tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/conversion-rate-optimization Latest Conversion Rate Optimization content from Econsultancy 2016-12-08T10:00:00+00:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68610 2016-12-08T10:00:00+00:00 2016-12-08T10:00:00+00:00 How six retailers are using gift guides to inspire online shoppers Nikki Gilliland <p>But are these features really that helpful? Or are they just a way of fleshing out email editorial or pointing you towards the most expensive items online? </p> <p>(Forgive me - what’s Christmas without a healthy dose of cynicism.)</p> <p>Here’s how top retailers are using gift guides to inspire Christmas shoppers this year.</p> <h3>Firebox</h3> <p>Firebox is a brand that’s built around the premise of gift-giving.</p> <p>I mean, you might buy a bottle of scorpion-infused vodka for yourself... but you’re probably more inclined to get it for someone you mildly dislike.</p> <p>With a ‘Gift Finder’ tab as well as a separate one for ‘Christmas’, Firebox is clearly about helping consumers find what they’re looking for all year round.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2157/Firebox_Gift_Finder_1.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="424"></p> <p>The 'Christmas’ guide is nicely designed, separating categories into ‘Gifts for Her, Him’ etc. as well by different price ranges.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2158/Firebox_Guide_2.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="602"></p> <p>However, I actually prefer the standard Gift Guide.</p> <p>Mainly because it allows you to filter by personality type, including ones like ‘Procrastinator’, ‘Outdoorsy’ and even ‘Dirtbag’.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2160/Firebox_Gift_Finder_3.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="528"></p> <p>It’s a simple feature built on the brand's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67434-four-brands-with-a-brilliantly-funny-tone-of-voice/" target="_blank">humorous tone of voice</a>, but it's very effective. </p> <p>Why Firebox hasn’t created a Christmas themed one - for the ‘Scrooge’ or ‘charades cheater’ in your life - is beyond me.</p> <h3>Disney</h3> <p>I'm not sure whether a gift finder is necessary for a retailer like Disney. Surely it's already quite niche?</p> <p>Anyway, the 'gift finder' is prominently displayed with a dedicated tab on the homepage.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2179/Disney_Gift_Finder_tab.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="533"></p> <p>The tool itself turns out to be a pretty basic <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68070-eight-examples-of-fashion-ecommerce-product-filters-good-bad" target="_blank">filtering system</a>, allowing you to sort by categories like 'Movies and TV' and price.</p> <p>Very simple, but I guess it's helpful for narrowing down the options.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2180/Disney_Gift_Finder.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="694"></p> <h3>John Lewis</h3> <p>While it has curated various other categories, such as ‘Luxury Gifts for Him’, this year John Lewis has also designed an interactive gift finder.</p> <p>It allows you to first choose between eight different kinds of gifts, before helping you to narrow it down further by price.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2161/John_Lewis_gift_finder.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="438"></p> <p>The concept seems quite cool at first. However, the categories are quite specific, which means that if you fail to identify with things like ‘glitzy’ or ‘warm and cosy’, it’s a bit useless.</p> <p>That being said, the tool itself is pleasing to use, automatically filtering products as you go.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2162/Glitzy.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="774"></p> <p>The only other bugbear is that the results are a bit jumbled, with no option to sort by 'low to high' or type of item.</p> <h3>ASOS</h3> <p>I recently mentioned how ASOS is nicely <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68606-six-examples-of-christmas-email-marketing-from-fashion-retailers" target="_blank">promoting its Christmas gift guide in emails</a>, focusing on budget instead of category type.</p> <p>This approach is effective, and definitely helps customers to narrow down that huge array of options available on the site.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2163/ASOS_gift_guide.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="615"></p> <p>There’s nothing majorly original or impressive about it otherwise, and you could just use ASOS’s regular filtering function in the same way.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2164/ASOS_gift_guide_2.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="609"></p> <h3>Harrods</h3> <p>The Harrods Gift Guide is located in the site's dedicated Christmas section.</p> <p>Unsurprisingly, it has a focus on luxury, but overall it’s a bit lacklustre.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2173/Harrods_Christmas.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="578"></p> <p>Essentially, it just curates items into simplistic categories like ‘Gifts for Girls’ and ‘Stocking Fillers’, before allowing you to sort and filter further.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2174/Harrods_gift_guide.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="668"></p> <p>Nothing majorly inspirational, unfortunately, which is a shame when you compare the experience of shopping for gifts in the Harrods store.</p> <p>The results do include a prompt to remind customers about Christmas delivery dates, however, which is a helpful touch.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2182/Christmas_order_dates.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="544"></p> <h3><strong>Pandora</strong></h3> <p>Pandora is yet another example of a drop-down filter being promoted as a gift guide.</p> <p>Despite looking Christmassy, and being highlighted on the homepage, there's oddly no 'Christmas' option for the 'What Are You Celebrating?' question.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2181/Pandora_4.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="496"></p> <p>It's also quite basic to be honest.</p> <p>There is an option to add gifts to a wish list, which is handy for anyone who might want to shop around and come back again later.</p> <p>Or, if you're using the guide to sneakily leave hints for your other half. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2178/Pandora_3.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="630"></p> <p><em>More Christmas-related articles:</em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68552-why-lidl-s-xmas-social-price-drop-campaign-is-no-turkey/" target="_blank">Why Lidl's Xmas 'Social Price Drop' campaign is no turkey</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68540-how-four-uk-retailers-are-giving-consumers-the-vip-treatment-this-christmas/" target="_blank">How four UK retailers are giving consumers the ‘VIP’ treatment this Christmas</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68595-three-musts-for-online-retailers-to-prepare-for-the-last-minute-rush/" target="_blank">Three musts for online retailers to prepare for the last-minute rush</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68602 2016-12-05T13:59:00+00:00 2016-12-05T13:59:00+00:00 Brand Commerce: Navigating through online customer indecision Michael Sandstrom <p>As marketers we tend to think that abundance of choice in products is one of the key strengths of ecommerce.</p> <p>But without proper management and structure, this can become a hindrance and not necessarily result in more sales.</p> <p>For this article we will go through some of the most common reasons behind customer indecision and showcase the brands that are successfully circumventing them through active “Choice Reduction”.</p> <h3>Facing the tyranny of choice</h3> <p>Now faced with the possibility of finding and buying anything online, we see more and more customers unable to commit to making a purchase then and there.</p> <p>They instead become afflicted by choice paralysis. Unfortunately choice paralysis isn't something only suffered by your new customers. Even those that enter your site having already made a decision can find themselves inundated by all the options available to them and start to question whether theirs is the right one.</p> <p>In the worst-case scenario, the customers will leave the site and never re-enter the customer journey, instead reverting back to their existing shopping behaviour and just buy from the brand they normally do.</p> <p>This is because when we fear making a bad decision, we would often rather remove ourselves from the situation and make no decision at all. </p> <p>The answer to this is simple, albeit for many brands an impractical one; reduce choice paralysis by limiting the number of visible alternatives available to your consumers.</p> <p>When this isn't a possibility, there is a need to clearly differentiate between the different options available.  </p> <h3>Relatable product taxonomy</h3> <p>Up until recently, when visiting IKEA’s website you were served with over ten categories in the top navigation.</p> <p>In a more recent version rolled out as a test in September in the UK and Ireland, the Swedish furniture company moved towards a much clearer taxonomy, organising all the content under just four categories; ‘Products', ‘ Rooms’, ‘Ideas' and 'This is IKEA’. </p> <p>Allowing users to find products not only through ‘Products’ but also through ‘Rooms’ allows for a more natural categorisation of products.