In Conversation with AJ Davis

[This is a transcript of Part 9 - Store Conversion on Steroids. Below is a link to the recording.]

Introduction

Kausambi: We've spoken about a lot of tactics and a lot of strategies and you should do this, or we shouldn't do this. And yet people have misconceptions. Right. So I was super excited about that and just adding icing on the cake and stuff, tear down at the end of it.

So, yeah, we're very excited to have you.

AJ Davis: I'm excited to be on. I think it will be good. It sounds like it's been a really fantastic set of learning for everyone. So glad to hear this will work out.

Kausambi: And, and a couple of things actually - a few of the guests brought that up - Hey, why don't we grab a chance if we all just came together in some way on the same platform and it would be great to also get to know each other and see if there are synergies that we can work together because of course there's balancing skillsets too. Um, so Riya is going to reach out to you for that. And we're going to see if there's something we can do together, uh, over the next couple of weeks or so, and bring folks together and just see if there's something that we can do as a community.

So we definitely have to try that too.

AJ Davis: Yeah. That's a lot of fun. Yeah. I know you guys get the advantage of like, getting to know everybody, but it'd be great to get to know each other as well.

Kausambi: Yeah. Yeah. And we totally see like, you know, the balances, right? Like you have someone who's very measurement focused and who's saying, Hey, qualitative is also important.

And then there's this person who's saying that my USP is running qualitative and specifically in reviews or specifically user research and the best way it all comes together. So very excited to bring all of you together to,

Kausambi: So this is the Grand Finale of our miniverse Store Conversion on Steroids. And we had such a blast over this. Today's the ninth and final day - it was a lot about review mining and qualitative analysis, and you know, how you persuade folks to actually get down the funnel, the shopping funnel in your store?

And we started out with John. Um, we did a bunch of discussions like What is the perfect size of a test, is a big test really right. For you, it's redesigned, right. For you. All right. So all these, uh, I would say decisions that p eople have to take to actually implement CRO and, and how to take those decisions better.

So a really lovely end to this entire set of learning that we've had, because today we're gonna bring all of that together into a conversation about. Even though you've spent eight days learning about CRO. What are those misconceptions that we all have? And you might still have, um, when you're thinking about, um, as a brand to come down away from it as any business, you can't run from it.

So how do you avoid, uh, the, the trappings of misconceptions and actually incumbency are in the right feet for your store and if it's this right. And for that, we have Asia, we also have. Super amazing fun thing at the end of the conversation, we'll really get there, stay tuned for it. Um, the Easter egg that's coming up, but, uh, quick introduction of AGA, uh, we'll hand it hand over to Mike, to her aging.

What do you do? Why is it important for ecommerce teams?

AJ Davis: Yeah, I'm really passionate about that moment of getting visitors to become customers. I think there's so much that goes into that moment from a psychological perspective, we get tons of data in that. And so what we love to do is balance the qualitative inputs to build a really smart A/B testing roadmap.

So we do conversion strategy and testing, and we make sure that we layer in the right qualitative data across that whole process to improve conversion rates.

Misconceptions around CRO

Kausambi: Yeah. Yeah. Awesome. And so it's a balance between qualitative and quantitative and making sure that your store is set up right for increasing conversion rates.

But even though, you know, just so much of knowledge out there about, uh, CRO, uh, and there are great experts like you. Doing your best to post to industry on, on the fundamentals, there's still a ton of misconceptions on what does it really mean for me? And I think one of the biggest thing that I keep hearing is that the changing button colors, number one, would that be the number one misconception about.

AJ Davis:

People come and they think about CRO, and the first thing they think about is blue button versus red button. And so I love to tell people that if that's the test you're running, you don't know what problem you're solving, and you're not likely to make an impact.

So I think over and over, because a lot of the tools that enable us to do AB testing do very simple demonstrations of what an AB test is. There's a misconception of how CRO needs to be when in fact, you know, that that test should be go much beyond just color choice.

