The Good And Bad of Microcopy

Microcopy is text on a website or interface that helps to guide the user in their journey. This is the text you see on buttons, forms, tooltips and labels. Microcopy must be clear and easy to understand, no industry jargon. It should provide context and let the user know what actions they are taking. It’s not about persuading and selling so differs from traditional copywriting. 

In this article, we’ll look at some good and bad examples of microcopy used across some familiar brands websites.

Let’s take a look at some examples of great microcopy:

Hello Fresh

On their homepage, Hello Fresh has multiple CTA’s that all go to the same page. By changing the copy on these they capture users who are at different stages of the purchasing process. They can be broadly split into two categories, one where users are still in the research stage so less committal CTAs like ‘see our menus’ and ‘learn more’ will appeal to them. The other CTA ‘get started’  captures those users who are ready to purchase.

Expedia

The microcopy in the search field speaks directly to the user with simple language. It also offers suggestions for the type of thing that they can search for. This will help to guide the user and get them to the information they want to find quickly.

 

Evans Cycles

Evans cycles have added reassurance messaging to their checkout CTA. It is concise and is a great addition considering the high-value purchase a user is about to make. Informing the users of the security at this stage will help to relieve any anxiety they may have over their online purchase.

 

 

invision

This handy tooltip from invision lets the user know what exactly will happen when they choose to get a public share link. The link is copied to the clipboard, the word ‘clipboard’ could be considered technical language but considering the users of this product, there is an assumed level of technical understanding. Users are then reminded of this with positive messaging once they have selected this option.

 

 

Typeform

Typeform has created clarity between the two actions, log in and sign up so there is less chance of users selecting the wrong option. This will get users to where they want to be for the first time creating a smooth journey.

 


When signing up and choosing a password microcopy aids the user by defining the password requirements. Explaining what they need from a user upfront avoids users becoming frustrated by not knowing what action they need to take.

 

 

Now we’ve covered what you should be doing let’s see what mistakes we should avoid making:

Amazon

The text in this search field is ambiguous so it’s not clear what the user should input into the field. This may lead to users not finding the information they are looking for.

 

 

Blackboard

In this registration form, the supporting text in the fields is cumbersome. It doesn’t give the user any more information it just adds to the cognitive load by adding to what the user has to read.

The field ‘Registering as’ is ambiguous and has no supporting information. Supporting microcopy would be useful here to let the user know exactly what is meant by this unfamiliar field.

 

Montblanc 

On Montblanc’s website, they use overly complex language. This may be a deliberate choice to support the brands’ image. While this is valid for marketing when considering the user experience clarity is more important than persuasion at this stage.

 



 

As with most things in life microcopy can be used for good and bad. Let’s take a look at a dark UX pattern that utilises microcopy.

 

Treatwell

In the booking process on Treatwell users are asked about marketing preferences. One of these options check the box if you don’t want to receive marketing updates and the other is check this box if you do want to receive updates. This deliberately confusing language is likely to confuse users into opting into at least one of the updates. While this may serve the business goal it may not be serving the users goal. Whether this is good or bad UX writing I will leave for you to decide.

 

 

In Conclusion

Good UX writing vastly improves the user experience, it builds trust and in many cases increases conversion and engagement. So there’s no better time to review the copy on your website or product to delight your users.


Three Things You Can Start Doing to Improve Conversion

So, you’ve got a website and people are visiting it, job done? The answer is a big no. Getting people to your website is one half of a task, getting them to do something once they’re there is the other.

Whether you’re selling a product, generating enquires or getting people to sign up for a newsletter, these actions are what are referred to as conversions and they’re a key component of your overall business strategy which will make or break your success.

The big question now is how do you get more people taking those actions which will result in your conversion rate increasing?

But before we get too far ahead, let’s all just get on the same page about what we’re talking about.

 

What Is A Conversion Rate?

A conversion rate is calculated by using the total number of visitors to your website against those who completed a specific goal, like those mentioned previously. Things that be described as a goal form an almost endless list; it really depends on the nature of the business you’re in.

 

How Is Your Conversion Rate Calculated?

The most common formula is one where you divide the total number of goals completed in a day, week, month or time frame you decide by the total number of visits to your website and then multiply it by 100%. So, if you have 100 visits to your page and three complete a goal, you have a 3% conversion rate.

There is a bit of a debate about whether unique visitors or total visits is the number you should be using against the number of goal completions for this formula, but the most important thing is to pick one and stick to it. Our suggestion is to use visits because:

1) Visits are more accurate than Unique Visitors.
2) Every Visit represents an opportunity to persuade or convert a visitor to a customer.
3) Measuring visits is based on fairly established industry standards

 

3 Ways To Improve Your Conversion Rate

There is a high probability that you’re paying to send visitors to your site through social ads, search ads or with a search engine optimisation company. A higher conversion rate means a better return on your investment. But beyond that, improving your conversion rate allows you to provide a better customer experience to visitors who are hoping to gain value from your site through a product, service or information.

Outside of this standard paid activity and optimisation that drives people to your site there are things that you can do, potentially with the help of industry experts, that can drive that conversion rate up.

 

  1. Run A/B Tests

We previously covered this topic in our article, What is A/B testing and why do you need it? But in brief A/B or split testing is a technique of identifying elements within a website or on a landing page that have the greatest potential to increase your conversion rate, whether it’s for performance, usability, accessibility or numerous other issues.

