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How De Nieuwe Zaak Improved Productivity Using The VWO API

About De Nieuwe Zaak

De Nieuwe Zaak is a leading full-service digital agency based in Zwolle, Netherlands. With a team of over 90 experts, they provide innovative, high-quality digital commerce solutions for retailers, wholesalers, and brands alike.

They have been using VWO since 2012 to conduct A/B tests and optimize websites for many of their clients. Being such an extensive VWO user, they are constantly investigating how they can make use of the platform to make their processes more efficient and produce faster results.

De Nieuwe Zaak recently started using the VWO Application Programming Interface (API), which has drastically improved the productivity of their development teams with regard to building A/B test campaigns by using VWO. They recently published a blog post sharing their experience using VWO and the API; you can read it here.

Challenges Before Using VWO API

De Nieuwe Zaak has more than 12 years of experience in implementing and creating web applications. In these years, they have standardized their development process.

For them, setting up A/B tests is a collaboration between CRO & UX consultants and developers. The CRO & UX consultant analyzes the user research data and comes up with a hypothesis for an A/B test, and developers write the code for it.

Front-end developers work in their own Integrated Development Environment (IDE), such as Visual Studio, Sublime, or Webstorm, as these editors provide excellent support for writing code in HTML, SCSS, and JavaScript. After a piece of code is complete, it is stored in a version management system such as GIT and Bitbucket so that it is never lost.

Before the front-end developers at De Nieuwe Zaak started using the VWO API, they used to write the code for the test variations on the VWO code editor. However, they wanted to be able to write code in the IDE familiar to them for improved efficiency.

How VWO API Helped Improve Productivity

Developers at De Nieuwe Zaak used the VWO API to visualize tests in dashboards, analyze test results, and implement code changes in their campaigns. Here is how the process worked:

For any API to work, 2 applications are required. With one being VWO, developers at De Nieuwe Zaak wrote a small NodeJS application that now runs on their computers with the help of extensive documentation provided by VWO.

The NodeJS application communicates with VWO by using an automated task runner called GruntJS and an asynchronous request initiated by the browser, also known as an Ajax call.

With the first version of the VWO API, front-end developers at De Nieuwe Zaak were able to retrieve the JavaScript and CSS code pieces from their version management system, and then push the changes to VWO. Further, they could accommodate using SCSS instead of CSS, which is easier to manage and write code in. Below is a schematic representation of the process:

Summary of Benefits

De Nieuwe Zaak is one of the first VWO customers worldwide that started using the VWO API. In addition to improving their efficiency and reducing the overall time spent from scratch till the end for implementing a test, the development team at De Nieuwe Zaak has been able to:

  • Improve code quality by using SCSS, instead of plain CSS.
  • Write code in an environment familiar to them.
  • Ensure safety of their code by using version management.
  • Create and extend the API link to further accommodate their use cases.
  • Follow their existing processes and frameworks to develop websites.

The VWO API is very extensive and is very well documented. At De Nieuwe Zaak, we use the API for visualizing reports in dashboards and implementing test. Particularly, the process of implementing tests with the API made the implementation more sustainable.

– Pascal Alferink, Developer at De Nieuwe Zaak

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How De Nieuwe Zaak Improved Productivity Using The VWO API

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12 Conversion Optimization Tricks That Boost Cart Abandonment Results

Note: This is a guest article written by Brett Thoreson , the CEO at CartStack. Any and all opinions expressed in the post are Brett’s.

When selling online, cart abandonment is a fact of ecommerce life. Humans have a limited attention span (just 8 seconds long), as we are filled with deliberation, choices, distractions, and doubts. However, there are lots of tools out there to help you minimize cart abandonment, but we can’t eradicate it completely.

However, all is not lost. Customers who have abandoned their carts can still be reengaged. And we’re here to help you with top conversion rate optimization tips that will turn those faltering customers into paying ones.

cart abandonment solution in ecommerce

The Basics

Cart abandonment is when someone visits your website, adds items to their baskets, but for one reason or another, fails to finalize the purchase and leaves the transaction incomplete.

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a set of practices that helps you to convert visitors into paying customers and avoid, or turn around, cart abandonment.

Two impactful CRO practices that help with cart abandonment avoidance are:

  • Cart abandonment software: Software that tracks a visitor’s journey on your website to: capture emails and track shoppers while they are on your site, watch for them to abandon a cart, and email them following their abandonment, enticing them back.
  • A/B split testing: Running two versions of your website or page that are identical in intent (such as the checkout page) but different in style, allowing you to compare and contrast conversion rates between the two.

