Archive for the ‘Ecommerce’ Category

Landing Page Optimization: Does your product page have buyability?

January 13th, 2014 No comments

In a recent Web clinic, Austin McCraw, Senior Editorial Analyst, and Adam Lapp, Director of Services Operations, both of MECLABS, revealed how marketers at an Italian cosmetics website increased conversion 20% by testing the usability of their category page.

But first, let’s review the research notes for some background information on the test.

Background: Italian e-commerce website offering cosmetics. The researchers were focusing on testing different approaches to the “body” category page.

Goal: To increase conversion rate.

Primary Research Question: Which landing page will generate the highest conversion rate?

Approach: A/B variable cluster test


Control: Category list 


Here’s a screenshot of the control page that listed all of the main categories of body products.

According to Adam, the team analyzed the control and hypothesized that testing usability would help determine if the category list at the top of the page is the most user-friendly way to present products and information to customers.


Treatment 1: Configurator design 


For Treatment 1, the team tested a configurator design that enabled visitors to enter the criteria for the products they were looking for.

“What we wanted to do is test several different usability tactics out there that you might commonly see,” Adam explained.


Treatment 2: Visual categories


Treatment 2 focused on making the page easier to use by removing the category links and simply featuring the main categories with images.


Treatment 3: Navigation links (text) 


Treatment 3 was a radical approach designed to make the process easier by removing the “body” category page altogether. The design enabled visitors to choose their categories within a drop-down feature in the navigation.


Treatment 4: Navigation links (visual)


Treatment 4 was similar to Treatment 3; only it added images to the drop-down navigation menu.


What you need to know 


The configurator design in Treatment 1 outperformed the control and other treatments by a relative difference of 20%.

So why did this design increase performance? Why did the configurator beat all of the other methods? Was it the usability?

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E-commerce: Category page test increases order rates 20%

November 4th, 2013 2 comments

Category pages play a key role in e-commerce, yet they are often left to the mercy of limited, if any, best practices and minimal testing.

In today’s MarketingExperiments Blog post, we’re going to take a look at how the MECLABS research team tested a category page that led to a 20% increase in order rates.

First, let’s review the research notes for some background information on the test.

Background: An e-commerce site offering strength training and conditioning tools for professional athletes.

Goal: To increase order rate.

Primary Research Question: Which category page will generate the highest order rate?

Approach: A/B variable cluster test




In the control, the MECLABS research team hypothesized critical pieces of information were difficult for customers to locate.

Here were some of the critical information pieces they identified:

  • The focus of the workshops
  • Location(s)
  • Date(s)




In the treatment, the team designed a category page that included the missing pieces of information identified in the control.

The team also changed the layout of the page to flow along a more natural eye-path.




What you need to know

By including the missing pieces of information identified in the control and changing the layout to flow along a user’s natural eye-path, the treatment outperformed the control by 20%.

To learn more about how category pages impact the sales funnel, you can watch the free MarketingExperiments Web clinic replay of “Category Pages that Work.”

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Online Cart: 6 ideas to test and optimize your checkout process

July 8th, 2013 2 comments

The checkout process is one of my favorite parts of a sales funnel to optimize.

For customers, it’s where the excitement of their purchase is only a few steps away, and for marketers, it’s one last chance to connect with customers before they leave your site.

And through testing with our Research Partners, I’ve discovered a few basic test ideas that can help you achieve some quick lifts while saving your limited resources for testing opportunities that further develop your customer theory while hopefully increasing ROI.


Start with the low-hanging fruit

When you think about your sales funnel holistically, every test opportunity you discover has the potential to increase your ROI, so optimizing the lower-hanging fruit opportunities first can save your testing resources for plugging the bigger leaks in your funnel.

Here are a few suggested quick-win opportunities to implement first:

Test idea #1. Include a cart summary as supporting information throughout the entire checkout flow that includes any relevant information such as price, quantity and any discounts.

Test idea #2. Offer editing tools that let users make changes to their cart throughout the checkout process.

Test idea #3. Use security seals and provide multiple checkout options like PayPal, Google Checkout and Amazon Payments to mitigate elements of user anxiety in your checkout process.

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E-commerce: 2 benefits of presenting competitor pricing on your website

March 20th, 2013 4 comments

As part of any value proposition, you must have an “only” factor. This means you must differentiate yourself from your competitors in at least one way. The two “only” factors that most commonly come to mind are price and quality. Price, especially, is often at the forefront of every consumer’s mind.

However, in some industries, the top competitors all compete on similar to identical pricing. You know it, your competitors know it and the consumers will know it after a little research.

So, what do you do when your price matches the other leading companies in your market?

First, you must determine another area where you outshine the rest of the pack outside the price arena. If not, as Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, says, “It’s likely that your value proposition is already going to be underperforming because it is not forceful enough.”

Second, you might consider hitting the price issue head on. Consumers compare prices – in this digital world, it’s a fact of life. With a few words in their browser search box, consumers can leave your website and find the prices of every competitor in your market.

Instead of letting them leave to find this information, you could present competitors’ prices right on your website. Some companies have already achieved success with this method of attack.

Progressive Insurance is a well-known example of this strategy. The company promotes its comparison shopping on its website, in its search marketing and in its television ads.

