Why Digital Experience Analytics Matters

Analytics have made a splash in the realm of marketing, to say the least. The need for data is more apparent than ever, as more brands are marketing themselves under the coveted category of “data-driven.” In reality, they are not becoming data-driven fast enough, if at all. 

We can vouch for the fact that data trumps intuition, but aside from arming yourself with industry data that relates to your vertical for market research, it’s also vital to compile site data on your own site visitors. That’s where digital experience analytics solution enters the picture, and it does so in a substantial way. 

Most web analytics platforms show how a websites is accessed, along with some of the activity that occurs on it. Granular digital experience analytics takes this further, in a concerted effort to measure digital customer experience (CX). As such, it offers acute data sets, visualizations and metrics that evaluate and quantify how visitors interact with the individual elements of your website. But not all user experience analytics solutions provide the same granularity of data.  

Most analytics platforms do not take user insights a step further, so they do not give you a more granular performance review of your site or app, meaning that you wouldn’t be able to comprehend how each in-page element is used and how it contributes to a broad set of KPIs. 

In short, user experience analytics is a functionality designed to give you insights into visitors’ user experience. It’s incredibly important for both marketers, web developers and designers alike, as it dictates their strategy and implementations. But not all DX platforms offer the same capabilities.

So why exactly does digital experience analytics matter? Let’s find out.

Understanding Your Customers

If you don’t understand your customers, your website will show, leading to reduced activity, heightened bounces and poor conversion rates. Digital experience analytics allows you to segment your audience based on their behavior, and unlock a much deeper understanding of their needs and expectations.

From what visitors are trying to achieve and how they want to go about achieving it, to what causes frustration along their customer journey, analytics gives brands a nuanced read of these occurrences. Pure play brands are masters at leveraging this type of customer intelligence as they hyper-target their offerings to specific segments. With this approach, they are not attempting to be all things to all users, but are tapping into the minds of their most profitable segments, implementing high levels of customization.  

Behavioral analytics can highlight visitors’ distinctive behaviors on your website, such as where they are most engaged, where they click and how often, the frequency of their hovers on a particular part of a page, the time they spend per page or element and much more.

We recently helped, travel leader Pierre & Vacances identify customer preferences for targeted optimizations. After analyzing customer behavior on its holiday property search results page, the brand found that site visitors were interacting heavily with the “number of rooms” filter (it had a high click rate and a hearty dose of conversions).

However, this filter was lost among a wealth of other filtering options. Based on this intelligence, the brand placed the filter in the second position on the filter bar, making it easier for users to find it. 

The moral of their story is that once you’ve figured out through  DX analysis what your users’ precise intentions are, you can then go about improving your digital experience to allow them to seamlessly complete their intended tasks without incurring any frustration. 

Additionally, it’s interesting to learn about online behaviors of visitors in different regions of the world. As per our Global UX Map, a comprehensive report on the user behavior of visitors in 7 countries, we’ve found just that.

For example, we learned that visitors China are happy to engage with visuals, with a slideshow click rate of 5.5, so adding product images on your China site makes for a great UX. On the contrary, using a lot of visuals like slideshows is less well-received by visitors in the US and Italy, which have the respective click rates of 1.3 and 2.5 on the slideshow, the lowest of all the surveyed countries. 

In both of these cases, DX analytics has the prowess to empower digital teams with localizing knowledge that can assure a positive UX for global users. 

Creating Data-Driven CX Decisions 

Digital experience analytics matter where website design is concerned, as it dictates what the experience will look like for visitors. If it doesn’t, chances are, your analytics platform isn’t very robust and offers little else aside from a traditional traffic analysis. 

A granular user experience analytics space empowers its users to make data-driven CX (customer experience) decisions, and if you couldn’t tell from this blog, CX is not something to ignore. It is critical for the sake of both acquisition and retention, especially the latter, which is important for maintaining a steady revenue stream.

With data providing multiple reference points to optimize your content, you can do so innovatively and confidently. An optimized CX will make it so that you can streamline your customer journeys and remove frustrations, the latter of which impedes conversions. It can also help you detect if there are any errors in the elements that yield conversions themselves, such as CTAs, form fields and buttons that signal making a purchase.

But it doesn’t end with conversion-bound elements. A deep experience analysis can identify a host of other faulty site elements which stir your site visitors into leaving. That’s where a data-driven analysis comes into play, finding pesky problems in the design and structure of your website that can have grim consequences on your CX.

A data-backed CX optimization plan acts as a security net for brands seeking to try new things on their sites. Perhaps there’s a trendy feature you want to try out or a new setup of a crucial site element. Delving into new implementations is a rocky road, but with data on your side, you’ll be informed as to what works and what doesn’t.

Furthermore, making data-driven decisions allows all team members to own business goals, measure the contribution of their revenue and quantify the ROI of the experience.

Making Headway in Conversions

After you’ve done your CX homework, testing what strategies work and keeping close tabs on how your website is used, you check to see the impact. Which ROI is more important than conversions? Most marketers would agree that conversions are of the utmost importance for a business if not one of the most important.

Aside from boosting conversions, digital experience analytics assists in all the steps leading up to conversions, as it visualizes user flows with customer journey mapping. Understanding how users navigate your site is the first marker of what needs to be improved, along with indicating what works and what drives interest among visitors.

As such, granular analytics provides the relevant data and metrics for CRO (conversion rate optimization). Optimizing conversions always starts with measuring the experience on your site and/or app. As for preserving retention, a chief business goal, digital experience insights will assure you know what works and what doesn’t — essentially giving you more knowledge into how to retain conversions by keeping hold of the same site visitors.

Getting The Most Out Of Digital Experience Insights 

Digital experience analytics carry weight with the entirety of your user experience, as it can quantify a host of user data: their interactions, hesitations, frustrations, etc. on your website. Because of this, it should be a top-priority implementation into your marketing plans. However, not all user experience platforms have the same built-in capabilities — particularly the actionable, full-picture data of all the goings-on of your website. 