Kausambi: Yeah, totally. And beyond color choices, right?

Like what are these, you know, in your experience, uh, uh, kind of like the fundamental misconceptions that folks have, um, around the best practices that didn't need to follow, uh, to run a successful CRO experiment on this.

AJ Davis: I think another misconception I often see as this one, one philosophy is test everything.

And I do believe that

Testing, everything can give you lots of learnings, but it can also be time-consuming. It may not have ROI to be able to test each and everything.

So for example, if you're changing your footer, is that going to matter to your customers? Or not. Does that impact whether they convert or not?

Maybe, maybe not. If you're Amazon and you have tons and tons of traffic and you've got an army of people doing testing, then sure. Test everything. But I think that one of the things that I want people to take away is you should test the important. And you shouldn't test the things that are going to solve real problems for your customers, because if your customer is struggling to figure out something that's like the first need they have is can I find the information?

Can I move through the site? And if we aren't achieving those basic usability problems and we shouldn't be testing anything else until we've solved all. Yeah.

Misconceptions around results of CRO

Kausambi: Yeah. And as you were saying that something popped in my mind yesterday, Ryan was talking about how a CRO is not like a one-time set, then forget about it kind of a thing, right?

It's saturated the nature. It takes time and effort, uh, to actually get to a certain level of optimization and to continue to get there, be there or grow. You have to. You know, implementing, uh, more, uh, experiments, uh, in your store, but is there any misconception that you see regarding like the amount of time it takes for results to show are maybe the number of tests I need to run continuously.

AJ Davis: Yeah, I do hear that a lot. Like, you know, how long does it take to optimize my site? Right? That's it that's that itself is a misconception because it there's no such thing as a fully optimized site. And I can prove it by doing a usability on your site and we will see people struggle. And so, you know, what I think people have in their mind is I need to check the box.

We've checked the box on SEO. We've checked the box on CRO. And so now our business is just good to go. Um, in reality, Customer expectations change over time. There are things that will change about your site that you may not, um, may not have been there at the beginning. So like different marketing campaigns or offers, or just even your relative value propositions to your competitors.

If you think about the web in the nineties versus the web in the two thousands versus now, like we've all evolved and what we expect from a website. So if you optimize the site 20 years ago, it's certainly not optimized today. And so, you know, pushing the boundary on that a little more locally, there are just little changes and behaviors that matter, and we should be paying attention to it and seeing what our customers are expecting and needing from our experience.

Kausambi: Yeah. And that leads us to like, I think the big question, right? Like what are these, uh, let's dive in a little bit deeper. Like, what are these top five? I would say misconceptions and strategies that you can implement to actually get there, like get, get your benchmarks and directors. Yeah. You know, I almost, one of the things that I would think about is moving away from just A/B tests.

When we talk about CRO,

I think the biggest misconception overall is that a CRO program equals AB tests. - AJ Davis

And really, it's not about those ideas. Like it's a misconception that we're testing ideas. We should be testing solutions that are addressing real problems that exist. There are five ways that I would challenge anyone listening to think about how you even figure out what problems exist, because the AB test won't tell you the AB tests will tell you, did it work or not?

Does your solution solve the problem or not? Um, so the first thing is just like review the things your customers have already told. So often we work with a client and they're not really paying attention to the chat channel and aggregate or the things that are coming through customer service. Like what kind of problems are people getting stuck or confused about?

So take the stuff you already have and use that as a starting place to understand like where things, people are confused or where the experience is breaking down. Um, the second one is then like taking intentional steps to talk to customers directly. So doing that proactive qualitative research. So that could be, you know, interviews, it could be surveys, but ways to just ask questions about how well is this working for you?

How well is it not working for you? How do we compare to other competitors? And that's going to start to like illustrate some areas that maybe your team hasn't thought about. Cause you have blinders on because you're so close to it. Um, the third area I would point people to is to then, um, actually observe customers using the experience.

