Person shopping on phone

Understanding the Buyers Journey and Why It Is Important

We’re all individuals. We have our own wants and likes, dislikes and fears but as much as that is the case there is no denying that we’re creatures of habit. There are plenty of cases where we as people all take the same winding road to a single endpoint.

One of those is what is referred to as the Buying or Buyers Journey. It’s a set of milestones we pass on the way to making a purchase and then the steps we take after the purchase is made. If you understand this process, it allows you to tailor the experience and the information you put out to help people through the journey. It is a powerful piece of information that allows you to talk to your customers in the right way, at the right time, making yourself incredibly useful to them.

The buyer's journey is so important that Google made adjustments to the way their search was delivered to people and became intent focused. They understand from your previous search history and your activity on the internet where you might be when you’re looking to make a purchase and provide you with information that is best suited to that phase.

From a high level, they defined habits into 3 moments. I want to do; I want to buy, and I want to go. They deliver information to the searcher in a way that will best suit their question and they have created specific elements in the search results page that will do this without sending them on a trip into a wormhole.

But before we get too carried away, it is probably best to get to grips with what the buyer's journey is. We see it as 7 steps.

 

  • Unaware: Your target audience has not encountered the problem (or desire).
  • Awareness: Also known as the problem identification stage, your buyer would have identified the issue that they are seeking to solve.
  • Consideration: Your buyer would do general research (usually online) and consider different options out there.
  • Evaluation: Your buyer is carefully selecting a potential purchase, evaluating it based on quality, value, brand reputation, and other variables.
  • Purchase: Congratulations may be in order. You’ve managed to persuade your prospect to make a purchase, but sometimes it isn’t a given.
  • Post-Purchase: Also known as the consumption phase, your customer’s experience may determine longevity and satisfaction.
  • Retention & Advocacy: If you’ve managed to delight and excite your customer, they may come back and become your online advocate.

 

If we look back at what Google has been doing and map it to the journey, it fits squarely in the awareness, consideration and evaluation phases but for them to do that, you need to be giving them the information to put in front of people.

This information can take a bunch of forms, the most important thing is that it exists. That is however just a tiny bit of what you should be doing to make sure that you’re able to engage with potential customers going through the buyer's journey.

We’ve got a few tips for each of the stages to get you forming ideas and solutions but as always we’re here to help and you can reach out to us at any time and our teams of experts can work with you to maximise the opportunity at every stage.

 

Unaware: Your target audience has not encountered the problem (or desire).

This is an incredibly hard stage to have a deliberate effect on but by having a solid social media presence and a great content strategy there is a possibility that people will stumble across the information and as a result you move them into the next phase, very, very quickly. It is also what drives people to head toward impulse purchasing. They had no idea they wanted what you’ve just put in front of them, but it was so convincing that they’re ready for you to just take their money.

If you compare this to the Adoption Life Cycle, you’re looking at the innovators and possibly the early adopters here.

The Adoption Cycle | Design for "Crossing the Chasm" | Prototypr.io

 

Awareness: Also known as the problem identification stage, your buyer would have identified the issue that they are seeking to solve.

Here, some customers will find your brand as part of their intentional research when they are looking for a solution to their problem. Some will hear about you from your existing customers and word of mouth. Some traffic will be a result of your marketing efforts be that on social or via a search engine. They could also come from the stage above, stopping here for just a second on their way to making the purchase.

If people are coming into this stage fresh, it’s important to avoid selling. You need to focus on educating customers, sharing your knowledge, and building brand awareness. Your goal should be to get people’s attention, and then make them interested in what you have to offer. Even if they don’t have the intention to buy just yet, they’ll convert in the future if your content and webs experience is convincing and trustworthy enough.

 

Consideration: Your buyer would do general research (usually online) and consider different options out there.

The consideration stage is the moment customers see you as an option. Your products are a potential solution to their problems, while they're also considering other options. To lift your chances of entering the evaluation phase you can drive people to comparisons you've made to your competitors, making it clearly transparent why you might be the better option. This is an opportunity to keep yourself in the running.

 

Evaluation: Your buyer is carefully selecting a potential purchase, evaluating it based on quality, value, brand reputation, and other variables.

It’s important to understand that at this point your competitors… are your biggest competition. Your products or solutions on offer have already gained your potential customers’ attention, yet you may still lose the race. It’s the win-or-lose moment.

Your goal here is to convince those potential customers that you’re the absolute best solution for them. Make sure you stand out from your competitors. Not only with price or quality, but also with your values, approach, and, obviously, the experience you provide.