For example, not all of such platforms analyze individual site elements and how they fare in traditional metrics, let alone more robust ones. So you should be selective when choosing your experience analytics software. Don’t forget: you ought to aim for retention over acquisition, as once your users visit your site and enjoy what they experience, the likelihood of them returning shoots up.

 

UX Spotlight: Removing Obstacles To Conversion, One Throw Pillow At A Time – gb

In the UX Spotlight series, we post about UX features that impressed us online, and are great examples and inspiration for anyone looking to enhance their digital user experience.

Picking throw pillows for the ContentSquare sofa can quickly turn into a diplomatic quandary, with twenty people arguing their taste and preference. Staff shopping trips in the past have resulted in some… interesting additions to the office space, including everything from hourglasses to bronze snakes.

So how do you know which cushion will look best on the communal sofa, and whose interior decoration choices should be added to cart? Much like behavioral analytics remove the guesswork from digital experience optimization, Target’s See It In Your Space feature removes the guesswork from home (or in our case, office) décor.

PERSONALIZING THE DIGITAL EXPERIENCE

It’s not a brand new feature of the Target website, but it was new to us! The advent of virtual assistants means consumers are getting used to inviting technology into their home, but inviting your office into the technology is still a pretty rare concept.

CONSUMERS ARE GETTING USED TO INVITING TECHNOLOGY INTO THEIR HOME, BUT INVITING YOUR OFFICE INTO THE TECHNOLOGY IS A PRETTY RARE CONCEPT.

To narrow down suggestions and get an evidence-based answer to bad taste, we simply clicked the See It In Your Space option under a cushion and uploaded a picture of our sofa area. The item can then be moved around, and shrunk or expanded as required.

There are many ways to personalize the digital experience, but bridging the divide between the digital and personal space is truly a great one. The photo element means this feature is particularly suited to mobile user behavior, too.

CREATING SEAMLESS DIGITAL PATHS TO CART

When we’re not adding pillows to the sofa, we’re sourcing shoes for the kinder weather. One link that’s been forwarded through the office is the Bandier website, where hovering over a product image will bring up all available sizes. Clicking on your size automatically adds the shoes to your cart. If you’re logged in and don’t want to commit to an add-to-cart, you can also just favorite an item.

The “pick your size” step is traditionally associated with the product page, which also contains all the product info and the option to select an item for purchase. What’s interesting with this feature is it reinvents the function of the category page, successfully migrating information you usually need one more click to access.

Removing this step speeds up the journey to checkout and allows the visitor to not leave a category page, removing the back and forth – from category to product and back – we’ve come to expect with online shopping.

Both the Target and Bandier features are discreetly groundbreaking, since they both mark a shift in how people shop online – in one, by personalizing the experience visually, and in the other, by adding a time saving, near-invisible shortcut to the cart.

The idea of a successful digital experience today is indissociable from the concept of digital convenience, and a big part of brand-to-audience connection hinges on seamlessness. Consumers want quick and inspiring paths to conversion, and brands that can deliver on both these fronts will be able to cultivate digital loyalty.

ContentSquare Team Members Share Their Favorite Digital Experiences

With mobile traffic steadily overtaking desktop traffic, digital teams everywhere are coming up with ways to improve the User Experience (UX) on mobile, and reverse the switch-to-desktop trend still associated with many online conversions.

The behavior of mobile users indicates that many smartphone shoppers embark on a journey determined to complete a purchase, but are deterred along the way. In fact, data recently analyzed by ContentSquare showed that mobile users were almost 18% more likely to reach the checkout page than desktop shoppers, proving they do want to buy.

Friction in the mobile purchasing journey often rears its ugly head around checkout. Today, the likelihood of a mobile user exiting a site after having reached the checkout page is 83.6% higher than the odds on desktop.

Some retailers have capitalized on the mobile shopping demand, and devised seamless paths for their users. I asked my colleagues in the New York Office to share their favorite mobile experiences, and tell us which UX features they couldn’t do without.

Our Senior Enterprise Sales Manager Kristin is a big fan of the Warby Parker site. She recently took their homepage quiz to pick out a new pair of frames. Not only has the brand made buying prescription glasses hassle-free by letting you try frames at home at no cost, it has also developed a fast and engaging way to narrow down your selection.

After answering seven easy questions about fit and style, customers are offered a personalized assortment. Don’t know how to answer one of the questions? Simply skip it! The quiz cleverly integrates the benefits of in-store advice with the autonomy afforded by shopping online.

Katie, a Business Development Representative, singled out Nordstrom’s Touch ID sign-in. The department store chain has integrated fingerprint authentication to its app to remove any hurdle for customers. Allowing users to identify themselves when they open the app personalizes the journey from the get-go, completely removing the headache of checkout from the digital experience.

What if the UX was so seamless and so consumer-friendly, that it became more of an incentive for customer loyalty than the product itself? That’s what happened when Efrat, ContentSquare’s Chief Marketing Officer (and a committed coffee drinker) discovered the Starbucks app.

WHAT IF THE UX WAS SO SEAMLESS AND SO CONSUMER-FRIENDLY, THAT IT BECAME MORE OF AN INCENTIVE FOR CUSTOMER LOYALTY THAN THE PRODUCT ITSELF?

In an ideal world, Efrat’s preferred cup of coffee doesn’t come in a paper cup, and is made by the barista at the small coffee shop near her house. In reality, however, she often ends up ordering a grande almond cappuccino for pickup on her mobile as she leaves her house. Why? Because the coffee chain has made its app so extremely convenient that it is successfully turning coffee addicts like Efrat into UX addicts.