As an example, if you have two different offers for your product or service or maybe two different kinds of promotion and can’t decide which to use, you can perform an A/B or multivariate test to see which one gets a better response. The decision between A/B or multivariate testing will depend on the amount of traffic coming to your site in order to achieve statistical significance. For example, a low traffic site will take a lot longer to achieve statistical significance than a high traffic site due to the slower collection of data. You create or have created two versions of your page (design A and design B and sometimes, design C) with different designs, calls to action or message. The important thing to remember here is that you don’t test too many things at once. This is especially important if the differences are subtle, to enable you to identify which change actually made the difference.

Then by using tools specifically created to optimise testing, they will send a portion of your traffic to page A and others to page B and C, if you're using three. You can then forecast future projected performance based on the data you’ve collected. The page with better performance is the one to consider making live to increase your conversion rate.

You can continue to optimise the winning page to see if it is possible to further drive an increase in conversion rate.

 

  1. Eliminate Anything Resembling A Distraction

Website visitors are ultimately just people and we are often easily distracted. You can’t afford to have unnecessary images or content on your website slowing down the speed of your page or delaying your customers' understanding of what you have to offer. You want to slim down and remove any elements that are not crucial to emphasising what you’re offering so that you’re more able to get visitors to accept or engage.

A few things you can start with are:

  • Minimise links on your menu so your most important call to action stands out. If you’re using a campaign landing page, remove the menu altogether.
  • Always remember your primary objective – there is a reason ‘primary’ is used in the term. It’s fine to have multiple objectives, but they should all have a priority order to avoid compromising your primary.
  • Avoid any suggestions that your website visitors check out your latest social media posts or head somewhere else to check out more information. The very last thing you want to do is send them off-page and down a rabbit hole, never to return.

 

  1. Highlight Social Proof and Do A Little Showing Off

Social proof might be a term you’ve not heard of before, but it is essentially a digital translation of word of mouth or advocacy.

The undeniable truth is that people buy from people. Potential customers are more likely to make a purchase, enquire or sign up if you've been recommended by a mutual contact, a previous customer, or a trusted third party, or if they've been exposed to your social media content and built up some brand trust based on what you share.

This is why the business of influencers has become such a big market. Brands look for public figures that appeal to their target market and brand ideals and use them to promote their products to their fan base.

Examples of social proof include:

  • Reviews and customer testimonials: These are shared in the hope they will provide a reassuringly direct answer to a visitors’ most important question: “Will I be satisfied with this purchase/information/service?” These can take the form of written statements or as highly effective videos.
  • Case Studies: Often confused with a review or testimonial, these are actually a very different beast and really come into play when you’re offering a service. They allow you to talk specifics and to achieved results, with the added support of advocacy from the client or customer the work was done with. They can in most cases do far more convincing than any description you can come up with about the service you offer. They can again take the form of written studies or videos.
  • Existing customer numbers or number of products sold: This is a very effective benchmark for potential customers. It shows how many people trust your products or services.
  • Endorsements: Coming from key personalities and thought leaders can be worth their weight in gold, but they are worth more if they’re not paid for. Society has become a little more sceptical as a result of fake news and paying someone to say something about your product and service that appears to conflict with previous statements or expressed beliefs will not do you any favours.
  • Accreditations: SSL secure site icons, industry accreditations from people like HubSpot, Google, Trip Advisor, Feefo or Trust Pilot all build credibility. These vary by industry and there will be some that you know about that are specific to the industry you work in. They’ll help for products and services where you require the submission of personal data. You want to communicate that visitors can trust you to manage their information with care.

Having social proof can make you and your company instantly more trustworthy because statements about how your product delivers a positive experience come from unbiased sources.

Conversion rate optimisation is an endless journey and these tips are just a starting point. You should be able to see an uptick in conversions but it’s all about finding out what works and continually working toward making improvements to maximise your results.

Our experience team here at Eclipse are experts in this field and if you’ve got a specific question, no need a little more information or need some help, we’re here for you.

Reach out and we can see what we can do together to get you converting more.


What is the Difference between Qualitative and Quantitative Data?

When it comes to analysing the data, there are two types to look into – qualitative and quantitive data. When researching user habits on digital platforms, understanding the difference between the two can really help you get the most out of your data no matter how convoluted.

Quantitive

Quantitive data is the data that is statistical, well structured and defined making it great for data analysis. It is usually gathered from surveys and experiments that yield statistical data. Being so structured and close-ended, you can draw well backed up facts and patterns from the data. Quantitive data will tell you how many people viewed your site, how long they stayed on a page, your bounce rates, page clicks and anything that can be analysed with numbers.

Heatmaps and click maps provide a great visual on how your users are using your website. If you’re tracking eye-movements as we do at Eclipse, you can see how long users looked at a certain section of the site, and what parts of the sites got the most activity and attention. With this data, red indicating high attention areas, you can make decisions on how to structure webpages to make key points of interest more click-worthy.

What it does not tell you, is why the users may have paid more attention to a certain page, and this is where qualitative data comes in handy.

Qualitative

Qualitative data is the ‘why’ behind user behaviours and their motivations. It is not based on the numbers or statistics and is the data usually investigated for creating open-ended conversations. Qualitative data is great for putting yourself in the user’s shoes and finding out information like why they decided to abandon checkout or what made them give a lot of attention to one part of the site. These insights can make sense of the quantitative data we have, for example, we may know that users were not interacting with a CTA and now we know that is because it wasn’t obvious to see that the CTA was something on the page that could have been interacted with. With this data, we can now make decisions to make the CTA more actionable.

