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Author: Paul Rouke

Paul Rouke

Paul started PRWD - a specialist Conversion Optimisation agency - over 10 years ago, after spending seven years working in usability and customer experience at the UK's largest home shopping business, Shop Direct Group.

Paul is regarded as one of the UK’s leading experts on conversion optimisation, regularly writing and contributing to a number of digital marketing publications including Econsultancy, as well as keynoting at a range of conferences worldwide.

His passion for delivering significant growth improvements for businesses means he still maintains a hands-on role in delivering client projects with recent clients including Moss Bros, Games Workshop, Lovehoney, Schuh, Harveys, Moneysupermarket & MBS.

Are these the best FAQs in the world by LINGsCARS?

FAQs can be found on many websites and typically they are presented in standard text format.

Maybe there is a suggestive search facility to aid the visitor’s ability to find relevant answers quickly and efficiently. 

But what if you wanted to make your FAQs more memorable, more unique and provide a reason for your visitors to use these rather than picking up the phone and asking customer services a question?

Enter stage left LINGsCARS and what are labelled “The best FAQs in the world!”

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Booking.com: the most persuasive selling page in the world?

In my last article, I asked whether Booking.com is the most persuasive website in the world.  

Now I want to provide more insights on how it is delivering content on a crucial page in the browsing journey: the hotel detail page. 

If you’d like to read more about the persuasive techniques used on the search results page, take a look at my article titled Booking.com improving conversion with best practice persuasive design.

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Is Booking.com the most persuasive website in the world?

One of the most important areas to invest time into is developing the persuasive layer of your online experience and deliver more reasons for your visitors to do what you want them to do.

In fact, I see persuasion as being one of the next big battlegrounds online.

As more websites are upping their game around the fundamentals of good user experience and usability principles they’re looking for the next area of growth and to gain competitive advantage. 

One brand I’ve paid particular attention to since 2009 has been Booking.com. I previously wrote a piece back in October 2011 about the wide range of persuasive techniques used on its search results page.

Since then Booking.com has continually evolved and refined its online experience, adding in new features, functionality and in particular using even more persuasive techniques.

In this article, which is the first in a series,  I’ve highlighted many of these newer features and provided tips and advice on how to apply these techniques to your business. 

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An arrow pointing upwards

Was 2013 the year of conversion optimization?

Twelve months on from writing “Will 2013 be the year of conversion rate optimization?” I’d like to follow up and share some answers and stories from what we saw in 2013.

One thing is clear, last year was absolutely the most progressive we have experienced, with a continued trend towards brands embracing a data driven, on-going optimization strategy.

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Andy Murray

What can retailers do to reduce returns rates?

I was recently involved in an online discussion (ecomchat) which started when the question was asked "how important is delivery, shipping & returns for retailers?".

I responded with a home truth based on all the 100's of hours of user research that we have conducted/are continually conducting for multichannel retailers. 

When a user/consumer has a choice of retailer from which to buy the product they are looking for, after price then it is almost always delivery options, delivery costs and then the returns proposition that are the three most important factors which influence buyer behaviour.

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Nixon responsive ecommerce screenshot

A responsive ecommerce masterclass from Nixon: part one

We are being asked more and more by our clients to provide support as they move towards responsive design. In particular our retail clients are aiming to deliver ‘best in class’ responsive ecommerce experiences for their visitors.

Couple this with them being committed to an optimisation strategy, and we are extremely excited about the potential to improve their online performance.

But the challenge is, with so few larger retailers with large product catalogues already having moved to a responsive design (and this doesn’t mean the ones that have are necessarily doing it well) where can inspiration be gained to deliver a best in class experience?

Enter stage left Nixon, which starts its about page text with ‘We make the little shit better’.

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Seeing the light, a photo by Paul Rouke

Will 2013 be the year of conversion optimisation?

For what feels like the last five years it has been predicted that "next year will be the year of mobile."

Well perhaps 2012 was finally that year in many aspects, and long live the multichannel shopper I say. So before I start seeing "2013 will be the year of the tablet", I'm hoping that 2013 will finally be the year of conversion optimisation.

To be more precise this is actually profit optimisation, but let’s not muddy the waters too much and just focus on the big C for now.

Here are the predictions from me and my team at PRWD for what 2013 has in store for the testing and optimisation industry. What do you think?

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The male brain - potentially

Eight online shopping behaviour traits of men

Like Johnny Depp was once quoted as saying, I’m fascinated by human behaviour, by what’s underneath the surface, by the words inside people.

By spending considerable time with people using different websites in both their natural and controlled research environments, I’m able to cater for this satisfaction.

As a follow up to my nine women x nine hours = nine usability insights article, I am sharing some of the most prevalent behavioural traits of men when shopping online.

There will always be some differences and many of these have been observed with female consumers, but this list is very much up-to-date and representative of the male population.

If men are part of your target audience, which of the behaviours traits are you triggering or avoiding to persuade them to buy from you?

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E-commerce persuasion techniques

Nine valuable techniques to persuade visitors to buy in 2012

More and more of our time is spent helping our clients not only make their online experiences more usable but developing a persuasion strategy that will run through their online customer journey.

In order for us to be able to develop these persuasive strategies, the majority of our time is spent one-to-one with consumers, understanding what motivates them, observing their online behaviour and understanding how they are influenced to buy online with one retailer over another.

With all this in mind, as a follow up to my previous article, Nine women x nine hours = nine usability insights, this article details an up-to-date list of nine of the most influential persuasive techniques, in no particular order, that retailers are using to encourage visitors to buy in 2012.

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Lings Cars

Lings Cars and the art of persuading visitors to buy

Now and again you see a website so different to the norm that you can’t help but be intrigued. Lings Cars reverses perfectly in to that space.

The easy option here would be for me give the site a good going over with a usability stick, but I wouldn’t be the first to do that and quite frankly I don’t want to have Ling Valentine breathing now my neck and boxing me into submission....

Instead, what I want to hopefully do in this article is identify a wide range of persuasive, psychologically rooted design techniques that this website uses to a) build trust and then b) encourage you to hire.

Stay with me on this, I know when you first see the site you may well have a WTF moment and wonder how anyone would/could find their way around the site, but if you don’t know already Ling shifts quite a few cars over the course of the year: £35m in 2010 in fact.

68 comments
ASOS proceed to checkout button

Persuasive checkout best practice from ASOS

As a follow-up to my earlier article, Shopping basket best practice from ASOS, I’ve taken a look at the updated ASOS checkout experience. It includes one change which has reduced their checkout abandonment rate by 50%.

The ASOS website delivers an excellent browsing and shopping experience, and I regularly feature examples from the retailer in my e-commerce best practice training courses.

The updated checkout continues this trend, as the earlier version certainly didn’t fit in well with their highly tuned shopping experience up to checkout.

This article will recap on what ASOS is doing well on its shopping basket, look at how it is handling new customer checkout, and the variety of persuasive checkout lessons we can take from them as well as identifying a few areas of improvement.

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Booking.com persuasive design elements

Booking.com: improving conversion with best practice persuasive design

Persuasive design is something that has been around for many many years, not least in the way high street stores and supermarkets lay out their stores to encourage and entice customers to buy as they arrive and walk around.

In the online world, PET (persuasion, emotion, trust) is an approach that was pioneered by Human Factors International, and alongside usability and user experience, designing with persuasion in mind is an extremely powerful approach to positively impact on conversion rates.

In my experience, one site which has persuasion rooted in its design, content and layout is Booking.com.  

In this article I provide a breakdown of some of the key persuasive elements that booking.com deliver.

33 comments