</p> <p>The addition of ‘Ideas’ to the mix allows the brand to bundle content while suggesting related products. All in all, providing the user with a simple and easy to navigate experience and an organisation of products more relatable to the customers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2063/IKEA_Customer_Indecision.png" alt="IKEA UK" width="700" height="436">    </p> <h3>Ending shopper procrastination</h3> <p>The introduction of shopping lists has allowed online shoppers to save products and make sense of the vast selections available from e-retailers such as ASOS.</p> <p>A tool initially designed to single out products, for many it ends up introducing both procrastination and complexity into the customer journey.</p> <p>Without a limit to amounts of products you can add to a list, you end up mimicking the main ecommerce experience, risking further choice paralysis. ASOS has introduced some limitations to its lists, namely only allowing products on the list for 60 days before being automatically removed.</p> <p>There are also some other examples e-retailers can learn from. One such example is Priority, O2’s deal oriented app for its subscribers.</p> <p>For many of the deals run on the app, O2 cleverly links discounts and rewards with time limits. Before choosing to redeem an offer, users are warned that they have a limited amount of time to use said offer.</p> <p>By adding <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64420-now-now-now-five-quick-ways-to-create-consumer-urgency/">a sense of urgency</a>, the app pushes the user to commit to the purchase and cuts down on potential procrastination.</p> <p>This same mechanic can be adapted to e-retailers as well. For example, in cases of prolonged user inactivity, by triggering time limited discounts or free shipping if the purchase is completed within a pre-determined time frame.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2064/O2_Customer_Indecision.png" alt="O2 Priority" width="700" height="525"> </p> <h3><strong>Removing the last obstacles</strong></h3> <p>When asked in research done by <a href="http://baymard.com/lists/cart-abandonment-rate" target="_blank">Baymard Institute</a>, 61% of customers declare extra costs as the key reason behind abandoning their online shopping cart.</p> <p>For many e-commerce sites, shipping costs, insurance and other things are hidden until the last minute. While it might be to mask and lower the perceived cost of making an online purchase, these operators are in fact undermining themselves.</p> <p>Others such as the fashion brand Reiss are instead upfront with their extra costs. On Reiss’ website, the brand clearly states the different levels of shipping available and the cost the customer can expect. The brand also allows those more concerned with shipping costs to collect their purchase in store. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2066/Reiss_Hidden_Costs_Choice_Reduction.png" alt="Reiss UK" width="700" height="345"> </p> <p>In the same study, 24% of respondents say they abandoned their cart because they couldn't see the final cost upfront. ASOS counteracts this by allowing the customer to change the type (and cost) of delivery from a dropdown in the shopping basket.</p> <p>At the same time, through a notification ASOS cleverly tries to trigger the customer into a sale by offering a next-day delivery promo code.</p> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2069/ASOS_Hidden_Costs_Choice_Reduction.png" alt="ASOS" width="700" height="451"></p> <p>While there are several other very effective tactics such as retargeting ads and basket reminder emails, these should be seen more as remedies to treat symptoms and not as relevant solutions to the problem; getting more people to commit to a purchase while on your site.</p> <p>The methods referenced are some of the simplest and easy-to-implement ways of removing customer indecision from your customer's journey and nudging them into making a purchase.</p> <p>Ultimately it comes down to “Choice Reduction”, one of the key sales triggers in <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68176-brand-commerce-a-new-planning-model-for-marketers/" target="_self">our new planning model for marketers</a>. </p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68394 2016-10-11T14:57:00+01:00 2016-10-11T14:57:00+01:00 CRO: Four key factors for increasing conversion rates Nikki Gilliland <p>Here are four key factors that contribute to improved conversion rates:</p> <h3>Increased budgets </h3> <p>Our research found that over half of companies plan to increase their CRO budgets over the course of the next year.</p> <p>This increased investment means that many will be in the position to experiment more with techniques and strive to deliver better results.</p> <p>With 73% of those who have already increased their CRO budget seeing improved conversion rates, there appears to be a clear correlation between investment and result.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0236/figure56.png" alt="" width="780" height="563"></p> <h3>A structured approach</h3> <p>Without a strategy in place and clear goals in mind, conversion rate optimization can prove overwhelming.</p> <p>As a result, it is important for companies to undertake a structured approach to collecting data and understanding customer pain points – i.e. where and why they might abandon the site. </p> <p>By breaking down these different areas, the best optimization ideas and opportunities can arise.</p> <p>In terms of results, 35% of companies now say they take a structured approach to improving conversion rates, with 52% seeing a significant increase in sales from adopting this type of framework. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0237/figure66.png" alt="" width="780" height="576"></p> <h3>Regular testing</h3> <p>Alongside 60% and 53% of responding companies deeming A/B and multivariate testing the most valuable, there has also been an increase in the frequency of testing undertaken.</p> <p>Currently, 11% of companies are likely to say they run testing at least three times a month.</p> <p>Despite this, there is room for improvement in the type of tests run, with the most complex and sophisticated programmes seeing the best results. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0234/figure28.png" alt="" width="780" height="580"></p> <h3>Greater personalization</h3> <p>Despite personalization being the most difficult method for improving conversion rates (a factor which might be behind the slight decline in those using it) – it is still one of the most valuable.</p> <p>More than half (56%) of companies consider personalization of a website ‘highly valuable’.</p> <p>A key tactic is using customer engagement data to devise personalised experiences, so it is encouraging to see that companies are 23% more likely to implement this into their strategies than they were last year.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0235/figure46.png" alt="" width="780" height="579"></p> <p>For more on this topic, you can download the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-rate-optimization-report-2016/" target="_blank">full report here.</a>  </p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68331 2016-10-11T14:13:00+01:00 2016-10-11T14:13:00+01:00 An in-depth analysis of how Expedia converts visitors into customers: Part two Duraid Shaihob <p>Let's begin...</p> <h3>Scenario #3: Organic social media traffic</h3> <h4>The Situation</h4> <p>Our Texas man now decides to skip Google search altogether. Instead, he casually browses Twitter for news and a bit of travel inspiration.</p> <p>That’s when he stumbles upon this tweet from Expedia:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0138/expedia_chat.png" alt="" width="700" height="655"></p> <p>And lands on this page:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0139/expedia_landing_page.png" alt="" width="700" height="340"> </p> <p>How does Expedia turns this visitor into a customer? </p> <p>Let’s find out.</p> <h3>The landing page</h3> <p>On Expedia’s Twitter profile, the homepage advertised isn’t Expedia.com; it’s viewfinder.expedia.com - Expedia’s travel blog.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0140/expedia_blog.png" alt="" width="750" height="373"> </p> <p>There are no direct prompts, pop-ups or links to turn traffic from the blog into customers. Instead, the blog is focused more on building the Expedia brand.</p> <p>Landing on the blog, you see that there’s a separate tab for “Destinations”. One of the destinations listed here is New York City:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0141/expedia_viewfinder.png" alt="" width="559" height="528"> </p> <p>Clicking on this link in the dropdown menu, you see a list of blog posts for different things to do in NYC:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0142/expedia_nyc.png" alt="" width="750" height="335"></p> <p>Note that there still isn’t a call-to-action here - the goal of this blog is to educate and entertain users, not to push them products.</p> <p>Once you click on a blog post, however, you see two things:</p> <p><strong>1.</strong> A hotel deal highlighted in the sidebar (although for some reason, this post shows a deal for Salt Lake City, not New York City).</p> <p><strong>2.</strong> A link to ‘New York City’ within the first paragraph of the post.