Qualitative data can be gathered by asking questions and conversing with the users as they are going through the experiment – something that is made really easy for Eclipse with our completely mobile biometric UX lab 😉 ;). This yields more honest and authentic responses from the users as they are having a human to human conversation and you can query them as they are using the site. With our UX lab, we are also able to track emotional responses and see body language from users going through a website journey, allowing us to get really in-depth data.

When collecting data, understanding qualitative and quantitive data is key. Understanding the psychological motivations of user journeys and being able to back up that data with statistics is a huge benefit to doing any kind of data analysis.


More Good News for Online Retail

It almost goes without saying but Covid-19 has really changed almost all aspects of our lives and one of the things that changed the most is how we shop.

When surveyed as part of the Big Ask Report, almost half of UK shoppers said that they believed the Pandemic would leave behind a lasting impact on their buying habits.

Research conducted by O2 Business in partnership with Retail Economics for the Report revealed that 44% of participants think they will see permanent changes to the way they shop, with many saying they expect to buy online more regularly.

The survey also showed that 47% of people think the number of times they shop online will definitely increase.

 

The Numbers Speak Volumes.

At the peak of the pandemic, around a third of consumers, 34%, said they bought essential and non-essential goods online but that is just the start.

The research also showed that 45% of customers have now purchased a product online that they had only ever purchased in-store before the pandemic.

Jo Bertram, managing director at O2 Business, said: "As a technology partner to the industry, we wanted to find out what the tectonic shifts have been in how people have engaged with each other over the last decade.”

He added, “The effect the lockdown has had to the way we buy has been significant, but they've accentuated these shifts more than redirected them."

49% of consumers now spend more time researching products online even as lockdown eases and when they make a purchase, 83% of consumers will opt for home delivery over click and collect.

Richard Lim, chief executive officer of Retail Economics, said: "The impact of Covid-19 has re-wired the customer journey, leaving many retailers scrambling to assess the impact as they attempt to realign their proposition to meet a new normal.

 

What Does This Mean For Retailers?

For years we've seen a significant shift towards online and some of these behaviours will inevitably become permanent, with digital playing an incredibly important role.

"Many of these consumers are shopping for goods online for the first time, overcoming the barriers of setting up online accounts, entering payment details and gaining trust.” Added Lim.

It is the job of the retailer to enhance these processes and make them as easy and pain-free as possible. The customer is out there wanting to participate but if they’re faced with barriers, they’ll head elsewhere.

"The new normal will involve a step-change in the integration of digital technologies and retailers are assessing what this means for the number of stores, where they should invest and the potential partnerships that could be formed."

Looking for ways to be more easily found, offering truly exceptional shopping experiences and using technology that allows you to stand out from the crowd are all things that retailers should be looking at.

Having a CRO (conversion rate optimisation) plan for your digital store that can continually work on the customer experience is a great place to start. It will give you insights into how customers are currently shopping with you and find opportunities to improve and fine-tune to deliver an uplift in conversion.

And looking into technology like Augmented Reality can help you stand out from the crowd. It offers customers the opportunity to bring your products into their homes and experience it in an ‘as close to the real thing’ as possible without the need to head into a store.

These things will help you prepare and take advantage of this shift change.

 

How Can Eclipse Help

We’ve been building digital experiences for a long time and we pride ourselves on making them beautifully simple.

We unlock your trading potential, creating and supporting beautifully simple sites that are functionally rich and continually perform way above expectations.

Our clients enjoy seamless access to the best analysts, experts and technical resources in the sector. We’re proud of what we do and we’re incredibly good at it (and it’s not just us saying that).

Our Experience team works with clients every day to test their sites and work to create a better conversion rate for them.

We’ve got specialist teams that advise and then action Design, UX & UI for your digital storefront. We’ve also got geniuses to work with you on how to drive brand engagement, solicit positive sentiment, strengthen your content marketing, SEO & PPC.

And when it comes to Augmented Reality, Our Augmented Reality E-commerce Solution, Ares, changes the game and is all about enhancing the online shopping experience for the end-user. It is about lifting product images from standard 2D into something experiential and visually impactful, that truly brings product shopping online to life.

Ares is dedicated to leveraging the power of AR and 3D for so much more than entertainment – it exists as your next step for achieving peak eCommerce performance.

And the reason it is changing the game is that it works straight from the web browser or mobile device, no apps or downloads required. It can be plugged into any website or e-commerce platform and Ares works on the latest Android and iOS devices.

Ares is a full end-to-end AR service for retailers. You don’t need to be an AR expert to get the best out of Ares.

Reach out to us and we can discuss how we can help you move with the shift change, maximise the opportunity and support you and help make sure that your business lives long into the future. No matter your size or specific industry vertical, our mission is to see you succeed.


What is a user journey map?

The size of the map can vary greatly depending on the number of steps, the subject (e-commerce, SaaS, service etc) and the complexity of the interaction. However, the outcome pays huge dividends in producing better informed solutions and avoiding retrospective design and engineering.

Mapping out a customer’s experience encourages you to consider every aspect of a persona in terms of emotions, thought process and intentions and is just one of the many tools to inform User-Centred-Design. Analysing the map will provide a deeper understanding of pain points and allow you to better understand the reasons for declining performance or other KPIs.