So this often is under the umbrella of like a usability study, but even simply, if you're just getting started with this. Watching someone who isn't you use your site makes you go, oh, how come they miss that? Or hope I don't quite understand why they went down that particular path. So asking them to go through it, use the product, use the experience, um, and also to think aloud, like what are they thinking about?

Getting confused about. I think the fourth one, I would say most people haven't really thought about doing, and I can borrow from having come from the product development space, which is that we forget to talk to our competitors, clients, or our competitors visitors. So. There's all kinds of ways to get access to folks who buy from your competitor and to learn like what they're doing well, what they're doing poorly.

Um, one of my favorite things to do is to run a usability study on competitor sites to see what their strengths are, and then having that same participant go through my client's site so we can see like the compare and contrast of the experience. Um, and then the last bucket I love to talk about is leveraging your own team for insights about your customer or about what messages resonate.

One of my favorite things I've ever done with the client was we interviewed their frontline sales team and they said, oh, we're really welcoming. We talked to the sales managers all the time. And we said, you know, just let us talk to a few of them. We'll talk to them about how that looks. And this was a software company in particular.

And what we found was we could ask the, the sales team we heard over and over. Here's what I talk about the first moment. And here's what I talk about right before I close the deal. And we basically took that copy and content and made it like the landing page and then the action right next to the CTA so that we had exactly the information that would cause someone to convert.

So those are the five areas. I feel like a lot of teams are forgetting to consider when they're thinking about their conversion rate optimization program.

Adopt a Process in your CRO approach

Kausambi: Yeah. And I love the last one by the van and I think that's something that we should definitely be doing. But as I'm looking at, like each of these five, um, you know, uh, things to definitely a checklist to work through what could be some of the tools, um, you know, our processes did I need to follow up.

Across all five of those. Yep. Um, yeah, I mean, a really thoughtful approach would be to create a research plan. So just like for an, like an A/B test, you would define what it is you're going to test before you build it. Um, oftentimes teams are not doing that with research. So sitting and taking the time to plan before you have that conversation, whether it's with your sales team, with your customers, you know, People elsewhere.

Um, just knowing what you're looking for before you start to investigate will give you much clearer understanding of what's going on. I think really often there's a ton of data available in our world, in our digital world. And if you end up looking at a survey with a million responses, how do you even figure through it and figure out what's meaningful.

And instead of starting with the question, what are you trying to. And then figuring out the right strategy to, to find that answer. Got it. Got it.

Kausambi: And any, um, any kind of, for example, the third point that you mentioned, uh, you know, one part of it is of course, like kind of looking at a customers on the other side, really with you, the other is that maybe dementing like a Hotjar or something like that from their side to kind of get those videos to actually see their flows.

Right. So, uh, what could be some of these tools that. Use everyday and you suggest.

AJ Davis: Yeah. I mean, I think you named a good, fair bit of those. So the click tracking tools, um, similarly I would make a plan before taking a look at them. So what are you trying to learn from them? Um, one of the examples I use is we had a test that didn't work in.

And it only didn't work for a subset of users on mobile, and we couldn't quite figure out why it didn't work for that group. And so we isolated the videos and we only looked at checkout and only on that particular device. And we saw that the site was essentially creating like a UX bug where you couldn't click into something that seemed to be clickable.

And that really explained why we were seeing a ton of drop-off just at that one moment in our experience. So again, like Hotjar, crazy egg, Microsoft clarity is another good free tool to get started with. And then on the flip side, you know, looking at tools for observation around somebody's, um, everybody's moving to remote research.

So user testing.com I think was their first try my UI, um, user interviews. There's a handful of places that will help connect you to the right people to do that observation. And we'll give you a chance like screen-share and really see it.

Kausambi: I love that. Right? So a quick heads up to the audience, you know, have any questions, please, uh, start, uh, putting it on the chat over there and then, uh, uh, let's move on to the Easter egg of the day, I guess.

