If you are doing it right, developing a community around your e-commerce business and investing in user experience can help you to convert even 24 times better than your competitors. It sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it? But Bryan Eisenberg, one of the top 10 User Experience Gurus and an internationally recognized authority and pioneer in online marketing, shows us some key points that can improve an e-commerce conversion rate until the next level. He agreed to share with 2Performant readers a lot of great stories and recommendation, plus 2016 top challenges for an e-commerce business. Enjoy!
When I think of Bryan Eisenberg I remember the day when I found out how big his influence is in the online marketing and e-commerce and how respected he is. A few years ago, the Romanian eCommerce Awards Gala – the most important eCommerce event in Romania, announced that Bryan will be one of the guests for that year edition.
One of my colleagues, a pretty serious and professional guy, very well appreciated on the market for his work, reacted pretty much like a child who just received it the favorite toy on Christmas. His joy was immeasurable when he found out that he would be able to hear live Bryan Eisenberg. As he was living in a different city, he scheduled right away a trip for attending the event.
So, Bryan Eisenberg can inspire people, that’s why we decided to bring you a piece of his experience. Co-founder and CMO of IdealSpot, Bryan Eisenberg is an internationally recognized authority and pioneer in online marketing, improving online conversion rates, persuasive content, and persona marketing. He has been recognized by eConsultancy members as one of the top 10 User Experience Gurus, he was selected as one of the inaugural iMedia Top 25 Marketers, and a Marketing Edge Rising Star Award winner in 2010. More than that, he is the co-author of the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, USA Today and New York Times bestselling books “Call to Action”, “Waiting For Your Cat to Bark?” and “Always Be Testing” and a professional marketing keynote speaker.
Bryan agreed to share with us great insights about user experience, social media selling, Adwords campaigns, mobile and e-commerce challenges in 2016.
You often spoke about the fact that companies are forgetting the customer. What do you recommend to an online shop who wants to rock its customer’s world?
Bryan Eisenberg: There are a lot of little ways in which you can leave a good impression on your customers. Most of the executives would like to say that they are customer-centric. In fact, a study developed by Bain & Company on 362 firms found that 80% of the executives believed they delivered a “superior experience” to their customers. But when they asked the customers of those companies, only 8% believe that the companies were really delivering.
Is a big disconnect from what executives are believing and what the customer are thinking about the brand. You look at brands like Amazon or Starbucks and you can see that they are trying to remove all the friction from the experience with them, from engaging to purchasing, of any customer service with the brand and they have little surprises all the way and you think wow, they are not like any other brands.
You also said that it’s time to perfect the concept of a funnel. Can you explain us more?
Bryan Eisenberg: A funnel worked because of the gravity nature, something goes in and a certain amount falls out, but in online there is no gravity. There is no such thing as gravity here, what moves them through your funnel is their motivation, your persuasion, you have to pull them through based on their motivation.
When we think it’s gravity… it’s the reason why the abandon rate hasn’t changed much in the last 20 years because people are thinking that visitors are gonna start, finish and something is gonna fall out and this is ok. It’s not, we worked with retailers who were able to reduce their abandon rate to 15%, we have published case studies about that. Meanwhile, the average abandon rate today is almost 75%.
Can you sell everything through social media? How can you do that as an online shop, without forgetting your customer’s interests?
Bryan Eisenberg: I don’t look at social media as a sales channel, I look as a relationship building channel, you engage with your community, you follow your community, you are developing a relationship and you get to know your customers. Amazon.com have their Prime Membership for which people are paying extra money. Amazon is not trying to sell to much through social media. But Amazon Prime Members convert 74% of the time when it comes to Amazon website. Why? Because Amazon has developed trust with their brand and community.
They really take the time to understand their customers by using the data to drive decisions in terms of everything, products, logistics… The average retailers convert by 3%, but if you think, Amazon is not 24% better than them, is not 24% cheaper, is it because they have developed a community. The secret is to really understand who your customers are, why they want to buy from you, what they need and to provide the information they need, plus a great user experience to complete those purchases.
How to use social media if you are a B2B business, can you use it for sales?
Bryan Eisenberg: Social media is a little bit different from what most of the people think it is, it is not about selling online, but more about trying to help your community.
It is a critical thing. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take opportunities.