</p> <h3> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0143/expedia_nyc_2.png" alt="" width="750" height="412"> </h3> <h3>Selecting a flight</h3> <p>If you click on the ‘New York City’ link in the blog post, you’ll land on the flight booking page:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0144/expedia_new_york_vacations.png" alt="" width="750" height="352"> </p> <p>Two things to note here:</p> <ul> <li>The default landing page is “Bundle Deals”, not flights or hotels.</li> <li>The landing page title is “New York Vacations”. </li> </ul> <p>Expedia assumes that since the user is coming in from the blog, he is looking for vacation packages and not just a separate hotel/flight deal.</p> <p>The landing page is heavily customized to focus on New York City. There’s a short description and custom video about the Big Apple:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0145/expedia_new_york_packages.png" alt="" width="750" height="373"></p> <p>A travel guide:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0146/expedia_nyc_travel_guide.png" alt="" width="750" height="300"> </p> <p>And a list of top rated hotels and flight deals:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0148/expedia_top_deals.png" alt="" width="750" height="426"> </p> <p>The landing page ends with a CTA for booking flights/hotels/rental cars:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0149/expedia_cta.png" alt="" width="750" height="78"> </p> <h3>Searching for a flight/hotel</h3> <p>Since the landing page is for “New York Vacations” and not just flight tickets, using the search takes us to a different landing page for selecting a hotel and a flight:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0150/expedia_page_1.png" alt="" width="750" height="431"></p> <p>This is pretty much a masterclass in conversion optimized design:</p> <p><strong>1. Upsell:</strong> Expedia subtly reminds you that you can have a more comfortable trip by upgrading your flight class.</p> <p>Since Expedia knows that you are searching for vacation packages, comfort and not cost is likely your top concern.</p> <p><strong>2. Countdown Timer:</strong> The “Deal of the Day” with the countdown timer is a great way to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64333-what-is-scarcity-marketing-and-should-you-use-it/">show scarcity</a> and compel action.</p> <p><strong>3. Social Proof:</strong> By showing the number of people viewing a listing right now, and the total number of reviews, Expedia gives you <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65722-18-highly-effective-examples-of-social-proof-in-ecommerce/">social proof</a> of the hotel’s quality.</p> <p><strong>4. Scarcity:</strong> “Only 2 tickets left” is a good example of how Expedia uses scarcity (real or artificial) to compel action.</p> <p>After you select a hotel, you’ll be asked to pick a room on a new page:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0151/expedia_sofitel_page.png" alt="" width="750" height="365"> </p> <p>Note the number of ratings/reviews on this page. Expedia has collected reviews from Tripadvisor, its own platform, as well as a “% Recommended” rating.</p> <p>All of this is compelling social proof for choosing a hotel. After all, research shows that travelers <a href="http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/hotel_guests_read_6_12_reviews_before_booking_says_tripadvisor_survey">read up to 12 reviews before selecting a hotel</a>.</p> <p>If you want further proof of the hotel’s quality, you can scroll down further and see “Verified Reviews” from Expedia’s own customers:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0152/expedia_reviews.png" alt="" width="750" height="375"></p> <p>After you’ve selected a hotel, you’ll be asked to select a flight for your vacation package.</p> <p>This page is decidedly different from the flight selection pages we saw earlier. However, these changes are largely cosmetic; the user experience remains largely the same.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0153/expedia_sofitel_upsell.png" alt="" width="750" height="465"> </p> <p>There’s not much to note here except for the “Best Price Guarantee” banner and textbox, as well as the “Only 3 Tickets Left” scarcity alert.</p> <h3>Booking the flight/hotel</h3> <p>Once you’ve selected the departing and returning flight, you’ll have to confirm the booking.</p> <p>This page is again different from the flight confirmation pages we saw earlier:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0154/expedia_sofitel_3.png" alt="" width="750" height="408"></p> <p>There’s the usual “Best Price Guarantee” banner and the scarcity push at the top of the page, but we’ve covered that already.</p> <p>There’s also a visual indicator of your savings - something most retailers now do as standard.</p> <p>However, there are a lot of upsells here as well. Scroll further down the page and you’ll see upsells for car rentals:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0155/expedia_sofitel_4.png" alt="" width="750" height="312"></p> <p>Followed by upsells for different local activities:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0156/expedia_sofitel_5.png" alt="" width="750" height="618"></p> <p>And just before you click the ‘Continue Booking’ button, you’ll see a prompt to purchase travel insurance as well - something Expedia seems to push heavily for most customers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0157/expedia_sofitel_6.png" alt="" width="750" height="143"></p> <h3>Paying for the flight</h3> <p>After entering the passenger information, you’ll be taken to the payment page.</p> <p>This is similar to the payment page we saw earlier, except now the travel insurance upsell is pitched even more strongly:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0158/expedia_flight_booking.png" alt="" width="750" height="408"></p> <p>Besides the conversion-focused design and copy choices we covered earlier, there are a few more things that stand out here:</p> <ul> <li>The “Don’t Miss Out!” FOMO warning is highlighted in an even bolder text.</li> <li>The more expensive insurance - $53/person - gets prime screen real estate, as well as more compelling copy and visually arresting design (bold text, yellow checkboxes, and green background).</li> <li>Notice the “Most Popular” tag right next to the more expensive insurance package.</li> </ul> <p>The rest of the payment page is still the same with a simplified payment process and a prompt to create an Expedia+ account.</p> <h4>On to paid channels...</h4> <p>That covers the customer journey for users coming in from one social channel - Twitter.</p> <p>This leaves all users acquired through paid advertising. So below, we’ll see how Expedia captures and converts PPC traffic. </p> <h3>Scenario #4: Paid search traffic (AdWords)</h3> <h4>The Situation</h4> <p>We’re back to our Texas guy, except that he’s now abandoned social media as well. Instead, he goes back to look up flights to NYC on Google.</p> <p>Because he just wants to book flight tickets, he starts off by searching for “flight tickets”.</p> <p>One of the first (paid) results he sees is Expedia:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0159/expedia_paid_search.png" alt="" width="750" height="445"></p> <p>Let’s see how Expedia converts this visitor into a customer.</p> <h3>The landing page</h3> <p>After clicking on the ad shown above, this is the page you’ll see:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0161/expedia_paid_search_landing_page.png" alt="" width="750" height="285"></p> <p>This is exactly the same as the search feature on the Expedia homepage which I’ve already covered before.</p> <h3>Using search</h3> <p>After entering your flight route, and hitting ‘Search’, you’ll see the same flight selection page as you saw earlier.</p> <p>Interestingly, if you’ve stopped by this page before, you might see an alert notifying you of any price changes, like this:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0160/expedia_paid_search_3.png" alt="" width="750" height="293"></p> <h3>Booking the flight</h3> <p>Once you select a flight, you’ll see a flight summary on the next page:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0162/expedia_paid_search_4.png" alt="" width="750" height="392"></p> <p>This is just like the page earlier (note the “41 people…” social proof pop-up). </p> <p>The rest of the booking process is just the same, so I won’t dive deeper into it.</p> <p>What this breakdown shows is that Expedia uses the same process to convert a user from paid search as it does for an organically acquired user.</p> <p>There is, however, another popular paid channel for getting customers: Facebook.</p> <p>In the final scenario, let’s look at how Expedia captures and converts users through remarketing on Facebook.</p> <h3>Scenario #5: Facebook ads traffic </h3> <h4>The situation</h4> <p>The allure of Facebook’s distraction-machine is ever constant, even for our Texas guy booking a flight to New York.</p> <p>Instead of finalizing his purchase, he decides to look at what his friends are doing on Facebook.</p> <p>After scrolling through his feed, he sees a familiar logo as a “sponsored post”:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0163/expedia_facebook_ad.png" alt="" width="750" height="772"></p> <p>This ad is a result of Expedia’s remarketing efforts. Expedia tracks every user on its site and knows when someone skips out on a purchase.</p> <p>Thanks to retargeting, it can reach these people again as they browse the web, particularly on Facebook.</p> <p>How does Expedia convert this user into a customer? Let’s take a look.</p> <h3>The landing page</h3> <p>Let’s take a look at Expedia’s Facebook ad again:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0163/expedia_facebook_ad.png" alt="" width="750" height="772"></p> <p>Expedia knows that the last hotel you looked at was Hotel Sofitel in NYC when you were searching for vacation packages.