In this chapter we’ll be covering the below and how this relates to your e-commerce website:
There is one problem with the phrase ‘do unto others as you would have them do to you’.
It assumes everyone is the same.
Worse than this; it makes your beliefs and behaviour the standard by which everything should be judged and measured.
Everyone is different, with different needs, values and experiences. If we want to understand our audience we need to step outside of our own needs and step into their world – their problems, desires and beliefs.
The more flexible, curious and imaginative you are the better this will work for you.
To find this out, start by using all the data available to you through web analytics, customer information, surveys etc. This can help you understand:
This is a valuable starting point to segmenting your audience and defining demographics using hard evidence.
As obvious as this sounds, be careful to keep your different segments split during this process, analyse your data only within their own peer group.
...If you had a 6 year old and 93 year old visiting your site, it would be a mistake to class your ‘average’ visitor as a 49 year old.
On the other hand, be sure there is also enough data to draw valid conclusions from; if you split your data too finely you may end up jumping to the wrong conclusions.
Variable factors can and will play a colossal part on your e-commerce website. Below are a few variables, depending on the industry you specialise in, this list could be substantially longer.
Web analytics can help you identify patterns; Google Trends is also worth a quick look.
Your visitor could be any one of the following:
Focus only on those that matter, for example, job seekers and affiliates will always find the pages they want, no matter how far into the site this information is buried into the depths of your website.
On your e-commerce website you may primarily focus on:
The next step is to determine what each visitor segment could be trying to achieve.
For example, new visitors are most likely:
Visitors to your website could arrive at any point in their decision making process, they could be browsing out of interest or they could have already spent an hour reading reviews, know the product they want and are now looking for the cheapest and most trustworthy place to purchase it. There needs to be appropriate supporting information for a visitor regardless of the stage of the process they’re in.
Andrew Chak, author of Submit Now: Designing Persuasive Web Sites, has adapted the AIDA model specifically to define website visitors. The four groups include:
Browsers: May not know what they want, but have an unmet need. This group are beginning the research phase
Evaluators: Know the available options and are comparing details. These users are deep into the research phase
Transactors: Have made their decision and need to complete their specific task. These people are at the purchasing stage.
Customers: The transaction has been completed. These people need to stay satisfied in order to become returning visitors
People fall into three categories of learning:
Visual learners: These people are guided by imagery, demonstration, colour coding, diagrams, photos & videos.
Auditory learners: These people learn from word associations, oral instructions, telephone support, poems, rhymes, alliteration.
Kinaesthetic learners: This group learn by associating emotions with concepts, playing games, problem solving or role playing.
Effective e-commerce sales persuasion covers all of the above methods. This is particularly important at the ‘desire’ stage of the decision process, so make it as easy as possible to interact with your audience through a variety of media.
Let’s assume you’re working on a product page on your website.
A perfect example of all these elements can be seen with kitchen design and installation company Magnet. Product information is displayed and the visitor can design their own kitchen while being updated with the current total cost of all items chosen.
This is the main crux of it. This is where Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) comes in to play. The aesthetics of the site, the function, the layout, placement of key information, the call-to-action, customer reviews along with hundreds of other factors accountable for influencing the effectiveness of your e-commerce site to enable someone to make a purchase.
BJ Fogg developed the Fogg Behaviour Model to answer this exact question and can be summarised in a single concept.
For a purchase to occur three things needs to be present at the same time: motivation, ability and an effective trigger. If the purchase isn’t happening one of the key elements must be missing.
There are three basic principles which drive motivation:
Sensation: This is driven on the desire to feel pleasure and desire to avoid pain. Motivation to avoid pain is usually considered to be stronger than the motive to feel pleasure.
Anticipation: The hope that the action will cause good things to happen in future and the fear of bad things happening. Fear is considered to be a stronger motivator.
Social factors: The need for social acceptance and to avoid rejection. Again, the negative is considered the stronger motivator.
To be able to perform a specific behaviour, a person must be able to do so. This can be by one of two ways:
A trigger tells people to ‘do it now!’; this can be habitual or created externally. An external source would be someone beeping a car horn in order for you to take action, i.e. move out of their way. A habitual trigger would be something similar to taking off your shoes when you walk through your front door.
Triggers can lead to a chain of desired behaviours; an effective trigger for a smaller behaviour can lead to a visitor performing larger behaviours.
As mentioned previously in this chapter, everyone is different, with different needs, experiences and knowledge. So how do make an e-commerce website that will keep everyone happy? The answer is quite simply, we won’t.
However the aim is to increase conversions, 100% of people will never convert, so we need to focus on those that will.
Your visitors can be divided into three groups.