How to Design User Flow

User flow is the path a user follows through your website interface to complete a task—make a reservation, purchase a product, subscribe to something. It’s also called a user journey. And it has a massive impact on conversions. To maximize your conversions, you have to get the user flow right on your site. Do it […]

The post How to Design User Flow appeared first on CXL.

User flow is the path a user follows through your website interface to complete a task—make a reservation, purchase a product, subscribe to something. It’s also called a user journey.

And it has a massive impact on conversions.

To maximize your conversions, you have to get the user flow right on your site. Do it by building a user flow that matches user’s needs.

The wrong way to go about designing your site

You need to decide what your new website will be like. Two most common ways people approach it:

  1. Scenario A. You keep everything as it is on your current/old site but make it look “better.”
  2. Scenario B. You start with the building blocks: Okay, the logo goes in the top-left corner. Let’s put the menu to the right. A nice image in the header. Cool. And so on.

Both of these are the wrong way to design a site. Neither will result in a great user flow. Here are six steps to getting it right.

1. Start with the objectives—yours and your users’.

Your primary aim is to fulfill the business objectives (either your own or the ones set by your client). Business objectives might be getting users to sign up for something, purchase products, or join an email list.

But people don’t just come to your site and—right away—do what you want them to do. In most cases, they need to go through a series of steps that lead up to the action.

Your goal is to map users’ paths—flows that take users from their entry pages through conversion funnels—toward the final action (signup, purchase, etc.).

The final action needs to provide value both to the user as well as the business; otherwise, the conversion won’t happen.

To do this, you need to know two things:

  1. Business objectives. The action(s) you want visitors to take on the site.
  2. User objectives. The desires or needs users want to satisfy.

If the user wants to clean their car, and your goal is to get the user to buy car-cleaning products, the goals intersect, and the conversion can take place. On the other hand, if they want their car cleaned right away, and you want them to wait two days for delivery, there isn’t a match.

2. Match your message to the traffic source.

Site visitors don’t arrive on a web page out of nowhere. The first step in a flow is mapping out how they get to your site.

Once they land on your site, they won’t immediately perform the action you want them to. Specific sequences of actions lead visitors through your website as they try to accomplish tasks.

To diagram user flows for your site, you need to establish possible entry points and how users flow from there toward the final goal.

Typical entry points for users

  • Organic search. A user comes via Google after searching on a particular keyword. They often land on a deep link.
  • Paid advertising. Visitors come via Google Ads, banner ads, or other promotions. They arrive on your landing page.
  • Social media. A user comes from a friend’s post on Facebook or Twitter, or via a social news site like Reddit.
  • Email. A user comes from an email newsletter or a link they saw in an email sent to them.
  • Press or news item. Visitors come after a mention in the news or a blog post.
  • Direct link. A regular visitor who has been on your site many times and knows the URL by heart.

How they end up on your site largely determines their needs, expectations, and what they know about your product (or even the general category). You need to treat different people differently.

3. Decide on the type of user flow you need to create.

So what do user flows look like? And how should you design yours? Here are some sample flows.

User flows based on traffic source

GoogleDirectPPC
Link in Google results
Direct to your site
Clicks on a PPC ad
Blog post
Homepage
Landing page
Joins email listProduct page
Makes a purchase
 Adds to cart
 
 Completes a purchase 

Stacked user flows

Sometimes, you want visitors to join the email list on their first visit but ultimately want to sell them a product. In those cases, you should map stacked user flows.

In a stacked user flow, the first flow is completed by joining the email list; the second one starts after the first flow is complete:

Click on an ad Landing pageJoins email list

Gets an email  → Product page  → Adds to cart  → Completes purchase

A user who has already been through the first flow is much more knowledgeable than a first-time visitor. They also have some kind of relationship with you, and you should treat them accordingly.