But we have a, you know, kind of literally put Asia on the hot seat and said, let's do a live chat down. So we are actually going to be doing that. That is right now. And go ahead and let's share your screen and go through it. All right. Well, I'm very excited.

AJ Davis: We've decided to take a look at Outdoor Voices.

I'm also in Austin, Texas, where they're headquartered. So I had mentioned, I'd seen him at an event, but haven't been on their site for a little while. So this is my first time looking at it in a little while. So this will be new to me, just as much as the audience. Um, and I do have both. Desktop and mobile pulled up here, but just for the sake of screen sharing, I think sticking with mobile or the desktop version is probably going to be a little easier for them.

Um, so, you know, one of the things I like to do is think about who's going to be coming to the site, right? It, it may or may not be me and probably isn't me in most cases. So, you know, outdoor. He says is a fitness company, sell apparel. So thinking about somebody who's in that mindset of, I do a specific thing.

Um, selfishly, today I'm going to say, I'm going to look at this as a pickle ball player. Um, for those who don't know, it's the fastest growing sport in America. Uh, I ran into outdoor voices out of pickleball tournament. So I will be keeping that in mind and kind of selfishly taking in myself as the user persona.

So one of the things that, you know, we want to do when we first visit a website is we want to know what the business is all about. So if I come across outdoor voices.com, maybe a friend referred them or something else, um, I may not quite understand what it takes to means. Like it's kind of this playful.

Um, tops and bottoms does clarify it, but generally we find the more direct the hero copy is the more clear that is for new visitors in particular. Um, so that's something that immediately jumps out at me. Um, I do love it. They have like a really clear call to action and that the navigation is very clear in that top corner.

Um, and then kind of going through here, they've got some fun ways of kind of pairing the outfits together, um, with some clear actions, which I do like this as a way to get visitors, to actually look at the item, if they're inspired at one of the big themes, of course in CRO is social proof. And so seeing real people wearing the items, um, and then being able to point to that's pretty huge.

Kausambi: Yeah.

AJ Davis: And then of course this, the dresses are very trendy. So seeing the fitness dresses outlined draws my attention, um, one of the things I don't see on their site, I'm getting a weird bug here. Seeing that to see that that's probably not something I'd test. I'd probably just fix it. I think it's something about my screen size being smaller.

That'd be my guess. Um, Oh, no, that's super broken. Okay. I'll just skip through it. I won't scroll it. Um, they have some really great, beautiful, big imagery, but some of this feels kind of difficult to use. So I, because I'm looking at the site, I can't even see the name of the product at the same time. I'm looking at the end.

And so I, I'm not sure if this is something I can buy or not. I'm not really sure. These big images are not working very well. Yes. And then, um, I guess on that note, one of the things that we see be very successful is highlighting bestsellers very high up on the page. So if I were to work with these guys, the one of the first tests I want to run with them is does this need to be higher up on the page and potentially a little bit more condensed so people can see more at the same time and find something that piques their interest.

Kausambi: Totally agree. My standard response, when going to a new brand is I want to know what others are buying from you. You know, that's like my first thing, right?

AJ Davis: That's social proof, like, is it, does it work? Does it work for people like me and what I'm interested in? Um, I do like their big color blocks. That's usually pretty helpful.

Uh, sizing size guide. They've got some pretty good standard elements in here. Um, what they, what else I like about this is they're only presenting the essential information above the fold. And that call to action is really clear right here.

They've got a quick ad. I'd be really curious to test this against an interstitial after I've picked out the product, because this potentially could distract me from what I'm currently considering. And there's that social proof that you like.

So let's just go ahead and add something to bag, and then it's just kind of quickly dropping me. Into the cart page. Um, they're doing a pretty good job here of doing some upsell. Um, although it doesn't, I would want to test out and do these things really go with the stress or with somebody who wants to buy the stress.

Cause I'd imagine there's some other things that would be more applicable to me as I'm looking at this experience, I totally am with you Asia, because my first reaction was like, really? Do I do any of that? Like, I don't think with that dress, I would even think about that. Yeah. Yeah. And I'm not really sure.