</p> <p>So this is the first hotel it shows you in the Facebook ad.</p> <p>Clicking this hotel’s link takes you straight to the hotel booking page. Here you’ll have to enter the date of your journey to see room prices:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0165/expedia_facebook_ad_3.png" alt="" width="750" height="441"></p> <p>Take note of the alerts at the bottom of the page. These act as social proof, showing the customer that there are actual people viewing and booking this hotel.</p> <h3>Booking the hotel</h3> <p>Once you’ve selected the dates, you’ll be taken to the room selection page.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0166/expedia_facebook_ad_4.png" alt="" width="750" height="356"></p> <p>Interestingly, instead of highlighting the more expensive option for $520 (which even has a ‘sale’ tag on it), Expedia pushes the $468 option.</p> <p>Also note the “It only takes 2 minutes” label right below the booking button - Expedia wants to assure you that booking the hotel wouldn’t eat into half your day.</p> <p>Once you hit the ‘Book’ button, Expedia will ask whether you want to pay online or at the hotel itself.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0167/expedia_facebook_ad_5.png" alt="" width="750" height="373"> </p> <p>Choosing the online payment option takes you to the payment page:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0168/expedia_facebook_ad_6.png" alt="" width="750" height="638"></p> <p>You’ve seen this page before, but I still want to highlight a few things:</p> <p><strong>1.</strong> Scarcity trigger at the top of the page compels action. Expedia asks you to “act fast” else the price of the hotel might change.</p> <p><strong>2.</strong> Sign-in bribe in the form of Expedia+ gives users a reason to sign-up for an Expedia account.</p> <p><strong>3.</strong> Social proof reassures customers that others have booked this hotel recently.</p> <p><strong>4.</strong> Security assurance right before customers enter their payment information helps negate customer fears.</p> <h3>The end... </h3> <p>So that’s it for Expedia’s Facebook ads conversion strategy - at least one of them.</p> <p>Understand that a company like Expedia would likely have hundreds, if not thousands of <a href="https://www.marketizator.com/blog/e-commerce-funnel.html">conversion funnels</a>. You’ll likely see different variations of the pages above if you were to go through this exercise yourself.</p> <p>What you should take away from this teardown is how Expedia uses conversion focused design, copywriting and psychology tactics such as scarcity and social proof to convert visitors into customers.</p> <p>These principles hold true across verticals. It doesn’t matter whether you’re running a three-person startup selling shoes or a billion dollar ecommerce store, you can use the same CRO principles to increase conversion rates.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, see:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-rate-optimization-report/"><em>Conversion Rate Optimization Report 2016</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64210-what-is-conversion-rate-optimisation-cro-and-why-do-you-need-it/"><em>What is conversion rate optimisation (CRO) and why do you need it?</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/conversion-rate-optimization/"><em>Conversion Rate Optimization Training</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4263 2016-10-05T12:00:00+01:00 2016-10-05T12:00:00+01:00 Conversion Rate Optimization Report 2016 <p>This is the eighth annual Econsultancy <strong>Conversion Rate Optimization Report</strong>, in association with <strong><a href="http://www.redeye.com/">RedEye</a></strong>.</p> <p>The research looks at the types of conversion strategies and tactics organizations are using, in addition to the tools and processes employed for improving conversion rates.</p> <p>As well as touching on the use and impact of personalization, the report explores different areas of best practice and identifies methods and techniques which are most valuable for improving conversion rates.</p> <p>The aim is to provide data and a framework to help companies invest their time and resources as effectively as possible by examining which methods and processes are most likely to yield results.</p> <h2>What you'll learn</h2> <ul> <li>Find out the types of conversions and measurements organizations are using and the best practices that shape them.</li> <li>Discover the most valuable methods used to improve conversion rates and the methods organizations will be using in the future.</li> <li>Understand how companies are using personalization as part of their CRO efforts and the effect this has on conversions.</li> <li>Benchmark your organization's approach to CRO using the Conversion Maturity Model.</li> <li>The six key factors contributing to CRO success.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Download a copy of the report to learn more.</strong></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68330 2016-09-27T10:20:00+01:00 2016-09-27T10:20:00+01:00 An in-depth analysis of how Expedia converts visitors into customers: Part one Duraid Shaihob <p>One of the largest travel sites in the world, Expedia and its subsidiaries (which include Hotels.com, Trivago, HomeAway and Travelocity) help millions of travelers find flights and hotels every month.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-rate-optimization-report/">Conversion rate optimization</a> is a major concern for a business as large as Expedia’s.</p> <p>When you’re dealing with tens of millions of transactions every year, even a 0.2% bump in conversion rates can translate into millions in extra revenue.</p> <p>For obvious reasons, there’s a lot you can learn about CRO best practices and innovations by understanding how Expedia turns visitors into customers. </p> <p>Paul Rouke, Founder &amp; CEO at PRWD previously wrote about <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64681-is-booking-com-the-most-persuasive-website-in-the-world/">Booking.com being the most persuasive website in the world</a>, and after using Expedia for the first time, I think it also deserves to be ranked among the best in the business.</p> <p>In the first of two posts, I’ll do an in-depth teardown of Expedia.com and show you how it converts traffic coming in from two different channels - organic search and direct type-ins.</p> <p>Part two, due to be published next week, will focus on traffic from <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/paid-search-marketing-ppc-best-practice-guide/">PPC</a> and social (organic and paid).</p> <h3>Expedia: Then vs. Now</h3> <p>Expedia was founded in October 1996, which makes it one of the oldest travel sites online.</p> <p>Here’s how the site looked like at launch:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9491/expedia_1996.png" alt="" width="800" height="573"></p> <p>The site did not even have a search box when it was launched, let alone a flight booking facility. </p> <p>This is a far cry from the slick, conversion-optimized website that greets you today:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9492/expedia_1.png" alt="" width="800" height="446"></p> <p>If you’ve hung out on any CRO focused websites, a few things about the Expedia.com site will jump out immediately:</p> <p><strong>1.</strong> <strong>Highly noticeable CTAs:</strong> Both the “Search” button and the top “Hello bar” are in a bright shade of yellow.</p> <p>This grabs attention as soon as you land on the site, especially when contrasted against the blue/gray colors.</p> <p><strong>2.</strong> <strong>Non-intrusive navigation:</strong> The navigation menu doesn’t necessarily grab attention. Instead, the entire focus of the site is on the flight/hotel booking area.</p> <p><strong>3. Distinctive notifications:</strong> The notification icon in the top navigation menu has a distinctive red color and a clear “alarm” icon.</p> <p>You can’t really land on the homepage without noticing it.</p> <p><strong>4. Above the fold:</strong> All the important information - booking a flight, checking out different deals , etc. - is above the fold.</p> <p>In fact, you don’t even have to scroll down the page to book a ticket or a hotel room.</p> <p>There are plenty of other tactics Expedia uses to grab and focus user attention, as you’ll see later.</p> <h3>How Expedia Converts Visitors in Different Scenarios</h3> <p>As a large travel site, Expedia gets its users from search, social, referrals, direct type-ins and paid channels. </p> <p>How Expedia tailors its user experience for visitors coming in from each of these channels can teach you a lot about CRO.</p> <p>For example, on Expedia’s Twitter handle, the company promotes <a href="https://viewfinder.expedia.com/">its blog</a> instead of the main website.</p> <p>It also promotes its other social channels such as Snapchat through pinned tweets and custom logos.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9493/expedia_twitter.png" alt="" width="800" height="472"></p> <p>This is very different from the company’s Facebook page where it promotes its main site, Expedia.com:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9494/expedia_twitter_2.png" alt="" width="800" height="527"></p> <p>Below, I’ll breakdown the user experience for different channels and show you how Expedia maximizes conversion rates for organic search, social, and direct traffic.</p> <h3>Scenario #1: Direct Traffic to Expedia.com</h3> <h4>The Situation</h4> <p>Imagine that you’re a 35-year-old man from Texas. For an upcoming anniversary, you want to treat your wife to a vacation in New York.