4. Identify the information that visitors need.

To design the best possible user flow, you need to understand the visitor and their motivations. Start by answering these questions:

  • What needs or desires do your visitors have? What problem do they want to solve?
  • Why do they need it?
  • Which qualities (about your product or service) are most important to them?
  • What questions do they have about the product?
  • What are their doubts or hesitations?
  • What information do they need to take action?
  • What’s their emotional trigger to propel them to taking action?

To answer these questions, you need to talk to your customers (or your clients, if you’re a service provider). You can’t just pull the answers out of thin air. Yes, you should use buyer personas, but those should be based on actual customers and their needs.

Here’s an interesting case study detailing how customer journey maps were used at Boeing. Another article you might want to read is about designing a hotel booking experience.

The answers to the questions above determine how you present information on your website. You have to demote certain elements and emphasize others.

You cannot be all things to all people. Your website cannot be about 10 different actions. You need to build focus into your site.

5. Present the right information at the right time.

For users to convert, the information flow must give users the information they need in the moment they need it.

Many websites mistakenly ask for the sale (or signup) too soon. People don’t take action with inadequate information.

Your goal is to keep users moving down the funnel, toward the desired action. Optimize the content on each screen for conversions.

Designing users flows does not mean that you forget about all the other conversion stuff, au contraire.

6. Map flow steps with state diagrams.

Flows are made out of individual screens where interactions take place. Every screen offers possibilities from which the user chooses one. Then, the screen changes, and the user has another choice. It’s an ongoing conversation.

In each moment of a user flow, the screen shows something, and the user reacts to it. A good and understandable way to map steps in the flow is to use state diagrams:

what the user sees


what the user does

 → 

what the user sees next


what the user does next

Above the bar is what the user sees. Below the bar is what they do. An arrow connects the user’s action to a new screen with yet another action. These are called state diagrams in computer science.

Use these diagrams to help you focus on the most-wanted action on every screen the user sees. It’s also useful when explaining the flow to your colleagues or clients.

A user flow example with a state diagram

Let’s say you run a website for a car-detailing service.

service description


click “book now”

 → 

booking form


submit valid data

 → 

booking confirmation message

 

 

 

Create a similar flow diagram for every page on your site. Define the key content you want to present to the user and a most-wanted action.

The next action from a screen doesn’t have to be one thing: The flow can break into two or three alternative paths. The important thing is that you plan ahead for each path and design each screen accordingly.

Doing this requires ruthless focus, but the boost in conversions will make it all worthwhile. Indeed, “flow” isn’t just some UX buzzword—it’s a psychological reality.

User flow supports flow

Flow, as a mental state, was first proposed by psychology professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It’s a state of being that makes an experience genuinely satisfying. Everybody has experienced it. Most people refer to it as being “in the zone” or “in a groove.”

During flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and total involvement in the task at hand. There’s even a book about it.

Ideally, your user flow nurtures the flow experience for your users. Three key ingredients for “flow” are:

  1. Challenge at the right level;
  2. Immediate feedback;
  3. Skill that can be mastered.

In order to design your site for flow, according to Jim Ramsey, you must:

  • Have clear goals for users. Help them understand where they’re going and each step they’ll take to get there.
  • Provide immediate feedback. Whether they click a button, fill a form, or navigate from one page to another, tell them how they’re doing, and what’s going on. Messages and copy have a critical role.
  • Maximize efficiency. Once a user becomes familiar with your site and starts experiencing flow, they’ll want to work more quickly and the site to feel more responsive. Use key features of your site (a lot) and see if there are any annoying, repetitive tasks. Pay close attention to feedback from user tests. Make the experience frictionless.
  • Allow for discovery. Once a user has begun to work with maximum efficiency, there’s a chance that they’ll feel less engaged and grow bored with their experience. To avoid this, make content and features available for discovery.

When the smooth path is interrupted—or something doesn’t seem to fit—the flow is broken, which means that the experience is also momentarily broken. These small episodes of friction are cumulative.

