Welcome back everyone to part 2 of this series on quick-and-easy ecommerce tactics that win. In case you missed part 1, you can check it out here:
Without any further ado, let’s dive right into tactics #6 to #10—designed to help you dial it in even more to improve your online store’s performance.
Technique #6: Providing Animated GIFs
In the previous article, we talked about the power of video. Video is amazing because it can demonstrate benefits that would be hard to explain, or would be doubted, with text. One example is those OxiClean infomercials from the early 2000s where they showed the red wine stain on the carpet instantly come out after OxiClean was squirted onto it. If the spokesman just told you that, you likely wouldn’t believe him. But seeing, as they say, is believing.
Well, the problem with video is that not everyone clicks the play button. That may be because they think it will be too long and boring, or they may be in a place where they don’t want any audio playing, and so on. It’s been my experience that even though video increases conversion rate dramatically for the visitors who watch them, only about 5% to 10% will do so.
However, we can bypass all this and literally force them to watch a short video if we present it as a GIF. Animated GIFs, if compressed correctly, load quickly and play in a loop. They are amazing at showing a quick benefit or objection handler.
Here are some examples:
- Do your customers doubt how easy your product is to assemble? Show how quickly and easily it all comes together with an animated GIF.
- Do your customers doubt that your cellphone case is really strong enough to protect a phone dropped off a 10-story building? Show it with a GIF.
- Is your backpack that transforms into a bulletproof vest difficult to explain over text? Show how easily it transforms with a GIF (and yes, this is actually a real product, in case you’re wondering).
Try implementing a short animated GIF that will demonstrate a unique benefit, handle an objection, or clarify a feature. Just be sure the final image doesn’t exceed 3 MB. Any larger than that and it can slow your site down considerably.
Technique #7: Repeating Your Most Persuasive and Helpful Elements
I currently have a client who sells a product that’s very dependent on size (I wish I could tell you more, but the details are confidential).
So, unsurprisingly, when we implemented a size-guide chart on the site, it was a significant improvement. And yet, we still received a lot of questions and concerns over sizing. “How can this be?” we thought, because the chart was so clear and simple that even Homer Simpson could read and understand it. We were stumped.
Then, in some of our user testing sessions, we noticed that many people would blow right past the “Click Here to See Size Guide” label and then struggle to choose the right size. We hypothesized that maybe with all the other elements on the page—the size buttons, colors, copy, headlines, icons, images, and so on—they simply didn’t notice that link.
So, we then added the chart in a second location—as an image, the second one in the image carousel. The result? My biggest single win ever in my career with revenue optimization—33% increase in conversion rate! We were shocked because, technically, we hadn’t added anything new. We simply repeated an element a second time.
So naturally, our next test was to add the size guide chart in a third location. The result? It was another win—about 12%. We then added it for a fourth time and it tied, so we opted to just keep it at three, lol.
But wow, what an epiphany that was. That’s when I learned the power of repeating your most persuasive elements multiple times throughout the site. Here are a few more ways to apply this tactic:
- Your product is more compact than the competition—is that the main selling feature? If so, repeat that over and over again throughout the copy.
- Is the fact that your product is organic—and thus safe to use around small children and pets—your product’s main objection handler? Don’t mention it just once! Put that in the copy, the image carousel, as a headline, and so on.
- Is the fact that your company offers 100% free returns—when your competitors do not—your most persuasive selling point? Repeat it.
You get the idea. Don’t be shy to repeat your best selling points and objections handlers over and over again. It will do wonders for your conversion rate.
Technique #8: Putting UVP Icons under the “Add to Cart” Button
People often skim text and miss the important parts, especially these days. TIME reports that the average attention span of adults these days is only about eight seconds. Luckily, images and graphical icons draw users’ attention and can communicate information quickly and efficiently.
On all my clients’ websites, I implement what I refer to as “UVP icons under the ATC button.” UVPs are unique value propositions, but they also address common objections.
In this example, I’m assuming the company has done its homework and has learned from surveys that the biggest customer concerns are shipping time, how returns work, if customer service is easy to reach, and payment plans. So this company has added an icon to address each of these concerns.
Having the icons under the ATC is also a great idea. When customers are hovering over an ATC button, that’s the critical moment when they’re thinking about moving forward with a purchase. And, as mentioned early, since icons are primarily graphics rather than text, there’s a high likelihood customers will see them and consume their message.
Pointing back to Technique #7 on repetition, I absolutely recommend mentioning these benefits/objection handlers as written copy in the main description as well!