</p> <p>Since you’ve seen dozens of Expedia ads on TV, you decide to give Expedia a try to book flights. </p> <p>Thanks to the constant advertising, you have strong recall for the Expedia website. So instead of search, you type in Expedia.com directly into your browser.</p> <p>Here’s how Expedia turns such a user into a customer:</p> <h3>The landing page</h3> <p>When you land on Expedia.com, this is the page that greets you:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9495/expedia_landing_page.png" alt="" width="700" height="384"></p> <p>Four things to note here:</p> <p><strong>1.</strong> <strong>The default open tab is flight + hotel “Bundle Deals”. </strong></p> <p>This is more profitable for OTAs (Online Travel Agencies - like Expedia or Booking.com) since they get to sell not one but two products - a hotel and a flight.</p> <p>It’s also better value for customers since they can often get bundled deals. </p> <p><strong>2. “Hello Bar” promotes sign-ups</strong></p> <p>You’ll notice that there is no “sign-up” button anywhere on the homepage.</p> <p>To find this link, you have to click on “Account”, then “Sign-in” to get to the login page.</p> <p>The only other sign-in prompt is at the top of the page on the yellow Hello Bar.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9497/expedia_3.png" alt="" width="800" height="256"> </p> <p>This is something Expedia shares with most of its subsidiaries.</p> <p>For example, here’s Travelocity’s navigation bar:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9498/expedia_5.png" alt="" width="800" height="241"></p> <p>And here’s Orbitz’s navigation:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9499/orbitz_nav.png" alt="" width="717" height="261"></p> <p>Clearly, this is a strategy that’s working for Expedia.</p> <p><strong>3. The notification icon in the navigation menu</strong></p> <p>This icon tells visitors about the “My Scratchpad” feature.</p> <p>This has been a big part of the conversion rate optimization push at Expedia. I’ll show you how it works later.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9500/expedia_notification.png" alt="" width="645" height="207"></p> <p><strong>4. The app download incentive</strong></p> <p>Expedia offers customers points for using its service, called “Expedia+ points”.</p> <p>You can redeem these points for tickets and hotel rooms on the platform (you can also donate these points for cash to St. Jude Children’s Hospital for charity).</p> <p>To incentivize downloads of the Expedia mobile app, the company features a banner for the app on its homepage. Plus, it gives you 3x more points for using the app.</p> <p>Clicking on this text banner takes you to <a href="https://www.expedia.com/app?mcicid=USTriple2">a landing page that promotes the mobile app features</a>, reviews, etc.</p> <p>Expedia also gives users a $25 off coupon for the first hotel booking through the app.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9501/expedia_coupon.png" alt="" width="800" height="304"></p> <p>These incentives can compel new users to try out a new app.</p> <p>In fact, research shows that besides recommendations from family and friends and personalized offers, such one-time offers are one of the biggest reasons for trying out new apps.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9502/bar_graph.png" alt="" width="859" height="509"></p> <p><a href="http://skift.com/2014/12/19/what-travels-top-ceos-have-to-say-about-consumers-mobile-habits/">As per Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshah</a>i, roughly 40% of Expedia’s users are booking across multiple devices.</p> <p>Incentivizing mobile app downloads with coupons and reward points is a big part of the company’s strategy to capture users on smaller screens.</p> <h3><strong>Using Expedia's search tool</strong></h3> <p>Let’s say that instead of flights + hotels, you only want to book a flight ticket from Expedia.</p> <p>So you click on the ‘Flights’ tab and enter your preferences:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9503/expedia_search.png" alt="" width="700" height="380"></p> <p>Note that you can also select ‘Add a Hotel’ and ‘Add a Car’ to expand your search beyond flights.</p> <p>As Expedia starts the search process, this is what you see:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9504/expedia_6.png" alt="" width="800" height="439"></p> <p>Take note of three things here:</p> <p><strong>1. A progress bar shows the status of the search</strong></p> <p>This is a neat UI/UX touch that not only cues in visitors to the status of the search, but also discourages people from abandoning a lengthy search.</p> <p><strong>2. The “Price Alerts” modal on MyScratchpad</strong></p> <p>As soon as you start the search, a Javascript modal box pops up telling you that the “search has been saved in your Scratchpad”, and that by clicking the bright yellow button, you can “Get Price Alerts”.</p> <p>What is the Scratchpad? Think of Scratchpad as a digital notepad for planning your travels (Expedia even calls it that in its marketing docs).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9505/scratchpad.png" alt="" width="800" height="446"></p> <p>This “digital notepad” keeps track of all your searches and gives you the option to get fare alerts for a particular search. </p> <p>More importantly, this scratchpad retains its information even as you move across devices.</p> <p>This means you can start your search on your laptop, then switch to the smartphone and still find all your old searches.</p> <p>As Expedia’s CEO explains:</p> <blockquote> <p>So ScratchPad is really a framework that we’ve built. We are going to take it across devices as far as push notifications.</p> <p>You can imagine appending searches. If you’ve done a bunch of flight searches, you might be able to append them, send them to your wife, share them socially.</p> </blockquote> <p>For obvious reasons, this is good for conversions. </p> <p><strong>3. “Why shop with us” benefits list</strong></p> <p>OTAs have a big problem on their hands: they have no real way to differentiate themselves. </p> <p>It doesn’t matter whether you go to Travelocity or Booking.com or Expedia - you’re still going to buy the same end-product - a flight ticket or a hotel room.</p> <p>The only way travel sites can differentiate themselves is through the quality of their services, better prices, and low fees.</p> <p>This is exactly what this section hopes to accomplish - by telling users exactly why they should choose Expedia over competitors.</p> <h3>Booking a Flight</h3> <p>After selecting a flight by clicking “Continue”, you will be taken to another similar page to select the return flight.</p> <p>Once you’ve selected the flight, Expedia prompts you to book a hotel as well to get steep discounts:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9507/expedia_booking_a_flight.png" alt="" width="800" height="260"></p> <p>Combined with the default open tab on “Flights + Hotels”, this is another example of Expedia’s core strategy to upsell hotels along with flights.</p> <p>After you click through, you’ll be taken to the checkout page.</p> <p>Lots of interesting things happening here:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9508/expedia_booking.png" alt="" width="800" height="439"></p> <p><strong>1. “Best value flights” prompt</strong></p> <p>This prompt (note the green color and the checkmark) congratulates you on selecting the right flight.</p> <p>Then it asks you to “book now” so you get the best possible price.</p> <p><strong>2. Correct flight departure</strong></p> <p>In my case, I’m landing at LGA but departing from EWR.</p> <p>Expedia helpfully warns me about it - in highly noticeable red text, no less.</p> <p><strong>3. Hotel prompt</strong></p> <p>Once again, Expedia upsells a hotel package.</p> <p>There’s a simple reason for the aggressive upselling - <a href="http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2016-01-12/news/69704913_1_hotel-segment-hotel-chains-market-share">hotels offer OTAs 10-15% margins</a>, vs. just 5% for flight bookings.</p> <p><strong>4. “34 people book a flight…”</strong></p> <p>This prompt acts as social proof - one of the foundational principles of persuasion - by showing that there are plenty of others (34, to be exact) who’ve booked the exact same flight.</p> <p><strong>5. Upsell for Expedia credit card</strong></p> <p>Yet another upsell, this time for an Expedia Voyage credit card that will not only help you score great travel deals, but also get you 25,000 Expedia+ points.</p> <p>Since the user is already somewhat committed to the purchase, this is a good place to upsell this credit card.</p> <p><strong>6. Best Price Guarantee</strong></p> <p>Expedia “guarantees” the best possible price (<a href="https://www.expedia.com/p/info-other/guarantees#1">here’s the page explaining how</a>).</p> <p>In fact, if you find a lower price than Expedia’s, the company will pay you the difference and give you a $50 coupon.</p> <p>Again, this helps assure customers that they’re getting the best possible deal.</p> <p><strong>7. “Best Value”</strong></p> <p>More pats on the customer’s back for picking the flight that offers the best value.</p> <p>Expedia wants to make you feel that you were smart enough to pick the right flight (and not that Expedia picked the flight for you).</p> <p>Giving the customer agency this way can help improve conversion rates.</p> <p>After reviewing the price, you can continue the purchase by clicking the appropriately named button - “Continue Booking”.