Unfortunately, the breaks in flow weigh more heavily on the experience than the positive, frictionless moments. Experimentation and testing are key to getting it right.

Clutter, animation, and surprises may be disruptive. Online, people don’t like surprises (especially the “Now what?” or “How do I…” kind). Take out or improve elements that might cause friction. Less is more: Remove visual and navigational noise that might seem like clutter to users.

Here are a couple of sites that get it right.

Examples of sites with great user flow

Invest 5 to 10 minutes in each of those sites. You’ll learn something.

Tastebuds

tastebuds homepage, an example of a site with great user flow.

Codecademy

codeacademy homepage, a site with great user flow.

What does it take to develop a site with that type of flow? The process may look something like this.

Designing a user flow:
A (hypothetical) case study

Let’s pretend I have a client, a company that manufactures mini infrared saunas (such as this random one on Alibaba). The business objective is to get people to buy those saunas online, or at least get a solid lead.

The first thing I would do is talk to the client and learn all I can about their business and their customers. Next, I would compile a list of questions to ask their last 20 or so customers (whose buying experience is still fresh).

Questions for my client

  • Tell me about your typical/ideal customer. Who are they? Why do they buy? Where are they going to use it?
  • What matters to them when they’re looking for a sauna?
  • How do they compare different products?
  • What matters the most?
  • What happens after they buy? Describe the process in detail from the moment they place an order to when the sauna is all set up for use.
  • What do your customers say about your products?
  • How is your product better or different from the competition?
  • What kind of praise have you heard? Can you forward me the exact wording they used?

Questions for their customers

  • Why did you want to buy an infrared sauna?
  • What were the main questions you had when you were looking for one?
  • What was most important to you? Which parameters did you compare?
  • What kind of doubts or hesitations did you have?
  • What alternatives did you consider?
  • What made you decide to buy from us?
  • Now that you’ve bought it, what do you like about it the most?

Based on the answers I get, I would develop follow-up questions and ask even more. The point is to really understand the customer and their approach to buying this product.

We need to know:

  • Why they want it;
  • How they’re going to use it;
  • The qualities that are most important.

They won’t make a purchasing decision until our site addresses all of those concerns.

Traffic source analysis

My client tells me that they’re after organic search traffic and plan to run some campaigns on Google Ads. This means I must map user flows from landing pages (PPC traffic), the homepage (direct and SEO traffic), and directly from product pages (long-tail SEO traffic, direct links, and mentions).

In the sales process, we’d go for a direct purchase—rather than getting their email first and warming up the lead—due to the nature of the product.

Here’s the user flow I drew on my whiteboard:

example of user flow diagram.

(Tools like WebSequenceDiagrams are great for this, too. You may also want to check out this list of tools for sketching website experiences.)

Now that I’ve established the most-wanted action for each page, I know what I want users to do next at each step and can prioritize or demote content accordingly.

The content for each screen is super important and has the biggest impact on conversions. The sales copy emphasizes details that are important to potential buyers in the purchasing process and addresses their questions and doubts.

When deciding which content should go on each screen, I also have to look at how they got there and what they already know. A user who arrives on a product page from the homepage is more knowledgeable than the one who comes via a direct link.

Hence, I must ensure that the direct-link visitors won’t leave due to insufficient information, and I have to re-emphasize the key points from the homepage again on the product page, especially if the brand isn’t known and the majority of the visitors are first-timers.

Test, test, test

Naturally, the flow itself, the layout, and the content—value proposition, product info, calls to action, etc.—need to be tested. I construct my first hypothesis as well as I can based on the best information available to me, but it’s still a hypothesis. I need to create alternative value propositions and copy to test immediately.

For every site, the initial flow design is just the starting point.

Measure, observe, and improve

Measure your flow in analytics

Which step in the flow does a good job at taking users to the next step? In which step do a large number of users drop out?

You can measure this by using goal funnels. In Google Analytics, as well as most web analytics tools, you can easily set up goal funnel tracking for steps in your user flow.

