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Hi there! My name is Preston and I work with Rishi at Frictionless Commerce as a conversion optimization specialist. I’ll be contributing a bit to Better Retail, so I just wanted to say it’s great to talk with you all and share some of what I’ve learned and worked on with Rishi. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned while at Frictionless Commerce is that there’s always room for improvement. In this post I’ll show you what I mean (just a heads up: this will be a lengthy post because there are a lot of moving parts that need explaining).
If you prefer video, click below (transcription below the video):
Sometimes when we look at websites we are intimidated. What do I mean when I say “intimidated”? Well, when we visit the websites of Fortune 500 companies, for example, it’s difficult to see where improvements can be made. These types of companies already have huge marketing and development teams at their disposal. So what measurable effect can we have on these sites as conversion optimization specialists? It’s easy to point out areas of friction on the sites of local mom-and-pop shops. But can we actually help companies like Nike, Comcast, or Best Buy increase conversions on their sites? If we can do that, then we can without a doubt improve conversions on any site in the world.
We’ve all heard the expression “less is more.” Sometimes, however, too little can be just that… too little. For websites, this means a number of things. One, this can be understood literally and mean that if your site isn’t giving your shoppers enough compelling information for simplicity’s sake, then you are offering too little and your conversion rates will suffer. On the other hand, this can mean that if your content isn’t easy to find, then for all intents and purposes your content is invisible to the user.
This is an issue that occurs on The Home Depot’s website. That’s right. The Home Depot, a Fortune 500 company (number 23 on the list, to be exact), has room for improvement. This is a company that has over 2,000 stores in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, over 400,000 employees, and over $100 billion in revenue in 2017. I must be crazy for thinking that their site can see better conversion rates. But I’m not crazy (at least as far as I know), and I’ll show you why.
For today’s video, I’m going to look at The Home Depot’s Fence Installation service, and the goal is to increase the number of people who sign up for in-home consultations and quotes. Here’s what their fence installation page looks like:
To provide some context, this page is one that is visited by shoppers who are interested in having their fence installed by workers contracted by The Home Depot. So as we navigate the fence installation page on The Home Depot’s site, we need to make sure we’re looking at the page from the perspective of one of these shoppers. Here is a link to the page so you can follow along and navigate through the page: https://www.homedepot.com/services/c/fence-installation/8fa995a0c
The first thing many shoppers will be drawn to are the visual elements. That means they’ll see the background image at the top of the page, then read the heading and see the form on the right. But what do they know? Well, nothing really other than that they’re on the fence installation page. If anything, some shoppers are actually more confused. There is no copy that tells them what to do and the form—which is the focal point of the entire page—is poorly presented. What’s the form for? Is it to get an online quote? To be contacted by their team? All it says is “Check availability”. “Availability” of what?
All of this is either answered much lower on the page, while filling out the form, or after the form has been completed. Why provide these answers for shoppers who have already committed to filling out the form? They obviously don’t have these same questions. For the shoppers that are asking these questions, however, there needs to be visible information that provides answers up front.
So let’s start with the most important element on the page, the focal point, the “check availability” form. This is going to be where we place all of our attention because this one form determines who signs up for the installation service and who doesn’t. The first issue we need to tackle is making sure shoppers understand what the form is for. Once completing the form, you are taken to a confirmation page that contains this extremely important information:
Essentially, The Home Depot has placed all of their Narrative Control at the… end of the funnel? This means that shoppers who have already completed the form are seeing this Narrative Control (that they clearly didn’t need in the first place). What about the people who left the page entirely before filling out the form? Why did The Home Depot ignore them and their concerns?
What we’ve learned after going through the form is that the form exists to set up free in-home consultations with shoppers. That way they can get an accurate quote. So why doesn’t The Home Depot say that up front? Well, it’s simple really. People do not like the idea of strangers coming into their home. But this is why we have our Narrative Control tactic.
So what we’ve done in our concept is add intro copy to this page that assures shoppers that they will be working with licensed professionals that are backed by The Home Depot. We’ve also killed two birds with one stone by telling shoppers exactly what the form is for. Already we’ve likely increased the number of shoppers who at the very least begin the form. Take a look:
Now comes the difficult part: getting them to complete the form. Let’s look at our concept again. The first few steps in the form are the same. “Tell us your zip code”? Well that’s not personal enough to create pause in the shopper. “What type of fencing material do you want to install?” Easy peasy. “When do you want to start your project?” Done. “What’s your name?” Uh, well, I guess I’ll tell them that.
“What’s your address?” Hmm. Why do they need to know that? Are they going to send me annoying mail?
To combat this concern, we’ve added a little link that will lead the shopper to a full-screen overlay with plenty of Narrative Control:
Now shoppers know why their address is needed. A licensed professional will be sent to their home for a free in-home consultation. What we are doing here is taking the information that The Home Depot gave us at the end of their form and bringing it to the top of sign-up process. This way shoppers will feel more compelled to move forward with the form.
The next point of friction in the form occurs on the very next step: “Tell us how to contact you.” The shopper is then asked to enter their phone number and email address. Well, now the shopper may be asking themselves if The Home Depot is going to bombard them with deals, promotions, newsletters, etc. Again, to combat this concern we’ve added another full-screen overlay that provides Narrative Control:
For shoppers who clicked on both popup links, they will see the popup above (for shoppers who only clicked on the second one, they’ll see a mega popup that includes information from both). This popup lets shoppers know that they need their contact information just so a licensed professional can set up a consultation date with them. The popup also lets shoppers know why a consultation and quote cannot be done over the phone. Additionally, for those shoppers who are a bit more price sensitive, we’ve added information about The Home Depot’s Consumer Credit Card and Project Loan program.
At this point, shoppers will definitely feel more relaxed about The Home Depot’s fence installation service and feel assured that they will be receiving top quality. We are absolutely confident that these few changes can increase conversions for The Home Depot—again, a Fortune 500 company with a huge marketing team. So surely we can increase conversions on any site in the world. The trick is to walk through sites from the perspective of shoppers.
Again, my name is Preston and you’ll be hearing more from me in the near future. I look forward to talking with you all in the comments and sharing more of what I’ve learned!