Posts Tagged ‘e-commerce’

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

March 25th, 2013 No comments

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.

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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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Online Testing: To test or not to test (holiday edition)

December 12th, 2012 No comments

As we all know, the holiday season is upon us. What does that mean? Shopping! Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Green Monday, Purple Tuesday. … Yes, I made the last one up, but I digress.

This time of year is one of the biggest, and often the biggest, revenue-generating periods for most e-commerce and B2C companies. So one of the most frequent questions we hear around here at The Lab is “To test or not to test?” Deep, I know.

I’m an advocate for testing year round. However, you must be aware of external factors out of your control that may change your prospect’s behavior. While the holiday season may bring a large number of visitors to your site — which is great for testing — you don’t want to risk losing those valuable visitors to an underperforming test.

So what do you do? Well, in my opinion, two factors will make the decision for you.

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Shopping Cart Abandonment: 7 simple steps to completing the sale

November 5th, 2012 4 comments

You spent years creating a valuable email list that gets Kim Johnson to opt in. Then, you craft an amazing email that inspires Kim Johnson to click to the landing page, where your marketing prowess is again on display, and Kim Johnson adds your product to her cart. And then… And then… Nothing. But why? And, what can you do to avoid this scenario as much as possible?

Well, at least you’re not alone – 88% of consumers have abandoned an online shopping cart without completing their transaction, according to a Forrester study. While you cannot eliminate cart abandonment, and many factors are out of your control (some customers just weren’t ready to purchase), you do have the ability to reduce abandonment.


 If you want to reduce your shopping cart abandonment rates, follow these seven simple steps:

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