The Goal Flow report will tell you which step of the flow is performing well, and which is a flow stopper, so you can take action. Also, check out the Behavior Flow report to get another insightful overview.

Test your flow with users

For your user flow to boost conversions, you must base it on customer personas. Use actual customer behavior and research to determine the tasks that customers want to perform, what matters to them, and why.

Do what you can to experience a day in the life of a customer. Once you’ve finished your initial flow, conduct user testing. Watch people try to perform a task on the website and have them comment out loud.

Ideally, you’ll recruit test subjects who match your ideal customer profile and observe them in person (over their shoulder), but you can also use services like usertesting.com.

User testing will help you find bottlenecks and sources of friction. It will also help you understand how users want to use the site (so you can adjust it accordingly).

Even if you put a ton of effort into designing the flow, what you come up with is still a hypothesis. You need to test it. Pay close attention to whether you’re missing a step in your flow, or if you have one too many.

Once you get the flow right, focus on optimizing different screens.

Conclusion

Creating a seamless user flow aligns the needs of your business with those of your users. The key is to ditch gut feelings and base your decisions on research—which you can then test until you know you have it right.

Follow these six steps:

  1. Start with the objectives—yours and your users’.
  2. Match your message to the traffic source.
  3. Decide on the type of user flow you need to create.
  4. Identify the information that visitors need.
  5. Present the right information at the right time.
  6. Map flow steps with state diagrams.

If you do, you’ll increase your chances of generating “flow” for your visitors—and winning more conversions in the process.

The post How to Design User Flow appeared first on CXL.

Six Nudges: Creating A Sense Of Urgency For Higher Conversion Rates!

By every indicator available, ecommerce is continuing to grow at an insane speed. Although it may seem impossible to imagine with ecommerce already totaling up to 5% of overall commerce, there’s astronomical growth still to come. Still, I’m heartbroken that some the simplest elements of ecommerce stink so much. It is 2018—why are there still […]

The post Six Nudges: Creating A Sense Of Urgency For Higher Conversion Rates! appeared first on Occam’s Razor by Avinash Kaushik.

By every indicator available, ecommerce is continuing to grow at an insane speed. Although it may seem impossible to imagine with ecommerce already totaling up to 5% of overall commerce, there’s astronomical growth still to come.

Still, I’m heartbroken that some the simplest elements of ecommerce stink so much.

It is 2018—why are there still light gray below-the-fold add to cart buttons?

#youarekillingme

There are numerous subtle issues as well. One strategic issue is illustrated by Timbuk2.


timbuk2_closer

Timbuk2 pays a huge margin to its resellers to sell their messenger bags. These resellers, in turn, give a bigger cut to Amazon, who then sells the Timbuk2 bag for 30% off. Yet, when I want to pay full price on www.timbuk2.com, I have to buy a minimum of $99 to get free shipping!

I understand channel conflict, Timbuk2, but this is just plain not being hungry. You could win bigger by cultivating higher more profitable direct relationships, especially when the old world order of commerce is collapsing all around you.

And I’m ignoring the extremely light gray font reviews…on a shade grayer background!

timbuk2_reviews

Painful.

(I really want to buy the Closer Laptop bag. The small one in Jet Black looks cool. I refused to buy it because I don’t want to reward a lack of ecommerce imagination. I am one person, I know it is not going to really hurt them, but I don’t know how else to protest a brand I love.)

Pause. Deep breath.

I do get excited about this stuff. My heart bleeds digital.

There is an ocean of opportunities when it comes to elevating ecommerce. In this post, I want to focus my passion and zero in on something that is difficult to solve for, yet immensely profitable: Inserting a sense of urgency into the shopping process.

I don’t mean: BUY IT NOW OR ELSE!

I mean developing and inserting a subtle collection of gentle nudges that can help increase the conversion rate by a statistically significant amount.

Sizing the Opportunity.