Power of Cart Abandonment Software and A/B Testing on Customer Conversions

Alone, these tools are impactful but together they can work in conjunction to produce much powerful results that will make your conversion rates soar and here’s how:

Cart abandonment software relies on shoppers (website visitors) entering their email addresses on your website form, while A/B testing provides you with the insight to optimize your website to ensure that shoppers (website visitors) input their email addresses.

Simply put, A/B testing converts visitors into leads and cart abandonment software converts leads into paying customers.

How to Use A/B Testing and Cart Abandonment Software to Get Email Addresses

There are lot of CRO tips for use when you are A/B testing to see what changes result in increased email conversions. We’ve put together our favorite tips here:

Where

Where you ask people for their email address, is hugely important and impactful. You can have a banner asking people to sign up. It can be part of a registration form, or you can use your cart abandonment software to produce exit intent pop-ups (displayed when visitors look as if they are about to leave). It is estimated that 35% of lost shoppers can be saved by using exit intent pop-ups, but test this for yourself to see if this is true for your customers.

Opt-In Changes

  1. Location

Visual tracking research shows that we browse websites following an F-shaped pattern, favoring the top and left-hand sides. Test your email address opt-ins at both these instances to see which captures more attention.

visual behaviour of visitors in e-commerce

  1. Color and Font

Choosing the right color and font optimization for your call-to-action button is imperative. We’ll discuss color in a little more detail below. Testing background colors and contrasting text that can make your banner stand out, easy to read, and compelling to complete is a significant use of split testing.

  1. Lead Magnets

Lead magnets offer your customers something valuable in exchange of their email addresses. It can be a downloadable guide on this season’s fashions or a report on the top-rated headphones of the year. Test whether lead magnets work or not; and if they do, test many types. Opt-ins of this nature can see up to a 10% conversion rate.

lead magnets as a solution for cart abandonment

Form-Based Changes

  1. Page Layout

As mentioned earlier, humans are easily distracted not only by outside sources but also by items on your website. For a particular VWO customer, removing the navigation menu resulted in a 100% increase in conversions. Try removing your navigation menu from the form page, to reduce distraction, and removing the option to leave the form, and see if these increase your conversions.

  1. Form Layout

Over 70% of online shoppers abandon their cart halfway through the checkout process, meaning that they are also halfway through filling out your form. Some cart abandonment software applications capture email addresses in real time, even if the visitor doesn’t hit Submit. Therefore, test moving the email address field higher up on your shopping cart and checkout pages, to capture the email address before the visitors abandon the page so that you can send them a follow-up email reminder.

  1. Copy

Words are powerful and emotive: They can make people comply, offer, or turn away. Consider how you are asking for shopper’s email addresses and then test different methods, such as explaining why, using personable language, emotive words, or by using less number of words.

pop ups to stop ecommerce abandonment

  1. Field Population

Do visitors respond better to form fields that are pre-populated with example text (such as example@example.com), blank fields, or fields compatible with Google Autocomplete. Understanding what makes your form easiest to complete should help  enable you to tailor it accordingly.

Exit Intent Pop-Up Changes

  1. Color

A pop-up needs to grab visitor attention, and the best way to do this is with color. Split test different colors that contrast with your website brand colors and “pop out.” You may also want take into account well-known color connotations, which differ across countries, cultures, and genders, such as:

Blue: Security

Purple: Luxury

Red: Urgency

Yellow: Caution

While you can’t adapt your website for everyone, you can adapt it to your customer base by seeing what works best for them.

  1. Offers

A great A/B testing idea can be of using different offers to see which offers appeal to your customers more. Research shows trends such as 90% of online shoppers being influenced by the cost of delivery and discount days such as Black Friday, leading to billions of dollars worth of online sales. Test percentage discounts, free delivery, and money off to see what works best for your target audience.

  1. Wording

Your exit intent pop-up wording is crucial. When issuing a pop-up window, you are walking a fine line between frustrating and enticing your customer. If you are interrupting them, test your wording to make sure it demonstrates a good reason.

  1. Fields

Another useful test for pop-up windows is to include the email address field in the exit intent pop-up itself.  This will enable you to capture user email addresses in real time before they exit the pop-up screen.

pop ups as a cart abandonment solution.

  1. Size

Size matters when designing your exit intent pop-up screen. Should it take up the whole page or just the center? Should it be easy to click or difficult?

