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Is it Possible to Close the Conversion Gap?

Conversion rates were a major buzz topic this week in Seattle at

There exists no magic-bullet solution to send conversions rates sky-high – if there was, we’d all know it by now, surely. Moreover, conversion rates on mobile (where adoption and usage statistics are trending through the roof) run at only a third to a quarter the rate of desktop conversions.

This is a major hurdle for online retailers. The problem is so acute, it now has a name – The Conversion Gap

The New Conversion Equation

So, with no easy solution, what are we left with? How do we close the conversion gap? We’ve detailed Yottaa’s approach as The New Conversion Equation. In short, the best way to optimize an application, whether mobile or web, for conversion, is to deploy strategy that holistically blends performance, presentation and content. The focus: to seamlessly meet the end user with optimized content in every context.

The New Conversion Equation: 3 Rules

  • Deliver Content Quickly: Today’s end user is in a rush, and they have short attention plans. Your application’s content needs to be delivered fast. Wait time is a burden on your end user and increases the likelihood of a bounce.
  • Test and retest your applications, especially for key metrics like load time, and time-to-display.
  • Present the Correct Content: User expectations are high, so show them exactly what they want. Sounds easy – but often user experience falls short of expectations and your sales opportunity is lost.
  • Present Quality Content: Presentation is important; ensure content is pleasing, easy to navigate, and personalized.

The Golden Rule: Always view your conversion strategy through the context of your end user – leverage what you know. How have they found you? Are they on a mobile device or on a desktop? More than likely, it is some combination – According to a Google report90% of mobile users use multiple screens sequentially to accomplish a task over time.  

Let’s Look at an Example

RockClimbingShop.Org Summit keynote speakers, Brad Brown and Jerry Stritzke of REI, shared the challenges the retailer of outdoor recreation products faced, particularly with mobile. REI saw low conversion rates and had difficulty attributing sales in a multi-channel environment. They strongly felt digital was an extension of REI’s stores, but struggled to meet user expectations online.

In order to find a winning strategy, REI had to first understand the context of the end user. Research showed 75% of in-store shoppers visit REIs mobile or web applications before walking into a retail location. Their goal became to create a cohesive mobile/in-store experience, where a customer could research a product on the REI app and then leverage in-store WiFi to finalize the sale with a store associate. Brad Brown describes the strategy as a focus on “mobile moments” to engage and delight REI customers.

Look, Listen & Learn from Your Users

REI did not have a conversion gap – instead, it had a context gap. By focusing on “mobile moments” and customer engagement, digital is playing a major role in driving business at REI, despite the fact the final touch is often an in-store sale, not an online conversion.

Often, we get wrapped up in conversion rate metrics, and we lose sight of the humans on the other end of our technology. We’re obsessed with numbers and not obsessed with the end-user experience. If the user experience is world-class, statistics will take care of themselves – as REI found. The lesson: a conversion optimization strategy that omits user context is doomed from the start.

(Image Source: Flickr)

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