenting Customers

There are several ways you can personalize a customer’s experience even without asking for any information. When customers land on your site, you already know more about them than you might think.

Practical Tips

Use geotargeting to show the correct language and currency.

Right now, I’m in Austria, so Wool and Gang default to Austria shipping rates and are showing me prices in Euros. This reduces concerns international customers might have about shipping abroad or currency exchange. Reducing concerns means an easier checkout experience, which means better conversions.

personalization example wool and the gang
Source

Using cookies to know if a customer is new or returning.

If they are new customers, prompt them with a pop-up module to sign up and get a discount on their first purchase. Welcome them to your site, explain who you are, and save their email addresses for future selling opportunities.

Spearmint LOVE offers 10% off for first-time visitors if they sign up for the newsletter. It’s a little bonus that later helps convert visitors at a higher value.

Personalization example Spearmint
Source

Segment on the basis of individual shoppers vs. wholesalers

“Wholesalers” is another segment of customers who have different needs. Individual shoppers want quick, one-off purchases and may not be as likely to sign in or create accounts on branded sites.

But catering to wholesale clients by allowing them to sign in to receive special discounts and review orders without calling an account management team makes the experience much better for them. Clarion Safety sells industrial grade safety labels. This organization has created a special experience for wholesale customers that allows them to use different check-out options, such as “charge to account.”

Personalization example Clarion
Source

Identify and segment by channel as a source of entry

Different paths signal different intents.

If they found your products through Pinterest, they are looking to browse and are more visual. If they clicked an email coupon, they could be price conscious and should be shown more sale items. Get inside your customers’ brains and show them what they want to see—this will provide you the highest chance of conversion.

Personalization by Previous Activity

After a relationship has been established between you and your customers—whether that’s just through visiting or years of purchasing history—you have information about them from their previous activity. Use this information to customize their experience, and upsell and cross-sell products that are relevant to them.

Practical Tip

Before purchasing, visitors go back and forth with regard to an item when not sure. They might visit the same site multiple times in a week. A surefire way to get them to convert is to show them their recently viewed items whenever they visit your website. If you’re able to offer a discount on products that they’ve viewed multiple times, it might help you seal the deal.

EpicTV combines this strategy with a least purchase amount for free shipping. This means that visitors will usually add something from their recently viewed list just to achieve that perk.

Personalization example Epic TV
Source

When customers are viewing their carts, at that instance, you can use previous searches or purchases to suggest complementary items. Red’s Baby uses this method to suggest accessories for the main purchase and incrementally increase the AOV. I added a stroller to my shopping cart, and this site suggested matching accessories—all under $50. At this instance, suggesting other types of strollers wouldn’t be effective.

Personalization example Red's Baby
Source

Think about what it’s like meeting customers in the real world. The more you see them, the more history you have of them. You might know that they have kids or that they like to play squash on weekends.

This context makes personalized recommendations and upsells easier. Try and replicate this online. Shopping at an eCommerce retailer doesn’t need to be impersonal, and it shouldn’t be.

Personalization by Building Patterns

Taking the time to build a better recommendation engine makes sense and helps generate additional revenue. According to Barilliance and data based on 1.5 billion online shopping sessions, personalized on-site product recommendations constitute 11.5% of revenue through eCommerce sites. That’s a big chunk of revenue to miss out on!  

Practical Tip

To optimize across all customer visits, dive into analytics and look for purchasing patterns. Do shoppers tend to return often if they buy a specific item? Do many shoppers buy a combination of items at the same time? Finding and taking advantage of these opportunities can help drive up AOV.

For example, recommending products that other customers bought helps crowd source the best options. Check out these suggestions by Blue Tomato when viewing an item. 

Personalization example Blue Tomato
Source

Flash Tattoos speaks their customer’s language and makes their Recommendation section fun. “You’d also look good in” is a flattering way to suggest similar products across different styles.

