Optimize every touchpoint your customers have with your webshop - using psychological nudges.
Let’s face it, one of your biggest obstacles in eCommerce is making sure that your customers make it through their buyer’s journey seamlessly.
But it can be difficult to understand what your customers are thinking or feeling. Let alone understand why individuals do the things they do.
At Crobox, we’ve made it our mission to understand the reasons why people behave the way they do online.
Through the course of our research and experience implementing our technology onto our clients’ webshops, we’ve discovered several barriers that virtually every shopper faces across the entire conversion funnel.
These barriers cause psychological strain and can prevent your shoppers from completing their orders.
Luckily, we’ve found several proven ways to aid shoppers in overcoming these barriers by offering the right nudges at the right time and provided you with your very own conversion funnel optimization guide.
From the Product Listing to the Checkout Page, these findings will show you how to optimize your entire customer journey.
A conversion funnel represents the buyer’s journey, from the time your customer sees your webshop to when (and if) they checkout.
Sometimes known as your sales funnel, the conversion funnel should be continuously optimized to get your customers to, well, convert. The more optimized your conversion funnels, the more products you’ll sell.
It’s as simple as that.
But, in the end, converting customers is just the crux of a great eCommerce marketing strategy. Optimizing your conversion funnel will lead to better overall customer experiences.
That means that understanding your conversion funnels and making them better paves the way for a customer-centric webshop.
But how do we nudge them to move further with their choice?
According to Fogg’s Behavioral Model, three essential elements must be present for individuals to behave: ability, motivation, and a prompt.
These elements all need to be present to effectively drive behavior.
You'll see these three elements come back throughout this article. Helping to to understand how to nudge behavior at every step in the funnel.
Of course, depending on your products and customers, your conversion funnels look different to other webshops. Which means you should continuously analyze your funnels to make sure they’re in line with your buyer’s behavior.
So how do you analyze at which conversion funnel stage your buyers are dropping off? There are two ways to look into this. The first is technical, and the second is psychological. We won't get too deep into the first, as we want to jump into how to analyze the psychological strain your customers might be facing in your conversion funnel.
A quick win for the technical side can be found on Google Analytics. This analyzes your “checkout flow” by visualizing your funnel.
Source: Cardinal Path
Since 95% of purchases are subconscious, the next best way to carry out conversion funnel analysis is by understanding psychology. As psychologists working in retail, we’ve had years of experience in eCommerce optimization.
Looking at how webshops have turned browsers into buyers online, we use psychology to optimize conversions at every step of the funnel.
We live in an age of choice, and shopping is at the epicenter of it all. Everyone wants to feel unique, so retailers create countless products that help customers to express themselves.
While for some, these choices are empowering, for many they are detrimental to their decision confidence, motivation, and ability. After scrolling through page, after page, after page, motivation starts to fizzle and frustration rises.
Humans have only a limited amount of cognitive resources that they can “spend” on activities. That’s why we feel so drained after a day of studying, research, or tough negotiations.
We expend so much brainpower on these tasks that they can easily leave us depleted and tired, even if our physical activity for that day was minimal.
This idea isn’t so difficult to grasp. In fact, the brain uses more than 20% of a person’s daily energy intake. So it’s logical that when you think hard about something for an extended period, you become tired.
Making a decision is no exception. Even though it doesn’t take the same amount of resources, if there are too many choices, it can occupy more energy than a person is willing to spend on such a task.
Next to optimizing these elements to the psychology of your shoppers, there are other techniques webshops can use to help shoppers make decisions with greater ease.
At Crobox, for example, we use Dynamic Badges (sometimes known as product tags or labels) to nudge purchase behavior and decrease choice overload.
When looking at the FBM, Dynamic Badges act as the perfect prompts for highly able and motivated shoppers. These effectively decrease choice overload by pointing out relevant products and their features to the customer.
Let’s break it down.
Visually, Dynamic Badges, like those shown in the image above, are featured on products to make them stand out from the sea of products.
Textually, they use words that speak to human biases like social proof, authority, scarcity, the endowment effect, product attributes, or showing what’s special about the product.
These human biases are, for instance:
Throughout our testing, we’ve found that some behavioral principles and attributes work particularly well with one audience, while others have an adverse effect. Highlighting the importance of personalizing the messages to make their customer experience more relevant.
For example, check out how we’ve helped Asics optimize their conversion funnel with Dynamic Badges.
