A few weeks ago, I participated in a seminar series put on by the people at Tealeaf. If you haven't checked out Tealeaf, spend some time on the site. The company measures a visitor's experience on your site by tracking all interactions and transactions. It's a natural complement to your Web analytics tool, and the organization has partnered with a number of Web analytics companies.
The Tealeaf team shared some great case studies and tips with the people who attended the seminar. One thing that really caught my attention: a Shop.org and Forrester survey that e-commerce conversion rates have been dropping for the past few years.
If this the case, it's surprising that as companies spend more money tuning their businesses and understanding their customers, they're converting fewer visitors on a percentage basis. Think of the millions of dollars spent over the past few years on Web analytics, surveys, user studies, site redesigns, optimization efforts, and the like. Does this mean these efforts aren't worth it? Again, at first blush, it might look like these efforts have been wasted, as conversions have been declining.
Obviously that isn't the case. So what's causing this decline? I think it comes back to one thing: visitors are in control. It's never been easier to find someone to buy something from. If you aren't getting what you need within one experience, it's easy to go onto the next.
Think about the following as it relates to e-commerce:
Other factors also contribute to declining conversion rates. What does this all mean? Declining conversion rates, visitors in control, more choices? It means you need to work even harder to create and offer easy, rewarding, and compelling reasons to buy at your site. You may say that if everyone uses shopping bots to find the best prices, then it's a price game. That isn't always the case. How many times have you chosen an option in the shopping bots results that wasn't the lowest? It happens all the time: who's easier to buy from, who do you trust, who in general are you most comfortable with. These factors, along with pricing, lead to a purchasing decision.
With Thanksgiving only a few days away, we're entering the prime shopping season and a key time for retailers, online and off-. What have you been doing to maximize your conversion rate the past few months?
Is it too late for this year? Not to make small incremental changes. Tackle a landing page, test a few versions of the page, and see if you can sneak a small improvement out. But all this doesn't need to revolve around the holidays, you should be doing this all year long.
You should look at Web analytics data. But you must also understand the customer experience data, attitudinal insight, and offsite factors that will impact your business.
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As the Chief Performance Marketing Officer for POSSIBLE, Jason supports the agency's global Marketing Sciences and Media Services programs.
His primary role is to help POSSIBLE teams and clients use data to craft digital strategies that attract, convert, and retain customers - maximizing ongoing ROI across paid, earned, and owned channels. He believes that brands can better serve their customers by understanding audience behavior, and that messaging should be targeted to individual customers through the use of testing, behavioral targeting, and CRM initiatives.
Jason has written extensively about digital analytics, optimization and digital strategy, including an ongoing column at ClickZ.com. He is the co-author of "Actionable Web Analytics: Using Data to Make Smart Business Decisions," which is one of the leading texts in the field of digital analytics. His client roster includes Microsoft, Nike, Nokia, Dell, Ford, Sony, PayPal/eBay, P&G, Alcoa, Expedia, Mazda, Intel, and Motorola, and more. Jason is a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars around the world ranging from the Cannes Lions, Adobe Omniture Summits, eMetrics, SES, ad:tech, BazaarVoice, and many other WPP events.
Follow him on Twitter @JasonBurby.
December 5, 2013
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