Like I think doing things is like one of their product lines I'd guess, and this. Like they, they're not the same color. I wouldn't wear a hat like this with this dress. I think, um, they do make it pretty easy here just to slide them back in. So the UI, the UI is pretty intuitive and a lot of the basic things, which is good to see, but there's some opportunities to just make it a little easier to do these upsells.

Yes. The free shipping. One of the things that feel city missing across the whole experience is why outdoor voices. So I don't think I've seen anywhere across this experience. Like what makes outdoor voices stand out against other competitors? I might be considering. Um, we do get some nice information about free shipping, nicely incentivizes, what we're doing here.

Um, if I had something I'm going to test this out. If I had something below 75,

Yeah, this is a, this is another opportunity for them. Um, we, we have seen that having those little sliders or things that say how far you are away from the free shipping really gets people thinking, oh, maybe I do need just a little bit more.

Kausambi: Yeah, because it's almost like a static. I have to remember that I'm eligible for free shipping.

AJ Davis: That's right. Like it doesn't, it's just as similar as the order summary, it doesn't draw my attention in and I'm not sure how close I am. Um, The other thing we've done some testing on, and this is pretty, this can be brand specific as to like, which of these funnels they prefer to send people in, but we've seen that having these smaller CTS take, um, kind of minimize how many people go down those paths and they're often easier paths for people.

So that would be another past. I'd want to be considering for them is can we make it easier for people to find the specific order path that's going to be smoothest and quickest for them?

Kausambi: You spoke about why outdoor voices and if they, if they take your, if they watch us and they decide like, Hey, we want to get them in that. How, how can they do that in this, that.

AJ Davis: Yeah, that's a great question. I think I like to think of it in terms of threes as a starting place. So like, what are the three reasons I would want outdoor voices versus another company and it can be anything it can be, um, we're made in the USA or we're local.

We're, we're the cheapest version of this that you can possibly find, or, you know, we're trendsetters. So kind of depending on what it is, Um, it could be the quality of material. It could be. We're great for specific kinds of movement. So having things that, you know, I started this by saying, I want to find something that works for me in pickleball and come across anything where I was like very confident that it would work for that type of movement.

Um, definitely cute. I definitely get that. It's athletic wear. You know, it has shorts, so probably works, but because fitness has so many different types of movements, I would want to be really confident that this would work for yoga, or this would work for rock climbing, or this would work for pick a wall.

And, you know, these are quite kind of generic, athletic clothing, and I would want. Be able to just know a little bit more about who it's ideal for. So they don't have to look at everything, but find the right set.

Kausambi: I love that. I love that. I think that, like, I always love to announce and I totally agree that, um, it's a great looking site.

It's stunning. It's got good pictures. Um, it got all the basic right. Um, uh, basic clothes right on the buttons are looking good and they work well. But this, this. Uh, kind of, uh, what's missing is this, uh, you know, I, I can't understand why you, and why should I buy you is missing.

AJ Davis: Yeah. And you asked a little bit about where you had placed some of that information and I would expect to see, you know, often you see sort of like badges or things that reinforce the message.

So you can introduce early, Hey, here's what makes us stand out. You know, we make top of the line quality gear. It's going to last for a lifetime and it's made in the us, like if those were the three things for them, then you could create some sort of visual cues that you keep nodding to across the experience.

So sometimes that's highlighting it around this add to bag section or in the cart itself so that you remember the reason that you're buying from this brand at each and every step across the journey.

Kausambi: Super! this is so cool. Thank you so much for walking us through alive, tear down at that too. At the last minute.

Um, we are already over time. Um, but, uh, we're going to keep you for a few minutes more because we've got audience questions. We can let you go to answer them as I'm going to quickly go to a few of them. Um, questions from the livestream, uh, first is from.

Question: Do I need to invest in optimizing my checkout close event already using a standard Shopify.