In fact, the reliance on digital for everyday purchases means UX often gets called the new sales assistant – helping consumers navigate decision-making and complete transactions quickly and painlessly. Brands with an online presence are often defined by the quality of their digital experience, and, as we’ve seen above, this can sometimes be a bigger loyalty factor than the product itself.

Businesses that can connect with the expectations and needs of their digital audience will be able to foster brand loyalty and carve out their space in the eCommerce arena. If you’d like to learn how next-gen behavior analytics can help you meet the expectations of your audience, watch our demo video.

UX Spotlight: Sizing up your customers – Be a virtual dressing room attendant for your shoppers

In the UX Spotlight series, I post weekly on UX features that impressed me online, and are great examples and inspiration for anyone looking to enhance their digital user experience.

Successful online retail depends on the confidence of your shoppers. Customers need to feel sure that they’re making the right purchase, even though they can’t physically feel or inspect the merchandise. When it comes to clothing, this can be a major obstacle for some shoppers, who hesitate to purchase without the opportunity to try on items.

This week, we spotlight online clothing retailer ASOS and the clever way they put customers at ease, both boosting sales and lowering returns.

The UX Element:

The product pages on ASOS have a rather typical layout overall, with a variety of photos, a video, and basic shipping information. However, what makes ASOS unique is that above the green “add to cart” button is a link inviting new shoppers to “find out what size people like you bought.”

When clicked, a simple popup appears inviting customers to fill out their particular measurements, including height, weight, and preferences regarding if they like clothing to fit more tightly or more loosely.

Next, to get an even more accurate fit, shoppers can enter their dress sizes in other common brands, or they can skip that step.

ASOS then offers a reading based on the data entered: what the most commonly ordered size was for shoppers with similar measurements of this particular dress which resulted in the fewest returns.

If a shopper is satisfied with that information, they can continue shopping. However, if they want to be extra sure they are choosing the right size, there is yet further opportunity to specialize the sizing estimate by selecting the “make your results more accurate” option, which then prompts a series of other, more specialized popups:

After shoppers add as much detail as they wish, they can view a revised summary of their size estimation.

From then on, customers who are logged in or in the same shopping session will view a size recommendation on each product page based on their responses:

The Impact:

Because of ASOS’s clever customer journey design, customers can have unparalleled confidence in their purchase. This sizing estimation has some benefits:

Social proof: It’s not just that ASOS suggests a size based on measurements – they suggest a size based on previous customers’ experience and satisfaction. This subtly builds customer trust in the brand by showing them how many other shoppers with their precise needs were happy with their item of interest.

Brand confidence: By asking shoppers their sizes in other common brands, ASOS projects confidence in the face of competition, and even uses that competition to their advantage by deducing from which competitors a shopper enjoys the best products to recommend them.

Customer loyalty: Once customers have their size saved in the ASOS system, it increases their likelihood of returning to the site to shop because every product page takes their personal needs into account, whereas competitors now lack this customized information and edge. Furthermore, it will motivate returning customers to log in so they can use their previously entered stats, and on average, logged in customers have a 25% conversion rate!

Reduce returns:  Customers receiving a correct sizing information means they will be more likely to be satisfied with their purchase, and less likely to return items.

Valuable data gathering: Of course, don’t forget that every bit of data from your customers helps you further tailor your digital experience to better meet shoppers’ needs and, in doing so, ramp up conversions and repeat business.

The Takeaway:

 

A SUPERIOR CUSTOMER JOURNEY CAN TAKE THE PLACE OF THE FRIENDLY FITTING ROOM ATTENDANT, AND INSPIRE THE SAME CONFIDENCE AND JOY IN THE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE.

Gone are the days of puzzling sizing charts and guesswork in mail-order catalogs. Through UX features like this one, online retailers have the opportunity to provide unprecedented assistance and guidance to customers. A superior customer journey can take the place of the friendly fitting room attendant, and inspire the same confidence and joy in the shopping experience.

It’s that confidence that leads customers to conversion and keeps them coming back for more.

I am always on the lookout for UX innovation. If you come across a digital experience that stands out, please send it over to [email protected]

UX Spotlight: Visualizing shopping progress – Leading customers through the browsing jungle

In the UX Spotlight series, I post weekly on UX features that impressed me online, and are great examples and inspiration for anyone looking to enhance their digital user experience.

Shopping fatigue. We’ve all had it, whether scrounging through bargain basement bins, hitting one more main street shop or clicking on page 17 of blue sweater search results, seemingly endless choices can be a tiring prospect even as it is a freeing one.

As increasingly savvy online shoppers’ tastes evolve, eCommerce merchants must expand their selections to meet every need. How can they also keep customers focused and help them not feel overwhelmed by the sea of options?

This week, I spotlight Ann Taylor for their simple but seamless, genius solution!

The UX element:

Once a category is selected on the Ann Taylor homepage and a customer is browsing products, a meter appears on the right side of the screen with a number of total items available for those search or category parameters and a circle shaded in with the portion of those items already viewed.

As a customer scrolls through the items, the circle fills more, easily giving customers a frame of reference for how many of the available products they’ve already seen.

 

The Impact:

Ann Taylor enables endless scroll while still giving customers a sense of their progress through the items. This knowledge also gives shoppers the feeling that they’re in control of their experience, rather than just blindly trying to get to the end.

Most commonly, online clothing retailers offer multiple pages of results (sometimes dozens or more), which users must load individually when they work through a page. This requires multiple reloads of the screen and can frustrate users, especially when they are on mobile, or when it is easy to forget what page they are on – and sadly, many retailers do not make a customer’s current page clear at all!

The Takeaway:

With endless scroll, new items load as soon as all the current items are viewed, and with a decent internet connection this can be seamless indeed. The dark side of the endless scroll is that typically, customers lose all sense of how far along they are in the search results. Sometimes, customers are even left wondering if their search could go on forever, or how many hours they’d have to keep going to see all the options. A progress indicator like this allows shoppers to enjoy the benefits of endless scroll while still safe in the knowledge that it will not, in fact, be endless. Customers are now in control of their own shopping experience, rather than feeling that they are being led along indefinitely.