 

Purchase: Congratulations may be in order. You’ve managed to persuade your prospect to make a purchase, but sometimes it isn’t a given.

The purchase stage is your moment of truth. It’ll prove how well you prepared your website and customer service for ever-rising customer needs.

Offer superb customer experience no matter how big the order is. Some customers will start smaller just to test your store. Make sure they come back for more.

It’s time for your support team to show off their skills. It’s a test for your UX designer and web developers. It’s also the moment you grow as a business and build lasting connections with your customers.

If these experiences aren’t up to scratch, you could lose the person right at the very end of the process. We’ve all been there, right at the checkout and for some reason, the payment won’t go through, the address search is broken, or the overall experience is just terrible and keeps breaking.

You’ll end up sending them back up the funnel and kissing them goodbye for good. It doesn’t matter how well suited your product was to their problem. If it is difficult, you turn them off.

 

Post-Purchase: Also known as the consumption phase, your customer’s experience may determine longevity and satisfaction.

Just as important as making it easy for the purchase to happen, you’ve got to make sure the post-purchase experience is ace.

Shipping updates, return policies, contact details, warranty information, support and guidance, onboarding…the list is endless when it comes to this stuff but the thing to remember is that just getting the sale and then saying ciao is not an option.

The irreparable damage that can be done by taking your eye off the ball with this stuff is huge and at Eclipse, we’re not advocates of mastering the mystics art of tempting fate.

 

Retention & Advocacy: If you’ve managed to delight and excite your customer, they may come back and become your online advocate.

Acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer. Increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits from 25-95%. The success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is 5-20%.

Do what you can to keep your customers happy and they’ll keep coming back, keep doing it and they’ll tell others. Remember the unaware phase and the mention of word of mouth, this is where it came from.

 

We’ve got more to come

This break down of the buyer's journey should give you some things to think about and get you looking at what you have on offer a little differently. It should be something that you keep front of mind when you’re looking to create content or are making design changes or updates to your website.

We’re going to continue looking at the buyer's journey in more detail, stage by stage in the coming weeks, offering up more insight and tips on how to get the most out of each of them, but in the meantime, you can always reach out to us with any questions you might have and we’ll be happy to answer them and help you work to enhance your offering for each of the stages.


Group of people looking at view

How To Create A User Persona

User personas are a great tool to improve designs and communicate design decisions. Let’s take a look at what user personas are, why they are useful, and how to create your own. 

 

The user persona

User personas are profiles that capture the most important data from a user base. This data is then used to outline the archetypes of your common users. These are usually one-page documents. They are used as a reference point to remind you who your users are and give you a way to communicate this to others. They help you to understand who you're designing for. Giving you an insight into what the behaviour and thought process of that user is. Explaining why users take certain actions in your product, and what they're hoping to do when they use it. 

People across the business in different roles should use user personas. Stakeholders, senior managers, and product owners can all use personas. They can use them when analyzing the software for new features or prioritizing bug fixes. Designers, copywriters, and developers can all use user personas too. They use them to find the best approach and solution that fits the needs of the user.

 

Why user personas are useful

User personas are beneficial because they are a way of empathising with the people who use the software. They put the user at the centre of the design process. If you are always looking through the eyes of the user you’re more likely to create a solution that works for them. 

They are specific and this gives you clarity about who to design for and who to prioritise. You are thus able to meet the needs of groups of users with similar characteristics. As opposed to creating generalised solutions that don’t fit exactly with any users’ needs.

Designers often fall into the trap of designing for themselves. Having a user persona holds you accountable for your design decisions. If they aren’t in the best interest of your user persona then they may not be the best solution. You can also use them to communicate and justify those decisions to stakeholders and clients.

Another benefit of creating personas is that they anthropomorphise data. Adding human characteristics and behaviour to data it makes it easier to understand and remember. It’s great having a ton of useful data but if no one ever references or uses it then it’s worthless. A concise digestible format that doesn’t include unnecessary information, will help you get the most out of your personas.

 

Creating a user persona

Begin by segmenting and creating hypotheses about the different types of users. You must separate your users by the different roles they have. Let's take the example of project management software. This would have users with two different roles. One user is the admin that would be creating tasks and reporting on the project. The other user is the employee who would be using the tool as a reference and to track time. These two roles need separating as they have big differences. Within these roles, you can begin to create more nuanced profiles. Through a combination of analytics and research, you can validate these hypotheses or disprove them. Both are equally illuminating.

Take a look at our example of an admin persona for a project management tool:

Do your research

User research is critical to understanding the experience of users. There are many different ways in which you can collect and present feedback. Likely, you're already getting a lot of feedback if you have a product that's up and running. 

