For a few of our clients, implementing some of our recommendations can be a bit of a challenge due to the limited resources they have. So, how can you decide if implementing a certain change to your site is worth the the time, effort and money? This quandary highlights the importance of being able to attribute a particular value to a change. Not only does the value of an change impact the decision to implement it across a web site, but it extends to the priority you give that particular change too. While you may have good reasons for that nagging hunch you have, there is nothing like a good ol’ test to prove it right! Having witnessed the portability of Brendan Regan’s most recent, rhyming tip, I will put my sage advice in poetic form too: first test, then invest!
All of our recommendations are born of a client’s analytic data. As an example, let’s consider a product page from our client, Curious Country Creations, who sells all variety of decorative dried plants (in case you feel the sudden urge to buy pine cones). The conversion funnel report in Google Analytics, left (click to enlarge), indicated a 91% drop off rate from the product pages to the cart. While a large drop in visitors at this step is common for e-commerce sites, it leaves a lot of room for improvement. A brief heuristic analysis of the page revealed an absence of customer ratings and reviews for the products. We have known for some time how valuable reviews are for e-commerce sites. Still, we understand that implementing customer reviews and ratings on product pages may require a large portion of a client’s resources; validating this addition improves the click-through rate, quantifying the potential gain, and comparing it to the cost of implementation are important .
What better way to understand the value of the recommendation than to test it? Rather than blindly forging ahead with a site-wide implementation of customer reviews, we asked the client to test the change by taking these steps:
Our initial indicator of success was a direct comparison of the percentage of prospects who moved forward from the product page to the shopping cart. Our hypothesis withstood the test: having customer product reviews on this page significantly increased the number of visitors that entered the shopping cart, and thus the number of sales. Additionally, our calculations showed that implementing customer reviews on this page alone generates an estimated additional $3,276.09 a month, or $39,313.08 a year, for this client. Furthermore, the change demonstrates excellent ROI, making site-wide implementation a clear win. Just imagine the potential revenue increase after featuring reviews site-wide!
Now think big picture. The steps above apply not only to the example we used, but to any change you are considering on your site. Step #2 will differ depending on the change you are considering, and the particular page you select at step #1 may be different, but the idea remains the same: identify a high-traffic page representative of the group of pages you are thinking about changing; gather the materials you need to make the change. Don’t overlook these two other factors at step #4 either:
If you are not sure a change to your site is worth the trouble, first test, then invest. Not only will you be able to quantify the value of making the change, but you will also be able to prioritize that change relative to the other items on your implementation list.