Solving real conversion problems with in-depth user research

We spend hours in tools like Google Analytics to try to solve our website conversion problems, discovering where visitors land, where they leave and how they behave in between.

But this type of analysis can only ever tell us what’s happening, not why.

Understanding the why comes from delving deeper into visitors’ needs, expectations and desires. It comes from pinpointing where those needs, expectations and desires are not being met, and where the user is struggling.

When we can identify the exact points at which we’re failing visitors and what it is they need that they’re not getting, we can start to make changes which impact behaviour. We can start to solve our website conversion problems.

We need to know how visitors make the decision to buy from us, or not buy from us. We need to know how their experience, world view, options and needs shaped their decision.

By understanding the way the visitor behaved on the website and why they behaved that way, we have a chance of providing them with the experience they need to be able to buy from us. A delightful experience even.

Website conversion problems (real vs. imagined)

We were working with a client recently who had significant drop off in their checkout. From our heuristic analysis, we could see that the checkout lacked credibility and trust symbols but didn’t have any obvious usability issues or unnecessary friction.

The delivery costs and timescales were detailed and had also been shown earlier in the journey so weren’t a surprise to the visitor.

So a valid hypothesis could have been; If we make the checkout seem more trustworthy, then the number of people who complete the checkout will increase.

But deciding what to test based on analytics data and heuristics alone is risky.

When we continued our research into the checkout abandonment problem, we discovered two more important things:

  1. a large portion of visitors were buying gifts
  2. a significant proportion of visitors were coming to the website from email

This means that even though the checkout did indeed lack credibility, this was not much of an issue for the visitors that came from email as they either knew the brand or had purchased before. Testing the credibility hypothesis would therefore most likely have been a waste of time.

Given many users were buying gifts, the exact day the product would arrive was very important in the decision-making process. The client was giving a 3 day range rather than a specific date of arrival and this was causing visitors enough anxiety to prevent them purchasing.

Even though the client was cheaper than their competition, a significant proportion of their visitors valued a guaranteed arrival date over a lower price.

By delving deeper into the factors that affected the decision making process, our hypothesis was centred around what visitors actually need, rather than what we think they need.

Our chances of seeing a winning test with significant uplift are vastly improved when we can achieve this. In short, we stand a much higher chance of solving our website conversion problems.

If you’re keen to understand why your visitors are behaving the way they are on your website, call Nina on 0161 713 2434 or email [email protected] and we’ll show you how.

Nina Mack

24th April 2018

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