Interviews and observation are the most common research methods. Both of these research methods are qualitative. They need analysis that looks for patterns and commonalities between users.

At this stage, it is critical to learn about the motivation of your users—what problems are they looking to solve when they come to your site? Different personas will have different reasons to use your site. You can start by developing hypotheses about what drives each user to engage. 

 

Your research should focus on the following aspects of the user experience: 

Bio: What does this person do? Are they always rushing around with lots of things on their mind? Are they worried? Planning an adventure? 

Motivation: What drives your user to interact with your product? What are they hoping to get out of it? Why are they using your product instead of a competitor’s - or nothing at all? 

Pain points: What are the challenges users are facing? Is your product helping them solve these or aggravating them? Are there any obstacles they have to face when using your product? 

Mental models: How does your user conceive the problem that your product addresses? What concepts and connections come naturally to them, and what do they need teaching? 

Personality traits: Is this user more of an introvert or extrovert? Are they an influencer or a follower? Are they loyal to brands or are they more fickle and drawn towards other features or lowest cost? 

Internet usage: Internet usage is an indication of online behaviour. Are they a regular online shopper? Do they mainly browse at home or during lunch breaks? Are they particularly active on social media? 

Brands: Are these users used to dealing with high-end premium brands or value brands? Or is it a mixture of both? Be specific to the actual brands this user buys from to understand their brand relationship. 

 

What to look out for

There are some risks associated with user personas. They are usually from not following the user research process correctly or thoroughly enough. One of the main areas where people tend to go wrong is by using too much second-hand information. This could be from stakeholders within the business or stereotyping. In these cases, research and data are not informing the personas.  This type of information runs the risk of missing out on actually user insights. You may be attributing characteristics to your users that aren’t accurate. Using these inaccurate personas when developing the product will mean you won’t meet the needs of your actual users. 

 

Conclusion

User personas are a great tool to guide your design decisions. They can be used to inform other models such as user journey maps, usability reviews and user stories. The entire business should make use of the personas. This will help to create the best possible experience for your users. The key to successful user personas is good quality research. There are risks to creating personas. You can mitigate these risks by following the correct research processes. 

There’s also no such thing as ‘done’ when it comes to the personas. You should revisit, review and update them regularly as economic and social climate changes users' online behaviours.

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.


Biometrics Space Between

An Introduction to Biometric User Testing

What is Biometric Testing?

Biometric User Testing is relatively new on the digital marketing scene. Don’t panic - it’s really not as scary as it sounds. Essentially, it applies the principles of psychological testingtechniques to the context of digital marketing. That translated? It is used to test and record the responses of users when interacting with retailers’ websites and apps. Both emotional arousal and stress reaction measures are used in order to achieve this and data is then collated to provide insights on the findings.

grid

Subject Connected to Galvanic Skin Response Kit while conducting Website User Session. (Source: Space Between Ltd).

How does Testing Work?

Testing a sample using qualitative and quantitative data, opportunities for these refinements quickly becomes apparent in the data reports. Subjects are selected to match the demographic profile of the website being tested. They are set up in a Biometric Laboratory, which guarantees consistency in the testing environment. The testing itself involves the application of various measures, including: Galvanic Skin Response (similar to polygraph testing in measuring palm sweat levels), Eye Tracking (what the subjects are looking at on screen), Mouse Tracking (what the subjects mouse is doing on screen), Facial Expression Analysis and Attention Analysis (captured with various user cameras during the testing session). Subjects also provide direct feedback on their experience using the website, usually in a series of questionnaires and surveys. Subjects are given several tasks to complete on the website, such as searching for a specific item, and proceeding to cart checkout. This testing process usually takes around one hour per subject and is highly valuable to highlighting key issues with eCommerce and functionality and overall usability. A deeper level of analysis can be achieved by repeating this testing process again with the same subjects, but this time performing the same test on competitor websites. This highlights the areas of success and improvement for an eCommerce site in the context of competitor presence.

grid

Subject Facial Analysis recording and data feed during User Session (Source: Space Between Ltd).

How is it Applied?

Unsurprisingly, Biometric Testing has seen its early adopters in the mega eCommerce Retailing Market (think the big online supermarkets like WholeFoods, travel booking sites like Skyscanner, and marketplaces like Amazon). The reason being that they all have huge traffic volumes and huge online sales in common. When it comes to refinement, or optimization of their eCommerce site, a small tweak can mean the difference of millions of dollars in sales. So their common interest is in complete eCommerce refinement for the ultimate User Experience. But the benefits of Biometrics are now being recognised by smaller businesses too, and rightfully so. In a culture where a smooth online experience is so vital to successful business, particularly when financial transactions are involved, public expectation is constantly growing. This isn’t just isolated to big business - consumers have come to expect this now of all eCommerce interaction.

grid

Biometrics User Testing - Applied  by the Big eCommerce Retailers (Source: Christian Wiediger, Unsplash)

Now What?

