Is Google’s Express Checkout an Amazon Killer?

I was on awaytravel.com and I hit the Add to Cart button. Then I saw this menu:

When I clicked the EXPRESS CHECKOUT button, this is the pre-populated popup that appeared:

Amazing.

One of the big benefits of Amazon is that they make checkout a breeze (because they have our shipping billing info). Google’s Express Checkout has taken that advantage off the table.

Would you consider this for your site?

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Without Narrative Control Amazing Offers Suffer

First, a definition. Narrative Control: Making positive something that is or will be perceived as negative.

If you have an unexpectedly good offer (for example, your product does something most products can’t, or you’re giving a discount that’s way better than most) then you need Narrative Control.

To illustrate I’ll show an example where Narrative Control isn’t used.

On CNN.com I saw this giant top of homepage banner (translation: it’s super expensive):

CNN Banner Ad

On click I was taken to this landing page:

Skylux Ad

77% off is an incredible deal (see headline). 30% of the people on this page will see this ad and say:

“Hey, that’s amazing. I’m so happy I clicked the ad”.

70% would say:

“I don’t buy it”

If the page also included a message to explain a little about how they achieve this 77% saving it would have an incredible impact on the skeptical shoppers:

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Make Me an Offer

I was exiting ________.com and saw this “Make an Offer” message:

How is this a good idea? Some questions to consider:

1: How does this make your brand look?

2: Any smart shopper is going to lowball you. Is it worth matching that lowball offer for a minuscule margin?

3: If you don’t plan to match the lowball offer then what’s the end game? Is the hope that after a few email exchanges the buyer changes their mind and agrees to pay more? What’s the opportunity cost of those email exchanges?

4: What impact does this have on customer lifetime value? Will this buyer ever repurchase from you without “Make an Offer” option?

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[Private] Our Secret Sauce: A Behind the Scenes Look at What We Do

In this post I’m going to be talking about something that is really at the core of everything we do at Frictionless Commerce and that is a process we call ‘Deconstruction’.

For those of you that prefer video, I recorded a video walkthrough (note: the video is 18 minutes long, but it’s worth your time if you want to know how we come up with our conversion ideas):

Deconstruction is essentially when we look at every single pixel, word, and emotion that is expressed on a page. When we deconstruct a page, we’re doing so from the perspective of a first-time shopper. We step into their shoes and navigate through the site as if we shared the same intentions, FUDs (fears, uncertainties, and doubts), and so on. Our goal is to identify points of friction and come up with ideas to fix them. This is how we come up with all of our insights to help increase conversions.

In this post, we’ll deconstruct a product detail page on Bogsfootwear.com and show you a concept that we’ve created to address some possible customer FUDs.

Bogs sells and manufactures winter boots and outdoor boots; I think most of them are waterproof. The product we’ll be looking at is the Bozeman Tall Men’s Insulated Waterproof Boot, which is $150. This is, I believe, one of their highest selling boots; there’s a lot of emphasis on this product on the site. It’s also the number one rated winter boot by Outside Magazine.

While going through this page, one of the things we first noticed is that if you go to the boot selection or the size selection, you’ll see that there are many different sizes:

This section doesn’t address a possible customer FUD— is the boot size is going to be the same exact size as my shoe size? If you’re like me, you’ve probably experienced some sizing discrepancy when it comes to shoes. My dress shoes always run one size larger than my tennis shoes.

It never fails.

Since I’m not the only person in the world who has experienced this problem, we wanted to add some messaging here that would remove any confusion. Take a look:

In our concept we added “(SAME AS SHOE SIZE)” after “PLEASE SELECT” in the size options dropdown menu. This lets shoppers know that the boot size they select will be the same as their normal shoe size. They don’t have to worry about accidentally buying a boot that is smaller or larger than expected.

The next thing that we noticed is that this page is linking shoppers to a blog post by Outside Magazine. This post claims that the Bozeman Tall is the #1 winter boot:

This is typically a great way to build credibility.

So what’s the problem?

The problem is that when the shopper clicks on “View The List”, they are taken to a blog post that shows a different price for the boots:

When the shopper arrives at the blog post, they’ll see a more expensive price of $160. This can cause two things to happen: 1) the shopper will think they’re getting a better deal since the new cost of the boot is $150, or 2) the shopper will become confused and not know which price is correct. Is there something wrong with the Bogs site?

This isn’t even the biggest issue, though.

In the blog post, the writer links the shopper to two different pages to purchase the boots: 1) the Canadian version of Bogsfootwear.com, and 2) their Amazon store. Both locations show very different prices. Here is the Canadian site:

The Canadian site shows a price of $175. The majority of shoppers will not notice that they are not on a U.S. site. Additionally, the product name doesn’t include “Men’s Insulated Waterproof Boots” like it does on the U.S. site and there’s no longer a camo color option. Is this boot waterproof still? What happened to the other color option? Shoppers will undoubtedly become confused, and many may leave the site altogether.