Personalization example Flash Tattoos
Source

If customers have viewed the shipping policy and not purchased, they might be hesitant about shipping costs. Try offering free shipping at a certain cart value to convert potentially cost-sensitive customers. Finding these patterns that expose reasons for cart abandonment helps create a better experience for your customers. They’ll feel like you are addressing their concerns before they even ask!

Final Tips

Now that you’re ready to start personalizing the shopping experience, we’ve got a few final tips for you:

When you’re suggesting or upselling, use your screen space wisely:

Remember the purpose of each screen, and don’t distract customers from completing their purchase. On the checkout screen, the single Call-to-Action should be to convert and pay for what they’ve selected. Cluttering the screen with additional products can reduce your overall conversion rate.

Personalization isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it tactic:

You need to constantly reevaluate your metrics, hypotheses, and experiments to keep getting better at selling to your customers. Don’t be afraid to try things out and get personal! Your customers will love it and reward you for it with higher AOVs.

Over to You

Have more ideas on how to increase AOV and conversion rates with personalization? Send us your feedback and views in the comments section below.


Kickstart_Personalization_Guide_Free_Trial

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Using Personalization To Increase AOV And Conversion Rates

18 Social Media Tactics Used by the Silicon Valley Unicorns

I probably don’t need to tell you how important social media is to your business’s success. It is quite literally the fastest growing trend in all of human history! Social media has grown even faster than the Internet itself! A decade after its inception, the Internet had reached 1 billion people (or 1/6th of the population). Just nine years after social media started, it achieved a nearly 1.5 billion person reach! Source: onlinemarketing-trends.com If you did not fully grasp the power of social media, I hope that you do now. But how in the world do you actually use social…

The post 18 Social Media Tactics Used by the Silicon Valley Unicorns appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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18 Social Media Tactics Used by the Silicon Valley Unicorns

A Close Look At The Numbers: Content Marketing in 2016

Where’s content marketing at right now – and where’s it going? It’s easy to find a million opinions about that, but there’s nothing like a solid, evidence-backed statistic. So we assembled the numbers on email, mobile, social and a couple other things. Need a stat? We got ‘em. 1: Importance, Budget, ROI Image Source Content marketing is moving front and center in marketers’ minds. It’s regarded as critical. And budgets are rising to reflect that. Budgets for content marketing have increased every year since 2010. (Source) This year is no exception. In 2015, 51% of marketers predicted that content marketing…

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A Close Look At The Numbers: Content Marketing in 2016

Affordance: You Can’t Afford Not to Use This Design Principle on Your Landing Pages

Imagine you’re an extraterrestrial visiting earth for the first time. Upon landing, you stumble into someone’s home and find a toothbrush, which you’ve never seen before.

While you may not immediately understand how to use the thing, there are certain clues about the object that hint at how it can be used. Its handle, just a little longer than your humanoid palm, implies that you can grip it.

Similarly, certain types of door knobs provide clues as to whether a door should be pushed or pulled…

affordance-far-side

These visual clues, also known as Affordances, act as signals that an object can be used to perform a certain action. They’re all around us in the real world, but they’ve also bled into the digital realm.

When your visitor first lands on your website or landing page, they’re much like an alien visiting earth for the first time. You need to show them how to use the page by using familiar visual cues.

PSST. You can read all about Affordances and other conversion-boosting design principles in Unbounce cofounder Oli Gardner’s latest ebook, The 23 Principles of Attention-Driven Design.

Let’s dig a little deeper into the world of Affordances and explore how the principle can be applied to your landing pages so you’re not alienating prospects.

What is Affordance?

Cognitive scientist and usability engineer Don Norman first used the term Affordance in his book, The Design of Everyday Things (1988). In it, he quipped:

Affordances provide strong clues to the operations of things. Knobs are for turning. Slots are for inserting things into. Balls are for throwing or bouncing. When affordances are taken advantage of, the user knows what to do just by looking: no picture, no label or instruction needed.

So, the door with a handle on it is meant to be pulled, while the door with the plate on it is meant to be pushed. This should be clear without having to expressly inform a user of the purpose of either the plate or the handle.

Perhaps one of the great examples of Affordance in modern digital life is the play button, as you see below.

play-button

There are very few of us who wouldn’t know what to do with that button, and even someone who does not recognize it may be able to easily ascertain its purpose — within a certain context, at least.

The play button drawn on the side of a fence makes little sense, but place it on an MP3 player, and you may be able to guess at its Affordance.

In a nutshell, Affordances should really do two things:

  • Get the attention of the person who should use it
  • Imply its function

With these two principles at play, an object can be used without having to give a user an extensive user manual. Because at the end of the day, your landing page shouldn’t require instructions, right?

Make Affordances on your landing pages explicit

There are certain design features that tell landing page visitors explicitly what they need to do. A blank field begs to be filled in. A three dimensional button begs to be clicked.

As self-proclaimed “massive nerd” and web designer Natasha Postolovski describes in her Smashing Magazine article about the seven types of Affordances on webpages:

Explicit Affordance is signaled by language or an object’s physical appearance. Text that reads “Click here” explicitly affords clicking. A button that appears raised from the surrounding surface seems tactile and affords pushing.

Here’s a good example of that in action on an Unbounce landing page (below). The play button, bold and 3D, explicitly shows that it is meant to be pushed (or clicked).

try-affordance

Similarly, this page from Asana uses a greyed-out mock email address (“name@company.com”) in a box to instruct users on where to put their email address.

asana-affordance

Using visual language that prospects are already familiar provides gentle instruction that makes your landing page easy to navigate. And that sets people at ease.

Beware of Negative Affordance

Just as certain visual cues imply that an object is meant to be used, other visual cues suggest that items are not to be used. Think of a grayed-out “Save” button that only appears once you’ve entered all required information in a form. In her Smashing Magazine article, Postolovski calls this Negative Affordance.

While this sort of visual cue can come in handy in checkout forms, it is more often than not the enemy of conversion on landing pages.

Think of the recent design trend of ghost buttons, for example:

ghost-buttons-affordance

We have been trained to ignore grayed-out buttons, so when a ghost button or button lacking contrast is used, our first instinct is to overlook it.

To add insult to injury, the button copy does a poor job of serving as Explicit Affordance. “Let’s Go” as a call to action does little to inform the user what will happen next.

When in doubt, test your copy. Test your ghost buttons. But err on the side of being as explicit as you can.

Applying Affordance on your landing pages

Affordances are found everywhere. You can see them on your stereo, your iPad, entranceways and on roads.

When used effectively, they show people how to use an object intuitively. When used poorly, you make your visitors feel like aliens from another dimension.

You want your landing page to be so simple to use that even the kid in the Far Side cartoon above could successfully complete and submit a form on your landing page.

Of course, there are many other principles to consider when designing your landing page. To learn more about using design to convince and convert customers, check out Oli Gardner’s latest ebook, Attention-Driven Design: 23 Principles for Designing More Persuasive Landing Pages.

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Affordance: You Can’t Afford Not to Use This Design Principle on Your Landing Pages

7 UX Principles for Building Higher-Converting Landing Pages

Landing page usability
If they don’t understand your landing page, you’re doing it wrong. Source

Take a look to your left. Now look to your right. The people on either side of you look different, sound different, and, presumably, they like different things than you do. We’re all a little different from each other.

But despite our many differences, everyone reacts to certain stimuli the same way. When it’s bright, we squint our eyes. When there’s a sudden loud noise, we get startled. And when there’s a bright red spot on a red carpet, we notice it.

When it comes to landing pages, we can count on  most people to react a certain way to the experiences we design for them. Great campaigns are built around solid user experiences that can be created with just a few simple guidelines.