Results

A/B split testing is a great way to increase your email address conversion rates. It can be then directly used to fuel your cart abandonment software, with the ultimate aim of re-engaging customers who have abandoned their shopping carts.

There are many other tests that you can try for capturing email addresses before cart abandonment occurs. However, the following 12 are our favorites, because they work. Increasing the number of email addresses you capture before cart abandonment and using these addresses in your follow-up cart abandonment email campaign, you can convert over 20% of lost online sales.

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12 Conversion Optimization Tricks That Boost Cart Abandonment Results

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Why and How Should Enterprises Adopt a Culture of Optimization

Every organization abides by a set of values and beliefs, which prompts the culture within the organization. This organizational culture can be seen as the way in which its members relate to each other, their work, and the outside world in comparison to other organizations.

An overwhelming 84% of participants in the Global Culture & Change Management Survey conducted by Strategy& said that culture is critically important to business success.

Great companies like Apple and Google have been known to benefit greatly by investing in their in their culture. On the other hand, companies like Blockbuster and JCPenney lost their focus on culture and paid a heavy price.

So what type of cultural values should an enterprise invest in to be successful?

What Type of Organizational Culture to Adopt?

Company owners and decision-makers should invest in a culture of innovation and optimization during their business lifecycle.

Innovation, as they say, is the hallmark of entrepreneurship. In the early stages of development of a company, creative ideas and innovation alone bestow promising results. After that stage is crossed and you find a product-market fit comes the need for optimization. This is because when a product is reaching maturity, it needs to sustain itself and still keep earning profits.

Sachin s Copy for Review Optimization Post Google Docs
Source

Why to Adopt a Culture of Optimization?

Optimization, by dictionary meaning, is “an act, process, or methodology of making something (as a design, system, or decision) as fully perfect, functional, or effective as possible.”

For a mature and well-run product organization, the concept of optimization should be applied to every business process to gain optimal benefits. Whether it is your team, funnel, or website that you’re optimizing, you can be sure of making a bigger bang for the buck.

For instance, by optimizing your website, you can get more conversions for the same number of visitors. By optimizing your team, you can grow manifold the productivity and output of the same team members, and so on.

A culture of optimization is geared toward incremental, consistent, and risk-free improvements coordinated across company’s platforms to meet executive targets.

Tim Eyre, COO of a renowned digital marketing agency Big Leap, aptly puts it thus:

“Establishing a culture of optimization really starts with having an attitude of never being satisfied. For us, it means that we believe we can always improve the results we provide for our clients, whether through content pieces, paid search optimizations, or website optimization, including a heavy dose of conversion rate optimization. We strive for excellence in our work, and we have found that one of the quickest ways of approaching excellence is through testing”.

Now that we’ve established the importance of having a culture of optimization, let’s look at how to incorporate it within your organization:

How to Incorporate a Culture of Optimization

Be Data-Driven

Before you begin optimizing your business processes, it is imperative to take stock of the current standing. You need to assess how you are placed currently and set benchmarks for improvements accordingly.

A good optimization program would be rooted in in-depth data and research of what we are optimizing and for which end goals. When your employees start questioning subjectivity and validate their decisions with both data and insight, it ultimately makes your organization a more efficient one.

Craig Smith, Founder and CEO of Trinity Insight, believes,

To facilitate a culture of testing, every aspect of an operation must have a unique data point that can be optimized against. We firmly believe that all areas of an organization, from personnel, to processes, to traffic and content, need to have a core KPI that can be measured for future improvement. Doing so creates a deeper level of accountability and a more proactive culture for experimentation and trying new approaches to do better.”

Get Top Management Buy-In

Like a waterfall, culture too flows from the top to the bottom. To inculcate a healthy culture of experimenting and optimizing, it is imperative that the top management complies.

If the top management is on the same page, it’ll realize the need for optimization and allocate sufficient budget for it. This will make it easier to execute any optimization program.

The idea of optimization can be sold to the top management by highlighting its key benefits. You can show how the returns on efforts outweigh the investment, and strengthen your pitch. Here are some key ways to influence your top management:

  • Highlight potential improvements.
  • Present a competitive analysis.
  • Showcase the ROI.

If you’re looking to optimize your websites in particular, you can read this post on getting the top management buy-in for CRO.

Get the Team Involved

While the top management provides resources for an optimization program, the success of the program also depends on the understanding and acceptance of the approach by the team members.