A carefully considered user journey map helps you identify and understand reasons for declining satisfaction scores or business objectives. Focus is put directly on the users actual experience and provides a comparable view vs the intended experience.

COMPONENTS OF A JOURNEY MAP?


PERSONA GOALS

This is a profile that represents a part of your user base which informs the data within the user journey. Each persona will have different considerations, thoughts and interactions and will steer the user journey and is written as a user story. A user story is deliberately succinct and is provided as a single sentence along the lines of “As a [persona], I want to [goal], so that [benefit].

A carefully considered user journey map helps you identify and understand reasons for declining satisfaction scores or business objectives. 

METRICS

This is a profile that represents a part of your user base which informs the data within the user journey. Each persona will have different considerations, thoughts and interactions and will steer the user journey.

EXPERIENCE

The experience section highlights each stage of the journey, along with the positive and negative feelings that persona has throughout each stage. This provides a high level indication of pain points where there may be opportunity. This can help better inform what the user wants or expects to see at that moment in time, as well as the tonality on how things should be communicated.

MORE DATA

We also apply another level of data from analytics, screen recordings and any other tools that may be in place, that you often don’t find in many other user journey maps. This data may could be anything from conversion rates to time on the screen. Where data such as percentages can provide an idea of aggregated behaviour, duration indicates a level of interest, distraction or confusion at that stage.

Cross referencing this with the other data in the user journey map provides another level of clarity of the issues and (this is an important one), the opportunities in their experience. It’s one thing to identify an issue, it’s another to solve it (we’re pretty good at that too).

Aggregated data of persona using all available data sources.

MOTIVATIONS

Motivations are based around the drivers for that persona. A personas motivations can differ quite dramatically and may be based around their character traits. For example (in its most simplistic form), a persona who is particularly busy and impatient and who may be travelling whilst going through the journey, will be motivated by speed and spending as little time as possible. Whereas, a persona who is casually browsing in their free time is more likely open to spending more time and learning more in the process.

There are multiple scenarios and personas for every product or service, which is what makes these journeys so important. In almost all cases, one size most certainly does not fit all. The fluctuation of these motivations as they go through the process will often rise and fall at each stage of the journey.

Motivation fluctuations at each stage.

USER CONSIDERATIONS

This highlights the considerations a user makes, also based on their persona. This will include aspects such as their character traits, marital status or financial circumstances.

For example, making a major purchase will vary from someone on low income vs someone on high income, therefore this persona would be spending far more time thinking about the financial element. This helps inform your design strategy to design an experience that helps the decision making process of that persona.

Potential blockers to conversion.

OPPORTUNITIES

Opportunities are insights gained from mapping. They will help inform your design decisions to optimise the user experience. When you take all this information at each stage, you are able to understand the best way to deliver the right information, at the right time, to the right people. There may be upsell or cross-sell opportunities depending on where they are in the buying process, or maybe at this particular stage of the journey they have no interest in cross-sell and you can identify ways of helping them through the process.

Wherever the user is in the journey, this provides focus on the opportunities at each stage and make design decisions to capitalise on them.

Potential to change in favour of KPI.

WHY USE A JOURNEY MAP?


Mapping out a customer’s experience encourages you to consider every aspect of a persona in terms of emotions, thought process and intentions and is just one of the many tools to inform User-Centred-Design. Analysing the map will provide a deeper understanding of pain points and allow you to better understand the reasons for declining performance or other KPIs.

A carefully considered user journey map helps you identify and understand reasons for declining satisfaction scores or business objectives. Focus is put directly on the users actual experience and provides a comparable view vs the intended experience.

CONCLUSION


Utilising user journey maps in this way allows focus on each stage of the journey and is just one of the many tools in the UX toolkit, but one that is very important. User journey mapping can be a complex process. As highlighted above, adding any additional data and research, you can access to each persona and journey will more provide a platform for more concise decisions and design better solutions.

There’s also no such thing as ‘done’ when it comes to the personas and journey maps either. These should be revisited, reviewed and updated regularly as economic and social climate changes users online behaviours.

The map above is just one simple example a quick overview of what they contain. Hopefully you’ve found this useful and feel inspired to create your own, but drop us a line if you’d like a little help – we’d love to talk to you.


What will it take to survive in the future of retail?

In an article written by Doug Stephens, the founder of Retail Prophet and the author of three books on the future of retail, for businessoffashion.com, he describes a future that any retailer will look at and in almost all cases, result in a shudder and deep pit forming in their stomach.

First, let me paint a picture that we’ll all be familiar with. Anyone who has seen the Disney Pixar masterpiece that is Wall•E may think back to it, and recall the story of overconsumption and disregard for the environment. This leads to the abandonment of the Earth, for life aboard a series of floating ‘paradises’ that further drove those aboard toward unquestioning consumption.

But the somewhat overlooked or underplayed element of that story is that it was driven by a single entity. Scattered across the opening scenes are references to a megacorporation, Buy-N-Large (BnL) that play themselves to be the hero’s having evacuated humanity leaving behind the solution that would clean the mess and make it safe to return.

In his article, he references other examples from the likes of Robocop, Aliens and Blade Runner but the underlying causation and resulting symptoms are the same.

You might be thinking ‘That was just fiction’, but life has a funny way of imitating art and what Doug so clearly points out in the article is that we’re on the verge of megacorporation’s taking over.