Stef Miller is a Marketing Manager at UserTesting, and she’s involved in analyzing user data to find out how to create better user experiences for the people you’re trying to convert. Because better experiences = more conversions.

In Stef’s Unwebinar, The 7 Deadly Sins of Landing Page Usability, she broke down some common UX mistakes that marketers make on landing pages, and gave us some great usability solutions to remedy those mistakes. Let’s take a look.

1. Avoid distractions!

A landing page has one job — to give people what they were promised in the ad that got them there. You want your landing page visitors to have just one task on your page: to convert. Make it easy for them to do that.

From a usability standpoint, distractions are a major killer of conversions, and chief among these distractions is the navigation bar.

Stef used an example from Marin Software to demonstrate the point. What you may notice first about the image below is that this is not a landing page. It’s a page that is supposed to convert leads, but it’s just a page on their site. A page on a website isn’t a landing page just because you send people there from an ad.

marin-landing-page

If you give your users the chance wander away from the page that has the form, that’s exactly what they’ll do. People are curious. And now you’ve lost your lead.

One other thing that you want to avoid on your landing page: multiple CTAs that have different purposes. Stef pointed out how this page by Pantheon has three (THREE!) different CTAs on the page.

too-many-ctas

By offering too many choices, you may end up with your visitor taking no action whatsoever.

Let us never forget the sagacious landing page mantra of our co-founder, Oli Gardner:

“One Page. One Purpose. Period.”

That’s definitive, folks.

2. Make sure your links and CTAs are recognizable

How many times have you been on a page where you wanted to perform a certain task (buy an item, sign up for something, etc), but could not figure out how to do it? What do you do when it takes too long to figure it out? That’s right. You leave.

Pages like the one below are a usability nightmare.  What are you supposed to do here? Which button are you supposed to click? Are they all even buttons?

carousel-landing-page

The CTA button on your landing page should be instantly recognizable. AND, it should tell your visitors what they’re going to get when they click. Stef shared some of her favorite examples of this very thing done well:

contextual-cta
Click to enlarge.

You’ll notice two things about these CTA buttons. First, they’re easy to spot. Second, you know why you should click those buttons. By doing these two things, you’re creating a user experience that makes it easy for your visitors to convert.

3. Keep your design simple

If you’re designing your page so that it looks super cool, but says nothing about your product or brand, you might as well not have bothered. Designers can often be tempted to go to certain extremes on landing pages. But remember, you’re not trying to impress visitors with your design skills — you’re trying to convert them.

Stef showed several examples of landing pages that go to design extremes, including ones with animation, distracting graphics, and the one below from a company called Threadless.

artist-shop-landing-page

They’ve done a pretty decent job of pointing out the CTA, but they haven’t given you a reason to take any action. There’s nothing on this page about who the company is, what they sell, or precisely what you’re going to get by giving them your email address.

There’s no need to show off your design skills — simply make a page that helps people take action.

Psst. Unbounce has heaps of simple and flexible landing page templates that are designed for conversion. Check them out here.

4. Create user-friendly forms

The form is the part of your landing page where you collect information about your leads. You’ll use that information to nurture those leads. It is very, very valuable real estate. Every field on your form is currency. As Stef says:

Your leads are only as good as the information you get from them.

The form is an experience of its own and should be treated with great reverence. Stef had several tips for getting the most out of forms.

She used the example below to demonstrate how forms can provide something of value while also using a contextual call to action to give people a reason to click. KISSmetrics is asking for quite a bit of information from prospects who visit that page, but they’re also providing a great deal of value in exchange.

kissmetrics-landing-page

The CTA button is easy to spot, and lets visitors know exactly what they’re going to get when they enter their information. They have promised information about the psychology of color, and within that context, the CTA button allows prospects to get the PDF. Super simple.

When dealing with mobile forms, it’s important to remember that there is an added layer of friction that you’re working against. You’ll have to do everything you can to make filling out that form with a mobile keyboard as easy as it possibly can be.