Our findings highlight the importance of testing, and when possible, personalizing, to determine what messages resonate with your customer segments.
Since we’ve tested this out, we can guarantee that they work to drive behavior and optimize your product lister page.
To sum up, the best practices for the PLP conversion funnel optimization are:
At this point in the online sales funnel and buyer's journey, individuals are interested in a product and ready to learn more about it.
Something has sparked their attention, whether that was the dynamic badge on the detail page or simply the product itself.
If we look at these elements on the Product Detail Page, we can assume that the shopper’s ability is high and the first prompt (Dynamic Badge) is there. That leaves increasing add-to-cart motivation as the primary barrier on this page.
One way to increase purchase intent is by providing relevant but selectively detailed product information. On the Product Detail Page, shoppers conduct an information search to confirm or deny whether the item is worth their time, effort, and money.
However, information needs differ per shopper. While some may seek product-related information (material, sizing information, etc), others may already be convinced of their choice and want to know process details (shipping time estimates, unforeseen costs, the return policy).
These differences should be addressed on the webpage by offering relevant information that these different shoppers need to increase their motivation.
It’s vital that this information stays within the scope of your users’ needs, as including too much makes it harder for them to see through the clutter.
With this in mind, we’re one step closer to making the product detail page optimized. But there’s more you can do to boost click-behavior on your Product Detail Page funnel and nudge your users to act.
To boost users’ motivation, we’ve tested behavior-driving copy that addresses potential shopper concerns.
Want to know what we found out?
It’s all about a combination of smart notifications and nudges.
Allow me to explain.
These interactive/Dynamic Notifications catch the eye and capture attention by highlighting things that can help them decide either from a functional or behavioral perspective.
Like in the example above, these can be used to drive behavior by reminding the shopper of how desirable the product is.
But you can also leverage behavioral principles in your smart notifications, e.g., “5 people are watching this product right now”. For people who respond to social proof, this will guide them along their journey, or draw attention to products that matter.
Another more subtle approach to optimizing your conversion funnel is to embed copy into the webpage itself.
For example, we’ve used urgency driven text to convey the benefits of ordering now (e.g., receiving it tomorrow). This leverages the psychological principle of Scarcity.
Ultimately, this page should be optimized to boost product-related motivation and be ability-facilitating.
The bottom line?
When formulating your copy, ask yourself:
So, to sum up your conversion funnel best practice on your PDP:
Your soon-to-be customers have reached a pivotal moment in their online sales funnel journey: their favorite products have been added to the cart. So far, so good.
At this moment in their journey is the process of consolidation. Shoppers take a second look at their cart and are likely to deliberate their product choices in relation to their total, eliminating products when necessary.
Similar to the product detail page, the primary barrier shoppers face at this point in the funnel is maintaining their motivation. This is the moment to remind your shoppers of why they added specific products to their cart (e.g., because it was the most popular, a staff pick, exclusive offer, limited stock, waterproof).
Through the use of nudges and interactive overlays, we’ve been able to influence motivation and decrease cart abandonment.
If you can get your users to invoke ownership of their products, they will be less likely to leave them hanging. We call this the Endowment Effect, which explains that when a person owns an object, they assign more emotional value to it than its actual financial worth.
Using copy like “Great selection! Your summer wardrobe is sorted,” or “It’s almost yours!” on the shopping cart page can trigger customers to establish ownership of the items and encourage behavior. Even offering free returns is a good way to capitalize on this bias.
Interactive overlays are dialogue boxes that appear when an individual shows exit intent.
While these should be used sparingly - no one wants to trigger the second coming of the pop-box - we’ve found some success when used on the checkout page.
Especially when paired with price sensitivity messaging, aka discount-driven copy, we’ve seen significant increases in continuation to checkout.
While this seems like a logical conclusion (and it is), what makes it more interesting is that offering the discount at this stage of the journey is more effective than displaying it at earlier stages.
To sum it up -
Phew! Finally, we’ve reached the final stage of your conversion funnel! Checkout completion.
How do we optimize this phase of the customer journey?
Whereas all the previous steps put the most attention on increasing motivation, the checkout page should put effort into increasing the ability of users (the opposite of making things easy for your users in terms of UX design are called Dark Patterns, read here for more!).
Since it’s impossible to change the actual ability of your users, you need to focus on improving the usability of your website.
Several implementations that your checkout should have are:
So there you have it, a comprehensive summary of all the barriers your customer face while navigating your online sales funnel.
Moving forward, remember that: