Category Archives: Digital Living
Cart abandonment, where an online shopper adds items to their basket but then fails to complete the checkout process, is one of the most common and frustrating issues facing ecommerce retailers. Carrying out a forensic investigation into why potential buyers leave before completing their transaction can yield valuable insights to streamline the shopping process and increase conversion to sale. Or, if getting forensic sounds too complicated, here are some research findings that may help.
Earlier this year LivePerson Inc released the findings of a study into online attitudes and behaviours and the results provide a sobering reminder of how high consumer expectations have risen in a short period of time. Nearly 6 in 10 people say they would like more options in how they connect with brands and more than 8 in 10 said they needed some form of support during online shopping visits.
Tougher still on hard-stretched businesses, 71% of online shoppers expect to be able to access help within five minutes, with almost one in three now expecting this support to be instant. And the cost of failing to give speedy support is high, with almost half of all online shoppers claiming they would shop elsewhere or abandon their purchase altogether.
The top reason given for cart abandonment is Unexpected Delivery Costs, as cited by 70% of respondents. If you still hide your delivery charges until the shopper moves to the checkout phase now would be a good time to fix this! Other common bugbears that consumers continue to see too often on ecommerce sites are a lack of product information (56%), security concerns about the website (50%), site navigation problems (46%) and overly complicated registration or login processes (38%).
The message for online businesses is emphatic: give your shoppers the speedy support they demand or expect to see shoppers walking out of your virtual store empty-handed.
But which are the most demanded support channels? The good old telephone number tops the list with 61% of people asking for it, but was closely followed by email and live chat tops also receiving votes from around 6 people in 10. Site FAQs remain popular (51%), followed by click-to-call (34%) and live video chat (7%).
The key takeaways for brands? Find out what your customers and target audiences expect from your website. You may be missing some simple tricks like making FAQs and offsite Help Forums easy to access during the shopping process. Explore some of the latest generation of live chat and instant response tools. If you have customer service teams working during peak times it’s often quite easy to redeploy some of their time to monitoring online requests for help. And remember, not everything that matters happens on your site; chatter within social media and other online discussion environments may be just as crucial in oiling the buying process, so be sure to consider these channels too.
Image credit: http://i-shot.blogspot.co.uk
Facebook’s powerful new “Graph Search” feature is now being rolled out to users. To jump the queue you can join the waitlist at https://www.facebook.com/about/graphsearch.
I’ve written previously about the rich—and sometimes disturbing—insights that the tool search feature will bring, but a new study by Mediative sheds light on how new users are actually using the tool.
Using Tobii Eye Tracking technology, researchers were able to see exactly how people react to the new tool, where their gaze goes first and for longest, and how page scanning patterns may differ from the current search experience.
The findings showed very little horizontal scanning of the search results listing. This differs significantly to the behaviour typically seen on other search engines, perhaps due to the relative lack of snippet data that would be seen in a comparable Google search page. The vertical “stepping stone” viewing pattern shows up very clearly on the heatmap (right) where red spots show the most commonly viewed links running down the page.
The top two results were viewed by almost 95% of study participants and the percentage viewed fell quite uniformly as the viewers moved down the page.
Interestingly, and perhaps due to the generic nature of some of the images in the study, participants looked at the text links almost 50% more than the accompanying image, amounting to 138% more time being dedicated to reading text than deciphering images. Text listings also captured attention 1.74 seconds faster than the images on average—a finding that is contradictory to what we’d expect in general web UI design. It seems in Facebook Graph Search, at least for now, text is king.
Viewing of the content on the right hand side of the screen was particularly interesting. 77% of participants looked at this right rail, typically as the third eye fixation in the study. This suggests that most users are likely to check the first one or two search results on the left-hand side before considering whether to refine the search criteria in the right-hand panel. The filters in this panel proved highly engaging, probably because this is where the real power of graph search can be unleashed for the novice user. This suggests that the average user of graph search is likely to find the experience highly engaging and will refine their search results using filters, perhaps to an extent that other search engines have not yet achieved. The right panel also enjoyed the highest total viewing duration at 4.17 seconds across the study participants, which is 325% longer than the total view duration to the search results in the left-hand panel. How much of this is due to the novelty factor or the actual utility of the ‘refine search’ options will only be proven over time.
