Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Increasing online conversion rates - EASY !

The digital commerce world is not short of “experts” offering their specialist skills on how to improve online conversion at each stage of the customer journey. The checkout is the favourite place to focus and at Tryzens we are frequently involved in conversations about the merits of “single page” or “one click” or “guest” checkouts. Whatever the relative merits of these views, my preference is to follow a mantra of keeping things “Easy” as in “Easy to do business with”. The seminal research paper on the Customer Effort Score (CES) was published in the Harvard Business Review in 2010 and concluded that most customers don’t want to be wowed or delighted – most of us simply want things done easily. Get this right and customer loyalty increases significantly, which in turn leads to increased spend and positive referrals. The CES research was extended by Henley Business School and BT in their report Customer Effort: Help or hype?’. This validated the positive impact of being “Easy” particularly in customer service situations. Intuitively this makes a lot of sense to me and is where my “Easy” mantra comes from.

So what’s this got to do with online checkouts? Well the things that impact CES, or the Easy Score as I call it, are the things we all experience when using both B2C and B2B sites. These can be categorised as: 

  • Time: Do they value my time? Am I made to wait longer than I expect, is it awkward or clunky to use or do I have to spend effort to overcome their shortfalls.
  • Emotion: I don’t want an emotional response, I just want to get it done easily and really don’t want to feel frustration or anger or even delight!
  • Cognitive: Am I made to work too hard to find what I need? Have they anticipated what I want to do next? Can I trust what I’m seeing? Is there doubt in my mind?

During the checkout, all of these effort categories can be experienced in a poorly designed user experience but the most challenging for conversion rates is the last one, the thinking bit. There is plenty of research that shows most of us are “cognitive misers”, in other words we don’t want to have to think too hard especially about things we expect to be easy. We expect online purchases to be easy and safe, we have to be able to trust companies with our data and rely on them to deliver what we have paid for and to quickly sort out any issues. Amazon understood this years ago and introduced the “1 click” facility and the increasing use by merchants of easy and trusted checkout features such as PayPal integration is following this trend.

So my question to those who operate eCommerce sites is “Does your site pass the Easy test?”.

This post was originally for Tryzens Group

No comments:

Post a Comment