For example, one of the office suppliers from here adds every year a new feature on their website, and you can go there to put pictures on with your face and many Christmas things. People share a lot those things. This business is doing that for some many years that it has become part of their branding and this is an example of something to do with your community. Social media is not about putting content and hoping that people will buy, it is not the nature of how social media works, it’s about relationships. You have to nurture this relationship, to show that you care.
I think that the big challenges in 2016 are the cultural issues, how you make sure everything on your backend is seamless, how you understand to take care of your customers, how to use data and how to be nimble enough to react in time regarding the customer care.
What mistakes do you see marketers making most often in their AdWords campaigns?
Bryan Eisenberg: There are a couple of things that I see often in many AdWords campaigns.
Number 1: they spend money for reach instead of relevance. Google values the quality score in a campaign, they really want effective and targeted campaigns, but most people are really looking to reach the most amount of people and hope that some people will buy, but their conversion rates are low, so their quality score is low and that means they pay more.
Number 2. They don’t test enough. They go with one ad, one landing page and they hope that will work. Changing landing pages can be a little bit difficult, you need design, development, but an ad is 95 characters, is not that hard to change some words, a few letters and to see what works better.
How much do you have to test?
Bryan Eisenberg: How much money you want to leave on the table. I never met a marketer who is a fortune teller, who got it right always for the first time. Sometimes you get lucky, but unless your campaign is converting with easy numbers, probably it needs some improvement.
What is your favorite conversion optimization tools?
Bryan Eisenberg: My keyboard. Me and my brother have always said that if we wouldn’t have other tools for conversions, no Analytics, no landing page, no testing, and all that we could have would be somebody to write a good copy we could outperform any conversion rate optimizer out here. Having a great copy could make a difference. And also powerful image, will have a great impact, we overcomplicate this, unfortunately.
I refer to including microcopy, little words that can have a huge impact. One of the great stories is related to Amazon, they have done one change regarding their reviews. People were reading a lot of reviews and vote them, so Amazon asked them if this review was helpful. What happened was that people kept looking the most helpful reviews instead of most popular and it had a 300 million dollars impact. Words have an impact and we are complicating things. Another example is from Dell, they use to have a shopping card configurator and we decided to change the words from Learn more to Help me choose. And they had millions of dollars as impact.
Everybody speaks about mobile, apps and mobile websites. Do they convert (as do they sale)?
Bryan Eisenberg: Let’s take these questions a little bit differently. I don’t want to think of mobile, desktop or tablet, I just want you to think of what is at the end of each of those: a person. If the person is motivated enough and finds out answers for all of his questions and if his experience is seemingly enough they will convert.
If they are super motivated, if it is around Christmas and if there is a great deal and they want it right now they will check out on every device you give them. We have to understand that is about people and their motivation, it’s not about the technology, it’s about the interactions we provide through that technology. People will become more and more comfortable with the mobile and we need to serve them.
Tell us which are the biggest challenges for an e-commerce business in 2016?
Bryan Eisenberg: I started to spend pretty much time thinking of offline retail in the last couple of years, I even developed the technologies to help the retailers identify the best locations for their stores in the US, as over 90% of retail still happens in brick-and-mortar (in-store retail). The challenge that I see and this is why Amazon is having success is to have seamless operations.
If the backend of the shop is so smooth that they can handle the return, and shipping and all that inventory and all that parts of the management that make it easy for the stores. I think that the big challenges in 2016 are the cultural issues, how you make sure everything on your backend is seamless, how you understand to take care of your customers, how to use data and how to be nimble enough to react in time regarding the customer care.
2 things an online business must do starting tomorrow in order 2perform (in marketing, business)?
Bryan Eisenberg: 1. Spend as much time as you can talking with your customers. I have a friend who is CEO of a 68 million dollars a year online retailer or maybe larger than that, one of my favorite thing is that every few months I see pictures of him in the call center taking customer service calls. And he is the CEO. At Amazon, by the way, everybody, including Jeff Bezos have to spend at least 2 days at every 2 years answering customer service questions. You learn a lot about them, you understand their needs, their pain points.
2. Answer those questions and pain points. Develop content that will do that and find the technologies that make it easy for you. I’m excited to see new technologies that are leveraging new artificial intelligence and the natural language programming, to make better shopping carts. I have seen technologies that rewrite product copy at scale for people in different languages. More and more we will see those machines being able to help retailers to achieve things they couldn’t do before.
Thank you very much for all this precious insights, Bryan. If you want to find out more tips, you can follow him on Twitter at @TheGrok.