 

SINCE JANUARY 2017, MOBILE TRAFFIC TO ECOMMERCE SITES HAS INCREASEDBY 11%,BUT SALES FROM MOBILE HAVE ONLY SEEN A 3% BOOST.

This could be especially important for mobile users, who already make up 50% of US digital commerce revenues, and who are twice as likely to scroll down an entire page than desktop users. Give these scrollers a road map! Since January 2017, mobile traffic to eCommerce sites has increased by 11%, but sales from mobile have only seen a 3% boost. This means there is enormous opportunity here to tap into this traffic by perfecting the mobile customer journey with UX elements that empower mobile shoppers to be more productive.

For many shoppers, there is a desire to see all the possibilities before honing in on a few promising finalists. Such a progress bar can ease shoppers like this through the customer journey by letting them know how far along they are, helping them rest at ease knowing that they’ve done a thorough survey of their choices first.

Besides, everybody loves that feeling of competitive achievement when you finish a progress bar, right? Give your shoppers a pat on the back for seeing all there is to see!

It’s amazing how something so small can have such an important impact on your customer journey. Have you found other ways of setting up signposts for your shoppers?

I am always on the lookout for UX innovation. If you come across a digital experience that stands out, please send it over to [email protected]

UX Spotlight: Proactive Price matching – Winning a customer is about staying a few steps in front of the competition

In the UX Spotlight series, I post weekly on UX features that impressed me online, and are great examples and inspiration for anyone looking to enhance their digital user experience.

It used to be that technology was considered superior based on its level of “responsiveness.” But these days, it’s not enough to be responsive – you’ve got to be preemptive when it comes to your customers’ needs and their next moves. Staying one step ahead of your shoppers and providing the answers before they ask the questions is like taking them by the hand and leading them straight to conversion. This is especially true in competitive markets in which the best price is often the deciding factor for when shoppers will choose one retailer over another.

IT’S NOT ENOUGH TO BE RESPONSIVE – YOU’VE GOT TO BE PREEMPTIVE WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR CUSTOMERS’ NEEDS AND THEIR NEXT MOVES.

This week, we highlight the clever little ways online retailers Curry’s and AO.com anticipate the needs and actions of their customers and take preemptive measures to keep them satisfied and on-site.

The Impact:

British electronics superstore Curry’s knows that people looking for new major electronics like computers or appliances are usually hunting for the best deal. If a customer is on a Curry’s product page and highlights and copies text like the product name or model number in order to search for pricing elsewhere, a purple box pops up informing the shopper that Curry’s offers price matching and providing them with the link to their price matching procedures. They even mention specific competitors they suspect customers will turn to next.

Interestingly, AO.com, one of the competitors Curry’s lists in their popup, has a similar feature. AO is known for interesting UX features, as we’ve discussed in the past. In AO’s case, merely highlighting a model number (no copying required) prompts a green popup with a number to call and a link to their price matching policy.

The Takeaway:

Both Curry’s and AO demonstrate ways in which you can anticipate possible reasons a customer might exit your website and beckon them back in before they stray. They know that price comparison is a major factor in their industry, and aim to head customers off at that pass. The price comparison popups will either convince customers that they must be getting the best deal since the store features competitive pricing, or remind them to come back to that retailer if they happen to find a better price. This is win-win for the retailers. But more than that, the fact that Curry’s and AO read a model # highlight and understand what that means in terms of customer intention demonstrates an intuitive, and oddly charming, familiarity with their customers’ needs that is winsome to say the least.

What are your customers’ pain points? (Hint: Unexpected shipping costs lead to 28% cart abandonment, so transparency is a good place to start your UX tune ups!) Next gen analytics can show you exactly what’s holding them back or prompting their exits from your site. Once you know where they get caught up, you can plot your own guerilla digital experience “wow’ moment!

I am always on the lookout for UX innovation. If you come across a digital experience that stands out, please send it over to [email protected]

UX Spotlight: Superior Checkout Experience – Conversion or bust

In the UX Spotlight series, I post weekly on UX features that impressed me online, and are great examples and inspiration for anyone looking to enhance their digital user experience.

Checkout is the moment of truth for eCommerce sites. Your customer journey has brought shoppers this far – can it bring them all the way to conversion?

MORE THAN HALF OF SHOPPERS ARE INTERESTED ENOUGH TO PUT AN ITEM ON THEIR CART, BUT THEN SOMETHING STOPS THEM FROM TAKING THAT ITEM HOME.

Statistics vary, but overall it seems the shopping cart abandonment rate is about 60%. More than half of shoppers are interested enough to put an item in their cart, but then something stops them from taking that item home. One of the most direct ways online stores can boost their bottom line is by improving their checkout process and getting interested customers to convert.

This week I look at several different companies improving their checkout process in three key ways: Fun, efficiency, and added value.

1) Fun

You know when waiters say “good choice” when you choose your lunch, and it affirms you and heightens your anticipation for your meal at the same time? Buying online should offer shoppers similar feedback when they pick out an item.

Threadless, a trendy t-shirt company that sells customer-designed, customer chosen apparel, is a great example of this tactic applied to eCommerce. When you add a shirt to your cart on Threadless, your cart thanks you in a quirky way.

The cart even winks or licks its lips!

It’s unique touches like these that make shopping memorable. And with a quirky product line like Threadless’s, it only makes sense. Every step in a digital experience should fit the tone of the brand, so even an add-to-cart popup should be part of the immersive customer journey. Besides, this kind of immediate feedback encourages customers to continue, because their actions produce an instant reaction, and they’ll want to see what happens next.