If you are in the business of eCommerce, it’s time to consider if Biometric Testing  is a marketing method you should be applying. As a general rule of thumb, the greater the site traffic, the greater the potential for achieving big results. So, if you are only just starting up, it may not be the right time for you. If you are a bigger business, with a robust online presence and marketing team, this could be your big opportunity for untapped growth in 2019. With User Experience and Conversion Optimization being high on the agenda for most digital teams, it’s time to consider if Biometrics Testing should become part of your ongoing digital strategy. Remember, when it comes to website traffic, users expect a seamless journey. The only way to truly test how your users interact with your site, and to identify any common pain points they may have, is to apply Biometric Testing.


Colour Psychology Space Between

Colour Psychology: Increase Sales With One Simple Change

The colours you choose lay the foundation for your online image so it's important to choose carefully.

Web design sounds fancy. Yet, like all elements of conversion rate optimisation, building a website is more about construction than design. The colours you choose lay the foundation for your online image so it's important to choose carefully. Using colour psychology not only helps you look good, it can help attract the right kind of customer to your website and increase conversions.

What is colour psychology?

Colour psychology is the study of how people are affected by colour. You can test how powerful colours are just by thinking of some of the biggest brands in the world. What colour do they use? You'll recall it instantly for Coca-Cola, FedEx, Nike, and Facebook. You also know Coca-Cola is pillar-box red, not burgundy. FedEx is a rich purple, not lilac. And Facebook is a muted blue, not sky blue or sapphire.

Now think about how those brands make you feel. It's common knowledge that red represents a 'bold' attitude and pink points to products for women. But do you know that purple divides people by gender? Women are drawn to it and men are not. These findings reveal how people might react to your website.

What do colours mean?

Site visitors take just 50 milliseconds to make a judgement about your brand and colour plays a key part in this. No doubt you're already familiar with some of the basic assumptions of colour psychology:

  • Blue and green are universally popular. Blue is steady and reliable; green is fresh and calm. An edgy brand wouldn't go for these colours, but a corporate or more reserved company might.
  • If black, white, and grey are flat, unemotional colours (frequently used by tech and engineering companies), red, yellow, and orange are stimulants. These warm colours grab attention, generate excitement, and can create a sense of urgency.
  • Where pink is mostly associated with girls, purple is the grandmother of the colour chart. Pink is energetic and youthful, but purple oozes calm and wisdom.
  • Poor brown is typically unloved. Yet nobody can pooh-pooh the success of UPS – it's still going, since 1907. Brown is a rich part of the company's history and the colour of the original uniform.

The thing that makes colour psychology so interesting is that, despite the trends, everybody is different. People can become obsessive over a particular colour. Just the sight of it can stoke an old memory — good or bad. It's this reaction to a colour trigger that you can test in conversion rate optimisation:

  • What does your audience respond to?
  • Which colours work best in your niche?

How to use colour psychology in web design

Number 1

Use harmonious colours to keep people on the site

The last time you read about complementary colours might have been in school.

If you remember, these are the colours opposite one another on the colour wheel: red and green, blue and orange, yellow and purple. The colour wheel has been around since 1666. It was invented by Sir Isaac Newton and used by Claude Monet. Ever since then we've trusted that these pairings are pleasing on the eye.

Image source - http://crobbesart.blogspot.com/2015/03/warm-and-cool-colours.html

More modern depictions of the colour wheel show twelve colours, which make up the RYB (Red-Yellow-Blue) colour chart. For web design, you can pick three colours that sit next to each other on the wheel because they'll always hang nicely together. Or draw the corners of a triangle, rectangle, or square shape evenly within the wheel; the corners pinpoint the selection of colours. These will always work well together because they're part of the same tried-and-tested RYB chart.

Number 2

Keep colours consistent for a dramatic increase in conversions.

Research by the University of Loyola in Maryland suggests that sticking to the same palette of colours on your website can increase brand recognition by up to 80%.

If you don't want to mix colours, add black, white or grey to just one colour to create a different hue:

  • Make a colour lighter by adding white (tint)
  • Make it darker by adding black (shade)
  • Change the intensity by adding grey (tone)

A selection of different tints, shades, and tones of your chosen colour can form a colour palette too.

Number 3

Add accents of colour to prompt people to click.

