5 Experiments to Conduct on Your Customers

by / Tuesday, 17 December 2013 / Published in E-Commerce, Featured
Put on your white coat (perhaps Burberry’s Long Lace Jacquard Trench Coat) and break out your safety goggles (can’t go wrong with Warby Parker’s Wiloughby in Tennessee Whiskey). We’re going into the lab. The science we’re studying? Shopping.

If we had beakers they’d be Waterford scored on ebay, our Bunsen burners would be recommended in expert reviews and our periodic table would be full of products trending in social experiences.

Fluid geeks out on the who, what, why, when and where of digital shopping. Yes we do. And the how too. Today’s lesson plan: Five experiments you should be conducting on your customers. Why? We’ve seen them work. And we’re curious how they’ll work for you.

Our joint Shopper Science experiment starts here…

1. Selective promotion. Retailers this 2013 holiday season have been bold with the discounts. So bold. Bold in a way that could undermine the value and success of full price. (I’m predicting a holiday price hangover.) Our theory: Not everyone needs a huge discount in order to buy. So why give everyone say 40% off? It’s giving away money to people who would have paid more.

The experiment: Test your discount thresholds. CRM marketing is a great tool for this. As is a testing, targeting and optimizing tool like Monetate. And please don’t offer a huge discount off of absolutely everything – unless you have the business case for it. If you do, please share it with us.

2. Dropped cart re-targeting. At Fluid we’re seeing the cart serve as the new Wish List – customers are storing products they like in cart in order to make their decisions later. This said, an item in a cart is one step closer to sale. At the very least, it reflects an elevated interest. We think you should use this to your advantage.

The experiment: Re-target based on dropped cart items. This can be done through ad re-targeting or dynamically prioritizing images on a return digital visit. Some retailers are using an intercept upon entry. Yes it can feel overt. But if a consumer is in that critical decision window it could be the reminder that makes the difference.

3. Product video. Video is converting to sale at higher rates than non-video for a lot of our clients. Now the people watching videos are likely to be more invested in buying at the outset. But we think the numbers are strong enough to continue testing. This ranges from video for products in action to shoppable brand videos to video for your ad buys.

The experiment: Start small with some product videos in the pdp. Or a header video. Run it against a control of the existing design. This should be simple to implement but CRM email always serves as a great testing ground as well to make the case for site tests.

4. Product badging. Calling attention to products with visual overlays makes a positive difference. With the right balance of badges, it just does. The icons serve as beacons of best sellers and great gifts in product selections that can be overwhelming. Expert picks pick up higher conversion. Our challenge to retailers? Make the badges unique to your business. “As seen on Everest” could work for The North Face. “As seen on Jennifer Garner” works for Stella & Dot. Make it clear why a consumer should take note (and buy).

The experiment: Start with simple product information badges. Use your onsite search or popular navigation items to give you a head start. The badges that perform best give you insight into the mindsets of your customers – and hint at the degree to which they are influenced by others in the purchase process.

5. In-store observations. This is essential and easy. Make sure you and your team get up from your desks and get into your stores. Seriously. Listen, observe, ask. The sales associates on the front lines are a wealth of information (for apparel feedback find the associates in the dressing rooms). Observing consumers always holds surprises. See if what you’re decided in corporate is playing out for the consumer in-store.

The experiment: Put time in the calendar to visit your local store. Even better if you assign tasks based on popular customer paths. If you’re not near a local store take your tasks and end goals to digital and buy on your own site. (When was the last time you bought on your own site?) Buy on mobile and tablet and desktop. Remember what you witness is a qualitative snapshot (it’s not representative) – and see what ideas arise.

Here our initial foray into experimentation with you concludes. It’s a bit addictive yes? We’re excited to continue to discover together.


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