Most ecommerce businesses are obsessed with traffic.
“If only I can increase my traffic by 50 percent, sales will also go up by 50 percent,” many will say. The problem with this approach is that, while true, not only is it more difficult to increase traffic; it is also costly.
When you focus on conversions, however, small changes that often cost you nothing can have a long-term compounding effect on your bottom line.
The following are four powerful ecommerce hacks based on time-tested research and psychology principles, and guaranteed to give your ecommerce business a boost in conversions.
1) Smart Use of Choice
For a very long time, marketers and businesses have operated on the belief that giving people more choice is the key to boosting sales and revenue. However, a series of psychology studies have found that this is not true. In fact, a book dedicated to the subject – The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz – found that too much choice can have a mentally paralyzing effect on people.
In one of the more notable studies on the subject of choice, the Jam Study (conducted in 2000), psychologists Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper found that reducing choice can boost sales by up to 900 percent. The study monitored the activity of 754 shoppers in an upscale supermarket. The audience was split and presented with two tables; one with 24 varieties of gourmet jam and another with six varieties of jam. While the first table with 24 varieties of gourmet jam attracted significantly more attention, it got far fewer sales and conversions. In fact, the difference in conversions was so clear that the table with only six jams displayed had 10 times more sales.
Limiting the choice you present people can be an effective strategy for boosting conversions. When the only thing you want is for people to buy, presenting them with fewer options will make the choice that much easier.
2) Smart, Strategic Blogging
One of the projects I’m an active partner in, Website Setup, has helped tens of thousands of people start blogging. As a result, I’ve gotten to see firsthand the impact blogging can have on boosting ecommerce sales; it goes without saying that, due to this experience, one of the top tips I give to people who are looking for ways to boost sales is to start blogging.
Now, don’t take my word for it: research conducted by Hubspot found that businesses which blog generate significantly more leads and traffic than businesses that don’t blog.
More importantly, there is a right and wrong way to blog – especially if you’re doing it for ecommerce purposes.
- Ensure relevancy between your blog and your ecommerce store; this way, you can easily drive users from your blog to your ecommerce store.
- Ensure you regularly link to your ecommerce store and specific products on your store throughout your blog. Otherwise, your blogging efforts could be in vain.
- Have a focused, consistent content schedule in which you publish a lot of high-quality content. Research has shown, especially for businesses, that publishing more content will yield more traffic and leads.
3) Design Your Pages Based on an Understanding of the Sensory Adaptation Phenomenon
What is the best CTA color for conversions?
You’ve probably read an article or two claiming it is the color red or the color orange. I know better due to my background in psychology: it isn’t that simple!
In psychology, there is a phenomenon called “sensory adaptation.” This phenomenon explains why you tend to tune out noises or sounds that were initially irritating after a while and when you know they aren’t stopping. It explains why you don’t feel your clothes, or your shoes, or your buttocks on a chair, after a while. And… it explains why some button colors perform poorly on some sites and well on others. If you use a green Call to Action on a page using the green color scheme, you’re violating the sensory adaptation phenomenon and it will cost you sales because people are already used to the green color scheme and are likely to tune out the green CTA. If you use the green CTA on a page with a red color scheme, however, where the green CTA is able to stand out, you can expect a boost in conversions.
When you design pages with the sensory adaptation phenomenon in mind, you focus on designing pages in a way that makes your key elements and CTA stand out – using elements different from other common elements on the page.
4) Leverage the "Authority Principle"
In 1961, Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram began a series of experiments to demonstrate just how willingly people will do something if the request comes from an authority. Participants of the experiment were asked to administer electric shocks – on a scale of 15 to 450 volts – to people in an electric chair according to the instructions of a lab expert. Surprisingly, 65% of participants obeyed the authority figure and administered shocks up to the maximum at the instance of the authority figure.
In reality, the subject was actually a trained actor and partner of the lab expert in the research. The shocks weren’t real – but the experiment subjects didn’t know that.
The authority principle explains why a simple endorsement on social media of an electric fryer by Oprah Winfrey resulted in an estimated $150 million increase in the stock value of the company that manufactured it.
Many people will obey an authority figure without much hesitation. This is why, if leveraged carefully, authority can be a very powerful way to boost your ecommerce revenue. Here are some ideas:
● Get a well-renowned celebrity to endorse a product you sell, or your entire store.
● In the case that you can’t get an endorsement from a world-renowned celebrity, an endorsement from a well-recognized celebrity in your niche can be just as powerful.
● Become an industry thought-leader by contributing to top publications in your niche to increase your authority recognition.
Have you tried any of these techniques to boost your conversions? Are there others you’ve found success using? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
About the Author
John Stevens is the founder and CEO of Hosting Facts. He is also a regular contributor to Business Insider, The Next Web, Adweek and other leading publications.