In order to have the same passion to take advantage of this magical opportunity (nudge, nudge) you’ll first want to understand how inefficient your current shopping process is.

Do two things, they’ll bring you to your knees:

1. Go look at your ecommerce conversion rate. It shows you how often you win. :) Your overall conversion rate is likely to be around 2%. You don’t need an advanced degree in math to compute that 2% winning is 98% not winning!

Do something simple. Increase current conversion rate by 25%, quantify how much increased revenue there will be. Yes, that additional $6 mil is not as hard to accomplished for an imaginative focused team – in fact you can get that from implementing half of the recommendations in this blog post.

Bonus: The best computation of conversion rate is orders divided by users (the default in your analytics tool is sessions). This will bring your conversion rate up (yea!!). Still. Big opportunity. And, yes, I did say a decade ago that you should look at the opportunity size within all your website visitors. You should. Still. The conversion headroom is massive.

Google Analytics Ecommerce Reports

2. Go to the Multi-Channel Funnels folder in Google analytics and look at two other yummy reports: Time Lag and Path Length.

They report two dimensions of speed: How long does it take for a human to convert? How many visits does it take for a human to convert?

My preferred choice is Path Length; it is rich and actionable.

This data you’ll see, the analysis you’ll do, will scare you. It will also create a sense of urgency to do something about it!

These two recommendations will help you compute the opportunity size for your management team.

Aim for quintupling revenue, obviously, but calculating just 25% improvement will give you all the budget you need from your management to insert urgency into the shopping process. Present a yummy spreadsheet that quantifies the cost of inaction, how much money you’ll lose by not delivering a 25% improvement every week. It will be heartbreaking, and now you are ready for progress!

Welcome to Nudging.

Nudging has plenty of different definitions. Mine is simple:

A gentle incentive that creates a shift in behavior.

Another insistence of mine that you’ll note below: Nudges are based on a deep understanding of user experience. They solve for the user first, and all of the hard work is done by the company (you!).

In the long run that’ll also create a positive revenue outcome for you. Win-Win.

Below is a collection of nudges, curated from my global experiences, influenced by research and data I’ve access to.

My goal with these recommendations is to have a big impact on your ecommerce existence, and to spark your creativity as you go out and change the world.

Let’s go have some fun nudging people.

1. In-stock status.

It mildly irritates me when sites don’t use this nudge.

How many hotel rooms, cameras, seats in a theater, are left?

Only 15 left in stock. Have that right under the price.

How about: Last run! Be one of the last 9 people to own this credenza design.

OMG! Click, click, click!

Or, 1 in-stock in the REI store next to your office.

Nudge. Nudge.

target_in_stock_status

I’ll admit that you need to have a well-integrated logistics platform to make these ideas work. But given the decade we are in, if you have not already done that, you are facing an existential crisis. Please stop reading this post, pull in your agency and internal teams urgently to figure out how to dig your company out of this deep hole.

If you have a well-integrated logistics platform already, then all I’m asking for is this: lock your online and offline IT folks in a nice Four Seasons suite for 72 hours with your User Researchers, and BAM! Money will start falling from the sky.

Speaking of the Four Seasons, consider how sad their nudging strategy is vs. the one that booking.com has on display:

four_seasons_vs_booking_nudges

All the data you need for this nudge… You already have. That’s what makes the Four Seasons strategy, and that of most sites, so heartbreaking.

Convert the inventory status into a conversion boosting nudge.

2. Life of current price.

It physically pains me how rarely this nudge is used.

Dynamic pricing is everywhere. Why not share that information with the shopper?

This price is guaranteed for the next 18 hours.

This price reflects the highest discount in the past 24 weeks.

Limited-time offer applied to the price you see.

Seasonal promotion! Expires Friday.

Reflects special pricing for our highest-tier Frequent Flyers.

Price has reduced by 14% since your last visit.

I’m sure you’ll find language and phrasing that works perfectly for you (see PS at the end of this post). There is a nugget tied to a unique dimension for your dynamic pricing strategy. Please find it, please use it.

