The most important step in driving conversion rates is to get the shopper to take an action that clearly demonstrates interest. It doesn’t have to be a big action, the smallest of actions will do.
Something magical happens once an action is taken. When a visitor first lands on the site their personal investment is 0, and with 0 investment you have 0 relationship with the visitor. This is terrible for the business. However, moment the visitor takes a concrete action things start to change. It might not be big enough to make a purchase but it’s infinitely more valuable than 0. To see an example of this strategy I’m sharing a screenshot from ontimeairfilters.com homepage. Ontimeairfilters.com is a website that sells a simple product— filters. Here is their homepage—
You’ll notice that the first thing they do is ask shoppers where they live (“Do You Like In A …”). I tried both options and the results page is identical, which makes me think this question doesn’t really have a business purpose. But I bet it meets a big psychological purpose because moment the shopper makes a selection (home or condo/apt) they are unconsciously starting the process of engagement.
And don’t assume such a tactic can only work for a site that sells filters. It can work for any site. Here is another example (notice the dropdown question)—
And here is an example from freedomvoice.com.