</p> <p>On this page, you’ll be asked for the passenger details.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9509/expedia_passenger_details.png" alt="" width="800" height="633"></p> <p>Besides the points noted above, a few more things stand out here:</p> <p><strong>1. Sign-in prompt</strong></p> <p>Expedia wants to convert more of its browsers into users. To do this, it offers customers bonus “Expedia points” for signing-in. </p> <p><strong>2. “Prices not guaranteed” </strong></p> <p>This can serve both as a warning and an incentive.</p> <p>It tells users that the prices shown on the page are not “guaranteed” until they actually book it.</p> <p>So if they want to lock in the savings, they better finish the booking process fast.</p> <p><strong>3. No navigation bar </strong></p> <p>Like the previous checkout page, the only navigation link here is the “Sign-in” button.</p> <p>All other navigational elements have been removed to focus on converting users.</p> <p><strong>4. “Breadcrumbs” navigation</strong></p> <p>This navigation menu helps guide users through the checkout process. Note the use of icons next to the text.</p> <p><strong>5. “Secure transmission”</strong></p> <p>A gray lock icon and a security declaration helps reassure customers that their data isn’t going to get lost - a big concern after the number of major companies losing customer data after breaches (most famously, the Target data breach).</p> <p><strong>6. Hotel upsell</strong></p> <p>Notice that in this upsell, Expedia gives you an exact figure for how much you can save on hotels by booking it with your flight tickets.</p> <p>Giving exact figures works better since they sound more “real” than rounded figures like “50% off”.</p> <p>In the case of pricing, for example, the lack of “roundedness” <a href="http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.1086/678484?searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3Dthis%2Bnumber%2Bjust%2Bfeels%2Bright%26amp%3Bacc%3Doff%26amp%3Bwc%3Don%26amp%3Bfc%3Doff%26amp%3Bgroup%3Dnone&amp;resultItemClick=true&amp;Search=yes&amp;searchText=this&amp;searchText=number&amp;searchText=just&amp;searchText=feels&amp;searchText=right&amp;uid=3739696&amp;uid=2134&amp;uid=2&amp;uid=70&amp;uid=4&amp;uid=3739256&amp;sid=21106111788201">improves conversion rates for rational purchases such as flight tickets</a>.</p> <h3>Paying for the flight</h3> <p>After you enter the passenger details, you’ll be taken to the payment page. This is the moment of truth - every step in the customer’s journey has been leading up to this.</p> <p>Expedia uses this page to maximize its earnings by heavily promoting an upsell: a $20 travel insurance policy.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9511/expedia_paying_for_the_flight.png" alt="" width="800" height="459"></p> <p>Keep in mind that Expedia doesn’t charge a transaction fee to users.</p> <p>Whatever money it makes, it makes through upsells and by charging hotels and airlines a commission.</p> <p>By pushing an insurance policy, Expedia can dramatically increase the amount of money it makes from every customer.</p> <p>How it promotes this offer is an exercise in conversion optimized design. From clever use of color to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/online-copywriting/">smart copywriting</a>, Expedia pulls out all the guns to get people to buy more.</p> <p>Let’s take a look at everything Expedia is doing here:</p> <p><strong>1. Fear of Missing Out</strong></p> <p>FoMO (Fear of Missing Out) is a well documented psychological phenomenon where people are compelled to do something just because it might not be available later.</p> <p>Expedia takes advantage of that by boldly asking customers to not “Miss Out” on this deal. A clock icon and red text adds to the effect.</p> <p><strong>2. Loss aversion</strong></p> <p>On the surface, this list of reasons looks innocuous enough. Dig deeper, however, and you’ll notice how they all focus on negativity - loss, sickness, medical emergencies.</p> <p>This plays into <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loss_aversion">the psychological phenomenon of loss aversion</a>, where people are motivated more by losing something than making new gains.</p> <p><strong>3. Purchase affirmation + negative opt-out</strong></p> <p>Here, Expedia makes “Yes” the default choice. It also phrases the purchase as protection (“I want to protect my trip”) and not as insurance.</p> <p>The statement - “Expedia protects over 1 million flight travelers a year” - works as social proof.</p> <p>If 1m people are buying insurance every year, surely they all can’t be wrong?</p> <p>Also note the checkmark next to this statement. The choice is also highlighted by clever use of color - green is frequently <a href="http://adpearance.com/blog/color-theory-and-landing-page-buttons">associated with wealth, renewal and stability</a> in color psychology. </p> <p>To opt out of buying the insurance, you have to click a radio button with a negative choice.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9512/expedia_insurance.png" alt="" width="800" height="150"></p> <p>By vocalizing the negative choice, Expedia makes it sound much less appealing.</p> <p>This is a tactic frequently used by marketers to push more users towards the positive opt-in. For example, here’s a pop-up on Copyhackers:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9513/copyhackers_messages.png" alt="" width="800" height="510">v</p> <p>Interestingly, the font for the opt-out button is slightly smaller than the font for the opt-in.</p> <h3>Testimonial </h3> <p>Effective use of testimonials is one of the best weapons in any CRO’s arsenal to push conversions.</p> <p>Here, Expedia not only uses a testimonial from a real customer, but also gives an exact value of the monetary benefits from the insurance.</p> <p>Combined, these design choices help push Expedia’s conversion rates for this upsell much higher.</p> <p>The actual payment form is surprisingly sparse:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9514/payment_details.png" alt="" width="750" height="478"> </p> <p>The only visual element are logos of different payment providers. Expedia includes a total of six logos - far beyond the usual two or three logos.</p> <p>This gives customers the impression that they have multiple payment options to choose from, which can give <a href="http://www.retailtechnologyreview.com/articles/2009/05/06/476-survey-finds-that-merchants-are-losing">a small boost to conversion rates</a>.</p> <p>Scroll down further and you’ll be asked to enter your email address to receive booking confirmation:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9515/booking_confirmation.png" alt="" width="750" height="465"></p> <p>The only thing of interest here is that Expedia checks the “Join Expedia+” checkbox by default.</p> <p>Just so you aren’t sore about it (and to make the membership more appealing), it offers you 56 Expedia+ points to push you to sign-up for an account.</p> <p>Once you’ve entered the payment information and clicked “Continue Booking”, you’ll have the flight ticket in your account.</p> <h3>Scenario 2: Organic Traffic Teardown</h3> <h4>The Situation</h4> <p>The Texas man who wants to gift his wife a weekend for two in New York city now heads over to Google instead of Expedia.com directly.</p> <p>He types in a query - “flight tickets to New York”.</p> <p>On the first page, he finds a search result from Expedia that looks promising:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9516/kayak_search_results.png" alt="" width="750" height="508"></p> <p>Let’s take a look at how Expedia converts this search visitor into a customer.</p> <h3>The landing page</h3> <p>This is the landing page from a search for “flights to New York” on Google. A few things deserve our attention:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9518/expedia_new_york_fights.png" alt="" width="750" height="321"></p> <p>The landing page is customized for the query.</p> <ul> <li>The lowest possible price ($98) is shown first to convince visitors to stick around.</li> <li>The landing page lists three reasons for choosing Expedia - tons of hotels, guaranteed low prices, and free 24 hour cancellation.</li> </ul> <p>Scroll down a bit further and you’ll see a list of flights to New York from different cities.</p> <p>Things to note here:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9519/expedia_options.png" alt="" width="750" height="333"></p> <p>1. The share button is a small drop down menu.</p> <p>The button blends into the background and doesn’t really attract attention.</p> <p>Obviously, shares are not a big source of traffic for Expedia for users coming in from search, which is why it has muted the button.</p> <p>2. As with the landing pages we saw above, Expedia pushes its Flights + Deals over flight-only deals.</p> <p>The reason is simple enough: OTAs make more money from hotel bookings than just flight bookings.</p> <p>3. The highest possible discount is highlighted in the section headline without any information on the flight’s date, hotel type or airline.</p> <p>The sole purpose is to get users to click through to the next page.</p> <h3>Using flight search</h3> <p>Once you initiate the search, you are greeted by a page similar to the one you saw above:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9520/expedia_flight_search.png" alt="" width="800" height="453"></p> <p>There are two design elements here that I want to highlight.</p> <p>Firstly, if you’ve made any previous searches on Expedia, you can “turn on search notes” in your Scratchpad to see how prices have changed since your last search.