Website Testing Wins: The Right Way to Play Hide-and-Seek With Visitors

By ​Peter Borden

May 14, 2013

Often, the solution to improved conversion, average order value, and other ecommerce KPIs involves removing obstacles in the customer's path. The online checkout process, in particular, is vulnerable to distractions that can get in the way of someone placing an order.

Take, for example, the use of a coupon code box. For visitors who already have a code to enter, the code box is an anticipated part of the checkout process. A retailer that does not help them find this code box will slow down the process—maybe even end it—for these shoppers.

But what about visitors who don't have a coupon code? The code box presents this segment with a new decision: finish their order or look for a code in order to pay less. The possibility of saving money (and filling in an empty box) tends to be too difficult for most people to ignore, so off they go on the web, searching for a coupon code. And that increases the risk of them seeing an ad from one of your competitors or otherwise getting derailed—not good.

To avoid this conversion-killing scenario, a retailer decided to test the impact of hiding the coupon code box on its cart page, replacing it instead with a text link in gray type that references the option to enter a coupon code.

wtw_coupon code box link

 

When clicked on, the link takes visitors to the original cart page with the coupon box.

wtw_coupon code box_original

Note: The retailer put the text link in the same spot on the cart page where the coupon code box usually appears, so regular customers who are likely to have used a coupon before will not be thrown off. This placement also was prominent enough to stand out to new visitors who have coupons and are actively looking for a way to enter their promotion codes.

This smart approach to optimizing the checkout experience is generating good results for the retailer, with a 7.68% lift in average order value for the 50% of traffic that is seeing the test version. As it expands the test to a larger percentage of traffic, the retailer expects to drive even more incremental revenue with this campaign.

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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