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E-commerce Expo 2011 and what we are researching.

Last month some of the Groovy team went down to the E-commerce expo in London. It's a good chance for us to have a chat with other leading names in E-commerce, as well as attend some lectures by top internet companies such as Facebook, Google, eBay, PayPal, LinkedIn and many others.

We like to keep up with new trends and innovations so this is an excellent opportunity for us, this gives us a really good look at upcoming technologies and how the market will be moving in the future.

Many of the talks this year were about the psychology of selling online, an area which really interests us at GroovyCart, when you are dealing with such a large number of customers being able to improve orders by a tiny percentage provides a massive increase in orders across all our shops. After all, its in our mutual interest for our shops to do well, so we can continue to grow together.

Here are some of the really exciting things we have been looking at to do with the psychology of selling online:

  • Displaying the right products to the customer.
  • Persuading the customers to make the right choice.
  • Ensuring your customers have positive first impressions.
  • Preventing customer fallout.
  • Vertical movement around the shop.

We will be talking about some of these point in detail on this blog in the coming months, and also you will see lots of features being implemented on our shops if they haven't already been.

Displaying the right products to the customer

A customer cant buy a product if they cant find it. So how can we ensure a customer finds the product they are looking for?

For a while we have been recording how customers search for products and what products they go on to look at and eventually buy. Using this information in the future we will start arranging your products intelligently. We can find other customers that were looking for similar search phrases and then display the products that were more popular with this type of search behaviour. This way your shop will literally learn what products are more popular and show them to customers searching for those kinds of products.

Lets take a really simple example of this and show you the benefits this could have on your shop. Lets say you are selling iPod's and accessories. If you had 20 customers that searched for "iPod", they are all going to get lots of products because the term is so vague. But if 15 of those customers clicked on the 7th product from the top we can be fairly sure that other customers searching for the same thing will be interested in the 7th product. Just by moving this product to the top of the list for future customers, we would stop this product being below the page fold (where the bottom of the browser window ends and users have to scroll down to see more) it would therefore be more visible to customers in the future.

Even if all the products around it are more popular and get more views, this technique will find out what is currently more popular for a customers circumstances.

Persuading the customers to make the right choice

Or should I say, persuading the customer to make the decision we want them to make.

An excellent example of this is a customer that is about to complete an order on your shop, we want to allow them to remove items from their basket, but we don't actually want them to. It's a function we need to allow customers to do, but then the order value would go down.

So how do we prevent this?

One simple thing we have just started doing is using colours and images on the buttons to coax the customers to continue the order in the right direction and not remove things from their order.

Using colours like red give customers the feeling that they should not use this feature, where as a green or blue arrow will invoke the feeling that they are doing the right thing and thats the button they should press.

Example of good checkout form buttons
An example of good checkout form buttons.

Ensuring your customers have positive first impressions.

When a customer first comes to your shop they are very quickly going to make a decision on what they think about your shop; how trustworthy you are, the quality of your products, the value of your products etc. Almost every opinion the customer will make about your shop will be made on the first few pages they look at.

Once a customer has made a decision about your shop it's unlikely they will change their mind, they will close down to stimuli that would alter their opinion.

We need to make sure that a customers first impressions is a great one. We provide some excellent templates that give your GroovyCart shop a professional look and feel, you need to provide excellent content in the way of fantasic images and well worded descriptions, to make sure that your customer has the first impression that will makes him/her want to buy from you.

Preventing customer fallout

We don't want customers to leave your shop at all, especially if it's preventible. There are really simple things we can do to stop customers going away before they make an order, so in the next few months you will see some areas, especially on the registration and order pages, that will be simplified and streamlined. We will remove needless items, and make the whole process more intuitive.

You may have already noticed we are continuing to make very subtle changes on the checkout pages like removing the adverts and social links to stop customers getting distracted. We also monitor how long customers take to fill in fields, which ones they struggle with and time taken to complete the ordering process to find ways to make the experience quicker and easier.

Vertical movement around the shop.

Some customers know what they want from your shop and others are there to browse. Customers that know what they want are likely to use the search box and more likely to complete a purchase over someone that is browsing, they are also likely to spend more, this doesn't mean we should forget the customers that are just browsing, we have already spoken about showing the right product to a customer that knows what they want, but how do we try and guess what a customer wants when they might not even know it themselves?

To try and encourage impulse buying on your shop you need to show the customer products similar to the ones they are looking at. Showing them products from the same category or ones that were purchased at the same time as the ones they are looking at are simple ways to get exposure on products that the customer may be interested in.

Ideally you want a customer to go from product to product without having to go back to the homepage or a category page. This way they will browse your products more efficiently. One way we do this is using related products to help a customer jump between products, we also have tags and filters to narrow down searches.

The future.

We already have lots of this in the works and have been testing out different features to see how beneficial they will be and how well they will work. So we have lots of exciting things coming up in the future.

Back to the Expo.

We also got a chance to meet and talk to lots of other e commerce companies to see what they are doing and what interesting things they are working on for the future. As well as getting to talk to companies like PayPal, Adobe, Google, Yahoo, Facebook and many other internet brands.

PayPal at the E-Commerce Expo

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