Over the last few weeks I’ve gotten to know reader Kris Kayyal, a conversion rate expert who has been studying user experience and usability online for more than six years. He works with companies to help them increase conversion through a better understanding of their customers. In addition, he also owns his own site selling spy camera equipment where he obsesses over eCommerce conversion optimization.
I’m always striving to offer real-world eCommerce details and so I’m thrilled Kris has agreed to share some conversion optimization tips – and real-world test results – from his own store below.
Conversion optimization doesn’t have to be hard and time consuming. Dedicating just a few hours of focused testing a month can result in significantly more customers and revenue. Listed below are three conversion tests I ran on my own eCommerce site, My-SpyCam.com, and the effects they had on our conversion rates.
Watching recordings of customers interacting with your site can offer deep insights into potential problems and areas to improve conversion. Specifically, I studied customers in the checkout process and visitors who viewed a category page but left before clicking through to a product. Below is an actual video of a customer using my site along with some commentary on the issues I noticed. And yes, I’m fully aware of the irony of spying on folks shopping for spy equipment!
Some of the issues I discovered:
What I did to address them:
The result? A whopping 36.1% increase in conversions, which is a massive testing (and revenue) win! One of the great things about watching recordings is that is allows you discover problems quickly. Without it, I could have gone for months not knowing that the terms and conditions was causing frustration and cart abandonment.
Here’s how you can duplicate my experiment to increase conversions on your site:
IMPORTANT: You’ll want to use an A/B testing solution like Content Experiments inside Google Analytics or a paid service like Visual Website Optimizer to confirm that your changes actually improve conversion. It’s important to get validation with hard data vs. going with what you “think” will improves sales.
One question we frequently received from customers was “How will this purchase show up on my credit card statement?” As many customers use our products in an attempt to catch their spouse doing despicable things (cheating, lying, etc), they’re sensitive as to how the charge will appear on their shared statement. On the phone, we’ve always reassured customers that the charge will be discretely labeled, but we had never communicated that to customers who bought online. And online purchases make up the majority of our orders.
So we decided to test adding the following statement next to the fields for entering credit card information:
“The charge on your card will be discrete and show up as “MSC LLC”
The result of this one minor change? A 13.7% increase in conversions! That’s an impressive boost in sales just for adding one line of text, and it illustrates the power of knowing – and addressing – your customers biggest purchasing hesitations.
Here’s a high-level process you can get started with to do similar work on your site:
Simply watching customers silently use our site (like in Test #1) is useful, but we end up missing out on a lot of valuable data. Specifically, we only see what customers do and not why they do it. To really gain some valuable insights, you’ll want to conduct usability testing which allows you to get real-time feedback from people using your site.
Recruiting your friends and family as test participants is an option, but usually isn’t ideal. Why? They’ll may be too kind with their feedback as they don’t want to hurt your feelings, and probably already are familiar with your business. We want test subjects who don’t know us, will provide honest feedback and aren’t familiar with our site.
There’s lots of options for doing usability testing. A few include:
I conducted some basic usability testing – particularly focused on our home page – and discovered the following:
Based on these insights, we made the following changes:
And the result? These small changes to the homepage resulted in a 9.2% increase in conversion! Not quite as large as the other two, but still a solid improvement especially given our focus on one page. And these changes represented only a handful of items we’ll be working to fix. You can see the difference I made to the homepage below:
Ready for some full-blown usability testing on your own site? Here’s how to get started:
The great thing about conversion optimization is that the improvement you make compound on each other to increase sales. The three experiments I discussed resulted in conversion boosts of 36.1%, 13.7% and 9.2% which you might initially think is an overall improvement of 59.0%. But you’d be wrong! Instead, because each improvement stacks upon the previous one the actual increase in overall conversion is 69.0%! It’s the same concept that makes compounding interest so amazing.
Conversion optimization is powerful stuff. To increase my traffic by 69% would take an enormous amount of work or money. And yet, I was able to increase revenues by 69% relatively quickly with these conversion optimization techniques – a major profitability win.
What successes have you had with A/B testing and conversion optimization? Let me know in the comments below.
Co-written by Kris Kayyal and Andrew Youderian. Photo by 33mhz.