A study by Microsoft in 2000 revealed the average human attention span was just 12 seconds – the same as a goldfish! 18 years of digital growth later, and that figure has fallen to just eight seconds! Unsurprisingly, catching and holding consumer attention is one of the biggest challenges facing digital marketers.
Removing distractions along the consumer path to purchase is key to overcoming this. But what are those distractions, and how can you remove them? Let’s take a look at 5 ways you could be unconsciously distracting consumers:
1. Competitive Amazon advertising
After spending time researching on your website, your customer decides they’d prefer to buy your product through Amazon. However, when they arrive at your product page on Amazon they find a conveniently placed ad for your competitor’s product right below the ‘Add to cart’ button! “Hmm, did I choose the wrong cycling helmet? Maybe I should look at more…’ And just like that, the seeds of doubt are sewn, and your customer abandons your Amazon product page and clicks onto another. You’ve just fallen victim to a Product Display Ad.
Yes, your competitors can distract your customers by placing highly targeted ads for their products in the middle of your Amazon product pages. In fact, according to zonlifesuccess.com, “targeting a competitor with a Product Display Ad is a great way to steal competitor sales”! This is because “you can select specific products and target them within a campaign or in multiple campaigns”. But what can you do to stop your competitors stealing your sales at this pivotal moment? Fight fire with fire!
To eliminate the possibility of your competitors targeting your products, target Product Display Ads at your own products. Starbucks are already doing this very successfully in the US to keep competitors at bay:
2. A Non-User-Friendly Checkout Process
The average eCommerce store loses over 75% of its sales to cart abandonment. Some industries even experience average cart abandonment as high as 83.6%. But why do your customers leave so abruptly? It has a lot to do with your checkout process. Here are some of the main reasons your customers abandon the checkout process:
- Hidden costs (shipping, taxes, fees etc.). 60% of US adults stated “extra costs” as their primary reason for abandoning the checkout process, with 25% specifically citing shipping costs as the main deterrent. So, ensure your checkout process fully discloses all purchase costs from the outset.
- Disruptive registration. According to eConsultancy, 25% of shoppers abandon their purchases because they are forced to create an account. Your customers come to your website to buy things. They don’t want to be forced to make up a password and create an account. They want instant gratification, not in-advance commitment to your brand. To ensure your checkout is conversion-friendly, you should always make account creation optional. As an alternative, you can invite them to create one after they’ve purchased.
- Long and confusing checkout. 28% of shoppers say unnecessary forms contribute to unease and often result in cart abandonment. So, when designing your checkout process, minimise form elements. Only ask for necessary information. And try to reduce the ‘number of screens’ from initiation to completion.
- Concerns about payment security. Major causes for suspicion include website design flaws, outdated layouts, missing images, and no SSL certificate. Thankfully, there are many ways you can increase trust on your site. For example, use the likes of recognisable trust seals, customer testimonials and product reviews and endorsements.
3. Lack of Clear Next Steps
Your SEO and advertising efforts have paid off! A new customer has landed on your website. It’s all plain sailing from here to purchase, right? Wrong. Unless it’s immediately clear to the visitor where to go once they’ve landed on your site, there was almost no point in sending them there in the first place. Your advertising promised that you have what they need, but if they can’t find it, they’re going to return to Google in search of another option.
Good site navigation is essential for great product discovery and user-friendly browsing. But getting it right is a tough challenge that requires testing specific to your website to determine which type of navigation works best for your customers. However, here are some general guidelines for getting navigation spot on:
- Use product categories to help visitors infer what type of site they’re on. When the Baymard Institute tested user experience of Best Buy’s eCommerce website, they discovered many customers mistook it as a price comparison site due to the lack of product categories on display. Instead of listing each of the product categories they stock, the site lumped everything together under one ambiguous ‘Products’ tab:
- Use sub-categories to further enhance the user experience. Product categories in the main menu point customers towards the most popular products. But the experience would be enhanced further if each category also contained a drop-down to popular sub-categories. Drop-down menus are crucial to the user experience as they help visitors find the desired product in less clicks.
- Use faceted navigation so visitors can narrow down to the right products, faster. Having facets and filters highlighting important parameters like size, price, brand and colour enables shoppers to navigate with their choice of priority.
- Let visitors sort your products by certain parameters. Having the ability to sort by important parameters like price, discounts, availability, and popularity puts the visitor in control of their view and helps them make a purchase decision faster.
- Make your site mobile responsive. More transactions are taking place via smartphone and mobile devices. If your site isn’t able to provide a user-friendly experience in this format you could lose conversions.
- Use clear CTAs. Always offer consumers options to buy your products there and then. Clear call-to-action buttons such as ‘Buy Now’, ‘Shop Now’, ‘Buy Online’, ‘Buy Offline’ buttons will guide consumer to next steps.
4. Social media sharing buttons at a pivotal purchase moment
A customer is shopping for a new sofa online. They’ve arrived on your furniture website and navigated their way to a product page for a beautiful couch. They’re ready to hit ‘Add to cart’ when they notice the social media sharing buttons on the product page. That makes them think about something they saw on Facebook earlier and their mind wanders away from your couch and clicks back to Facebook. The conversion is lost. Avoidably so. There’s a time and a place for social media sharing buttons, your product page is not one of them!
5. Offering Too Much Choice
While customers can be attracted by choice, studies prove too many options can be overwhelming, leading to fewer sales. Striking the right balance is key. That is, offer choice, but not too much choice.
So, say you’re a pencil brand offering loads of different pencil options – those with rubbers, those without, hard pencils, soft pencils, round ones, triangular ones, and so on. How is a customer supposed to choose?
Sorting the pencils into categories will help. Human brains love to categorise things. It’s a fundamental part of how we cope efficiently with the world around us. So, as soon as a website offers us categories, we find it easier to choose.
So, instead of offering all 1001 pencil options at once, initially offer a limited choice — wooden, propelling, or plastic. Once they’ve selected an option, present them with another limited choice — round, triangular, or hexagonal and so on — until the consumer is satisfied they’ve found exactly what they’re looking for. By drilling down using categories, the customer no longer suffers from ‘analysis paralysis’.
Certain marketing methods can be similarly overwhelming to consumers. For example, often marketers try to cram multiple offers and CTAs into email campaigns. However, simplifying emails so they require just one action is proven to be far more effective. Take whitegoods brand, Whirlpool, for example. When they amended their savings email campaign from an email with multiple CTAs to an email with a singular, focused CTA, they achieved a 42% increase in clicks.
Make it super easy for your customers to purchase with the following 5 tactics:
- Fight fire with fire when it comes to Amazon — don’t let a competitor poach your customers with Product Display Ads
- Ensure your checkout process is as user-friendly as possible
- Be mindful of your website’s navigation — make it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for
- Keep social media away from your product pages
- Don’t offer too much choice — indecision often leads to inaction
Removing these distractions should greatly improve your conversion rates, but should you need more guidance on how to optimise the consumer path to purchase and drive up conversions, contact the ChannelSight team today.