When considering Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and building a customer’s path to purchase from first ad experience through to ordering, there is one layer of the process that can often be neglected and, for sites with many product choices, it can mean the difference of huge amounts of revenue.
Amazon.com is a site that seems to get this, and the very best sites generally do a lot of work to harness it. This neglected element is the customer choice framing we can do on our sites to shepherd our users to buying more than they would if left to their own devices.
What do I mean by this? A brilliant example is outlined on this NPR report. It discusses a study where researchers added a clearly marked Vegetables section in shopping carts. The effect of this was that consumers bought many more vegetables – the fact there was this empty compartment compelled people to fill it. But there’s more, when the compartment was made bigger, the shoppers put proportionately more vegetables into the compartment.
This is an exceptionally powerful psychological insight for marketers and retail sites. Clearly, shoppers always knew there were vegetables to purchase in a supermarket but by placing the option in front of them in an apparently passive but unavoidable way, they ultimately acted on this choice when they otherwise would not have done. There was no forcing, no bashing customers over the head or limiting any choice at all – and this is key.
How can such a concept be applied to websites? Well, just by learning about this, you might find your brain fizzing with ideas! However, one thing you could try is, if you have a niche site but with many products – let’s say a food supplement site – and so you know customers come to order for a variety of different reasons you could set up a shopping wizard that guides users through the process to meet their needs.
The power of the wizard approach lies in the fact that it is easy to forget that the customer is often not an expert in what you’re selling and all the items you have to offer, you are. So this technique allows you to leverage your expertise in your own product line to, in a very friendly and helpful way, guide a user to making good choices for them that also enhances your bottom line.
For example, you would have a prominent part of the landing page (and home page) that asks “What are you hoping to achieve with supplements?” The customer chooses from a comprehensive dropdown menu. Perhaps they also, in this case, enter their age and gender – since some supplements are catered to certain demographics. From the submission of this information, they’re presented with a pop up frame on the site (not a separate window or tab) that goes through the products that are available for specific areas of health right the way through to adding to the basket and then they check out.
Another example would be a cycle store – the wizard asks if you’re new to cycling or not, your age and gender and then if you are looking for a bike, just equipment or both. Then the wizard can, step-by-step help a user create a kit of cycle gear (Step 1: Head gear, Step 2: shorts, Step 3: Tops, Step 5: Lights etc.). A novice visitor may otherwise forget half the things they need to buy or get lost in navigating the full range of items, potentially giving up or at least checking out before they have everything.
These approaches can provide ideas to a customer they would never have thought of and let you lay out the products how you wish (e.g. higher-priced more prominently) plus it feels like good customer service. The payoff of any choice framing customer experience should be a higher AOV (Average Order Value) and so, if you pay for traffic, a higher ROI. Any similar ideas you have tried in the wild?
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