Test #7: “Adding recommendation language”
There are lots of articles written on the value of using social proof or social pressure in influencing consumer behavior online. For this article, we are focusing specifically on recommendations and why they are so persuasive. It can be one of the most effective and engaging elements of a product page if it is done sparingly. If you are recommending everything – then that certainly raises some eyebrows!
The key to making recommendations effective is the confidence and trust a consumer has in the ‘recommend-er’ — which is the site they are on. If your site and brand has built a strong and trustworthy relationship with its customers, then recommending specific products can give a huge boost to the sales of those products. It is well documented that customers care about what other customers think and their opinions (social proof) — but also believe the ‘tips’ and ‘recommendations’ from the brand itself. Customers like to have their hand held through the buying process — and this is another way to guide them and reduce their mental load in the buying process.
As a cross-sell or add-on product, it was critical to get the buy-in and approval from the travel brand and website we were running this insurance product test on as it was reflecting on the brand making the recommendation, not the insurance company.
To increase purchases of travel insurance by recommending adding it to the shopping cart.
Key Performance Indicator (KPI):
Traffic Source / Segment:
Mobile web traffic only
Sample Size & Test length:
Approx. 10,500 visitors were randomly shown either variation over the same 23-day period.
Because consumers are motivated by recommendations made by brands they trust, adding the word ‘recommended’ to the highly visible radio button selector will increase purchases of the travel insurance product.
Summary of difference(s) between variations:
|Figure 1: Variation A – Original (50% of traffic)|
|Figure 2 – Variation B (Test) (50% of traffic) – adding “(recommended)” after the “Yes” text and radio button|
*** WINNER ***
The test variation B increased revenue by $233,849 annualized which is a lift of +16.53% with 100% significance.
The test results supported the original hypothesis: Customers positively responded to the message and significantly lifted conversion rate and revenue on the travel insurance product tested.
Online recommendations, if done sparingly and correctly, can influence the consumers purchase behavior, reduce uncertainties about the product(s), and actually build upon credibility and trust.
Be careful though – loyal customers will notice if you are recommending different products all the time to try and boost the sales of each product and you will lose their trust and probably their business. So — be truthful and accurate and recommend only products you have a good reason to recommend!
If you have many products in your catalog, choose your recommendations sparingly and only label those products that are in different categories and do not conflict with each other – which can confuse customers and not assist them in making a choice.
Finally, we have seen additional boosts in conversion by running additional tests that add the word ‘highly’ or ‘strongly’ in front of the word ‘recommended’. Make sure you always test adding such language as it doesn’t always work in all cases and can appear too aggressive and overtly persuasive.
Jason holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business from the Belmont University and has over 20 years’ experience in e-commerce strategy and web development and design.
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