As he puts it “In a post-pandemic retail landscape, such corporations will no longer reside solely in novels or films. They will become a reality.”

Described as Apex Predators, the likes of Amazon, Walmart and Alibaba will emerge as “an entirely novel, genetically mutated species of retailer that faces few threats.” These businesses have been marching toward this for years, growing at rates that have bucked any and all trends, and Covid-19 has been the ultimate steroid for these businesses, pushing them toward domination whilst others seem to be falling in their wake.

“While many retailers swooned under revenue declines of up to 80%, these giants posted results deserving of a double-take.”

His article is worthy of a deep dive read and I would encourage you all to venture over and take a look at it, but the key takeaway for me was that this isn’t something that retailers should just lay down and let happen. What is required is evolution and adaption to the world we now have in front of us.

 

Embrace The Digital Age

Long before the pandemic took hold the world was on a steady trajectory toward living digitally. Shopping online has been increasing year on year for as long as it has been around, and the adoption of remoting working isn’t new. What Covid-19 did was push these forward at a rate not many were ready for.

Now, this is not to say that retail should shut up all physical shop fronts and put all their ‘eggs into one basket’ by thinking of their digital shopfront as the saviour but rather that the purpose they once served is over and that their place in the buyer's journey is transforming.

“The value of physical stores [are] as community gathering places, brand culture hubs and experiential playgrounds. It is, however, time to stop considering them an effective means of product distribution. Stores must become more about distributing experiences and less about distributing goods.”

What you consider your ‘store’ and what consumers consider your ‘store’ are two very different things. The consumers buying experience starts with the moment they engage with your content. Be that via Instagram, YouTube or TikTok.

And as Doug illustrates in the article “The apex predators have already accepted this reality by building commerce, finance, entertainment and streamlined logistics into every media experience hosted on their platforms.”

And he is very clear about what this means for businesses that underestimate the importance of this change.

“The moral of the story is that if you can’t serve your customers through every media touchpoint, you’re going to go out of business. If your brick and mortar stores are not creating vastly positive and memorable physical media experiences and brand impressions you’re going to go out of business. And if you can’t effectively weave these two, media and store, together in a way that removes buying friction and adds radical experiential value for customers, you’re going to go out of business.”

 

The Way Forward

To define a path to success and survival, you need to remember this. Your products need to be shoppable, purchasable and shippable every minute of every day. Plus, to stand out from these Apex Predators, you need to establish a vastly more distinct value proposition so that customers have something to buy into.

The type of experience you offer and how you offer it is more important now than ever.

 

The Retail Archetypes

In the article, Doug lays out what he sees as the 10 distinct retail archetypes that offer “a valuable and ownable market position”.

He explains each of them in detail, offering the risk and reward associated with their unique position and their points of difference. They are all worthy of consideration and I encourage time being taken to read and fully understand each of them. The one you pick will ultimately drive the strategy your business takes moving forward. I have listed them below with a very brief outline to give you a taster of each.

 

  1. The Renegade

Renegade retailers challenge incumbents in a market by identifying creative product or operations-related unlocks that radically alter the price-value equation.

 

  1. The Activist

Activist retailers use their businesses to support social, economic or environmental causes.

 

  1. The Storyteller

Storyteller retailers are those that grow so large, ubiquitous and iconic they supersede their own product category and spend the majority of their time creating compelling content.

 

  1. The Artist

Artist retailers very often sell products that are similar or even identical to those of other retailers, but through their sheer creativity and capacity for stagecraft they design experiences around those products that are highly unique

 

  1. The Tastemaker

Tastemaker retailers are those whose products or brands are not necessarily unique but may indeed be more difficult to find.

 

  1. The Oracle

The oracle retailer is one who delivers unparalleled expertise within a specific category.

 

  1. The Concierge

Concierge retailers are those that deliver highly personalised and engaging experiences to their shoppers.

 

  1. The Clairvoyant

The clairvoyant retailer is one that uses both technology and human intuition to actually predict needs, preferences and desires on the part of its customers and proactively present products on that basis.

 

  1. The Engineer

Engineer retailers figure stuff out. They use technology to solve product or service design problems that elude other brands.

 

  1. The Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper retailers are those that maintain a position through regulatory or financial barriers to entry.

 

Whichever you think might be right for your business, the underlying principle will be the experience that is being offered to them and as previously stated your products need to be shoppable, purchasable and shippable every minute of every day.

Creating a truly seamless, utterly unique online shopping experience for your business that your customers can engage with is a really good starting point. Because when push comes to shove, you still need to be able to sell your product to a customer and making that an easy and enjoyable experience will be what helps you succeed.

It is one thing to have engaging content that drives emotional engagement getting people on board with the idea of your brand and your products, but then offering them a purchase journey that throws them into digital experiences that create roadblocks or barriers, is counterintuitive.

Optimising your existing journey through Conversion Rate Optimisation or designing an entirely new one with User Experience Design are investments that can’t be ignored. And the use of the latest advancements in technology like Augmented Reality all cement your place in the market and offer experiences that allow you to stand out from the crowd.

In the same what that you might spend time and money investing in store fit-outs or training of staff to offer a better in-store experience for customers, the same thinking needs to be applied to your digital store. Just sticking a website up with all your stuff on it isn’t going to cut it. And trying to fix it by spending huge money on well-crafted marketing campaigns is a road to nowhere.

Although it isn’t an example of a digital store, the Fyre Festival is the prime example of what happens when you talk an excellent game with marketing and then fail to deliver on the other side.

