Our Happy Heidi wants simplicity. The three things Heidi appreciates in her evaluation process are:
- How easy it is to gather information about your product or service.
- How much trust she can place the information you provide.
- How easy it is to evaluate the options you provide.
If these three tasks are easy for Heidi, then compared with your competitors who make things difficult:
- She is 86% more likely to buy from you.
- She is more likely to repurchase from you, by around 10%.
- She is more likely (by 115%) to recommend you to others.
As I keep saying, you only have to do the right things, consistently, to walk all over your competition. If you want Heidi to stick with you during and after the evaluation process, then keep it simple.
The perfect ratio of site inquiries to sales is of course 100%. In the real world this is unrealistic, so what should you aim for? Is your conversion rate from landing page through pricing page to sign up page better than 30%? Is the abandonment rate of your online shopping cart less than 67% (the average over 22 studies)? If either of these cases is true for your business then you are already ahead of the average.
Similarly with retail shops; is your conversion rate of people coming into your shop to sales better than 33%?
How can you measure conversion rates? For websites, there are web analytics tools such as ClickTale, Adobe SiteCatalyst, Webtrends, Google Analytics, and KISSmetrics. For retail shops, there are automatic visitor counters or staff manual counts that you can use to compare with your invoices.
The trick here is to minimize the number of information sources Heidi has to ‘touch’ to get the information she needs. And this means you need to understand as early as possible what her immediate information needs are. If Heidi has already made up her mind and what she wants then don’t get in her way with unnecessary steps and information. Put the BUY! button at the head of the page as well as the bottom. Clear the path to the cash register! Can you imagine Heidi coming into a shop knowing she wants a specific item only to have you or your sales rep give her a long spiel on the relative merits of this item versus that? That’s what many websites do.
How well can you find out what stage Heidi is at in her evaluation process? Is she at the beginning, looking what’s available in a luxury designer bag? Or is she already comparing Chloe with Valentino? In the shop content, it’s easy; just ask how you can help her. On a website, it’s often a case of different landing pages you point her at depending on the search criteria used. Or it could be the platform Heidi is using. Research shows, for example, that 70% of those using a mobile device to search is within a few hours of making a purchase, whereas 70% of those using a desktop is roughly a week away. Your website analytics can tell you that.
Why did I just get an email that included an offer of a new nail treatment? I’m a guy! This email didn’t make me feel appreciated. It certainly showed the marketer doesn’t know me and doesn’t understand my needs. It doesn’t take a lot of work to optimize your email list to distinguish gender and it’s just plain lazy not to set up your email blasts appropriately. In fact, you are far better off sending just one offer per email than six or seven. If you eliminate these annoying emails, Grumpy Graeme is much less likely to immediately bin the next one he gets from you. So work to gather as much appropriate information on your mailing list as you can, that’s aimed at helping you help people to better evaluate what you offer.
Trust is not so much about trusting your brand, it’s about how well Heidi can trust the information you provide. That’s one of the reasons Happy Heidi will listen more to her friends than to you – she knows how much weight she can put on their opinions and experience. If you are showing customer reviews then you need to go a step ahead – provide the adviser’s decision criteria and their use of the product or service. To encourage a group of trustworthy advisors, a step ahead of general recommenders if you can.
This is the final step in the evaluation process. Heidi will really, really appreciate your making this step really simple for her. Really.
Rule 1 – Too many choices to evaluate does not make a Happy Heidi. Don’t overwhelm her with the choice. Too many choices mean you will be making fewer sales. Remember the famous study on jam offerings? To refresh your memory, two tables in a supermarket with the identical brand of jam, displayed at different times. One table offered 6 varieties, the other 24. Sales from the 6 options were 30% of those who stopped by, while the conversion on the table of 24 options converted only 3%. With both tables, the average number of jams sampled per person was 2. In another study on the effects of choice, students about to solve word puzzles were offered a cup of tea beforehand. Those who were offered a choice – between caffeine or relaxing camomile – solved fewer puzzles than those who were directed to one tea only.
Rule 2 – keep your choices to 6 or less in any comparison. If you have 100 offerings, break them down into bite-size categories. I remember doing this with a client in Ubud that had over 40 offering descriptions crammed onto the back of an A5 sheet. But by categorizing into 6 groups with bold headings, prospective customers weren’t overwhelmed and sales increased.
Rule 3 – But never, ever just offer one item. Having at least two choices helps to switch the decision from “Should I buy?“ to “Which one should I buy?“
Rule 4 – Keep your information relevant. A florist service in South America increased their sales by 27% just by adding a clock image and a countdown that told how many hours were left for same day delivery to be guaranteed. Not only did this give re-assurance about the importance the supplier put on meeting emotionally critical events, but also added a sense of urgency to the purchase decision.
Some Sample Websites
Check out (Google) some of these good and not-so-good examples of how business is meeting customer evaluation needs.
Intuit Turbo Tax
De Beers – the “4C’s” – cut, color, clarity, and carats.
Crest toothpaste – too many choices not helpfully categorized.
Tp paraphrase Elvis and Lionel Ritchie, you want Heidi “stuck on you.” By keeping the evaluation steps simple you keep Heidi happy and sticky in the nicest possible way.