</p> <p>Secondly, a small but hard-to-ignore pop-up box in bright yellow informs me that “4043 people are shopping for flights to NYC on Expedia right now”. How is that for social proof?</p> <p>But before I can look at the search results, a pop-up shows on screen:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9521/expedia_pop_up.png" alt="" width="800" height="434"></p> <p>This pop-up warns users that ticket prices are set to rise in the next few days.</p> <p>The way it is phrased makes it sound like it is merely doing a service to users - warning them about an impending price change.</p> <p>However, from a CRO perspective, it is clear that this warning is meant to drive conversions, not just warn users.</p> <p>Two things you should note about it:</p> <p>1. Instead of giving a vague “prices are about to rise!” warning, it gives an exact figure for the expected price rise - 55%. This makes the warning sound much more believable.</p> <p>2. The price rise is time bound. Instead of saying that prices are going to rise “in the next few days”, Expedia tells you the exact number of days (six) before the impending price rise. </p> <p>Together, this compels more users to take action since prices will go up by more than half in less than a week.</p> <p>Also note the pop-up at the bottom - more social proof!</p> <h3>Selecting the flight</h3> <p>After you select a departing and a return flight (I’m picking the very first one), you’ll see a pop-up promoting a hotel + flight offer:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9523/expedia_hotel_and_flight_offer.png" alt="" width="800" height="308"> </p> <p>Again, Expedia pushes the flight + hotel deal since it’s better for Expedia as well as customers.</p> <p>The booking review page is similar to the page we saw earlier.</p> <p>Note the congratulatory message at the top - a subtle push to persuade users to finish the purchase.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9524/expedia_booking_review.png" alt="" width="750" height="372"></p> <h3>Paying for the flight</h3> <p>After entering the passenger details, you’ll be taken to the payment page. This is similar to the page we saw above.</p> <p>There’s the same upsell for travel insurance along with the customer testimonial, conversion focused design and persuasive copywriting:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9525/expedia_confirmation.png" alt="" width="750" height="392"></p> <p>After entering your credit card information, you can hit ‘Complete Booking’ and wrap up the purchase.</p> <h4>See you next time...</h4> <p>So far, we’ve seen how Expedia creates an optimum customer journey for users coming in through organic search and direct.</p> <p>This leaves two big acquisition channels - social media and paid traffic.</p> <p>As mentioned, the second part of this analysis will be published on Econsultancy's blog next week.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3062 2016-08-15T17:11:39+01:00 2016-08-15T17:11:39+01:00 SEO, PPC and Conversion: International Strategy <p>The opportunities to reach an international market through digital marketing and SEO have never been greater, but with it come the challenges around identifying, approaching and engaging across such diverse markets.</p> <p>Drive your online traffic and sales on a global level by learning how to identify opportunities and implement authentic multilingual and international SEO, PPC and social media campaigns</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/2967 2016-08-10T16:25:59+01:00 2016-08-10T16:25:59+01:00 Conversion Optimisation - How to Deliver Digital Growth <p>Have you turned the marketing dial to its limit with diminishing results? Are you working towards delivering the next big website redesign? Are you working on strategies to gain an advantage over your competition?</p> <p>This one day course shows you how to implement a robust conversion optimisation strategy and process which can deliver major uplifts in sales revenue and profitability, as well as changing the way you develop your brand, innovate your offering, and make website redesigns a thing of the past. The course will show you how to implement a data driven approach of onsite testing and optimisation as well as arming you with the strategic knowledge to accelerate growth for forward-thinking businesses.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68102 2016-07-27T14:02:00+01:00 2016-07-27T14:02:00+01:00 Why there should be more plaudits for digital audits Chris Bishop <p>Those at the top of organisations don’t feel they have the strategic sweep to justify the time and effort required to commission them.</p> <p>Audits are viewed at times as a little “too tactical” or only done once every blue moon by agencies aiming to impress for your business, only to then collect dust on top of Econsultancy buyers guides print outs or even your old New Media Age magazines (<strong>Ed</strong>: We let this lie, but only to show we have a sense of humour).</p> <p>For the in-house Head of Ecommerce, requesting a digital audit might sound dangerously like a turkey voting for Christmas. </p> <h3>Are we selling audits wrongly?</h3> <p>Or is it the slightly cheesy marketing of website or marketing auditors themselves that is putting people off?</p> <p>All that tired ‘digital health check’ stuff might be the kind of foot in the door tactic that make brands feel suspicious of then giving access to their precious AdWords account, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67171-what-is-affiliate-marketing-why-do-you-need-it/">affiliate network</a> or analytics suite.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7503/healthcheck.jpeg" alt="health check" width="275" height="183"></p> <h3>How important are digital audits anyway?</h3> <p>In reality, though, digital audits are absolutely vital. And third party objective auditing ensures that you’re not marking your own home work or ignoring long term problems.</p> <p>Proper auditing, UX testing and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67473-seven-conversion-rate-optimization-trends-to-take-advantage-of-in-2016/">CRO analysis</a> means you can elongate the lifetime and effectiveness of your website and digital media activity, in a way that can be done on any budget.</p> <p>Your digital real estate is often an expensive investment - you’ve got to maintain it properly to get results.</p> <h3>Regular servicing is vital</h3> <p>Think of that shiny new website you’ve just spent months developing as a new car you’ve just acquired.</p> <p>To start off with, it’s the envy of everyone who sees it. After-sales support is pretty good and you can see years of trouble free motoring ahead of you. Before you know it, though, your warranty is up and you’re on your own.</p> <p>As the car ages, small problems become big problems. It performs less effectively. You’re paying for petrol, but it’s becoming less and less economical to run. There are so many things going wrong with it you don’t know where to start. Eventually the car's value is so diminished you might as well scrap it and buy a new one.</p> <p>It’s the same with websites and digital marketing campaigns. They can’t be left to look after themselves – and even the mechanic themselves might need some fine tuning or training themselves.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/7504/service-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="car service" width="380"></p> <h3>What a digital audit can do for you </h3> <p>Audits can show you how to balance your budget more effectively through action and prioritisation. They can identify common issues like plateaus in activity and drop offs in acquisition; all the elements that reduce profitability. </p> <h3>The Lessons of the Audit</h3> <p>Constantly learn, constantly improve, constantly trade! A timely and constructive audit will help you:</p> <ul> <li>Keep up to date with the latest channel trends - Google changes, new publishers in affiliate, new platform or techniques for social. </li> <li>Use competitor analysis to keep your enemies close! It’s crucial to analyse and understand market share/spend and its consequences for your brand. </li> <li>Help you (re)define your goals.</li> <li>Confirm your objectives or KPIs so you can measure success.</li> <li>Understand new opportunities.</li> <li>Benchmark improvements or conversely measure areas of decline.</li> <li>Ensure corporate compliance – its best practice to have someone external “rubber stamp” your activity.</li> <li>Encourage serendipity – the uncovering of that nugget of information that transforms your understanding and makes the commercial difference.</li> </ul> <h3>Should you take the plunge?</h3> <p>Regular and skilled digital auditing is a detailed and never ending task.  It can transform the effectiveness of your digital advertising, website and budget.  </p> <p>Is it sexy? It’s showing your website a lot of love and attention. It’s optimizing and maximizing your marketing profitability and performance. Sounds pretty sexy to me.</p> <p><em>More on auditing:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68031-answering-the-key-question-of-content-auditing-where-do-i-start/">Answering the key question of content auditing - where do I start?</a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68074 2016-07-21T10:57:05+01:00 2016-07-21T10:57:05+01:00 Is content really the solution to lacklustre conversion rates? Steve Borges <p dir="ltr">Those who know me will be well aware of my belief in testing and analysis as the basis for targeted investment in improved retail performance – and the content question should, I believe, get the same treatment.