Get everyone involved and teach them enough so they can contribute. You can hold information sessions or talks to review the basics of optimization.

Michael Heiligenstein, Director of SEO at Fit Small Business:

“If you want to incorporate a culture of Optimization, you need to allow and encourage anyone to challenge or at least question the data or ask how you could test an idea. But when someone says or asks something, be sure to ask them to back up their claim with data. They need to be able to validate any of their claims or thoughts, or at least give reasons for them.”

To make it motivating and straightforward for the team members, you should also take time to establish rules and incentives up-front.

You can also start a weekly ritual like a meeting or a report, something that will both analyze the progress of your optimization program and encourage its prosperity.

Invest in the Right Tools

To unroll the culture of optimization, you’d also be required to invest in the right tools. Having a tool in place can channelize and simplify your efforts manifold. Now the type of tool you should invest in depends on your optimization activity.

For instance, if you want to optimize the hiring process of your organization, you may want to invest in a good recruiting tool. To optimize your website for conversions, you should invest in a wholesome A/B testing tool.

Getting the right tools could eventually help you automate some of the optimization processes.

On You

Do you invest in a culture of optimization? Is there anything else that you do differently? We’d love to hear from you.

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Why and How Should Enterprises Adopt a Culture of Optimization

A Holistic Customer Retention Plan for eCommerce

While eCommerce enterprises realize the impact of customer retention on revenue, there are a number of key challenges that keep them from holistically implementing customer retention strategies.

One such challenge is the data complexity involved with calculating certain key metrics such as retention rate. As a result, businesses are making decisions per the metrics that might not be critical to long-term success. 2016 Retention Marketing report provides statistical evidence to why eCommerce organizations need clarity in their retention rate metrics.

Declining customer loyalty is affecting customer retention in a big way too. A (2015) research conducted by Accenture reports, “Just over one-quarter of U.S. consumers (28 percent) feel very loyal toward their providers and only about one in three (31 percent) are willing to recommend them to others.”

Competition demands eCommerce establishments to outgrow mediocrity and scale from average to elite. In this blog post, we highlight how optimizing their customer retention strategy (infused with actionable tips) can help eCommerce enterprises do exactly that!

Focus On Your High-Value Customers

To allocate marketing budget sensibly, eCommerce establishments need to understand where and what they are putting money and efforts into. Even before investing in a customer retention strategy, enterprises must focus on identifying their high-value customers. Centering retention efforts around high-value customers, as opposed to average customers, can yield considerably higher value in terms of RoI.

Digging into metrics such as customer lifetime value, average order value, purchase frequency, price sensitivity, and so on helps identify high-value customers. This post by eConsultancy talks about how you can do that.

Tracking and analyzing on-site behavior of high-value customers is also critical to optimizing the customer retention process. Tools like heatmap and visitor recordings can help understand collective and individual on-site user behavior respectively.

It is also important to understand the implication and usage of ‘churn rate’ correctly for your high-value customers. Instead of viewing it as a transactional metric, eCommerce enterprises should consider it to be a behavioral indicator. Harvard Business Review points out talks that enterprises are fixated with churn as a number instead of looking at it as a measure for improvement. The article also details on other mistakes that businesses make in using churn rate.

Actionable Tip: Use Net Promoter Score surveys to find out who your promoters, passives, and detractors are. Think of promoters as people who can drive more conversion and positive influence for your business. In this way, they are your high-value customers. Focusing efforts around retaining them is likely to lift your business value.

Net Promoter Score

Solicit Feedback And Act On It

Feedback helps fill the gap between what businesses offer and what their users actually want, in terms of products, services, and/or experiences. MarketingSherpa Ecommerce Benchmark Study 2014 establishes that companies who make changes to their website per customer feedback had a success score of almost 8/10.

Displaying encouraging reviews on the website, for example, can help eCommerce establishments increase not just conversions but also credibility—something that is extremely important for retaining customers long term. The Deloitte Consumer Review Consumer Review Report 2014 provides some interesting statistics in a graph that we have borrowed for the purpose of this post.

Deloitte Consumer Review Report

Testimonials and surveys are the two other indispensable feedback mechanisms. Surveying your repeat visitors on their satisfaction with your product/services, suggestions for improving service quality, and so on can help you identify areas of improvement for your business.