Here’s an example from The Golf Warehouse:

the_golf_warehouse_limited_time_pricing

Here’s another one from Overstock that shows two time based nudges…

overstock_time_bound_sale_time_to_ship

You can take advantage of other dimensions related to pricing that are unique to your digital strategy.

This one comes from YouTube TV: Lock-in this monthly rate for life.

YouTube TV’s price just went up from $35 to $40 (they added more channels). Everyone who’d signed up at $35 was grandfathered at that price – until they cancel!

Yet, this incredible benefit was not a part of YouTube TV’s merchandizing strategy from day one. You can imagine that a whole bunch of additional people (me!) would have jumped on board. Instead not only do I not have YouTube TV, I am sad/upset. Double loss.

You have an entire staff of economists, financial analysts, directors and VPs spending so much time on finding the perfect price to charge an individual. Why not convert that immense hard work into a nudge that creates a sense of urgency?

3. Direct competitor comparisons.

38% cheaper than Nordstrom.

Sometimes, by using one of the multitude of price aggregators, you can have an understanding of where your pricing is at an item level. Where the match is in your favor, why not use that as a nudge?

You can have the comparison for as long as it is valid. You don’t even need to specify a time—people are familiar with FOMO.

Only at B&H, this item comes with a free LG Watch!

First, who does not like free stuff?

Second, who does not like believing they are getting a special deal?

Three, who does not freak out that if they don’t buy it right away, this “insane deal” will disappear?

Me. I did that. At B&H. :)

Again, your merchandizing team is working hard to procure these amazing bundles for your customers, so why are they not a core part of your nudge strategy?

Costco Special: Get an extra year of warranty!

Our average delivery times to California are 50% faster than Amazon.

Save $150 on installation compared to Best Buy!

Our return rates are 40% lower than Wayfair.

You catch my drift.

Here’s just one example from SugarCRM:

sugar_crm_comparison

Here’s a comparison on Honda’s site…

toyota_honda

No, actually it is from Toyota’s site.

They know that if their car is more expensive, with worse mileage etc., better to be upfront as the customers are looking for that information…

You can also go deeper when it comes to implementing the spirit of this nudge. Kendrick Astro Instruments has the normal table based competitor comparison, additionally they also have a detailed comparison with images to give you more detail…

kendrick_astro

This shows hunger and desire to win… Their text:

This image displays the quality of Kendrick's cabling that we use on all Premier and FireFly heaters. Our cabling remains flexible in cold weather (down to -40° C), are all labeled for easy identification and all have metal RCA connectors..

This is the text next to their competitor's image (which you can view in higher resolution):

This image displays a competitor's cabling. It is a PVC coated RCA patch cord. PVC gets very stiff in the cold and as a result, makes it an awkward component to use at the telescope. As well, due to the lack of flexibility and give in the cold, it can defocus camera lenses.

Not all that hard to see how this nudge drives higher conversion rates.

Your employees stand up at 11:00 AM each day and sing the company song. There is a line in there about your company’s unique value proposition. Something so special, it stands out against everyone you compete with.

Why let that be your little secret? Why don’t you convert that into a nudge?

Consider how much louder your 11:00 AM company sing-a-long will be when your employees see you laying it out there and going head to head with your competitors.

4. Delivery times based on geo/IP/mobile phone location.

Amazon does this really well.

Each item’s estimated delivery time to you depends on the closest warehouse to your home address. So that Timbuk2 bag might be delivered to me the next day, but it would take two days to get to Carissa in Alabama.

Amazon shows this best delivery time for me right next to the price.

More often than not, I see that Prime One-Day or Prime Same-Day and, as if by magic, I find my mouse glide toward the Order Now button!

amazon_nespresso

The closeness of the customer to your delivery environments remains an infrequently used strategy in creating an urgency nudge.