 

We’re Here To Help You

At Eclipse, this is what we do. We’ve been building digital experiences for a long time and we pride ourselves on making them beautifully simple.

We unlock your trading potential, creating and supporting beautifully simple sites that are functionally rich and continually perform way above expectations.

Our clients enjoy seamless access to the best analysts, experts and technical resources in the sector. We’re proud of what we do and we’re incredibly good at it (and it’s not just us saying that).

We’re here to support you and help make sure that your business lives long into the future. No matter your size or specific industry vertical, our mission is to see you succeed.


What is A / B Testing and Why do you need it?

A / B testing, also known as split testing or variant testing, is a process where two variations of the same web page, digital ad or any other type of digital content are shown to your audience. Ordinarily, they’ll be set to a 50% view share, creating an equal random choice when people engage. The idea is that you’re able to test which of the variants is better at performing a particular action. What we’re looking at in a little more detail here are web pages.

When we talk about the online world, the number of people who visit your site, are, for the most part, the number of potential opportunities you have to acquire new customers and expand your business or to cater to your existing customers.

The challenge is getting the right kinds of people to your site, and once you’ve done that, you need to make sure you’re maximising every opportunity you have to get those people to convert or take an action.

This is what you’ll measure as your conversion rate and essentially, the higher your conversion rate, the better you’re doing. This is where Conversion Rate Optimisation or CRO comes into play. It’s the art of funnel optimisation to increase the conversion rate on a site.

We call it an art because there really are many things that go into it and there is no fixed recipe to achieve an exact outcome. It’s about finding the right mix, pulling the right levers and offering the right message to your audience and no two are ever the same.

What we’ve looked at here is one of the components of CRO. Some say it is one of the most important as it is a highly effective way to test assumptions and work that is being developed throughout the process.

Typically, the variant that has the highest level of success or conversions is the winning one and that variant can help you continue to optimise and test for better results. It is an iterative process, which rarely reaches an end.

Your success or conversion will be unique to your website. For example, an e-commerce site it might be the sale of a product while for B2B it might be the downloading of an eBook, signing up to a newsletter or filling in a contact form.

 

Why Should You Be A / B Testing?

 

Maybe you’re a B2B business unhappy with the unqualified leads you’re getting per month or even the potential lack of any leads or you’re an eCommerce store struggling with a high cart abandonment rate.

These core conversion metrics are affected by some of the same kinds of problems like leaks in the conversion funnel, drop-offs on the payment page or high bounce rates across the website.

A / B testing is what is going to help you move the needle on getting these things fixed. Even experts need the ability to prove that what they’re developing is working and A / B testing is what they turn to.

Working to create content that is better suited to your audience, trying to achieve a higher ROI from your existing traffic, reduce the bounce rate or make small low-risk modifications and improvements to your website are all measured using A /B Testing. It is what lets you know you’re on the right track.

 

What Can You A / B Test?

 

To be honest, there isn’t very much that can’t be tested. When we look at ads it might be the image, messaging or the call to action. On a website, it could be the same but most often a web page will contain more than that of an ad. This list looks at a few of the areas but it is by no means exhaustive.

The thing to remember is that although there are a huge number of things that can be adjusted and tested, you need to make sure that you’re not testing too much at the same time. You need to be able to understand which change actually has the effect.

Alongside standard A / B testing you might have heard the term multivariate testing. In A / B testing, traffic is split amongst two or more completely different versions of a webpage. In multivariate testing, multiple combinations of a few key elements of a page are tested against each other to figure out which combination works best for the goal of the test. Before you start changing things up, you have to figure out which kind of test you want to perform.

 

Copy and Messaging:

We’re talking headlines, sub-headlines and body copy. Think literally everything that is written on the page.

Your headline is in most instances the first thing that visitors will see on your page. The headline offers your first impression and the first impression is what determines if the visitor will go further down your conversion funnel.

This is why it becomes so important to get this right. With the A / B testing you can include different fonts, sizes, copy, and messaging.

The body of your website should clearly state what your visitor is getting – It’s the message you’re trying to deliver letting them know what’s in store for them. It should also further define what your page’s headline was talking to.

A well-written headline and body can increase the chances of conversion on your website and some of the things to think about are:

  • Writing style: Use the right tone for your target audience. You should directly address the visitor and answer all their questions. It should consist of key phrases that improve usability and stylistic elements that highlight important points.
  • Formatting: Use relevant headlines and sub-headlines, break the copy into small and easy paragraphs, and format it for skimmers using bullet points or lists.

 

Design and Layout:

Along with the copy, the design and layout of a page includes images like your product images, offer images and hero images and videos such as product demonstrations, advertisements or hero videos. Your page should answer all of your users’ questions without confusing them and without getting cluttered. These are the kinds of things you could think about adding to variants when you’re testing.

  • Provide clear information: Based on what you sell, find creative ways to provide all necessary context and accurate descriptions, so that visitors do not get overwhelmed with unorganised copy while looking for answers to their questions.
  • Highlight customer reviews: Adding both good and bad reviews for your products and services add credibility to your store. Avoiding the bad and looking too ‘squeaky clean’ can set off a visitor’s alarm bells. In a world where we’ve been bombarded with fake news, if it seems too good to be true, people believe it is.
  • Write simple and conversational content: Avoid confusing visitors with complicated language and acronyms in the quest to appear overly subject smart. Keep it simple, easy to understand and fun to read.
  • Create a sense of urgency: Give people a reason to take action. Adding tags like ‘only 2 left in stock’, countdowns like ‘offer ends in 2 hours 15 minutes’, or highlight exclusive discounts and festive offers to nudge the prospective buyer to purchase is a good thing but you need to make sure that if you’re using them, they're true. There are bunches of websites out there adding countdown timers that appear to expire, but when you return to the site at the time when it is supposed to have expired, it has simply reset.