On the other hand, on-page surveys (OPS)/voice-of-customer surveys trigger questions real-time and typically aim at addressing pain points on websites. Nevertheless, choosing the right trigger for your OPS is critical to soliciting feedback. Some common examples of OPS triggers are listed below:

  1. Time spent on a page
  2. Number of pages browsed
  3. Exit intent on “adding items to cart”

Qualitative feedback obtained by OPS can also be of great value for optimizing purchase experiences, which can eventually increase retention. Here’s a VWO post – 10 tips on optimizing website surveys for soliciting better response.  

Actionable Tip: Negative reviews don’t hit a business as hard as not responding to them can. Moreover, customers value businesses that are quick in accepting and amending their mistakes. While not all negative feedback is authentic, genuine resentments provide valuable insights into the business or product aspects lacking in your business. Check out this article  for a complete approach on tackling negative reviews/feedback—right from digging into the problem to solving the problem to requesting customers for updating their review.

Continuously Scale Up On User Experience

Data about user behavior/activity as well as feedback lays the foundation for businesses to continuously improve user experience. However, it’s easier said than done. eCommerce enterprises not only need to continuously upgrade their technology, but also must provide consistent experiences to users across devices.

According to Mckinsey customer-experience survey 2014, “measuring satisfaction on customer journeys is 30 percent more predictive of overall customer satisfaction than measuring happiness for each individual interaction, establishing that consistency on the most common customer journeys is an important predictor of overall customer experience and loyalty.”

A customer journey can be considered as the sum of all experiences that customers go through while interacting with a website. It is an aggregate measure – good and bad – across different touchpoints.

That said, customer ‘satisfaction’ is not enough. Enterprises, in a digital world that is rapidly transforming, need to focus on customer delight and this requires them to be not just customer-centric but customer-obsessed. The Warehouse does this exceptionally well. By focusing on what really works for their customers, it has been able to increase their online sales from $18.8 million in 2011 to $149.2 million in 2015.

Most importantly, creating an exceptional user experience cannot be possible without personalization. eCommerce enterprises who want to move from being average to elite should focus on providing personalized services across human and digital touch points. The power of personalization can also be harnessed to form an emotional connect with customers, ultimately driving retention and long-term customer relationships.This would require identifying emotional motivators that customers associate with and then crafting personalized messages around those motivators.

Consider ‘convenience’ to be an emotional motivator. eCommerce enterprises can use personalized messages on their website focused around this emotion that propels people to buy. Warby Parker does exactly this by offering it’s customers a chance to try what they like before they buy.

Warby Parker

Actionable Tip: eCommerce establishments must focus on the 3 Es of experience – ease, efficiency, and emotion, as identified by Forrester Research. Storytelling is an effective tactic that can be used for establishing emotional connect with customers. Consider Everlane. The brand takes the story telling approach to communicate who and what they are, and what they do. They are able to establish trust and transparency – two values with which they establish an emotional connect with their customers.

Everlane

Foster Relevance In Post-Sale Messages

Creating relevant post-sale messaging requires eCommerce enterprises to understand customer purchase history and behavior. It would be too soon to send out ‘We miss you here at…’ to someone who made his/her last purchase from you only a week back. What would be relevant instead is a cross-sell.

Here’s an example: A customer bought a boho necklace from your website. Now within a week of purchase, you could send an email to her/him, advertising the earrings available on your website that she could easily and perfectly pair with the necklace.

Moreover, not everyone who revisits or re-engages with your eCommerce website would have an intent to make a new purchase. You can give those sales emails a break. Let the goal be engagement.

This eMail from Boden is an excellent example on how to keep customers engaged even after a purchase.

boden thank you email

Your post-sale messaging strategy can include sending out newsletters, articles, and product usage tips.

Sold a peppy scarf recently? Your THANK YOU email can contain a video on 20 trendy ways to wrap a scarf in less than 5 minutes.

Actionable Tip: Another way of retaining your customers through post-sale messages is to keep sending them replenishment reminders (in case your store sells replenishable items). This would require you to keep track of the standard purchase cycle for the product and the customer’s average frequency of the product or order. Read some interesting examples of replenishment emails on this article on Ometria.

To Conclude

eCommerce enterprises must steer their efforts towards retaining those customers who can create more value for the business. An effective and optimized customer retention strategy that comprises understanding and analyzing user behavior, soliciting feedback, improving customer experience, and crafting relevant messaging, can help businesses retain such customers.

What are you doing to retain your valuable customers? Drop us your suggestions or tips in the comments section below.

VWO Cart Abandonment Report 2016

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A Holistic Customer Retention Plan for eCommerce