Here are my five tips to ensure your businesses listing shows up as prominently as possible in Facebook Graph Search:
Make sure your business information is complete and up-to-date as this is what Graph Search users will see in the left hand search results panel. In your Facebook Page, go to Edit Page, Update Info. There you will find You should complete your business name, address (so people can check-in when visiting), telephone numbers, website URL and opening times (if applicable).
As in any search results listing, being placed in the top two search results is highly valuable. However, keep in mind that Facebook Graph Search results are unique to each user, so don’t fall into the trap of imagining the results you see are seen by everyone.
To ensure your profile photo is working as hard as possible, try to use a distinctive image that complements the text of your page name. Aim for relevance first (be on brand) but also try to be different to key competing pages. For example, if you run a restaurant in Bristol, making sure your profile photo doesn’t look similar to that of neighbouring restaurants could be beneficial.
Your brand is more likely to appear in Graph Search results if it has been liked by users. Growing your reach and maximising engagement levels are likely to remain the key elements that determine your graph search ranking. Facebook has not disclosed how EdgeRank may influence Graph Search results but it would be wise to assume that the same factors will be at play. Optimise your page content for EdgeRank and your presence in Graph Search should improve in parallel.
If your company or brand has a physical location, encouraging check-ins through Facebook has never been more important. A search query for “Hairdressers my friend have been to” will only show your brand if some of the searcher’s friends have checked in while at your establishment. Invite your customers to check-in while with you, offering rewards if suitable.
I just had to share this.
If you like the iPod page on Facebook you’re probably more dissatisfied with your life than someone who likes Sarah Palin.
That’s just one of the findings from a new study by researchers at the University of Cambridge that shows how much of our personality we share through our Facebook Likes, whether we realise it or not.
Using a dataset from almost 60,000 volunteers, researchers have built a statistical model that can predict personal, undisclosed attributes like sexual orientation, ethnicity, intelligence and happiness with unnerving accuracy.
For example, the model can correctly discriminate between homosexual and heterosexual men in 88% of cases. So, without even stating a preference, anyone with access to your Facebook Likes can make predictions about related personality traits and behaviours with a high degree of accuracy.
The researchers have also published a list (open .pdf file) of some of the Likes with the most accurate predictive power, a few of which I’ve summarised below:
Take extreme care when dealing with stereotypes. However, this research shows once again how the information we share openly on the social web can reveal details about us far beyond what we would normally be happy to disclose. And with massive factories now crunching data around the clock, the scope for ‘big data’ analytics of this kind will only grow.
Fascinating, if slightly scary stuff. You can also test the accuracy of the model against your own Facebook Likes at http://www.youarewhatyoulike.com/. But, be warned, by doing so you too will become a small, anonymous part of this great data experiment.
- Paper Abstract: Private traits and attributes are predictable from digital records of human behavior
- Article on The Verge: Facebook likes can reveal private personality traits
Happy Valentine’s Day, dear reader. You already know, but here’s what fills my heart every time I think of you.
(with thanks to the excellent Tagxedo for making this lovely heart from some of the words on this blog)
Are you depressed about the world’s economic woes?
Well, here’s a vending machine that puts a novel spin on bad news.
Spotted at the recently opened Open Data Institute in London UK, this vending machine has been reprogrammed to automatically dispense free snacks every time recession-related terms make the headlines on the BBC News RSS feed.
So now even bad news could be good news for you, if you happen to passing the machine at the right moment. Ingenious!
Snack fans are politely requested to form an orderly queue when the Chancellor makes his next announcement.
Thanks to Kathryn for giving me a tour, and some recession-busting crisps!