Think about the conversion elements on your website. All the thought that goes into the headline, the description, the navigation, the images, and the button placement.

Do you give the same amount of thought to the colour of these key areas? Is it clear to your viewer what they should click on next?

In the EE example below, they highlight the headline and the button with a flash of yellow.

To keep colours balanced, not garish, use this design tactic:

  • Establish your brand colour by using it across most of your site (60%)
  • Make the brand colour stand out more by using a contrasting colour in places (30%)
  • Highlight areas key to conversion by using an accent colour sparingly (10%)

Think about the colour you use to showcase headings, navigation, buttons, and hyperlinks.

Tip! Background colour affects conversion.

Most websites have a plain background and lots of white space because it makes the text easier to read. Breaking convention with yellow text on a grey background may feel rebellious, but is it a smart move if nobody can read it? If your message is lost, your sale is lost too.

Conversion experts don't guess

Get to know what each colour means and it could give you an advantage in your optimisation strategy. Your next test could reveal something unexpected that turns a poorly performing page around.

  • Colour specialist, Carlton Wagner, once claimed yellow "activates the anxiety centre of the brain". If you're a gentle brand with a peaceful product, you should test yellow against green.
  • The University of Rochester suggests red makes people nervous when taking a test. If you're in the education sector, you might want to avoid red buttons on your website.
  • Orange is said to be a polarising colour; people can hate it as much as they love it. It's worth testing orange with your audience before you launch.

What works for one website won't work for another. Not all women like pinks and purples and some people love brown. Test it in your niche to avoid a flop—like Heinz, who famously tried and failed to launch a green version of their tomato ketchup. Parents didn't respond well to the conflict of colour. Kids didn't like it either because they associate green with vegetables and food they don't favour.

Putting colour psychology to the test (and winning)

When VegasSlotsOnline.com changed a "Sign up here!" button from green to yellow, they saw a 175% increase in conversions. Conversion optimisation is all about human behaviour and this brand knows their customer well. Because of that they were able to test what they thought might be most successful:

"Psychological effects of colour do matter. In our case, we chose two colours, both of which produced convincing arguments for their use. Our test likely would not have been fruitful if we had used white or black buttons. Our niche’s characteristics were paramount to our colour selection."

Try out colour psychology on your own site design

Will colour psychology testing work for you? If you work in conversion, you know there's only one way to find out: Test it. Find out if choosing one colour over another changes the way people behave on your website. It might just result in more click-throughs and more sales.

Here are some tools to help get you started...

Choosing a colour

Selecting colour palettes

W3C compliance

Let us know how you get on in comments. How do you use colour psychology in conversion rate optimisation?


Customer Feedback, Relationships and Reviews

Reviews Matter: How to Build a Better Relationship with Your Customers

Some easy tips and tricks on how to make the most of reviews on your website and increase credibility

Having a good relationship with your customers is arguably the most important part of running a business. After all, happy customers, happy conversion rate.

And one quick, uncostly way to do that is through reviews.

According to statistics, ‘92% of people will trust a recommendation from a peer & 70% will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t know’. And with more than one in ten customers reading online reviews, your customers will be your best form of marketing.

Having a product reviews section on your website will mean your products have the backing from your consumers. Those that have bought, tried and tested, your products will be able to review them for other potential consumers that may be browsing the site (and hopefully they will be vouching for you).

Equally, it is important to never remove any negative reviews. This would be dishonest, and that isn’t the message you want to be sending out where your business is concerned. Instead, E.g. if a review says "My product arrived late" replying and saying "We're sorry for the confusion, please get in touch and we're happy to refund your delivery". Customers understand that things go wrong and more interested in the solution.

This approach will appear more professional and suggest that you care about your customers and about improving not only your product but your business. Make the most of these comments. It’s a good way to see things from the other side too!

And it’s not just written reviews. Thanks to social media, your customers can now give you social testimonials.

So for instance, let’s say your business is fashion related. A customer may post a photo of her new dress on social media. She just can’t wait to wear it out this Saturday and tags you in the caption or mentions your brand when one of her friends asks “where’s it from?”. Now, all of her friends and followers that saw her post are aware of who you are. They may even visit your site. And one great tool you could use to help with this would be Yotpo. They allow you to “combine reviews and photos with customizable display options that enhance your brand”.

Whether you’re in the fashion industry, tech, sports, whatever it may be, ultimately the principle works the same. People buy from people.

So not only can reviews potentially make your products more credible but if used in ways like social testimonials, it can generate advertising and reach extra audiences you may not have otherwise.

Is your business making the most of reviews?