How Do You Sell More Hats?

Let’s say you run an online store selling, I don’t know, let’s call it hats. And let’s say that your site gets 100 visitors each and every day. Out of those 100, let’s say 2 of them buy a hat. (For what it’s worth, 2% is a pretty average conversion rate for an un-optimized e-commerce site.)

If you know me, you probably think my next statement is going to be something like “Wouldn’t you want to do everything you could do to get even one more person every day to buy a hat?” And you’d be right, but hey, if you’re so smart, what’s the next thing I’d say? It’s this: what if you could get one more person to buy a hat by making sure they see berets, and get another person to buy a hat by showing them, say, trucker hats? What if some of those hat-buyers would buy a second hat if they were shown the right styles or colors? What if some would buy a gift hat for a friend? Sounds to me like your two customers just increased to 4 or 5. That’s double your business! (Just think about how many more shoes you can buy for yourself!)

OK, sure, those are obvious questions and hypothetical numbers. But it’s the obvious stuff that a whole lot of companies are missing out on. Just out today are the findings from an Omniture survey that reveal that:

Nearly half of the Omniture survey respondents do “very little or no targeting.” Less than 30% target consumers based on demographics and Web-site behavior, such as abandoned carts and purchase history. Less than 15% target based on specific categories.

In my experience, web site testing is how you validate your intuitions about your site, your brand, your messaging, and what have you, but targeting is where you can really ramp up the value. Once you’ve validated that certain experiences (whether visual, verbal, navigational, or other) work with certain groups of users, you’re leaving money on the table if you don’t give them those experiences in an integrated, relevant way.

Not only that, targeting really opens the door to a whole different way of thinking about your web presence. Most web people think about their sites in a top-down, hierarchical way: you have the home page, then a layer of second-level pages, and a layer of third-level pages under that. Simple. But users don’t experience sites that way. They come in sideways and criss-cross your site in ways you probably never dreamed of.

Of course all this stuff is a lot to keep up with. That’s why we’re here. Let us know if you’re struggling with analytics and testing and all the rest of it, and you need some help. We’d be happy to help you sell more hats.

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