Website Testing Wins: The Path of Least Resistance

By ​Peter Borden

April 9, 2012

While it might be a generally good practice to break down your checkout process so that even the most inexperienced online shoppers will understand how to navigate it, one marketer has found that offering too much help could actually push customers away.

Case in point: hoverboxes.

You'd think presenting helpful tips on your checkout pages via hoverboxes (boxes that appear when visitors mouse over the designated areas) would help. Visitors wouldn't get confused about what to type into, say, your input fields. In theory, customers who legitimately need the help will be assisted in making a purchase, and customers who don't will ignore the advice and make their purchase anyway. Hoverboxes should therefore lead to higher conversion, or so goes the thinking.

Yet … as one marketer recently discovered … if you thought that, you'd be wrong.

 

 

By testing the checkout process with and without the hoverboxes (you can see an example of one of these hoverboxes in the screenshot above), the marketer discovered a clear disparity between the two versions; the version in which the prompts were hidden lifted conversion by 3.90% and new customer acquisition by 5.30%, while reducing cart abandons by 3.19%.

Your checkout process is the last line of defense against a failed conversion. Putting in the extra effort to fine-tune the last stop before a purchase, creating a path of least resistance for your visitors, is always a smart investment.

Peter Borden is a former marketing strategist at Monetate and was responsible for PPC and email marketing strategy. Peter's also an expert on the psychology of persuasion, influence, and conversion as well as an active iOS developer.

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