 

Navigation:

The key to getting people across the site effectively, your navigation can either keep people engaged or drive them off in a fit of rage.

Think about adding or removing shortcuts, including a big bright CTA button to drive them to action or maybe include extra information like contact details. What you’re testing here is what is going to keep people on the site, visiting more places and products you have on offer.

  • Highlight Best Sellers: Are you know for a particular thing that people come looking for or are you trying to get people to engage with something new, or you think complements your best sellers? Lift them up out of the depths of a list. It’s great showing people all the categories and sub-categories you have but every click you add pushes people away.
  • Drive a story: If you’ve built a single page site, you can use the navigation to drive people exactly where they need, or you want them to go by using the options. Once you’ve done some testing and you know what is driving engagement, you can alter the navigation to drive people to those areas.

 

Forms:

Forms are what prospective customers use to get in touch with you. They become incredibly important if they are part of your purchase funnel.

Just as no two websites are the same, no two forms are the same. While for some businesses, a small comprehensive form may work, for others long forms might do wonders for their lead quality.

To figure out which style works best for your audience, research through A / B testing to determine the problem area in your form and work towards optimising it. Remove barriers that get filling in the form. Do you really need a phone number to start the process of nurturing a lead? Is it that important to know where a person came from or when their birthday is? Anything where a person asks "Why do you need to know that?" is a problem. Some of this information can be collected once the lead is in the funnel and you've started to work with them.

 

Call to Action (CTA):

The CTA is where the rubber hits the road, it’s where your visitors will choose to finish their purchases, fill out the sign-up form or just walk away. It either drives or discourages action.

With A/B testing, you can test different copy, placement, colours & sizes for your CTA till you find the winning variation and then test the winning version further to optimise it even more.

 

Pricing:

Does exposing the price of your solution help or hinder the chances of your visitors converting? With A / B testing, you’ll be able to test the theory.

It might be that showing the pricing, at a high level, as a payment plan drives conversion. If it is a service offering, from pricing vs actual pricing, could have a dramatic effect on whether someone wants to reach out or not.

If you’re in a highly competitive market and your customers are price-led, it could be the thing that allows you to stand out from your competition. There are a lot of people that believe if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it but in the same vein, what people apply as a value can be very different person to person.

 

Social Proof:

People buy from people and for years word of mouth and now social media have driven huge uptake and conversion for customers. 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations on social media and their definitions of an influencer alter dramatically from one person to another.

This is what social proof is and it can take the form of recommendations and reviews from experts of their particular fields, from celebrities and customers themselves, or can come as testimonials, media mentions, awards, badges and certificates.

The presence of these validates the claims made by your website. A / B testing can help you understand if adding social proof is a good idea, what kinds of social proof work and how many should be added. You can test different kinds of social proof, layout, and placement.

 

How Do You A / B Test?

 

It should be a relatively simple process, but the complexity and potential pitfalls are vast and everywhere.

It starts with research, you formulate and prepare, create the variations, run the test, gather the results and analyse before starting the process again. This is the process in its simplest form.

There are heaps of tools out there that can help you with things like heat mapping, seeing where people are spending most of their time on a page, creating the variant pages and splitting your audience on entry and taking the data and helping you analyse it.

The biggest trick is knowing where to start and knowing where to go with the information. Anyone can run the test, but do they really understand what it is they’re doing?

This is where a solid CRO partner is worth their weight in gold. They’re trained to do just this, and their experience means they can get you running and optimising faster. No learning curve, just straight to results.

At Eclipse our Experience team works with clients every day to test their sites and work to create a better conversion rate for them.

We’ve got specialist teams that advise and then action Design, UX & UI for your digital storefront. We’ve also got geniuses to work with you on how to drive brand engagement, solicit positive sentiment, strengthen your content marketing, SEO & PPC. We'll also work with you to boost your conversion rate through CRO or help you learn more about your customers through user research as a first step.

Talk to us about how we can start running A / B testing for you and your website as part of an effective CRO programme. We’re here to help and it all starts with a conversation.


What's in a colour?

We're surrounded by it and it makes up everything we see, feel and touch but most people don't take a great deal of time to stop and think about it. Colour is fundamental to our everyday life and it means more than what we just see on the surface.

There have been numerous studies on how colour alters our mood and directs us to take action, be that for fight or flight. In a study by the University of Winnipeg, Colours influence up to 90% of an initial impression. Other research has found that:

  • Users form an opinion about a product within 90 seconds. People base that assessment mostly on its colour.
  • Colours alone are responsible for 60% of users’ acceptance or rejection of a product.
  • People read ads in colour 42% more compared to the same ads in black and white.
  • The logo colour is the first thing a customer will notice when they see a brand.

We've done a little research and pulled together a bunch of information on different colours and their meaning and symbolism. This will help you when it comes to picking colours for your brand, product or even your next promotion. But, you can do some much more when you understand how people react too colour. Using it correctly can lift your conversion rate, keep people on your site and ultimately help you sell more.

