In Part 1, we explained why Revenue Per Visitor (RPV) is well respected by the ecommerce community as it rewards increases in conversion rates and revenue per converter. Now let’s take a look at how we can drive up this metric with personalized web experiences.

Let’s start with the math

RPV is calculated as Conversion Rate (CR) multiplied by Revenue Per Converter (RPC). So, we’re looking improve both the conversion rate and revenue that each converter is bringing in. While not mutually exclusive, we’ll take a look at helping each of these metrics without cannibalizing the other.

Healthy ways to increase conversions

The key here is to convert the right type of business. These will depend on your organization, but the wrong type of business often includes segments like, ‘people who only buy heavily discounted items’ or ‘people who return items often’.

Discounting has often been a popular method to increase conversions, but for many brands we advise against it, because of the poor knock-on implications a discount strategy can have on revenue. There are exceptions, for example if there is a danger signal (such as a user highlighting a product name with the intention of a Google search) or if there is a strong intent to buy (such as someone making three or visits to the same item), but there are also other tactics that can move the needle on conversions

Brands should focus on the visitor segments that are valuable for them, something both Cassia and Elli touched on in our recent meetup and apply alternative personalization tactics which reliably bump up conversions.

Social proof-based badging

It’s pretty normal to see badges like, ‘new in’ or ‘best seller’ on category or product pages. But by adding Social Proof (a layer of relevance), we can super charge this tactic. By way of example (see below), we have a great case study with Mothercare where we identified a number of segments (e.g. mothers to be, mothers, grandmothers) and badged the most relevant products to these shoppers. The endgame: Increasing conversions with the right audience.


Scarcity and urgency

In our ‘Getting 6% more’ research you’ll see both scarcity (i.e. not many items left) and urgency (i.e. not much time left) are hugely effective tactics—this is because they’re based on powerful decision making heuristics encoded into the human brain. (More on heuristics here.)

A creative way to leverage urgency without high-viz red timers or countdowns is to say, “16 people have viewed since your last visit”. The sensation we feel with this kind of message is both pressure to buy and reassurance—two tactics for the price of one.

Smart abandonment tactics

If someone abandons at checkout, they have given off a strong intent to buy. Therefore abandonment recovery tactics including emails are pretty effective. Similar to the previous twist on urgency, we can employ multiple tactics in the abandonment email. For example, “You left this in your basket—hurry there’s only 2 left” provides both a reminder and showcases scarcity.

Increasing revenue per converter

Other personalizations have a more significant impact on revenue per converter than on conversion rate. These experiences are about influencing the items shoppers select, guiding them towards more expensive or high margin items, or encouraging each converter to buy more items. As with driving conversions, relevance is the key.

Relevant and contextual recommendations

You may have seen on Netflix that you’re being recommended a show because you watched another show. Smart eh?

We can do the same on our recommendations, showing you ‘x’ based on ‘y’ to give the shopper more confidence in what they’re buying (see on DVF below: based on recently viewed, viewed by 4,437 people). These recommendations can appear throughout the customer journey (to expose more of your catalog) and in the basket specifically to increase order values.

DVF iphone-2

Also consider the rules that you can apply to your recommendations in the form of ‘white’ and ‘blacklisting’. For example, you may avoid upselling anything on sale (blacklisting) and you may promote higher end or own brand items with strong margins (whitelisting).

Set the best delivery thresholds

Not new, but not forgotten either, is experimentation with the right free shipping threshold. A great place to do this is in the basket, where the shopper might observe that they are $35 away from free shipping. Then add recommendations as detailed above, and ‘hey presto’, the shopper is motivated to buy an extra item!

One thing worth having a look at is the exact threshold you decide to use. We have seen with a number of clients that a lower threshold doesn’t always align with more sales… In fact even a lofty free shipping threshold of $175 has been effective at increasing RPV for some brands.

Wrap up

There you have it. A selection of non-discount-related tactics steeped in relevance to bump up conversion rates and revenue per converter.

If you didn’t catch it, click back to Part 1 of this blog, and, to see how to reach 6% uplifts in RPV, check out the report.


Simon Dean

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