Sunday, January 20, 2008

10 Ways to lower Drop off Rate in a Conversion Funnel

My last article mentioned ways to measure the drop off rate but through this article I’ll try to list ways by which you can reduce the drop off rate. Drop off Rate and Conversion Rate are two sides of the same coin as the below points would relate to both equally. A Conversion Funnel can start from the homepage, a search results page or a campaign specific page. Now let’s look at some of the ways by which we can reduce drop off rate:

1) A/B or Bucket Testing: A/B testing means testing many variants of the Conversion pages (Homepage, Product View etc) by sending a proportion of traffic on each page and eventually determining which page led to the minimum drop off or the highest Conversion. The important factor to keep in mind while conducting A/B test is that one of these pages should be the control (the original page). We can test pages by changing button color, size, text, placement etc or by modifying forms in order to minimize the customer drop off during the Registration process. Eventually by using a unique page name/bucket page name we should be able to determine which page performed the best.

2) Segmentation Tests: These are different than Bucket Test because in Segmentation we are looking to target certain segments of customers/users. We target customers based on their status (New user, not yet registered and Registered Customer). The “not yet registered” customer segment should see the login page so that he can continue the Conversion process where he left it. Similarly new users would see a different page and registered customers see a page only listing products of their choice. We can also segment customers according to their country (I.P.), Campaign Tracker ID, Direct/Indirect source of traffic. Ultimately we want to be able to determine which segment has the lowest Drop off/Highest Conversion rate.

3) Products Out of Stock: This is one of the mistakes that online retailers might make in order to make a customer purchase a product by pretending that the product is in stock when it is not. When the customer actually believes and purchases the item then guess what he gets an error message saying “Payment failed as Product out of stock”. I’m not saying this is a common practice but this scenario is possible and when it does happen it will surely leave a bad mark on that customer and maybe potential customers. So if a specific product is out of stock, then make sure you don’t display it.

4) Detailed Product Description: One of the reasons why sites like Amazon and Dell are pioneers in Online Shopping is because they make sure they provide the in depth coverage of the product. The users should also be made well adept with the specs of the product before they enter the cart with detailed textual description along with pictures. Sometimes including user comments also help.

5) Hyperlinks to Popups: While in the Conversion Funnel, a user might be distracted to click on a link/button that he finds appealing and this is the time when most customers leave the page. So in order to minimize that point of drop off, try to create links that open a new browser window/popup in order to retain the users on that page. It is however a highly debatable point because we need to be able to measure the links which lead to the customer exiting from the Funnel (Exit links). So I would suggest you to include links to Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policy, Product Specs and others in the form of popups so that you do not loose the customer in case he doesn’t go back in the Conversion process.

6) Trust: If your company is a public company/Fortune 500 company, always mention it on the Conversion funnel pages. In case of other companies, be sure to display a secure page icon (Verisign) on the encryption pages in order to generate a sense of trust for the customers. Having a privacy policy and terms of conditions page is also very important. A clearly defined Privacy Policy goes a long way in making the user feel secure before making a payment.

7) Shopping Cart Indicator: It is very important for visualize the Shopping Cart through a Step indicator on Conversion Cycle pages. As soon as the user selects a product you need to make him feel as if he’s entering a Shopping Cart and also listing what step it is so that he knows exactly where to go next.

8) Simple Registration Process: Try to make the registration process as simple as possible and try to minimize asking questions about PII (Personally Identifiable Information). Make sure the spellings are correct in the Registration process as it can really leave a bad taste for the user experience. Include as much predefined information as possible to reduce the amount of information the user has to fill in. For e.g. If a user has selected UK as the country then if possible auto populate the City, County, Country Code in the drop downs/text boxes and let the user select from that list rather than him entering it manually. Also radio buttons can work better then drop downs in most scenarios especially if there are only 2 choices.

9) Search Functionality: It is usually not advisable to include a search text box in between the Registration process but having it would only make things better. I say this because if a user wants to search for any information then he might want to exit the cart and go back to the Homepage. But if you have a search box which displays results in the form of a popup then you reduce your chances of jeopardizing your Funnel process by retaining the user on that page.

10) Web Analytics Tool to Measure KPIs: Finally the most important step is proper configuring of your Web Analytics tool to measure relevant KPIs or metrics. The Web Analytics code implementation according to the pages is of pivotal importance which hold true for Bucket Testing or Segmentation. The KPIs/metrics that might be of up most importance in case of the Conversion cycle can be Drop off Rate, Conversion Rate, Time spent on page, Exit Rate and Click Tracking.

These were just some of the ways that can help you maximize your ROI in terms of Conversion as there might be a lot more. I hope you like this article and if possible, let me know your thoughts about it.

1 comment:

Silvia said...

Hello there! Nice article and definitely some good points here. The best way to measure the conversion is by setting up a sales funnel and doing a URL-based split testing. The URL split testing will show you the conversion rate of two different click paths and is extremely useful when you see that there is a problem and want to fix it. A better way to say it is that while the sales funnels show you the big picture, with the URL-based testing you can really "disect" the problem.