Hi everyone, Tom here, back from my fourth lunch with Brett, who blew my mind when he put down his turkey wrap and said: “Let’s talk about leveraging geo-centric buy-in to target and optimize under-performing segments—I think it’s an emerging ecommerce best practice.”
“Why is that?” I asked, before Brett could take another bite. His reply: “It’s usually good for a 5 percent increase in conversion rate or average order value; maybe both, maybe more.”
Now here’s the thing about Brett and numbers: He’s very conservative. And here’s the thing about best practices that add 5 percent to your key metrics: Even if you implement just a handful of them in your online store, they can quickly add up…
well, to a surge in revenue. (Brett won’t let me say who this client is, but when we added a reminder to their shopping cart page that said “Don’t forget to buy some Product X,” the annualized revenue increase was $1.2 million; I can tell you it wasn’t even one of our larger clients.)
Personally, with everything I have learned about optimizing the ecommerce website experience over the past few weeks, I’m a changed man. Seriously, I cannot go back to the way I used to think about ecommerce. The tools and techniques available today to tailor the website experience to what is known about the “experiencer” are enabling some truly amazing stuff. Unfortunately, I can’t shake the feeling that some companies still don’t realize how powerful the technology has become, and how easy it is to implement these days. But, I guess that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing: spreading the word.
So let’s get into this week’s topic. Like Brett said, it’s about leveraging geo-centric buy-in to target and optimize under-performing segments. Here’s how Brett explained it: Imagine you had a brick-and-mortar store that was able to recognize who visited the store, where they were from, and what they purchased. Then imagine that a shopper, let’s call him John, walks into your store and starts looking over the merchandise with a somewhat skeptical look on his face.
Suddenly, someone from John’s neighborhood appears next to him and starts talking about what a great shopping experience he had at your store just last week. Imagine what a positive impact that sort of validation would have. It could very easily convert John from a browser into a buyer. In Brett’s word, this is the “power of the buy-in.”
Well, your online store can do just that! It can leverage the power of the buy-in, and in just three easy steps. First, you need to organize your customer testimonials geographically (if you already have a database of testimonials then you may find they already have fields like Country, State, City, and so on).
Second, you need to identify site your visitors by location—using IP address lookup—to a level of granularity that matches or exceeds your geographical knowledge of your customer testimonials (the State level is a good place to start, so to speak).
Third, you need to display testimonials on your site’s pages that match the location of the shopper. For example, a shopper from Atlanta might see testimonials from shoppers in Atlanta. If you don’t have many testimonials that are specific to Atlanta, expand the formula to include all testimonials from Georgia. The idea is that a shopper in Georgia is more likely to be swayed by praise from someone in Georgia.
But don’t take my word for it. Run some tests. Test randomly geo-sourced testimonials against geo-correlated testimonials. Go with the test winners. And then take it to the next level. That’s right, Brett has more levels. When you collect geo-location data on your online shoppers and map your online sales against it, you should be able to see areas that are under-performing. For example, you might get a lot of traffic from Chicago but you can see that it doesn’t convert as well as traffic from California. So maybe the shoppers in Chicago need a little reassurance. You implement your targeting and boom: They see that other people in Chicago have bought from you and were very happy about it. Conversion magic!
You could perform the same exercise across virtually any customer segmentation that you can imagine, such as returning visitors that have never converted or not made a purchase for a long time, or one of my favorites, blue state vs. red state messaging (the voting data is free). Test for what works and annualize the percentage gains from what does. Winning 5 or 10 extra points here and there can soon add up.
Okay – Hopefully I’ve done my part and got you excited about the possibilities. Now help me spread the word. Hop on your social media platform of choice and digg it, retweet it, or post it on your facebook account already. Remember, embracing the “power of the buy-in” is not only a good idea, it’s an emerging best practice; people may soon be asking you: “Why aren’t we doing this?”