People like to think they are in control of their actions. However, decision making is influenced by two parts – external and internal motivators. External motivators are demographics. They’re life experiences and attributes causing groups of people to share interests and spending patterns. They’re why millennials plan trips around adventure while GenXer’s and Baby boomers plan around relaxation. Internal motivators are the emotional aspects of consumers. While they exist regardless of demographics, they are equally important in determining if someone converts.
Getting the right people – the target demographic – to the right product gets all the focus, but it’s only half the battle. Akin to Aristotle’s three methods of persuasion – the appeal to pathos, ethos, and logos – designing a site targeting subconscious motivators will increase conversions.
According to the Neilson/Norman group, users can be broken down into five behavior groups: Product Focused, Browsers, Researchers, Bargain Hunters, and One-Time Shoppers. Accounting for the way these groups react to the following five aspects of e-commerce experiences will reduce exit rate.
The adage may be “less is more”, but for Researchers, information is priority. Focused on making informed decisions they like to know everything about a product. Their conversions occur on whichever company / product feels most trustworthy.
Do: Include clear information about product specifications, pricing, returns, services, warranties, etc. Assuming that users will reach out support teams when they have a question is a mistake. Lack of information will destroy trust for a Researcher and send them elsewhere.
Don’t: Flood the page with information. Too much visible content all at once alienates the groups who are not detail-oriented, such as Browsers and One-Time Shoppers. Hiding information behind links and tabs is a great way to keep it available, yet out of sight.
Clear Price Reductions
Everyone loves a sale, but it’s all Bargain Hunters care about. Driven by the desire to save money, and score a great deal, they convert when something seems like the best option out there.
Do: Make it obvious what is on sale versus not on sale. Is it a price reduction? Is it a better value? Are there free gifts or zero cost add-ons? Show that. Allow users to quickly identify what their “best option” is. Bonus points if there’s an easy way to filter by sale items.
Don’t: Make it seem like everything on the site is a bargain. If everything is on sale then nothing is on sale. Even the best bargain retailers display clearance items differently from other products. Slapping a bright red tag on everything breeds distrust and makes deals feel less special.
Browsers return to sites over and over again, converting on whatever catches their eye. They’re repeat visitors but frequent sites without intent to purchase. However, they are almost completely controlled by emotional impulses over logical reasoning – if it feels new and exciting they’re more likely to spend their money.
Do: Have a frequent rotation of featured products, packages, or services so there’s always something fresh. Browsers return to a site often, and respond best when there are new product offers.
Don’t: Hide your regular inventory. Just because browsers like to view new things all the times doesn’t mean the rest of traffic on a website wants to. By solely focusing on new offers, a loyal and Product Focused customer base can become alienated. Create a happy medium instead.
Quick Check-Out Processes
Accounts are great for companies to keep track of users and for loyal customers to keep track of everything they’ve purchased – but they’re a nightmare for One-Time Shoppers. These consumers tend to feel their sale is forced. It’s a niche product with limited purchase options, or the result of a gift card / credit to spend. They typically don’t plan on coming back.
Do: Make the account setup optional. Allow for quick and easy “guest checkout” to make these consumer’s time on the site fast and painless. If there are too many steps they’ll become frustrated – potentially abandoning their cart or never coming back again.
Don’t: Write off this group’s needs just because of their label. While they may not come to the site with the intention to ever come back an incredible experience could wind up turning them into a Browser or at least a repeat buyer.
A confusing site structure can be a kiss of death for an ecommerce site – especially one with a Product Focused customer base. These user’s enter a site knowing exactly what they want; and if they can’t find it, they won’t waste time looking.
Do: Spend time and money on extensive usability testing for a site’s navigation and search feature. Navigation will always be easy to use for people who designed it (they already know where everything is) but is oftentimes confusing for visitors.
Don’t: Ever make assumptions that a nav will be easy to use. It’s one of the most integral parts of an interface, and often one of the trickiest to get right. Every change to it should be thoroughly tested before and after implementation.
No matter how perfectly designed, how accurately targeted, and how streamlined the experience of a site is – conversions will never be 100%. There will always be Browsers that aren’t triggered by anything they see, Product Focused users who don’t see what they’re looking for, Bargain Hunters who found a better deal elsewhere, etc. However, targeting user’s demographics and accounting for different behavior models while performing regular Usability & A/B testing will close that gap as much as possible.