Monday, December 24, 2012

I see you

The average conversion rate across the web is 2%.  This means that out of 100 visitors, only 2 end up purchasing something.  To put it another way, imagine 98% of everybody walking out of the grocery store without buying anything.

2% is an average.  It includes a few very successful companies with 10-20%+ conversion rates, the wide majority of people who get less than 2% and even many companies with less than 1%.

Brick and mortar stores get conversion rates of 20-90%.  So, what's different about real stores and digital ones?

Before I answer that question, it is important to understand that real stores and digital ones are very different.  Everything about them is different, including the rules of business.  But, the same human concepts apply to both.

Your real store has a marquee sign that lets everyone know exactly what it is you do.  When someone walks in the door, you have samples and merchandise laid out for your visitors to browse.  You or one of your sales associates greets your guest to make them feel welcome and ensures they are able to find what they are looking for, including the answers to various questions.  When you recognize a repeat customer or visitor, you greet them in a different manner and build on your previous encounter.  Any information you have about your visitor is used as fodder to drive the conversation, build the relationship, and increase the likelihood of a sale.

There are always exceptions to the rule, but none of these things happen on the average website.  We don't all have a team of developers in the basement like Amazon, but that doesn't mean we can't learn from this.

Your homepage is your marquee AND the front of your store.  It helps people understand what you do and lets them browse some merchandise.  Find a way to greet your visitors and offer to show them around.  Live chat is just one way to solve this issue.  A popup with a video intro to your company or website, or even an understated "Welcome" in the header are a couple of other ways.

Recognize your repeat visitors.  Repeat visitors and customers are far more valuable than first-timers.  Google Analytics is great at keeping track of your visitors but unfortunately it doesn't offer a way for you to make use of that information in real time.  You will likely need to use cookies or another option from your development team to be able to take advantage of your repeat visitors.  Asking a first-time reader of your blog to sign up for email updates can be hit or miss, but asking a repeat reader to sign up is far more successful.

If you aren't convinced that this little change of letting your visitors know that you "see" them makes a difference, consider the difference between Facebook and LinkedIn.  If you want to know what an old girlfriend or boyfriend is doing, does it matter to you that Facebook doesn't tell him you looked at his profile and LinkedIn does?

The mere act of observation changes behavior [for the good].  Don't treat your online business like a sociological study, get involved and interact with your visitors.