Technique #9: Using Progressive Disclosure
Customers need a certain type of convincing before a sale can take place. They may need to be convinced about the effectiveness of the product, or, if they’re already convinced about that, they may just want more details about size or fit. Or maybe they’re already sold on effectiveness and fit, but they’re curious to see how the product stacks up against the competition.
It’s good to address all possible objections and concerns. After all, an objection missed is a sale missed. However, a product page can quickly get out of hand if every single possible objection and value proposition is displayed all at once.
Progressive disclosure lets you have your cake and eat it too. This means that the information is there but “hidden” until a customer clicks something to reveal it. Think product tabs and “read more” links. When clicked, they display more information on the page instantly. Progressive disclosure is almost always done using tabs (shipping tab, reviews tab, FAQ tab, etc.). It’s also done with a “Read More” link. By “progressively disclosing” the content, the relevant information is there for those who need it but not taking up valuable real estate when it’s not wanted.
Let’s go back to the example about possible concerns related to effectiveness, size or fit, and comparison with the competition. Displaying all of this information at once, in one long mega page, will overwhelm visitors. We call this the dreaded “wall of text.” Walls of text are intimidatingly long, and most people won’t bother reading them. However, by adding a separate tab for each of these (labeled “Effectiveness,” “Size/Fit,” and “Our Product vs. the Competition”), your customers can narrow their focus on specific concerns without being bombarded with a lot of information.
Technique #10: Integrate Some Type of Scarcity into the Offer
Why is “While supplies last!” almost always included in those late-night TV infomercials? Here’s the short answer: because it works. We humans love to procrastinate, and when we procrastinate, we sometimes forget to do something altogether. But, if we have a reason to take action now—because supplies are limited—we’ll pull out our credit cards and make a purchase on the spot.
Procrastination is the enemy. Even if your customers like your offer (“your offer” being “the product you sell”), they may procrastinate when it comes time to actually pulling the trigger and completing the purchase. Any form of procrastination on their part is bad for you as the site owner, because “I’ll do it later” quickly turns into “Oops, I forgot.”
By building some type of scarcity into your offer, you can motivate people to take action and buy your product right away. Following are a few examples of scarcity built into an offer:
- “Order by 12:00 a.m. Tonight to GUARANTEE Your Order Will Arrive by <insert any holiday here>.” This is gold when it comes to any major holiday. People’s primary concern is that gift items will arrive late, and this headline reaffirms that won’t happen if they take action to buy immediately.
- “8 Left in Stock!” This encourages customers to act quickly because supply may be running out.
- “Back in Stock.” If you add this copy, it implies that the item is hot and flying off the shelves, so they’d better snag it before it goes out of stock again.
- 50% Off Sale Ends Today. Be careful with this one. Customer’s won’t be happy if they find out that this isn’t a real sale and that these products are always 50% off.
- First 50 Orders Receive <free gift>. Here, you include whatever free gift you want to give in the first 50 orders. Even something small and cheap, like a little fashion accessory or free shipping can incentivize people to take action. If you get creative and find something cheap, easy to ship, and of high perceived value, it’s a great way to reward your customers for not procrastinating, strengthen the relationship, and make them happy.
Providing animated GIFs is an amazing way to demonstrate a benefit your product provides that would be hard to explain with text alone. GIFs are often a better choice than video because they play automatically—no need to hit “Play.” This means your customers are much more likely to see it and be influenced by it in a positive way.
Repeating your most persuasive and helpful elements is a fantastic way to make sure your best benefits and objection handlers aren’t being skimmed over. As described above, my biggest win ever from an A/B test comes from using this technique. We increased conversion rate by 33% by simply repeating an element (the size guide) that was already on the page.
Putting UVP icons under the “Add to Cart” button quickly reminds the customer of your best benefits and objection handlers right at the critical moment before a purchase. Because the icons are displayed graphically with minimal text, they are very likely to be seen and to have a positive impact on conversion rate.
Using progressive disclosure lets you display a ton of information on a website without having it take up a lot of real estate. By creating separate tabs for “Description”, “Sizing,” “Returns,” and “Reviews,” you allow people to consume only what they want. By not having all the information displayed at once and rather putting them behind tabs, you’ve organized your content such that your customers won’t get lost. They’ll be able to quickly find what is relevant to them, and skip the rest.
Integrating some type of scarcity into the offer overcomes people’s natural tendency to procrastinate and encourages them to take action to buy your product immediately. “Later” often becomes “never,” so you definitely don’t want your customers procrastinating over their buying decision.
And with that, part 2 of this series is complete. Should we do a part 3?! Leave a comment, and let us know what you think!
McSpadden, K. (2015). You now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. TIME.