2) Efficient

In a survey of why customers abandoned their carts, 23% of them said it was because they were forced to create a customer account, and they preferred to jump ship than to go through account creation.1

A guest checkout option is imperative in today’s eCommerce environment, especially because 60% of shoppers are now browsing on mobile, and creating an account is beyond cumbersome with your thumbs on a touch screen. By forcing customers to register, you are pushing them away.

Many sites offer two options when entering checkout: to proceed as a guest, or to login to an existing account.

Threadless nails it again, with the rising trend of defaulting to guest checkout while giving the option to login:

Threadless’s entire checkout process is condensed onto just one screen, making the light at the end of the tunnel seem much closer and more attainable. If the checkout process is a sprint, then each step is a hurdle. Removing the login/guest choice and going straight to data entry is removing a hurdle and bringing your sprinting shopper one step closer to conversion.

Another brand pioneering simplicity and efficiency in customer journeys is eyewear retailer Warby Parker. When it comes to filling out that data, Warby Parker’s approach is notable due to its highly responsive auto-fill option, which can guess a complete address after just a few characters.

3) Added value

But check-outs can offer more than simply speed and convenience. In fact, British appliance retailer AO.com offers additional value during their checkout, helping shoppers achieve a more streamlined customer journey while potentially increasing their cart value.

For starters, when viewing the cart, AO offers checkboxes for additional features that could help that customer. When I tried to check out with a smart TV, for example, AO asked if I also wanted help with installation or old appliance removal, and made it easy for me to accept that assistance:

Offering extra services makes shoppers feel like everything is taken care of, and there’s nothing else to worry about.

OFFERING EXTRA SERVICES MAKES SHOPPERS FEEL LIKE EVERYTHINGIS TAKEN CARE OF, AND THERE’S NOTHING ELSE TO WORRY ABOUT.

This not only upsells, it also eases any concerns a customer might have about all the nitty-gritty details that might go with a major purchase like home electronics. Offering extra services makes shoppers feel like everything is taken care of, and there’s nothing else to worry about. Furthermore, AO uses friendly, accessible language throughout their checkout process. Instead of technical legalese, they speak to the shopper like a salesperson would in the store, which is exactly the role of a good digital experience.

AO also goes above and beyond when it comes to shipping, which is key, because unexpected shipping costs are another notorious checkout obstacle. They allow customers to choose a delivery date and time, transparently showing the prices for each.

AO also enables online order tracking to calm impatient purchasers while their item is on the way.

The Impact:

The proof is in the purchases.  Case study after case study illustrates how streamlining the checkout process increases conversion.

For example, in an A/B test, Electronic Path Software found that its conversions increased by 21% when it shifted from a multi-step to single page checkout process.2

Similarly, a Strangeloop test found that conversions declined by 60% when a page loaded 2 seconds slower. Speed is king when it comes to checkouts!3

And ASOS increased their conversions by 50% when they stopped forcing customers to register before they could complete their order.4

It’s clear that taking a few small steps towards a more helpful and less strenuous checkout process could mean major benefits when it comes to conversion.

The Takeaway:

What’s important to note about each of these examples is that they cater to the needs of their particular audience. By and large, shoppers on Threadless might be looking for a fun and simple shopping experience. Those looking for new glasses on Warby Parker are looking for function combined with design flare in both their eye-wear and their customer experience. And customers making a major appliance purchase on AO want to know they have all their bases covered when it comes to their major purchase, and that receiving it won’t be a hassle. Who is your customer? What are they looking for as they check out?

As web analytics become more sophisticated, we have the ability to understand that even the same customer might have different needs on different visits. The next step in the evolution of a superior checkout experience will cater the process further, to meet customers’ particular needs at the time of their purchase, and make conversion the obvious and simple choice!

I am always on the lookout for UX innovation. If you come across a digital experience that stands out, please send it over to [email protected]

Resources:

1 – https://www.clickz.com/checkout-best-practice-101-guest-checkout/98289/
2 – http://blog.lemonstand.com/9-case-studies-for-optimising-your-checkout-conversion-rate/
3 – http://blog.lemonstand.com/9-case-studies-for-optimising-your-checkout-conversion-rate/
4 – http://blog.lemonstand.com/9-case-studies-for-optimising-your-checkout-conversion-rate/

UX Spotlight: Product Discovery Quizzes – Dermalogica and Clinique Personalize the Search (and Conversion) Process – tr

In the UX Spotlight series, I post weekly on UX features that impressed me online, and are great examples and inspiration for anyone looking to enhance their digital user experience.

Today’s online shoppers have more choice than ever, which means that there is truly something for everyone, but it also means customers are sometimes overwhelmed by choice paralysis.

Back in the brick-and-mortar days, in-person salespeople would help shoppers out by asking the right questions to get to the bottom of what a shopper truly needed and which products would best suit them. Online, with too many options and no personal guidance, the customer journey can slow down significantly – or come to a complete halt.

IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT DIGITAL EXPERIENCES STEP UP AND SERVE AS THE FRIENDLY, EXPERT SALES PERSON THROUGH EASY-TO-NAVIGATE, INFORMATIVE GUIDANCE FOR SHOPPERS.

That’s why it’s so imperative that digital experiences step up and serve as the friendly, expert sales person through easy-to-navigate, informative guidance for shoppers. One great approach to this process is product discovery quizzes.

This week I highlight Dermalogica and Clinique, two skin care companies who both nail the product discovery quiz in different ways.

The UX Element: Both Dermalogica and Clinique offer interactive quizzes to help customers pinpoint the right products for their skincare needs.

Dermalogica offers a short, quick, streamlined survey to narrow down the body of products that may suit a shopper. In their “speed mapping skin analysis,” which is easily found on their homepage, customers answer 4-6 questions about their age and skin concerns, and Dermalogica offers a “skin analysis,” including a video about the body of products that best suits the shopper, and different skin regimens and products that match the customer’s answers.

