Black Friday Sale

Black Friday is a great time to go treasure hunting online. But I wasn’t looking for deals this past Black Friday. Instead, I was searching for the new or unique ways websites were trying to get us to stick around for a bit longer. did something pretty interesting.

I went to their site, searched around for a bit, then moved my cursor to the back button of my Chrome browser to look at some other sites. Before I was able to click, a popup appeared:

Popup on exit

Let’s play a game. Can you spot the difference between that popup and the sale banner that appeared on the rest of the site (see below)?

Sale banner

Do you see it? The banner was only advertising the Black Friday weekend sale while the popup was doing that in addition to saying, “PLUS: Get A Bonus Cat Toy with Every Purchase.” For some shoppers, that added bonus may have been enough to keep them on the site. used Choreographed Experience by showing this popup only when I moved my cursor to exit the site. The unexpected popup grabbed my attention and, as a result, I saw a piece of compelling information. Have you considered doing something similar on your site? All it takes is a little bit of HTML or JavaScript.

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Use Customers to Craft Better Product Pages

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote an article (link) explaining how you can improve product descriptions by studying submitted reviews. Reviews are a great way to see why customers actually “like” the product you are selling. We received some very interesting comments and questions:

— What happens if your product page doesn’t have a lot of reviews?

— How are you supposed to know why customers are purchasing if you don’t have any reviews?

There are two ways in which you can deal with a product page that either has a low number of reviews or low purchase numbers:

1. Send an email to people who have purchased your product asking for feedback.

This is a great way for you to increase feedback from your customers. Generally speaking, 1,200 purchases will generate 1 organic product review. Sending an email to each customer might sound tedious, but 71% of customers will leave a review for a product when asked (source). What does this mean for you? A potential of 852 new reviews from those 1200 customers when normally your site would only be getting 1.

Now we come to the question of what if the purchase numbers for this product are low?

2. If the user is on the page, engages with the page, then starts to exit, show them a message.

Not everyone is going to interact with the prompt, but it slows people down. If someone takes the time to read that prompt and enter their email, you can collect feedback on what you need to do to improve your product page. For the sake of continuity, we’ll use the same site ( that was used in the previous article.

The first image is the default state of the product page:

Spin life control.png

Once the user navigates towards the close button, a popup will appear with our messaging:

Spin life exit prompt.png

You don’t need to have high sales numbers to figure out what’s on your customer’s mind, you just have to ask.

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Anti Scent Trail

Scent Trail trail is used to help the shopper know they’re on the right path.

If they search for “dry erase board” on Google search, click your ad and see the word “Dry-erase Boards” on your landing page it’s a visual cue they’re at the right place.

So what’s an anti scent trail? Let me show you:

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Site Search

If your site has a search box and a user enters multiple search terms (one after another), it tells us two things: a.) they are motivated, b.) they are having a difficulty locating their target item.

When this happens you need to show them a really well-written message that suggests they speak with a product specialist. These people are frustrated, serious buyers.

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Choreographed User Experiences

We all know how important user experiences are. But what about choreographed user experiences? They’re even more important. Let me explain …

Imagine you’re an author who has written an excellent mystery novel with 12 chapters. Would you let your readers read the chapters in any order they please (chapter 8 followed by chapter 2)? Or would you demand that they read starting in sequence, from chapter 1?

It’s very similar for your ecommerce site. Yes, we want to give our visitors freedom to explore our store as they like but make no mistake about it, the sequence in which potential first-time buyers consume your story has a dramatic impact on their overall conversion rates.

Don’t know what the magic sequence is? Here is a template that can be applied to any site:

— The first content first-time buyers need to see is why your product/service is unique.

— The second content first-time buyers need to see if what makes you unique (your story).

— The third content first-time buyers need to see is why they should trust you.

— The fourth content first-time buyers need to see if what happens if the promise you are making isn’t true (risk reversal).

As marketers, we need to ensure all engaged potential first-time buyers “buy” this content (and in that sequence).

If you like ideas to boost your conversion rates you should subscribe. You can either email subscribe (option at bottom right corner of the screen) or follow me on Twitter (

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Site Search

If your site has a search box and a user enters multiple search terms (one after another), it tells us two things: a.) they are motivated, b.) they are having a difficulty locating their target item.

When this happens you need to show them a really well-written message that suggests they speak with a product specialist.

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First-Time Experiences Matter

Caesar’s Entertainment (the casino) noticed something peculiar: Majority of first-time visitors to their properties didn’t return. There are a number of reasons why a customer may not return but a big one is their first visit experience. If the customer has an experience they like, it greatly increases their chances of becoming a regular (thus making Caesar’s Entertainment a lot of money). In the casino business a bad experience is when a first-time visitor loses more than they expect. Since Caesar’s knows the distribution of winning/losing for each type of game they know when the first time visitor is on the losing tail of the distribution (bad experience). This raises a flag in their monitoring system. It’s important to note that most casinos would do nothing for this customer. But at Caesar’s when this event is triggered a manager walks to the customer and asks hows they are doing. The customer says they are having a terrible time and the manager apologizes and offers her a free dinner, a hotel room or a limo ride (for example). To study bottom line impact of this strategy Caesar’s will make the offer to only 50% of first-time visitors who are losing heavily. This allows them to compute the difference. And not surprisingly, that small shift in first visit experience greatly increases customer lifetime value.

This exact same strategy can be applied to your ecommerce store.

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Difficult Choices Kill Conversion Rates

We think choices are good, but if you don’t clearly describe the differences between choices you are most definitely hurting conversion rates. Consider this: A shopper is looking to buy a wireless temperature sensor for their grill. They land on product page:


The item sounds impressive and within their price range. But now the shopper notices a second option called iGrill® mini and it’s priced lower:


The shopper is viewing this page on their mobile phone (small screen) and they’re switching back and forth between the 2 options to understand why the mini is cheaper. They like the lower price but a voice in their head says, “what’s the catch here?”

And unless they clearly understand why the mini is cheaper they aren’t going to buy.

It turns out that the difference between the 2 models are the number of probes you get. But in the 10 minutes I was playing on these 2 product pages I simply couldn’t figure it out.

I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but neither are many of your potential customers. You aren’t designing experiences for the smartest shoppers, you’re designing them for average, easily distracted shoppers.

Here is an idea: add a piece of code so that if a shopper first visits iGRILL® 2 page and then goes to iGrill® mini, on mini page we add new bolded content under product description that says:

The difference between iGRILL® 2 and iGrill® mini is that with iGrill® mini you get just 1 probe slot and with iGRILL® 2 you get 2 probe slots.

This would make my choice clear.

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