This is what the Amazon page shows:

Instead of $150, the price is no between $127.99 and $159.95. So what is the real price that a shopper will pay?

In our concept, we wanted to eliminate all of this confusion. The most important detail here is that this is the #1 rated boot by Outside Magazine (which is a pretty popular outdoor magazine). Just by showing this as a heading will be enough to establish credibility.

Additionally, we added copy that was more personable to connect with the shopper on a personal level. The copy is personalized, as it changes based on the type of person they are. See below:

When the shopper clicks on the dropdown menu, they’ll see this:

(Note: Ideally there would be a few more options here to address all possible use cases and personalities)

After selecting the type of person they are, the shopper will see copy that is personalized for them:

This copy adds personality and likability while creating a story. Currently, Bogs doesn’t have much copy on their page, which contributes to a bland experience. Remember, people buy from people they like, so establish a genuine connection with your shoppers.

With that being said, I want to remind you that we don’t use templates for our projects at Frictionless Commerce. Each concept we come up with is custom-tailored for each site’s needs. Conversion optimization works best when we realize that each business has its own unique conversion challenges.

Just like your business isn’t a cookie cutter business, we’re not a cookie cutter agency.

Many people think if something worked well on one page or site, it’ll definitely work just as well on another. But that’s not always true. And that’s why Deconstruction is at the core of what we do. Every time we deconstruct a page, we come up with new ideas that target the points of friction that exist on that page.

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How to Get More Reviews

We assume people are rational. If you’re a retailer and offer a good product wrapped in delightful service then customer reviews will pour in.

Wrong.

Let me tell you about a recent delightful experience. I purchased jewelry for my wife online (thanks for all your help, Ron). The experience was great. The product was exquisite. And the service was exceptional.

I thought several times to write a review so that others with my concern (buying jewelry online) could confidently pull the trigger because Ron just cares that much.

I even had a review written out in my head.

I got busy and told myself I’d do it next week. This week is bad.

Next week started and other things took priority. This glowing review kept getting pushed further and further back. Do you think I ever wrote that review?

And that’s for an exceptional experience. My point is that even well intentioned people don’t walk the extra mile. And this is precisely why we need to be more proactive about requesting reviews. And the only way I know how to do that is to ask. Ask once, ask four times. Be respectful. Be enthusiastic. Be sincere. But ask.

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Don’t Let Amazon Eat Your Lunch

We can’t force shoppers but we can certainly gently nudge them.

If a visitor to your site leaves for your Amazon page you are basically paying an affiliate tax that was yours to keep.

Can this be prevented? Let’s look at a product page on Headsets.com:

They have an impossible to miss Buy from Amazon.com button. On click, you are taken to their Amazon page. Goodbye margins.

Here is what we would have done if headsets.com was a client. When a shopper clicks Buy from Amazon.com we’ll show this popup:

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Thank You Card

My girlfriend (a social worker) recently rescued a kitten from a client’s condemned home, so we had to take her to a veterinary clinic to get cleaned and up to date on her shots. It was our first time at this particular clinic, but it was definitely friendly and hospitable.

About a week after our appointment, I checked my mail and received this card:

Image of a Thank You card

Image of the opened Thank You card

The doctor and staff at the clinic hand-signed a thank you card after visiting them for the first time. This immediately put a smile on my face and I still have the card at home.

Although this is a physical card, the same approach can be taken on your website or with your email campaigns. Thanking someone for their patronage may seem like a fruitless task, but guess what? My girlfriend and I are most certainly taking our two cats to this veterinary clinic again in the future. There’s a clinic 2 minutes away from our home that specializes in treating cats, but we don’t mind driving the extra 10 minutes to the clinic that sent us this card.

Your customers will return to your site too if they feel valued.

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#1 Way to Turn Interested Browsers into Buyers

I was listening to a really interesting story about Charity: Water. Turns out, a big reason people don’t donate is that they don’t trust how their donations will be used. Charity: Water grew because they convincingly addressed this concern.

Addressing these types of resistances is one of the 16 tactics in our toolbox. We call it Narrative Control and use it to convert interested browsers into buyers.

Our definition of Narrative Control: Making positive something that is or will be perceived as negative.

Think about your product’s sales pitch. You are likely listing a whole bunch of benefits targeted to a whole set of buyer types. Here is one example (see red box):

This line was added to appeal to people concerned about crashes. Simply stating “crash-resistant design” might work on a few people concerned about crashes. It will not work on the rest of the group. When the larger group sees “crash-resistant design,” they’re thinking, “yeah, but what makes it not crash?? I don’t buy it.”

If we don’t address this larger group we’re missing out on sales.

And this is just one claim.

Your site probably makes dozens of claims. Ranging from promises about quality, special discounts, popularity, etc. Each of these could benefit from some Narrative Control treatment. It’s a little bit of work but it makes the sales pitch watertight and converts people who are definitely interested but just not 100% convinced yet.

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