Clinique offers a longer, more in-depth quiz, with a variety of different questions and answer mechanisms, such as slide bars and color gradients, which keep the survey engaging and fun. From the homepage, shoppers can click “skincare” and then “customized solutions for every skin.”
Several questions later, Clinique offers a specific set of products that address a pinpointed problem.

The Impact: In the Dermalogica quiz, customers are quickly directed to the right product category for them. In less than one minute, customers can go from not even knowing where to click, to honing in on a personalized category page.

IN LESS THAN ONE MINUTE, CUSTOMERS CAN GO FROM NOT EVEN KNOWING WHERE TO CLICK, TO HONING IN ON A PERSONALIZED CATEGORY PAGE.

In the Clinique quiz, customers take their time answering progressively personalized questions, resulting in a small number of very precise products being offered to them based on their answers. With a little more time investment, customers have their shopping baskets offered up on a silver platter. They just have to add to cart.

Both quizzes offer their results in bundles, which is a great opportunity for brands to upsell. Now that customers are invested in their needs and had those needs verified and validated, it’s the perfect time to offer them the complete solution to their quest.

The Takeaway: First, let’s talk about the fact that people love online quizzes. Even those consumers who come to an eCommerce site purely to browse can be drawn in by the lure of getting to be a little introspective and find out something new about themselves. Being asked questions about yourself is fun, especially aspects of yourself you might not normally think about, which both of these quizzes tap into.

WE AUTOMATICALLY PLACE HIGHER VALUE ON ITEMS IN OUR POSSESSION, OR ITEMS WE DON’T OWN YET BUT WE ASSUME WILL IMPROVE OUR LIVES IF WE DID.

Second, individuals love things that they own or that are assigned to them. We automatically place higher value on items in our possession, or items we don’t own yet but we assume will improve our lives if we did. By designating these items as specifically selected for a customer based on their unique traits or feelings, the items are instantly more valuable in the eyes of the consumer.

Although both of these examples are for skincare, this strategy could be adopted for nearly any field, from travel sites looking to help customers find the right destinations to car dealerships looking to suggest the perfect vehicle for a unique consumer – and help them schedule a test drive for it.

It’s important, of course, that any quiz mechanism is optimized for mobile. With 60% of visitors to eCommerce sites on mobile these days, any process that could speed and simplify the customer journey is a great boon for mobile users, and should be designed with them in mind.

This is the job that salespeople used to do, smiling at a customer across the department store makeup counter and making it easy, pleasant, and even fun for shoppers to narrow their search and hone in on the right product for them. Now, through tools like product discovery quizzes, UX can carry that torch.

I am always on the lookout for UX innovation. If you come across a digital experience that stands out, please send it over to [email protected]

UX Spotlight: Custom product creators – New Balance gives customers the sneakers of their dream

In the UX Spotlight series, I post weekly on UX features that impressed me online, and are great examples and inspiration for anyone looking to enhance their digital user experience.

When it comes to sportswear, customers can be very picky. And so they should be – they’re depending on their gear to keep them safe, comfortable, and performing at their best ability. For these reasons, people tend to stick with an athletic brand once they’ve found one that suits them. Which means that customers are hard won, but worth the battle.

With similar brands competing fiercely for customer conversion and loyalty, it’s imperative that sportswear retailers use every tool in their arsenal to set themselves apart. User Experience is one major way that brands can differentiate themselves from competing brands.

WHEN CUSTOMERS TAKE PART IN BUILDING SOMETHING, AND INVEST TIME AND EFFORT, THEY FEEL MORE CONNECTED TO THE PRODUCT.

This week I highlight New Balance’s product customization feature. In this section of the NB website, shoppers can design their own sneakers from scratch, choosing everything from the shape of the shoe to decorative detailing. This feature gives customers a sense of pride and ownership regarding the product they designed. When customers take part in building something, and invest time and effort, they feel more connected to the product. They feel that it has more value and is more desirable than anything out there that’s pre-made.

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The UX Element: On the New Balance homepage, selecting NB1 Customize from the top menu gives a preview of the different kinds of shoes that can be designed. Once the desired cut is selected, the customer is directed to a full suite of customization tools right in the website interface, with minimal load times and an impressive range of choices to create a unique pair of running shoes that exactly fit the shopper’s preferences and that no one else out there owns.

Customers can change almost every aspect of the shoe, from the laces to the color of the mesh to the lining. Each change is reflected in the price in the upper left, so shoppers can balance their budget with the features they desire. There was even an option to add a signature or personal slogan to the back of the shoes.

When a customer has optimized their design, they can select their size and check out immediately – their customized shoes will be shipped right to their door.

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The Impact: When it comes to practical items like sportswear, customers generally fit into two groups: Those who know exactly what they want, and those who are overwhelmed by choice. Group A enters their shopping experience with a clear idea in their head of what they want, and spend their time online looking for the product that most matches their vision in terms of functionality and design. Group B has no idea what they want, and the number of options and their specificity intimidates and discourages them.

A customization tool like this one suits both groups. For Group A, it eliminates the need to comparison shop, because the exact design a customer wants can be achieved and ordered with just a few clicks. For group B, customizing frees them from having to choose from existing items and gives them the power to be creative. Through the customization process, these shoppers can discover new features they love and get attached to. In both cases, such a tool increases time on site and user engagement with the site, encouraging extended shopping even in those customers who came to the site out of curiosity without a clear goal.

THIS TOOL PLAYS INTO THE IKEA EFFECT, A SOCIAL PHENOMENON WHICH DESCRIBES THE WAY THAT CUSTOMERS PLACE HIGH VALUE ON PRODUCTS THAT THEY MADE THEMSELVES.

