The most important step in driving conversion rates is to get the shopper to take an action that clearly demonstrates interest. It doesn’t have to be a big action, the smallest of actions will do.
Something magical happens once an action is taken. When a visitor first lands on the site their personal investment is 0, and with 0 investment you have no relationship with the visitor. This is terrible for the business. However, the moment the visitor takes concrete action things start to change. It might not be big enough to make a purchase but it’s infinitely more valuable than 0. To see an example of this strategy I’m sharing a screenshot from the ontimeairfilters.com homepage. Ontimeairfilters.com is a website that sells a simple product– filters. Here is their homepage–
You’ll notice that the first thing they do is ask shoppers where they live (“Do You Like In A …”). I tried both options and the results page is identical, which makes me think this question doesn’t really have a business purpose. But I bet it meets a big psychological purpose because the moment the shopper makes a selection (home or condo/apt) they are unconsciously starting the process of engagement.
And don’t assume such a tactic can only work for a site that sells filters. It can work for any site. Here is another example (notice the dropdown question)—
And here is an example from freedomvoice.com.