Another dimension of the delivery time nudge is order in the next 4 hours and get it tomorrow with fast shipping!

In our instant gratification culture, who can resist that?

You are $39 away from overnight shipping has been done to death. (If you are in this category, know that the last “secret” of ecommerce is that figuring out how to weaponize shipping – and free returns – is a powerful conversion increasing engine. Not easy, but your business model has to change to survive.)

But. If you are still in that world—don’t worry, I still love you—know that a behavioral shift from an emphasis on cost to an emphasis on the benefit will make a huge difference.

Add another $39 to your order and get your order 48 hours faster!

This takes advantage of the person’s location, your warehouse location, and your shipping policy, and frames it all as a positive nudge.

A couple more examples to inspire you.

Love these delicious sandals on Express. My wife thinks I’ll look prettier in the red, I think the Mustard really looks like my color. :)

I love the nudge they have built-in showing how many in my size are in stock (only one!)…

express_sandal_one_in_stock

Not wanting to risk it, I click on the Find in Store link you see at the bottom of the page.

I get a interstitial that shows me availability of the sandal by geographic location…

express_sandal_location

Here’s the lovely part… I did not have to do anything. Express did a reverse lookup based on my IP Address, matched that with their stores, then checked their ERP system for inventory and got me the answer. All inside one second.

Nudge, nudge!

One more.

Dominos will now deliver a pizza to you wherever you are. Literally wherever. In a park, in the dark woods, under a bridge. They look up your mobile location (with your permission), and they’ll come find you.

Assuming you want pizza that bad.

There are still websites that ask you to choose your country when you land. In this day and age, for the sake of Zeus, I hope that is not you.  But, how inventively are you using the location nudge?

Significantly higher revenue awaits.

5. Social cues to the rescue.

The last couple of months have not been great for social networks. I’m sure something beneficial will come to the entire digital ecosystem from all this.

A minority might believe that the whole social media thing is going to die. It is not. Community and sharing are core to who we are as humans. It is not going to change. (And, you still need a place for guilty pleasures: indulging in the latest Kardashian-West clan developments!)

Stretch your imagination and it is not hard to come up with some super-clever nudges that incorporate aggregate non-PII information that is public.

People have shared this blouse 18 times in the last hour on Instagram.

80 people in California have booked this destination in the last 30 days.

1,846 Pins for this closet on Pinterest.

Our most tweeted style of underwear!

800 plusses on Google+.

Ok, so maybe not Google+ (I was genuinely excited about it, I am sad it died). But you get the idea.

Social cues (/proof) can help create a sense of urgency for a whole host of companies. Yet, I bet you’ve rarely seen the use of this aggregated information to deliver nudges.

Here’s a simple example of aggregated non-PII based social cue, from, a site you’ve seen me express adoration for in the past, ModCloth. Every product has a little heart sign, visitors to the site vote their love which helps me make more confident decisions…

modcloth_midi_skirt

ModCloth also allows their customers to contribute something you might consider PII, their photos. These make perhaps the ultimate social proof as I can see the skirt I want (mustard again FTW!) on different body sizes…

modcloth_midi_skirt_user_pictures

ModCloth has a whole lot of social proof strategies. They have a Style Gallery, #ModClothSquad, #MarriedinModCloth etc.

Think expansively about social proof.

Naked Wines has a lovely widget next to each of their wines that shows the would buy again rate…

naked_wines

And, they show you historical sales and would buy it again rates.

Checkout the Kimbao Sauvignon Blanc you can see sales and would buy it again rates since 2011. At 91%, the rate is highest this year. Sweet. Add to Basket!

Another team thinking expansively about leveraging social proof are the excellent folks at Basecamp. If you scroll to the bottom of their web pages you’ll see…

basecamp_customers_trend

Completely non-PII based social proof, a simple cumulative trend of the number of customers. What better way to convince you to use them than this lovely up and to the right trend?

One final, massively underutilized, social proof nudge for you to consider.