</p> <p dir="ltr">So, I’ve taken a look behind the scenes and dug into the data from some of the UK’s biggest high-street fashion and lifestyle brands – essentially to answer the question:  “Does content really improve conversion?”</p> <p dir="ltr">The answer, as it turns out is “Yes and no”.  But before I expand on that, some context...</p> <h3 dir="ltr">It’s undeniably true that the shift to mobile has hit conversion for most brands.</h3> <p dir="ltr">That is driven by three inter-related trends that are right there in the data.</p> <p dir="ltr">First, there has been a dramatic shift to mobile over the last few years – the data tells us that tablet and mobile use (combined) moved from 40% of all sessions in 2013 to 68% in 2015.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Source: Biglight benchmark data (aggregated 2013 - 2015)</em></p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/7096/sessions_by_device-blog-flyer.png" alt="sessions by device" width="470" height="276"> </p> <p dir="ltr">But what’s interesting here is the lack of any real session growth.  Quite simply, people aren’t shopping more because of mobile; they are shopping differently.</p> <p dir="ltr">Then there is <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67174-five-best-practice-tips-to-boost-mobile-conversions/">the issue of mobile conversion</a>. In general, conversion on tablet is lower than desktop for most brands and conversion on mobile falls to between 14% and 64% of that achieved on desktop.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Source: Biglight benchmark data, based on UK sales (anonymous retailers 2015)</em></p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/7099/conversion_by_device-blog-flyer.png" alt="conversion by device type" width="470" height="236"></p> <p dir="ltr">Once again, the data reveals the impact of those trends.</p> <p dir="ltr">Conversion rates were hit hard in 2014, before recovering in 2015, largely due to the implementation of mobile and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66081-responsive-web-design-15-of-the-best-sites-from-2014/">responsive sites</a> and subsequent optimisation efforts.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Source: Biglight benchmark data, based on UK sales (anonymous retailers 2013-15)</em></p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/7100/conversion_over_time-blog-flyer.png" alt="conversion over time" width="470" height="242"> </p> <p dir="ltr">As this relentless shift to mobile continues though, retailers will face an uphill struggle to improve conversion – no surprise then, that <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-rate-optimization-report/">conversion rate optimisation</a> (and on mobile in particular) has become a high priority for most brands.</p> <p dir="ltr">So there’s the context; but what does the data tell us about the role of content in that conversion optimisation struggle?</p> <h3>The good news is, there is a positive correlation between content and conversion</h3> <p dir="ltr">Back in 2014, L2 published research that sought to demonstrate a correlation between content quality and conversion.</p> <p dir="ltr">For them, content quality as a measure went beyond <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65656-how-nike-s-merchandising-strategy-can-help-retailers-of-all-types/">merchandising</a> and product presentation to include blogs and microsites, videos and tutorials, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67994-10-ecommerce-ux-treats-on-the-new-oasis-website">user generated content</a> and guided selling tools.</p> <p dir="ltr">I’ll refer to this as “rich content” for ease.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Source: L2 Inc - Content and Commerce, 2014.</em></p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/7093/l2_research-blog-flyer.png" alt="L2 research" width="470" height="298"> </p> <p dir="ltr">L2 concluded that improvements in rich content were responsible for 50% of retailers’ conversion improvements and, for every five point increase in content score, conversion increased by 1%. You can read the full report <a href="https://www.l2inc.com/research/content-and-commerce-2014">here</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">Looking at my data, I’ve also been able to demonstrate a correlation between engagement and conversion - <em>Note: We did check that session durations correlated with page-views to rule out site performance /checkout issues.</em></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Source: Biglight benchmark data, based on UK sites (anonymous retailers 2015)</em></p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/7101/session_duration_vs_conversion-blog-flyer.png" alt="session duration vs conversion" width="470" height="233"></p> <p dir="ltr">What’s more, we’ve run a series of A/B tests to really understand the impact of rich content on conversion and AOV. In our most significant test to date, we found that:</p> <ul> <li>Users who interacted with rich-content were 20% more likely to purchase than those who didn’t.</li> <li>AOV was 22% higher for those who interacted with rich content before proceeding to purchase.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Clearly, these are very encouraging results, on closer inspection, they must carry two very important caveats:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Rich content was presented to customers during their journey and within the same session, so it was highly <strong>visible</strong>.</li> <li>It related to the items being purchased, so it was highly <strong>relevant</strong>.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">So the question is how can both of these objectives be achieved on a typical ecommerce website?</p> <p dir="ltr">To understand that we must look at how effective the use of content is currently; crucially, whether it passes the visibility and relevance test – and, in all too many cases, the answer is ‘no’.</p> <p dir="ltr">The truth is traditional content destinations simply do not engage users. For instance, only 25-35% of users see the homepage during their ecommerce journeys, so rich content featured or merchandised here is invisible to the majority of users.</p> <p dir="ltr">In fact, we’ve found that engagement with rich content when it’s featured on the homepage (and category landing pages) is generally very low – conversion rates are actually improved if rich content is relegated or removed from these pages (but the brand people don't like it).</p> <p dir="ltr">But what about blogs, the historical home of rich content on ecommerce sites? Back in 2014 the L2 Research compared blog traffic volumes to that of the sites they support and found that engagement with them is poor.</p> <p dir="ltr">We’ve found that traffic to blogs is significantly lower that to other areas of the site that should be comparable and they suffer from exit rates that are up to three times the site average, even where blogs feature in the main navigation and are merchandised on the homepage.</p> <p dir="ltr">That’s not exactly what we are all trying to achieve and not popular with trading teams.</p> <p dir="ltr">So, if we know that making relevant content visible to users during their journeys to drive engagement and conversion and we can pretty much rule out the homepage, key landing pages and the blog, where should we be looking?</p> <p dir="ltr">Well the answer is in the data; 50% of users now start their ecommerce journeys on a product listings page or product details page - that’s where the opportunities lie.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Source: Biglight benchmark data (aggregated 2015)</em></p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/7091/landing_page_breakdown-blog-flyer.png" alt="landing page breakdown" width="470" height="301"></p> <h3>This all has some fairly big implications for site design and content optimisation</h3> <p dir="ltr">The headline here is that content <strong>can</strong> positively affect conversion and AOV - but blindly throwing money at content without really understanding where it is best used is to trust to luck.</p> <p dir="ltr">Chance dictates that some content will be in the right place, but those fortunate retailers will not know why and will still be wasting time and money on content that barely anyone sees.</p> <p dir="ltr">The solution is two fold.</p> <p dir="ltr">First, retailers need to move away from rich content destinations and content merchandising to create content elements that are featured or “threaded” through the pages that make up the user journey - principally the product listings pages, but also the product details pages.</p> <p dir="ltr">Second, they must test, test and test again with real users and A/B testing tools – then let the data tell them what works, and do more of it. That means looking at every type of content to understand its impact in different contexts:</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>1.</strong> Brand heritage content that’s true for ever</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>2.</strong> Seasonal content that drives core merchandising messages</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>3.</strong> Short term “now” content that creates relevance</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>4.</strong> Social validation content - user-curation, ratings and review</p> <p dir="ltr">In short then, content really can be at least part of the solution to lacklustre conversion rates – but only content that is delivered with purpose and focus; content that is both visible and relevant and whose performance is understood and optimised through exhaustive testing.</p>