Over the last five months, we’ve conducted a large-scale study to research the latest trends in online retail. Our team of consumer psychologists has evaluated over one-hundred brands to gain a clearer picture of the techniques being used to drive purchase behavior through deep personalization and customer analytics.
Persuasion Index Top 100
Top 100 preview
This year’s Top 100 includes multinational brands like Nike, ASOS, and H&M. Surprisingly, the biggest retail brands didn’t always perform the best. One prime exception being this year’s frontrunner, Zalando.
#1 Preview: Zalando
Scoring 83/100, the eCommerce powerhouse stole the show with their sleek webshop design and persuasive features fueled by social proof, authority, and just a sprinkle of scarcity. Their site never compromises the shopper’s experience to drive purchase behavior. This level of effective subtlety isn’t something we saw often.
In a close second, Reebok and Under Amour tied, trailing Zalando by just one point. Both brands earned their top spots with the seamless integration of product labels throughout the webshop.
The Top 10 included:
1. Zalando: 83/100
2. Reebok: 82/100 (tie)
2. Under Armour: 82/100 (tie)
4. WE Fashion: 81/100
5. New Look: 79/100
6. Foot Locker: 78/100
7. Dr. Martens: 77/100
8. TK Maxx: 76/100 (tie)
8. Mr. Porter: 76/100 (tie)
10. Matalan: 75/100
Persuasive Design and Content Trends
While conducting the evaluations, various patterns emerged in the design and content on the retail sites. Our evaluators took close notes of these, compiling them to create a comprehensive trend report.
Of the twenty-three trends covered in the report, we’ll give you a sneak peek of three trends we thought to be of utmost importance.
1. Social Feeds on the Product Detail Page
Monki's Instagram Feed
Social media has taken over, each generation feeling at home with one platform or another. This has given rise to the influencer culture, where social media-savvy individuals can make it big on the “small screen.”
Brands have started to tap into this, enabling any customer to become a brand ambassador. Social feeds on retail websites give the microphone to their communities to spread the word, which leverages the power of social proof for uncertain shoppers. Social proof explains that in times of uncertainty, individuals will look toward the behavior of the masses for direction.
This is a progressive way to trigger community feelings in your customers, which can help them feel part of the in-group. For persuasion purposes, a lot more can be done with these feeds. Having organic endorsement that shows signs of social proof is ideal and can be placed throughout the website, rather than just on the homepage.
Monki has implemented their social feeds on the product detail pages, boosting social proof, inspiring product pairing, and shining the spotlight on their loyal ambassadors.
2. Cart Recommendations 2.0
WE's cart recommendations
Getting a shopper onto the cart page can be difficult. Just think about all the barriers and distractions they need to overcome. The last thing you want to do is direct them backward in the journey.
So if you’re going to offer recommendations on the cart page (which we think you should!), provide an instant-add option that is displayed in a popup, rather than redirecting to another landing page.
This simple feature helps promote relevant product recommendations that complement the current selection. It does this while making sure the individual continues to work towards their goal of making the purchase. At the same time, it can help you to increase the average order value.
3. Persuasive Search Bars
Decathlon's persuasive search bar
Almost all websites we encountered have a working search tool, which is necessary for serving a great shopper experience. But the gap is vast between excellent and poor execution. There’s having a search bar, then there’s having a predictive bar that suggests things like favorite category items.
This trend can and will evolve. Right now there is a possibility to look for shoes or a brand, and you’ll get relevant or popular searches within that query. However, it can be taken further by registering queries such as “Valentine's Day gifts” or “best suit for job interviews” to give individuals more helpful results.
Brands will not only be providers of products but will aid shoppers in making the best choices possible on their platform
You can download the full report for free at the end of this article.
Why we created the Persuasion Index
Crobox has been working with online retailers for the last five years. Throughout this collaboration, we’ve learned a lot about where the market is going in terms of technology and the opportunities it unlocks.
At the same time, our view of the current industry was limited to the retailers with which we worked. We wanted to gain a clearer picture of where the market is when it comes to persuasion, and more specifically, behavior-driven design.
The best way we thought we could do that was by conducting a large-scale qualitative study that analyzed webshops with a consumer psychology lens. With the help of a scoring framework based on UX and behavioral design principles, our team systematically approach each site objectively, yet professionally.
Crobox CEO, Rodger Buyvoets, summarized it nicely, “This year’s Persuasion Index sheds some critical light on the industry standards and awareness of behavior-driven design. We’re looking forward to seeing more trends, original designs, and persuasive copy as psychology’s influence grows larger in this quickly changing industry.”
As a side note, it’s important to address the concept of persuasion. Many experts in behavioral psychology have discussed this in their independent posts. But we want to be clear that we see a clear distinction between persuasion and manipulation. We strictly condemn the use of Dark Patterns that deceive shoppers.
Crobox strives to help both retailers and shoppers by improving the online buying experience. Our technology leverages persuasive elements that nudge behavior by pointing out product characteristics that appeal to people on an individual level. In doing so, the shopping experience is made less stressful while being more satisfying and streamlined.
By helping retailers to gain better customer intelligence on their shoppers, they can serve experiences that are deeply personalized and relevant. While this results in better business performance, it should never be at the compromise of the experience.
At this time, the most recognized way of explaining these efforts is with the biased word “persuasion.” But we believe, as long as we work with a strong code of ethics, we can serve both parties in an equal manner.
You can find the Persuasion Index on our website. If you’re interested in learning more about our methodology, getting your brand scored, or Crobox in general. Please don’t hesitate to reach out!