Getting people to take action on your website can be enhanced with colour, as part of an effective CRO programme.

We’ve got specialist teams that advise and then action Design, UX & UI for your digital storefront. We’ve also got geniuses to work with you on how to drive brand engagement, solicit positive sentiment, strengthen your content marketing, SEO & PPC plus work with you to boost your conversion rate through CRO or help you learn more about your customers through user research as a first step. You can reach out to us and we can help you make the most these insights.

Click the picture below to take a look at what we found.


The ROI of UX & why not investing in it is a huge problem for you.

Good user experience (UX) is the difference between being part of the best and worst online. That’s why Facebook, Apple, Google and other world-class companies invest heavily in UX. They know UX is the secret weapon for growth. While they are exceptional examples, the vast majority of companies today do not invest enough in UX. As a result, CareerFoundry found a trillion dollar UX problem in the making- and this is looking at e-commerce alone. Their discovery called for a thorough investigation of the true impact of user experience design on the world. They interviewed more than 60 of the world’s leading UX experts to get their insights into the return on investment (ROI) of UX design.

Our report compiles highlights from these insights that make the case for investing in UX design. We’ve taken all our experience in the world of UX and done some reading of the Comprehensive Guide to the ROI of UX, by the team at CAREERFOUNDRY, to bring to you a high level overview of why you need to be paying it a more attention and how we’ll be able to help you achieve that.

Click on the image below to take a look at the report.


Website Speed Tips

6 Tips to Increase Your Website Page Speed - Part 2

Looking to get a better page speed on your website? Look no further...these tips will get you moving.

This is part 2 of a two part series, read part 1 here.

Upgrade your server to HTTP/2

HTTP/2 has been a long time coming, for too long we’ve been building on top of a legacy protocol, this means a lot of our techniques have been put in place because we’re working with HTTP/1.

One of the many benefits of HTTP/2 is that we can now download assets in a much more fluid way, HTTP/1 forced us to download assets in batches, this was useful to keep connections open but meant we’d wait for the largest file to finish before we could move onto the next batch.

HTTP/2 has done away with this meaning that we can now download assets as soon as we finish any other asset currently being downloaded, this means that techniques like concatenation of files and turning images into sprites are now not best practices and should be avoided, favouring more smaller files which can be downloaded and displayed to the user as and when they get delivered.

HTTP/2 does have some requirements, one of which being browser support, the other being that it must be used in conjunction with a valid certificate. Both of which aren’t a problem to get over to help you reap the rewards of HTTP/2.

HTTP/2 has other huge benefits, Daniel Stenberg has written http2 explained if you’d like to dive in deeper.

Optimise for the critical render path

If you’ve use Google Page Speed Insights, you’ve seen this phrase. This is a much more complicated challenge than anything else we’ve discussed so far, but I’ll outline what we’re trying to achieve here.

The critical render path defines the assets required for the browser to do it’s first render, this means everything the browser first sees when scanning the initial HTML that’s delivered. The challenge of optimising the critical render path is all about prioritising your assets to get that first render as quick as possible.

This means we may want to delay our JavaScript completely, we may even want to delay a large section of our CSS and only focus on what the user can see which, if they are on mobile, could be as little as the header and some initial content. The goal here is to try and make our critical render path so small, that even on a very slow network, we could get for that ever ideal goal of our first render happening in under 1 second.

The reason this is a more complicated solution than anything we’ve discussed previously is that after we’ve delayed all those assets we then need to pull them in in a way that isn’t jarring for the user and doesn’t impact the rest of their experience. We still need all these assets delivered quickly and giving to the user without them noticing.

Ilya Igrigorik has done amazing work on the critical render path and you can see his video here.

Increase your perceived web performance

Okay, so this isn’t going to make your website faster on any metric, but it can have just as much impact on your user experience.

Perceived web performance is all about how fast your website feels as opposed to how fast it actually is.

There are a few accepted ways of increasing your perceived web performance:

Sleight of hand

I call this Sleight of hand because it works similar to how a street magician can steal your watch, we are essentially distracting the user while we load the assets to the website. The most simple way of doing this would be adding in some animation while loading in a new section of the website, if our animation takes 2 seconds and it takes us 1 second to load in the new thing, the user may not even realise it’s taken any time before they can interact with the new part of the website. If this seems pointless to you, the web already uses this a lot and you’re probably not even noticing it.

Skeletons

This is a technique that is heavily used by social media website such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the technique here is basically just loading in something that looks like the asset the user is trying to get at. In the case of Facebook, who use this heavily on your timeline, it’s a dummy post, your brain is already expecting to see a post so by seeing this skeleton in place, your head is already partly accepting the fact that the page is loaded. This is really effective and although has no increase to the actual page speed, it can increase your conversion rate massively.

Keep ‘em busy

This should be saved for when we’ve got a long wait that we can’t speed up for some reason, give the user something to do. The gaming industry will often give users a mini game to play while they load the main game. This could be a simple version of what they’re going to be playing or a tutorial. We could just give the user some information, if we’re a holidays website, we could display the weather while we’re doing some heavy processes that can’t be sped up for example.

Everything I’ve said about are all web performance techniques that actually work, I’ve implemented them, I’ve seen the results and I can vouch for them.

I’d love to hear your stories implementing some of these results, equally, I’d love to hear some of your web performance techniques that do or don’t work, so please reach out in the comments.