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Friday, Mar. 4, 2011 at 9:20 am

Testing Personalization and Reassurances in Cart Wins FutureNow an Award

By Melissa Burdon
March 4th, 2011

FutureNow won a silver medal for Best Copy Test this week in WhichTestWon.com’s 2010 testing awards.

Personalizing the shopping cart with a headline “Your Shopping Cart”, and adding reassuring copy right below the header in the shopping cart, increased the conversion rate of those who successfully completed transactions online by 3.59%. This lift may seem small, but because our client, DealsDirect, gets a lot of traffic, even this small increase in macro conversion translated into really big bucks!

In monday’s post, Marijayne Bushey wrote about different types of Conversion Rate Optimization Companies and their different techniques for improving conversion. At FutureNow, we take an interdisciplinary approach to solving our clients’ conversion challenges and helping them make their websites better. We don’t just provide a technology like an analytics or testing tool, even though we certainly use both with our clients, and a key part of our OnTarget subscriptions is our OnTarget recommendation management tool. And we don’t just provide expertise, even though our recommendations wouldn’t be nearly as insightful without our patented Persuasion Architecture methodology, and the combined experience of our analyst team in applying those principles to data and website analysis. Our process for uncovering problems on a site is rooted in analysis of analytics data. Our recommendations for solutions are based on what we see in the data, on the site, and what Persuasion Architecture tells us about a particular client’s visitor personas. And the actual changes we endorse are based on tests conducted on a live website, with visitors who are on the site with real life intent and don’t know they are a part of a test, using a testing platform.

When it comes to DealsDirect, we created personas for them before testing ever began.  This helped us to understand their customers at a much deeper level before we even dove into their data. When we saw pieces of data that told us there were challenges that needed to be overcome, we were able to look at specific areas of their marketing materials and see those challenges through the eyes of their personas. One of the challenges we found in their data was in their shopping cart and checkout. Their two emotional buyers frequently return to their site to look for new products, new clearance items, etc. So we went through their funnel from the perspective of their personas. We quickly realized there was very little emotional copy to help these personas feel confident. This analysis was the basis for the test we proposed. We personalized the cart by changing “View Cart” to “Your Shopping Cart”. We knew that appealing to more emotional decision makers meant not stopping there: we also traded out the bland instructions beneath the page title for copy referencing a specific bank and security features, including payment methods, with links to the return policy and online safety.

The beautiful thing about having personas is that we can track click paths (scenarios) on the site based on behaviors and goals individual personas would actually have. Then we not only can analyze where these click paths are broken, but we also can formulate much more customer-centric hypotheses and recommendations, and work to continuously improve the conversion rate for each persona, in each stage of their buying process. Ultimately, it leads to a much more customer-centric site and marketing efforts.

Could working with an interdisciplinary digital marketing optimization company like FutureNow mean creating personas. That’s very likely. What about creating a landing page to improve conversion? It could.  Is it analytics? You must have analytics. Is it testing? Certainly. Could it mean making some changes to PPC campaigns? It could. What about adding video or live chat? Maybe. Are changes to the shopping cart within the scope of recommendations? Yes. Creating new content for the site? It’s possible. Bottom line: we take a holistic approach to improving conversion on your site and marketing efforts. Every aspect of your marketing is on the table: color, layout, wording, buttons, keywords, links, graphics, placement… anything.

If you want to learn a bit about creating your own personas, take a look at our persona white paper. They can take your custom segmentation and behavioral testing to a whole other level. We know: our clients are seeing tremendous results because of this. If all of it still seems too complicated to you, or you just want more hand holding, let us help.

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Comments (10)

  1. Congratulations on the well deserved award. I have implemented your strategy of personalizing the shopping cart with additional text below to my online shop.

  2. @Landry Floyd – thanks for reading the blog! I hope the changes help to improve your bottom line, but I would caution you that what works for one site, doesn’t always work for all sites. We strongly advocate testing any change you make to your site (an A/B split test using a tool like Google Website Optimizer) so you can be certain that the new way drives better results than the old way.

  3. I agree Maryjane. I also agree that the 3.59% when accumulated is big enough to be noticed. You’re tips will be very helpful to my future sites as I will use it as a reference to improve my revenue. And before I forget, congratulations guys! Keep on inspiring people like me, you deserve the award!

  4. Wow.. it’s amazing how such small changes can bump the conversion rate so much. If only these types of solutions were more obvious!

  5. Thank you for the tip, i was searching for tips like this on google and found this post! Setting goals and conversion in ppc can actually cut custs! I am working this way for two months and the results are good. A little bit tricky to set up, but very nice results!

  6. Congratulation guys!! Your posts motivates me to think more smartly.
    It was really a good improvement for a website with huge traffic. Assurance plays an important role to increase the confidence of the visitors. And placing the assurance at a proper location is a key to get the most out of it.

  7. Congrats!It’s amazing how several subtle changes over the course of a buying experience can really drive conversions. And if that one change in shopping cart copy can up conversions by 3% imagine the potential combined conversion increase over the course of the whole user experience. Very cool!

  8. n actually cut custs! I am working this way for two months and the results are good. A little bit tricky to set up, but very nice results!

  9. Making change is key but tracking the effects of the changes is where I struggle. ROI in marketing in our websites is always hard and seeing the effects made to get a higher return is not easy but a must.

  10. @David – this is why it is so important to have analytics, and to use a formal testing tool for changes whenever possible. Documenting lifts in click-thru rates at a particular step of your buying process, and linking those to a dollar value, will help you to determine the ROI. We’ve written a number of posts about setting up goals, conversion funnels, calculating the value of a macro or micro-conversion improvement, and tying that to ROI in the recent past. Just check our our recent posts for lots of information about how to do these things.

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Melissa is a Senior Persuasion Analyst at FutureNow.

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