This post is from Kyle Sanders, an eCommerce entrepreneur and co-founder of Complete Web Resources.
There is a ton of information available on the web about what you should test on your website. Conversion optimization experts have a litany of conflicting opinions regarding which elements are the most testworthy, as well as which ones you should continually be testing.
Like most business owners with an online store, I had little to no experience optimizing for conversion and started testing random elements based on suggestions from blog owners and experts I didn’t know. Button colors, trust symbols, and guarantees were on heavy rotation for several months but only yielded minor increases in sitewide conversion rate. Building out great product pages helped somewhat, but the increases were less than satisfying. Disappointed, my business partner and I began searching for other options. There were a few tools that streamlined the process and made it easier, but in the end, we were making design changes in a market with mature competition and a large number of brands with heavily enforced MAPs (minimum advertised price).
After much discussion, we knew we needed a way to test promotional pricing and other offers while maintaining the integrity of our website. There were free options and a few fly-out coupons and menus, but most offered minimal design control and provided no data other than number of times a coupon was used (which was already available via our cart software). Sure, it was data, but the time to process it and evaluate made it tedious. We needed a better overall solution.
Enter Spring Metrics
My partner found and suggested Smart Conversions from Spring Metrics. There was a 14-day trial, so we got started right away. What initially impressed me the most was how easy and useful the conversion data was; we didn’t need to be analysts to understand any of the data or reports. Everything was clean, understandable and allowed for quick decisions and iterative testing.
Using Smart Offers for Solid Conversion Lifts
In addition to the effortless conversion tracking, we implemented several different smart offers based on visitor data and time-on-site that doubled our conversion rate almost overnight.
Our most impressive Smart Offer is for visitors that have been browsing our store for more than 5 minutes; it converts at a whopping 22.63 percent. The offer is displayed in a completely controllable fly-out that you can customize to match the look and feel of your website (you can also use bold colors, if desired, to draw more attention to the offer). The beauty of Smart Offers is that they look and feel organic and can be easily dismissed if the visitor isn’t interested. View the offer below.
In addition to the above, we also offered “10 percent off” for orders over $50 for individuals who have either:
a) never visited our website before (this one converts at 2.59 percent)
b) who visited before and didn’t purchase anything (this one converts at a stronger 5.69 percent)
For the eCommerce space, all three offers outperform industry-standard conversion rates and have increased our average order value substantially. In addition to that, I’m confident Smart Offers will be the most effective way to deliver and test offers during the upcoming holiday season. For the cost, it’s an unbelievable value for any online business. I’m also confident that Smart Offers will prove the most efficient means of delivering and testing offers during the upcoming holiday season.
The Unexpected SEO Benefit
Through using Smart Offers in conjunction with Spring Metrics conversion tracking, we are able to get a quick, real-time breakdown of exactly how our customers were searching before arriving at our site—and more importantly, which search terms most frequently results in conversions on our site. The recent algorithmic updates rolled out by Google (namely Penguin) makes it increasingly important to maintain a highly diverse link profile.
After checking our incoming keywords and real-time conversions several times per week, our SEO strategy was revamped completely. Rather than optimize primarily for brand-related terms, we were able to create a highly diverse link profile based on the data from Spring Metrics, which has directly resulted in stable organic placements through the most recent Penguin data refresh (10/6/2012).
There are several ways to optimize for and track conversions, and everyone has an opinion about which works best. We chose Spring Metrics. It worked for us and we wouldn’t recommend anything else.