Furthermore, this tool plays into the Ikea effect, a social phenomenon which describes the way that customers place high value on products that they made themselves. The same color combination will feel more exciting in a custom-designed sneaker than one found existing on the shelf. The ability to design something one-of-a-kind also promotes sharing – both of designs via e-mail or social media, which NB has made easy in their interface, and outside on the track. “Look at my new running shoes – I designed them myself!”

The Takeaway: As generations become more demanding, brands will need to offer highly customized products and personalized user experiences. Generation Z, for example, particularly craves creative, unique interactions in their shopping experiences, which a custom product creator provides in spades. This incoming shopping generation visits 62% more pages than their predecessors per shopping session and bounce 51% less, which demonstrates how they are eager to interact with e-retailers in more depth.

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When implementing such a tool, it’s important to track track the customer journey and steps they find fun and engaging vs. frustrating. It would also be useful to track checkout ratios with different features that customers interact with, and to see if the Ikea effect proves true for your brand. Experience tells us your customers will be willing to pay a much higher price for a customized product than they would for one off the shelf.

I am always on the lookout for UX innovation. If you come across a digital experience that stands out, please send it over to [email protected]

UX Spotlight: Hotels.com creates a sense of urgency by heightening friendly customer competition

In the UX Spotlight series, I post weekly on UX features that impressed me online, and are great examples and inspiration for anyone looking to enhance their digital user experience.

For booking/travel sites like car rentals or flights, it can be difficult to set your brand apart from the others. Many offer the exact same services at similar or identical price points, and do not own the products or properties themselves, so the only way to set their site apart is through a superior and unique user experience.

This week I highlight the way hotels.com creates a strong sense of urgency by pitting customers against one another in competition for a limited supply of rooms. This friendly race to the finish line (or booking confirmation) creates a powerful fear of loss and coinciding conversion lift.

The UX Element: Once a date and location are input, the category page has multiple pieces of messaging that subtly (and not-so-subtly) create a sense of urgency. First, there’s a banner at the top of the page that informs shopper that 30% of the city’s (in this case, Paris) hotels are booked for the chosen dates. Next, a popup in the lower right tells the customer that there are 347 other people browsing Paris hotels at that very same moment, which leverages both natural envy for what others have and fear-of-loss to light a fire under shoppers. Finally, individual property listings boldly display the limited number of rooms left.

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The Impact: The evolution of internet shopping has hurt sense of urgency overall, because shoppers can’t physically see that inventory is running low, nor can they see other customers in the store walking around with an item that suddenly seems desirable due to its popularity. Thus shoppers often dawdle, comparison-shopping or delaying booking for extended periods because they feel they have all the time in the world. Hotels.com creates urgency online by pulling back the curtain and showing who else is in the store. The race begins in the first phase of a search, and increases in intensity as shoppers get closer to product pages. This both makes products more compelling because others are interested in them, and gives customers a reason to book quickly and with their service: if they don’t, the deal could be gone. 88 prospective buyers with only 1 room at the lowest price is a stressful situation for a shopper, but an advantageous one for a seller. It creates an intense sense that if the customer doesn’t book at that moment, 88 other people are ready and willing to do so, and that if they wait and return later, the room they wanted will no longer be available.

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There could even be a multiplier effect when it comes to customers looking to book high-end properties. A ContentSquare focus group of luxury brand shoppers found that 13% of luxury customers had in-depth shopping experiences on their first visit, visiting 6 or more product pages, compared to only 5% of non-luxury shoppers. Furthermore, high-end shoppers are more likely to convert on their first visit then conventional customers. Tapping into this “compulsive” tendency of luxury shoppers by fanning their sense of urgency to book an exclusive and sought-after property could have explosive sales results.

TAPPING INTO THIS “COMPULSIVE” TENDENCY OF LUXURY SHOPPERS BY FANNING THEIR SENSE OF URGENCY TO BOOK AN EXCLUSIVE AND SOUGHT-AFTER PROPERTY COULD HAVE EXPLOSIVE SALES RESULTS.

The Takeaway: UX opens many doors to differentiating your brand. Where you might not be able to change a product or price, you can always optimize the way you present the transaction to achieve a powerful effect. By carefully tracking your customer journey, you can see exactly which types of messaging shorten the time between entering a site and check-out or increase conversion overall. You can also see if showing a lower number of other shoppers for a less popular destination has an effect opposite of the one desired. It could be that selective and personalized application of tools like these is a superior strategy.

I am always on the lookout for UX innovation. If you come across a digital experience that stands out, please send it over to [email protected]

UX Spotlight: ModCloth Cultivates a Shopping Community with Clever Use of Generated Content (UGS)

In the UX Spotlight series, I post weekly on UX features that impressed me online, and are great examples and inspiration for anyone looking to enhance their digital user experience.

One of the biggest barriers to purchasing clothing online is the inability for shoppers to try items on before purchase. ECommerce stores are constantly innovating to overcome this obstacle, and one of the best strategies also happens to involve sourcing free content.

This week’s UX highlight is ModCloth’s expert use of User Generated Content (UGC) to increase conversion rates and to build an actively engaged community of shoppers. By displaying customer photos on product pages, ModCloth eases customer concerns about a product, increases the chances a customer will be happy with their purchase, and encourages customer engagement.

The UX Element: ModCloth product pages feature an “Explore & Shop Outfit photos” gallery below the main professional product photos. This gallery is entirely made up of customer photos submitted as part of voluntary reviews. These photos also appear within customer reviews at the bottom of product pages:

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The review template prompts customers to fill in sizing details along with their critique of specific attributes of a product such as length and quality. The combination of stats plus photos enables potential buyers to very accurately evaluate how an item would fit or suit them, by finding a reviewer of a similar size, skin tone, or style and seeing how they liked the product and looked in it.