AJ Davis: Hmm, that's a great question. Um, it does matter. So it, we find that, you know, the out of the box solution can get you a good starting place. Like that often is something that's recognizable and easy to from visitors to like respond to. But actually the example we just talked about, it's a good reason that you would want to personalize it because if your shipping policies are different or if your value props are different or the shipping threshold's different, you're going to want to present that in different ways.

The other thing, which isn't exactly what she was asking. But the other thing that is very customer dependent, we see it different with each and every client is what path to checkout make sense. So for some sites, it's all about getting straight to checkout, making it really fast. And for others, because people are matching things or there's some sort of like people are buying multiple products, we want to help point them back to those other paths.

So it depends and it, everything should be tested.

Kausambi: Yeah. Yeah, no, that's a good question. Good answer. Um, and Jake's asking the next question is essential checklist to create a CRO fan for mid-size tool. He didn't mention this, but he didn't mention any industry. Hmm.

AJ Davis:  Yeah. Um, I will kind of do a little nod to our site.

So we have a free checklist on our website, experiments on.com, where we do have some checklists that are good starting places. And so some of the things that I'm like just mentally checking for in this look walk through today, um, does it say what they do? Does it say who it's forward? They say why you should do it.

We've got that written out as the checklist, but at the end of the day, that checklist is only the starting place. And there's so much more that needs to be done beyond the checklist.  

Kausambi: What are the top elements I should be checking if I'm not getting a good conversion, et cetera.

AJ Davis: Hmm, that's interesting. So I guess the question would be if you're getting people in to check out, but they're not converting, we might want to understand why that's happening. Um, I would probably start with some of those things we just, we talked about at the beginning of our time today. So watching some, uh, click tracking videos to see, is there something that's getting in their way that you can tell just by observing?

Um, I would actually do a usability study on the checkout in particular to say. What, what kinds of things do people voice when they're experiencing the site for the first time? Because it could be value prop. It could be shipping threshold. It could be that the, one of the buttons doesn't work as expected on some devices.

Yeah. Yeah. Totally like the example you just spoke about the mobile one, um, could ask to find the question.

Question: What can be some of the effective ways to increase AOV?

AJ Davis: Yeah, actually I think outdoor voices had some really nice examples of, so sometimes you can show things paired together on a product page. We found that upsell like popups work pretty well.

So after you go to add to that, Confirming. Hey, we've added two bag. Would you like one of these matching products? Um, I think one of the important things that people sometimes forget is that the rule set of what products to show matters quite a bit. So we want the price point to make sense, and we want to make sure the products could go together with the same kind of person or their goals or things like that.

So, outdoor voices example today showed that hat, which didn't quite feel right. So thinking about, you know, finding the right algorithms that will help surface things. One of my favorite ones, you know, people bought this, also bought this because that you have the proven history that those things go hand in hand.

So that's a good starting.

Kausambi: Yeah. Yeah. I love that answer because I think I'm a sucker, as I said, for social proof, I see that other folks actually bought something. I definitely want to check that out.

Thank you so much AJ! We do have a really like 10 minutes over time, but thank you so much for doing this and, uh, Uh, being our final guest on a Store Conversion on Steroids , but we also did the most fun thing, which is a life tear down, uh, excited to have you hope to bring you back again.

Thank you audience for your questions and yeah, that's a wrap. Uh, we will be sharing out summary. Uh, over next week and we'll of course, uh, you know, link out all the speakers that we spoke to an agent in specific. If you want to, if our folks, if our audience wants to reach out to you, which channel is the best way to.

AJ Davis: Yeah. I mean, finding our website experimentszone.com is a great starting place. We have a really easy contact us form and I'll definitely see that. Um, but I also just love connecting to people, you know, find me on LinkedIn, AGA Davis. Um, I love doing virtual coffees. I love helping people just getting started with CRO.

So don't hesitate to reach out. I would love to talk to you about what you're thinking about.

Kausambi: Awesome. So please do that and thank you. That's a wrap. Um, thanks for being here!