Before/After

Miracle Method specializes in restoring tubs, ceramic tile, and countertops. When you visit their homepage you’ll see this nifty before/after widget (screenshot):

MiracleMethod_HP

My video to describe how widget works:

They could have just shown a video but adding a sliding bar that the user controls is what makes it effective. Remember: conversion rates go up when users feel they are driving the experience.

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Using Email for Word-of-mouth Marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing is so powerful. But it’s hard to get right.

Here is an idea I thought up:

DANAT is a gourmet chocolate manufacturer (not a real company). Their fans absolutely love them but only 0.005% of chocolate lovers in the US even know of DANAT. DANAT could spend on spray and pray marketing but they want to use their marketing dollars wisely. DANAT wants to reach friends of DANAT fans.

So they send their super fans an email with an interactive map. The teaser copy reads, “Can you think of 1 close friend who would love DANAT? Where does this friend live?”:

DANAT_Map

The reader feels compelled to interact with the map (all humans feel compelled to interact with interactive maps). Picking a state takes them to a landing page. For the sake of argument assume they click Michigan. This is what they’ll see on the landing page:

DANAT_LP_Message

When they visit this page a cookie is set. That way if the visitor returns to email and clicks on some other state the site recognizes the cookie and prevents the user from making an alternate selection.

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VIP Priority Processing

Noticed something new and am not sure if it’s a bad idea or a brilliant one.  On sprinklerwarehouse.com when you add an item to cart, and start checkout process, this popup appears—

Sprinklerwarehouse.com_Priority

At one level it feels brilliant because $2.95 is a small enough fee but at the same time I feel it may end up annoying anyone who doesn’t want to take the offer.  What do you think?

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Something Different

This post isn’t related to improving website conversion rates, but it’s worth sharing. And maybe this happens all the time but it’s never happened to me. Last week I received a piece of direct mail from nielsen and it included 2 dollar bill notes. Picture—

Direct_Money

Have you ever received marketing mail with cash in it?

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Actual Size

One of the downsides of shopping online is that it’s hard to know product size dimensions.  Some retailers place a coin next to product image so we can visualize relative size, but even that approach isn’t perfect.

I was looking at a Shark Mug on uncommongoods.com and noticed this curious link (red arrow in screenshot below)—

Uncommongoods.com_Product_Page

On click this appeared on screen—

Lifesizer.com_Pop_Up

Then I just selected my screen size and was shown a new product image where mug was displayed in actual size on screen (the size I’d see if I was looking at mug in person).  Very cool.  This service is provided by a third party tool called lifesizer.com.

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Total Savings

I noticed this very clever landing page floating header on sierratradingpost.com–

I love that they use the word ‘today’, which makes the header so much more persuasive.

I also love the 66% savings figure because it reinforces the tag graphic that promises daily savings of 35-70%.  Shoppers assume that when retailers claim savings of 35-70% they really mean most will save 35%.  But the ‘real time’ figure of 66% proves this isn’t the case on sierratradingpost.com.

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Real-Time Activity

While ecommerce is growing rapidly the fact of the matter is most of your site visitors have never bought from you.  Building confidence in these visitors is key.  Linda Bustos from the excellent GetElastic blog shares a great example.  Backcountry, an online retailer, has a unique feature called “Bubblelicious”.  If, while you are on their category page, someone adds an item to cart or writes a review backcountry.com displays that activity-

Does this magically convert 100s of visitors?  No.  Does it clearly and powerfully demonstrate real-time purchase activity?  You bet.

I’m going to do some inferential analysis here- backcountry.com is renowned for their focus on analytics and measurement.  If this feature remains ‘live’ it would be because they have metric level proof it increases conversions in a meaningful way.  Mark 6-1-11 on your calendar.  Call the event “backcountry.com bubblelicious test”.  If on 6-1-11 the feature is still live we will know for sure the strategy increases conversions.  Later, based on your budget develop an adaptation of this idea that works for your site.  For example, instead of showing individual item purchase activity you might just want to show overall purchase activity.  Or try this idea.

Update: It’s been 6 months and the feature is still live, which means it must have had a positive business impact.

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Leverage the Medium

If you are an e-tailer selling women’s shoes, handbags or jewelry you have one giant disadvantage- you can’t offer shoppers instant touch, feel or fit.  This would be your biggest weakness against brick-and-mortar stores.  And this is the problem, most e-tailers obsess about their weaknesses instead of focusing on their strengths.  The Venn diagram below encourages us to reverse this thinking-

Strengths of shoedazzle.com-

1. Their team of fashion stylists are tastemakers.  While such experts can be expensive, by distributing their fees over 1000s of shoppers the site is debuting a high-end service to a price-conscious market.

2. With one site ShoeDazzle can serve customers all over the US.

3. Many of their featured items are manufactured in-house thus offering the company better margin control.

4. “Skip a month” is a brilliant feature.  It completely eliminates all end-user risk while giving ShoeDazzle the opportunity to reactivate a dormant customer every 30-days.

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