Author:

I feel a little like the F1 presenters now asking you to hit the red button for the post race forum! Not quite as glamorous but I’ll give it a shot…

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For those of you that attended the recent New Media Breakfast with Kiril Bunin the other morning you will have been able to enjoy Kiril give his opinions on some websites.  As with all of these things there can always be a difference of opinion & as such I’ve laid out this blog post to capture some of these points & encourage an ongoing discussion.

I’ve enclosed Craig McGill’s comments that were on the original post – Presentation: Converting you to CRO - along with Kiril’s response to these individual points.

I’d encourage Craig & anyone else who would like to get involved to comment on this article below.

Craig’s Comments

“There’s some cracking points in there – and Kiril was a good presenter – but there were one or two wee things that I disagreed with:

The obvious one is that yes, some of these sites had ‘errors’ but it may be that they just didn’t have the budget or time to do everything that’s been highlighted. I’d love it – and I’m sure many others would too – if they could devote more cash to website development, but in a recession (and a country where many are still sceptical of web/2.0) it’s not always possible.

The first thing that stuck out for me was the comment about Macintyre’s. Kiril felt that it was a mistake not having small question marks next to many of the points – what kind of diamond, what kind of setting – and so on. I see his point (and agree to an extent) but it’s not as much of a deal breaker IMO as he made it out to be. Very few people casually turn up at an engagement ring site and buy. Normally, the lady has picked what she wants – or has strongly influenced the chap and he knows what she wants – it’s not a spontaneous purchase (normally) and people who are normally at the stage of buying an engagement ring have done their homework beforehand (in the case of girls, some have been doing it for years) so the ‘what is this setting?’ type information is (mostly) redundant as the core buying audience already come in armed with the information.

On NKD, I felt he showed a bit of a bias towards SEO instead of plan and simple attention-grabbing. Yes, as he points out, it is a tad brochure and magazine like, but there’s no offence in that as again, this is being aimed at a certain buyer – the person who buys clothes for a company. They want to see something eye-catching and the front-page does that. The first lines of the text explain what they do. It may not be 100% SEO great but I would sacrifice that for readable, eye-catching copy any day of the week.

(On that note though, the page has terrible punctuation and the meta-tagging is awful)

For that one, I thought Kiril was coming at it more from his viewpoint that thinking ‘who is this aimed at and does it work for them?’ but that’s perfectly valid.

On Gulp, I thought he was a tad harsh. Again, it’s individual preferences but I like the WordPress magazine-themed styled front page. I got what the site was about right away and had no issues with it.

With regards to the pages with items on them and no price, I can imagine the reasoning being a fear that if the prices were all on that one page, people may take fright at the costs and leave while if they are on individual pages, people may click backwards and forwards. (Note, I wouldn’t but I’ve seen people hide prices for this reason – and to increase time spent on sites.)

Anyway, just my tuppence. As I said upfront, would be a boring world if we all agreed all of the time!”

Kiril’s Response

“First of all would like to thank you for the time you put into it. I really appreciate you came up with a detailed response because, from my point of view, details are exactly what differentiates feedback from an opinion.

In order to keep the reply clear and understandable I will structure my response in the same order as you:

Regarding the MacIntyre’s Jewellery issues:

I have been asked a lot lately what is the most common conversion roadblock and you just helped me to formulate the optimal response – excuses. It can be limited budgets, ability to test or the recession, but website visitors are interested in their own wants and needs and I have not seen any case when a purchase would be made out of feeling pity for poor business owners’ needs rather their own.

Additionally, let’s not forget that we are talking about a website with a large average order value (AOV). How much would a normal developer charge for solving this issue: £100–£200? That’s half of the average ring price. An organisation should be able to invest half of an AOV into solving a serious issue affecting around 11.75% [based on Google Chrome Users on WikiMedia] of all website traffic.

Regarding scepticism of e-commerce/Web2.0, the UK e-commerce technology market is thought to be worth more than £600m at the end of 2010 so forward-thinking companies should seek to embrace it. The research from Econsultancy found that the sector will grow by 12% this year as companies seek to meet growing demand for online shopping and increased expectations around user experience.

Touching on your point that the website does not require any knowledge base/supportive information, I agree that jewellery is no doubt a high-involvement product requiring  in-depth research and in the region of at least 3 visits before purchase but where do you think they are going to do the research? And why would they not buy from the same resource that provided them the information for research? We can ignore the case of a product exclusive to the store as this is obviously a slightly different circumstance.

You are proposing that “We’ll close the sale but we don’t care about educating you, others can do that”. From my experience users convert at sites that can fulfil their needs, including research. The best example would be Blue Nile – the European leader in online jewellery sales.

Regarding NKD:

The only focus of my presentation was CRO and user experience; SEO was not my concern and I don’t believe was mentioned at all.

My comment about the first line was exactly about it not “grabbing attention”. You mentioned yourself “This website is for the person who buys clothes for a company” and this busy person would be in the same boat as any user – how would they notice 4 tiny words inside large paragraphs of text being the only place it mentions “Corporate clothing & staff uniforms” on the entire homepage?

Regarding The Gulp:

I’m afraid I don’t know about “magazine-themed styled front pages” as, again, my focus was not at all on design but user experience, and my live 5-second test truly proved that the user experience is broken. Hardly even 10% of audience got the actual specification of the site and none of them even thought about where to start. I’m glad you did, but CRO is about optimising for the masses and basing serious decisions on a single opinions would be a mistake.

Finally about not showing prices on category pages:

This is another common point I don’t understand – why do you think somebody who will get frightened of prices on the category page would suddenly lose that fear on a product page? It can be seen as dishonest, and according to a recent report “Pricing/shipping information is clearly stated as the issue bothering 95% of e-shoppers” (http://www.getelastic.com/customer-expectations/). Visitors are humans and if a website wants to increase conversion rate then satisfying their needs should be the primary goal, not ‘tricking’ them into staying on site.

Thanks again for your feedback. Believe me I very often disagree with majority of opinions as well (ask attacats) and completely agree that the world is much more interesting place when we can freely say what we think. Healthy discussion never harms anybody!”

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Let the debating commence!

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Creative Commons License photo credit: jurvetson

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