Stef didn’t hesitate to remind us that it’s important to test your forms to find out what works best for you. Don’t forget to make forms simple to fill out, and continue testing to find out which version of your form gets your prospects to respond by providing you with their information.

5. Get serious about landing page copy

The copy on your landing page is what will explain to your visitors what your company and product is all about. It should convey that you have something that they want. Stef had a few really great tips on how you can create effective copy.

Avoid jargon — don’t get too gimmicky

Phrases like “A seamless synergy of bleeding-edge technology combined with enterprise crystallization for an integrated marketing solution” might sound really smart to you, but it doesn’t tell anybody anything. Stef reminded us to use simple words that describe what you are offering to your landing page visitors. Stay away from jargon and be direct in your copy.

Read it out loud first

Reading your copy out loud to someone else will help you figure out if you’ve successfully gotten your message across. If you read your headline, bullet points and your CTA to someone and they still don’t understand what you’re offering, then it’s time to start over.

Get feedback

Stef recommends asking no fewer than three other people to read your copy before publishing your landing page copy. If two heads are better than one, then three will definitely help you get closer to publishing copy that converts.

Once again, it all comes down to testing. Create a few different versions of your landing page copy and test them to see which one works best. This is super easy to do with landing page software like Unbounce – here’s how.

6. Ensure your landing page message matches your ad

Message match is what reassures a landing page visitor that they’re going to get what they wanted when they clicked on an ad. The experience needs to be consistent from ad to landing page in both message and design.

Stef used an example from a business called General Assembly to illustrate the concept of message match. The ad below promises information about a 10-week UX design course.

design-immersive-ad

Clicking on Learn More brings visitors to the page shown below. Both the message and the design match what we saw in the ad, reassuring visitors that they’ve come to the right place.

design-immersive-landing-page

The landing page is relevant to the ad, easy to understand and effective in its call to action. According to the  Conversion Glossary definition of message match:

Strong message match increase conversions because it reassures people they’ve come to the right place.

Keeping your message coherent from one piece of a campaign to the next lets your visitors know that they’re getting what they wanted when they clicked, and keeps you from wasting money on people who click an ad and get confused when the message on page doesn’t follow. In other words, bad message match leads to bad user experiences – and a crappy conversion rate.

7. Create a great experience after the landing page

Stef reminded the Unwebinar listeners that once a user has filled out the form and clicked your CTA your job in creating a delightful user experience is not yet done:

Post conversion is often neglected in landing page experience… we often aren’t putting enough into what happens next.

To demonstrate how to create a great experience after that click, Stef uses this Mobify thank you page below as an example:

mobify-landing-page

Saying thank you isn’t just polite; it’s part of a delightful user experience. It helps get your prospect to further interact with your brand and can lead to a secondary conversion.

On this page they’re giving you the opportunity to find out more about Mobify and offering some resources  – a white paper and a case study – for folks who may be a little further down the funnel.

As Stef pointed out, this is an interesting way to gauge how far along in the funnel a person might be. It’s not just creating a great experience, it’s also helping Mobify understand their leads a little better so they can nurture them accordingly.

The best user experiences are developed through testing

If you have a LinkedIn account, you have likely seen the image below. This picture succinctly sums up the difference between how things are often designed versus how people would prefer to experience them.

user-experience-vs-design

These seven tips are meant to be guidelines for creating better user experiences — no one can predict exactly how a group of people will react to a landing page, but if you follow these guidelines, you put yourself in a position to find out.

Stef concluded the webinar by reminding us that it’s never too early to get feedback on your landing pages. To create the best experience possible, you have to continue to test your copy and design and to optimize them based on the feedback you’re getting in the form of conversions. After all, if they’re not converting, they didn’t have a very good experience and if the experience sucks, they ain’t gonna convert.

You can more about landing page usability by checking out the free Unwebinar recording here.

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7 UX Principles for Building Higher-Converting Landing Pages