Posts Tagged ‘e-commerce’

E-commerce: 5-question checklist for eliminating products

May 8th, 2014

I love Sheena Iyengar’s study on the art of choice.

Simply put, the number of choices offered to a customer impacts their ability to make decisions. She illustrated this point during her classic TEDTalk featuring an experiment in a supermarket using jam.

Offer too many choices, and customers become paralyzed to make any decision, or not the one you were hoping for.

Optimizing choice is also why I love A/B testing, as it helps you put these kinds of ideas into real-world practice in your marketing efforts.

In this MarketingExperiments Blog post, we’ll look at two tests recently featured in one of our Web clinics on marketing multiple products plus a valuable checklist that you can apply to your own work.





In the control, the MECLABS research team suspected the generic call-to-action in the main eye-path was not creating enough value force to move customers forward in the conversion process.





For the treatment, the team also hypothesized that a single product with a drop-down selection would increase conversion by reducing friction in the mind of the customer.





By reducing the overlap of products, the treatment was able to guide customers to the right product for their needs.

Read more…

E-commerce Marketing: 5 takeaways from ROI Revolution Retail Traffic Summit

May 1st, 2014

Over the past two days, I’ve been at ROI Revolution Retail Traffic Summit in Atlanta. For those of you unfamiliar with ROI Revolution, it is an agency concentrated in e-commerce, specializing in paid search, shopping feeds and a few other goodies. This MarketingExperiments Blog post features a few takeaways from the event to help inspire your e-commerce marketing efforts. But, before we dive into the takeaways, I want to give a special thanks (and full disclosure) to ROI Revolution for inviting MarketingExperiments to cover the event.


Big success starts with big thinking

After the first day, ROI Revolution invited attendees to the Georgia Aquarium for a networking event. Seeing the huge whale sharks reminded marketers to aspire to be the bigger fish online. As Brad Stone, author of The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, and featured speaker at the event, said, to be like Amazon, or in this case, the big fish, marketers need to think like the big fish.


Takeaway #1. Be where your customers are

Nicole Premo, Partner Education Manager, Shopping & Emerging Ads, Google, opened the event with her session, “Google Goes Shopping: Building a Search Experience for Today’s Shopper.”

According to a Neilsen study, 67% of people in the U.S. own a smartphone. With this increased connection to e-commerce, while the methods in which people make purchasing decisions have evolved, there is one aspect Nicole said would arguably never change.

“Remember, people are fundamentally the same. Shoppers are driven by core economic considerations. They are looking for a product that has a value proposition that matches to what [they] care about,” Nicole said.

What has changed, however, is how they gather information and make the decision to buy. There are more moments to shop than ever before, as 82% of people use smartphones to browse product information while in store.

Retailers have had to adapt quickly and engage with consumers at that single moment of inspiration. With inspiration everywhere, and with rapidly evolving technology, shopping has “become incredibly casual.”

Nicole’s advice really boils down to this: Having an effective mobile strategy in place is key to being where your customers are at all times.


Takeaway #2. Leverage data for more personalized targeting

“Age, demographics, gender, where they are, how long they stay on the site, where did they come from, did they abandon – these are not insights for the sake of insights. These insights should inform your online strategy to build actionable customer segments,” said Bob Dillon, Director of Agency Sales, Google.

Bob also talked about the importance of converting qualified customers with display advertising. Locating those potential customers who placed a product into a cart and retargeting with them with display ads is a great place to start.

“Finding that person who left, you want to find them and re-engage with creative that is a product they looked at,” Bob explained.


Takeaway #3. Develop an offline tactic to drive online conversion

Although the main place of conversion in e-commerce is in an online shopping experience, some marketers have discovered offline methods that not only help to drive online traffic, but also achieve strong revenue. During a panel discussion, John Lynch, CEO, Show Me Cables, revealed how his company takes customer relationship management offline with its own unique ranking system.

John’s team measures customers’ online body language and profiles it offline to reach them more effectively. For example, each customer receives a score based on their number of site visits, what pages they viewed on the site, and their email open and interaction metrics.

Starting with an online transaction, the team then researches the customer using a third-party platform to rank them according to their internal system. Finally, the customer receives a phone call.

“This is what we do to hit the right customer at the right time,” John said.

  Read more…

Landing Page Optimization: Does your product page have buyability?

January 13th, 2014

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?

  Read more…

Marketing Questions: Making claims for new products, e-commerce landing pages

March 25th, 2013

During our most recent Web clinic – “Converting PPC Traffic: How strategic keyword placement increased conversion by 144%” – we received questions from the audience that we didn’t have time to address during the presentation. So, let’s take a look at them now …


If you have a new product, you can’t make those kinds of claims – then what do you recommend we do? – RD

I believe RD’s question is in response to two discoveries we often teach.

One, specificity converts. “In marketing there should be no such thing as a general message,” said Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS. “The marketer communicates with an aim. This aim should dictate everything else we say. This aim should influence, even constrain, every word we say.”

Second, third-party credibility indicators can help you achieve that specificity. A nice example, from this blog post about homepage optimization, is “2 million success stories and counting,” with logos of satisfied customers.

This is a significant challenge for a new product. So, here are some ideas to get you thinking:

  • If it is a new product from an established company, you can test third-party credibility indicators for other products your company creates.For example, when we launched Optimization Summit a few years ago, we used testimonials about other MECLABS events. If we did not have other MECLABS events, perhaps we would have used testimonials of other types of MECLABS comment, for example, a MarketingExperiments Web clinic. After all, if your company creates a similar product of high quality, it is a fair comparison the new product will be of high quality as well.
  • If it is a new product from a new company, you can test third-party credibility indicators based on the experience of the company founders or employees.

For example, let’s say your product is software. “The team behind software X has produced 37 programs rated five-stars by CREDIBLE SOURCE HERE” might be a worthwhile message to test on your landing page.

Overall, these are short-term solutions. You want to put systems in place to garner third-party credibility indicators with as much specific information as possible. If you’re not sure where to begin, this MarketingSherpa case study about how a bathroom supply e-commerce site used a sweepstakes to encourage customers to submit product reviews might be helpful to you.

Read more…

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

March 20th, 2013

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.”

Read more…

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

January 21st, 2013

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.

Read more…