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The Gallery:

Furthermore, if you click on a reviewer you find interesting and relate to in terms of sizing and style, you can view a gallery of the products they’ve tried out:

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The Impact: Easing a customer’s mind at checkout is more important than ever, as more and more eCommerce sales come from mobile, and mobile users take 69% more time to complete checkout than desktop users due to lack of purchasing confidence. This layered use of UGC has a tremendous impact.

First, the ability for users to see how a product fits a real person just like them removes the risk that they will frustratingly buy a product that doesn’t fit, and I’m sure lowers return rates.

Next, user profiles with their favorite items create amazing customer engagement, loyalty, and eventually brand ambassadors as users post their looks on social media with links to their profile. Spotlighting star shoppers also encourages new customers to get involved and post their own photos and reviews.

Finally, these brand ambassadors upsell for brands by pairing different items and accessorizing with other brand products.

BY DISPLAYING CUSTOMER PHOTOS ON PRODUCT PAGES, MODCLOTH EASES CUSTOMER CONCERNS ABOUT A PRODUCT, INCREASES THE CHANCES A CUSTOMER WILL BE HAPPY WITH THEIR PURCHASE.

The Takeaway: UGC is powerful because it’s an authentic, word-of-mouth voice, which today’s (and tomorrow’s) shoppers crave. Customer satisfaction with a product is based on how closely a purchase met their expectations, and offering a wide array of UGC posted by a range of people with different traits and interests accurately shapes shopper product expectations while generating excitement and engagement around a brand.

To execute this approach you’ll need to have a system in place to inspire UGC, from getting the ball rolling with social media contests to targeted post-purchase e-mails with review requests. You’ll want to track the ratio between time spent browsing UGC galleries and conversion rates to see how adding user photos really impacts your bottom line. You should also analyze the correlation between users who upload UGC and their rates of repeating as customers.  This approach can both sway new shoppers and increase brand loyalty among your existing fan base.

I am always on the lookout for UX innovation. If you come across a digital experience that stands out, please send it over to [email protected]

UX Spotlight: Sephora takes customers by the hand with friendly How-to videos – gb

In the UX Spotlight series, I post weekly on UX features that impressed me online, and are great examples and inspiration for anyone looking to enhance their digital user experience.

Beauty products and their marketing are often aspirational in nature, which is a good way to  create a sense of longing around a product and a lifestyle. That said, it sometimes takes a little extra boost to help shoppers picture how a product could fit into their daily lives. Even if the product is great, if used incorrectly, the buyer will not be satisfied. Therefore, a brand must work not only towards encouraging a purchase, but also towards ensuring a great result. Since applying makeup (or using tools, materials, etc) is a learned skill and not an intuitive one,  how-to videos can ensure that a customer will use the product properly, will be satisfied with the purchase, and will return for more or recommend it to friends.

That’s why this week I want to showcase Sephora’s extensive selection of how-to videos. Each video features an expert casually giving all the steps for creating a certain look or makeup effect using Sephora’s line of products. These videos make it seem like the path towards a beautiful look is quick, easy and accessible.

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The UX Element: The majority of the Sephora product pages I visited feature short how-to videos of different uses or techniques to try out with that product. Within the product page, below the main item image, they added a selection of how-to videos. When clicked, a makeup consultant, celebrity, or other influencer gives examples of different ways to use the product at hand and suggests other product pairings that can be used to achieve different looks. Each video is tailored to their target audience, both in language and production value, and show that anyone can create a professional look with a few simple steps.

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The Impact: Since satisfaction with beauty products depends on a customer’s ability to use them correctly, training through how-to videos greatly increases the odds of them being satisfied with their purchase and feeling happy with their experience and the brand.

A long-term value of how-to videos is the impact they have on engagement. Once the product arrives, customers will want to revisit their favorite how-tos and try them out. This means that engagement with the brand is extended well beyond the product delivery date, which will lead to return visits, and, if handled correctly, results in return shoppers and brand loyalty. Furthermore, by suggesting product pairings, brands offer an easy and authentic way to potentially upsell.

How-to videos are an especially great way to build up brand loyalty among mobile users, who are notoriously less loyal than desktop users. Even though mobile will soon surpass desktop in terms of eCommerce sales, the average mobile shopper returns to a site only 3.4 times compared to 5.8 on desktop, and mobile users are 4x less likely to login to an existing user account (one of the classic methods of building brand loyalty online) than desktop users. A great how-to video that customers can bring to the vanity with them (or into the garage, or the sewing room) on the go increases repeat traffic and brand loyalty even – or especially – among mobile users.

The Takeaway: How-to videos are a major boost for any product that requires a special skill set that many shoppers don’t have—but won’t necessarily admit to not having, whether that be makeup, technical equipment, craft supplies, and anything in between. They are a great opportunity to build thought-leadership for your brand, market your products, and connect with your brand ambassadors. Offering valuable content that is useful and immediately applicable encourages genuine engagement which breeds loyalty. If you want to go the extra mile, you could even invite customers to share their own how-to videos to cultivate quality, authentic user-generated content for your product pages.

HOW-TO-VIDEOS ARE A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO BUILT THOUGHT-LEADERSHIP FOR YOUR BRAND, MARKET YOUR PRODUCTS, AND CONNECT WITH YOUR BRAND AMBASSADORS.

Keep an eye on the data to see how investment in marketing strategies, like how-to videos, pay off. Make sure you analyze checkouts and other KPIs to track their impact on your conversion rates. In particular, you’ll want to check user times on site and analyze if they increased with the addition of video. Deep diving into your customer journey will determine how much the video is influencing the customer to buy, and don’t forget that the impact of how-to videos will also be seen over time. As customers repeat due to the value added beyond the product itself, it’s likely your site will welcome these customers again when they’re looking for the next best thing.

I am always on the lookout for UX innovation. If you come across a digital experience that stands out, please send it over to [email protected]