If you can’t see the benefits of providing competitors’ prices, let me share two specific advantages the MECLABS Optimization Team shared.


Benefit #1: Address a need in the buyer’s process

As part of any marketing strategy, you should know the steps your customers make in the buy process. Do they research companies, and then select a product from a selected company? Do they research products, determine the specific product they want, and then find the best deal on that product through price comparisons?

If it’s the latter, adding competitors’ prices to your site could be addressing a major need in your customer’s purchase cycle.

“Once they’re there, you’re answering all of their questions. You want to satisfy the perceived needs of the visitors to your site,” said Spencer Whiting, Senior Research Manager, MECLABS.

By providing a price comparison, you effectively solve one issue you know the customer will need addressed.  Spencer said when looking at analytics for many Research Partners’ websites, the number one link visitors click on is often pricing.

Addressing this need also cuts back on potential anxiety around cost. In any economy, but especially today’s, people want to know they are getting the best value for their money. Cost can be a major source of anxiety for many buyers, so addressing this need and correcting that anxiety can help propel the potential customer through to the next stage of the buy process.


Benefit #2: Optimize the thought sequence

Presenting competitors’ pricing offers a second benefit: optimizing the thought sequence. You don’t want your website visitors to conduct unsupervised thinking.

In fact, this is part of the foundation of the MECLABS Landing Page Optimization Online Course.

The importance of thought sequences is described by the MECLABS LPO Meta-theory: 


To optimize the thought sequence on your landing pages, you can make price part of the conversation. You want to steer the conversation toward a value exchange on your website.

“If you present competitor’s pricing on your site, you have much more control over the perceived cost and value of your product compared to others,” said Lauren Maki, Optimization Manager, MECLABS.

So by showing the similar pricing, you have established an equal perceived cost into the value exchange. As for the value of the product, as Lauren mentioned, you will want to refer back to that “only” factor you have included in your value proposition.

She went on to provide an example using cellular service carriers, “If you have a product for $100 and your competitor has a comparable product for $100, the cost/price is equal, so the visitor is left to decide which has the best value. This is where you want to have influence on the visitor’s perception. ‘Yes, they’re equal in price, but with [our product], you get the fastest and largest network – something you don’t get with the other brand. ”

Having communicated the answer to any questions about potentially better pricing the customer might have as well as providing evidence of a better value for that same perceived cost, you are preventing them from searching for the answer on their own – and off your site.

The below example is Omni Jacksonville Hotel’s listing on KAYAK. You can see how KAYAK, an online travel company, controls the thought sequence of its visitors.



By providing its pricing side by side with its competitors, KAYAK opens a conversation about pricing. Travel is an industry where consumers can easily find the best deals through a little Google research. So in opening the conversation right in the search results, KAYAK uses that opportunity to guide the conversation toward its value exchange.

As in the search result example above, when all the pricing is the same, what do you think the consumer will do? If the customer is simply looking for the best price because they already decided to stay at the Omni Jacksonville Hotel, they’ll likely click on that eye-catching, orange call-to-action button, “Select.”

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E-commerce: A/B split test produces 36% more cart completions

January 21st, 2013 2 comments

Background: B2C company offering package vacations. In this test, we focused on improving the checkout process.

Goal: To increase cart completions

Primary research question: Which cart page will generate the highest completion rate?

Approach: A/B split test (variable cluster)



(Please Note: Some details have been obscured to protect Research Partner’s competitive advantage).

The original cart was simple, but it included three equally weighted options from which the visitor had to select:

  • “View Lodging Options”
  • “Add More Activities”
  • “Checkout Without Lodging”

This made the checkout process more cumbersome than was necessary.

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E-commerce: 6 quick cart changes

December 17th, 2012 2 comments

Tis the season to discuss all things e-commerce and one of the most underutilized optimization opportunities that can potentially add some serious ROI to your bottom line – the shopping cart.

Shopping cart optimization is considered a highly strategic tactic as presenters Austin McCraw, Senior Editorial Analyst, MECLABS, and Jon Powell, Senior Manager of Research & Strategy, MECLABS, explained in one of our recent Web clinics on shopping cart optimization.

“It’s likely, depending on how many products you have, that your shopping cart might be the most visited page on your entire website,” Austin said. “If you can make a change to increase conversion in the shopping cart, then it will apply site wide.”

So to help you tweek your shopping carts, today’s MarketingExperiments blog post will share the six last-minute changes you can make to your shopping carts that Austin and Jon presented in the Web clinic “Optimizing Shopping Carts for the Holidays,” which you can use to aid your shopping cart optimization efforts.

First, before you explore the changes you can make, here are some key principles that were featured in the clinic:

  • Effective tests are not simply designed to achieve a valid result, but a valuable result. The goal of a test is to get a learning, but some “learnings” are more strategic than others.
  • Marketers must be able to identify where in the funnel is the greatest opportunity for optimization.
  • For e-commerce companies approaching a holiday season, often the most opportune place for the increase is in the shopping cart for two reasons:
    1. Increased motivation levels
    2. Convergent funnel paths

Also, to help in getting this information to you faster, we’ve split up all the changes and direct linked to specific times in the hour-long Web clinic video replay when those topics are discussed.

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