Every smart ecommerce strategy has an individual-level referral program bolted on from the very start. Your current customers refer your products and services to their friends, family, and complete strangers—in exchange for a little benefit for themselves.

It is rare, however, to see the use of that referral information as a nudge.

Your friend Alex will receive $5 if you order in the next 24 hours.

The site is keeping track of the referral (to pay your friend Alex his bounty). They have all the information they need to create the above line of text. Why not use it?

Read Diana’s review of this product.

Diana, of course, referred the product to you, and that insight is in the URL you used to get to the site. The site is simply going the extra mile to surface Diana’s review, as it will likely be more meaningful to you than the other 29.

I love Patagonia; I value the brand’s ethos so deeply. And, when I say love, I mean LOVE. Two of the three pieces of clothing I’m wearing right now are from Patagonia. Yet there does not seem to be any strategy at Patagonia to help me (and you and other brand lovers) to create social cue nudges.

Humans inherently want to share, they want to show off, and they want to pass on recommendations/deals to their community. Got social nudges?

6. Personalization. Yes, from 1995!

Do you remember what I did during the last visit to your website?

No PII, just off the anonymous first-party permission-based cookie. Did you use that to change the site’s home page?

And, if you have a GDPR compliant login mechanism…Does your machine learning-powered ecommerce platform leverage the lifetime of my site experience, complaints, purchases, etc., to anticipate my activity?

Do the pages on your site wrap around my objectives, rather than your static and pimpy ones?

Is your entire sales strategy obsessed with the Do, or does it also obsess about the See, Think and Care bits of the complete human experience?

Personalization is the ultimate nudge—to create ecommerce-related urgency and to bring your brand closer to the customer over the lifetime of their experience with you.

That’s because personalization means truly caring. Personalization requires a huge investment in understanding. Personalization is translating that individual human-level understanding into anticipation. Personalization means helping. And when you do it right, personalization means you pimp with relevance—the best kind.

The desire to personalize across the complete human experiences kicks off the processes that fundamentally alter how you treat every human. The reason it works, when done right, is that deep down, we want people to care about us. And yes, we will end up doing more business with people who show that they care for us. Really care. The ultimate nudge.

So. If you own www.canada.ca or www.sainsbury.co.uk using PII or non-PII information… Does your site actively learn and then change? If not, why not?

One huge challenge we had to overcome in delivering personalization was employee capabilities. Employees are terrible at being able to imagine the expanse of possibilities when it comes being able to understand each human and being able to react to each human. Mercifully, Machine Learning (/Artificial Intelligence) will help us solve this challenge with incredible results.

Bottom-line.

You can pray that your conversion rates increase.

Alternatively, you can take advantage of the data you have access to, the permissions your users have given you, and the competitive advantages you’ve worked so hard to create and use them to create nudges that solve for delivering delight to your customers and more revenue to your company.

Your choice?

Nudging FTW!

As always, it is your turn now.

If you’ve tried one of the above six strategies to create a nudge, what was the outcome for your company? If you’ve seen a strategy for creating urgency that you love, will you please share it? What challenges have you run into in trying to personalize experiences? Nudging also works in our personal lives—have you tried it? :)

Please share your critiques, brilliant ideas and experience scars via the comments below.

PS: My doctor reminds me during every annual visit that I need to take more walks outside in the sun to make up for a vitamin deficiency. Turns out I spend too much time in my office or auditoriums. The sun is right there. I just need to take a walk. I still do it less than I should. Such is the case with A/B testing. The tools are free and abundant. You know they are the best way to win arguments with your HiPPOs or your cubicle mates. Yet, you don’t use them. I’m off to take a walk in the beautiful California sun, you go implement my recommendations for nudges as A/B tests—it is the only way to unlock the kind of imagination required to create profitable happy customer experiences.

The post Six Nudges: Creating A Sense Of Urgency For Higher Conversion Rates! appeared first on Occam's Razor by Avinash Kaushik.