Retail, in the eyes of the everyday customer

new ideas and thoughts about the online retail world

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The First 2 Seconds

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If you have an asset that is spectacular but is only seen by 10% of site visitors then you’re the one at fault (because you are failing to use your asset).

For Owlet their core asset is a 3:40 minute video that starts off with 3 mothers describing how Owlet saved their baby’s life.  But Owlet doesn’t bury this video under “How Owlet works” page.  No, when you land on their site the video appears as a popup and autoplays:


That’s right, they are breaking a carinal rule of video plays: always show video in pause mode and let the user decide if they want to see it.  But the marketing team at Owlet aren’t fools; they know once parents watch video they are way more likely to buy so they’re breaking a made up rule for better conversion rates.

This post has 2 lessons for marketers:

1: Don’t ever let your trump card remain hidden.

2: (Marketing) rules are meant to be broken.

Written by betterretail

April 4, 2016 at 6:40 am

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Is It a Good Idea to Send a Followup Email?

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Question: I want to send my mailing list a special discount that will run just 5 days. If I send discount notification email on day 1 and “last day” email on 5th day what kind of sales lift could I get with “last day” email ?

Answer: 2.3x

Written by betterretail

March 28, 2016 at 5:10 am

Signup Counter

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When you go to they tell you how many people signed up for the product in the last 7 days–


Written by betterretail

March 21, 2016 at 6:19 am

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Signup NOW

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Within 0.01 seconds of landing on this popup appears:


Like, the page hasn’t even fully loaded and the popup is in my face.  Is that the best tactic?  What do you do when you get startled?  I know what I do: I get out of the way (in this case I click the [x]).  In a world where we can A/B test just about anything why not test the timing of this popup?  I mean, it’s a good offer and I would likely have wanted to signup for a 10% savings.  But give me a second to catch my breath.

What would have happened if the popup appeared once I engaged with the page (defined as time on site or pages seen)?  Would the signup have worked better?  Even if the absolute signup rate might be lower I bet you’d get better quality signups (i.e. people likely to buy your product).  In the end, isn’t that what really matters?

Written by betterretail

March 14, 2016 at 5:16 am

Credit Card Field

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For any ecommerce store capturing the credit card number is the most important step.  Therefore, it makes sense to have the most user friendly credit card capture interface.  And Google has nailed this.

When you first click inside their credit card box they show payment icons in background of text box.  Like this–


Then when you type the first digit of credit card they recognize the card type.  For example, if your first digit is 4 you have a VISA–


If your first digit is 5 you have a MasterCard–


Also, as your type your credit card number they add an extra space after every 4 digits to make it more readable (it also matches the way the numbers look on your physical card)–


What’s really crazy is that they seem to have some sort of realtime card validation going on because entering the fake 5555 5555 5555 5555 number threw up the red border error message.  I have no idea how that’s done–


Anyway, the point is that this degree of attention to detail is what separates the campions from the rest.

Written by betterretail

March 7, 2016 at 5:25 am

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Subtle Trick

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We marketers scream when we want the user’s attention.  We use comically large fonts and ugly color contrasts; not because they’re beautiful, but because we know the loudest elements capture attention.

But there is another way.

I was on this product page …


… and one of the first elements I noticed was the $ symbol to the left of product name.  How did I notice it when that icon takes only 5% of screen real-estate?  Because the retailer did 4 clever things:

1: They used an icon shoppers are trained to pay attention to, the dollar symbol.

2: They colored the icon green on a white page, making it stand out.

3: They strategically placed it one letter to the left of the product page.  Eye tracking studies show shoppers start scanning pages from top left position.

4: They made the icon non-descriptive.  The visitor senses it has something to do with pricing (because of $ symbol) but beyond that she doesn’t know what message is hidden behind the icon. So she clicks it.  And when I click it I’m shown this powerful urgency message:


There is one other point in favor of subtle tactic.  When you scream and tell shoppers they are receiving an amazing deal they get suspicious (why is this retailer trying so hard?)  But anyone who clicks this icon will believe the “… cancel this sale at any time” message in popup because they’ll think, “if this was just a fake warning they would have made it more prominent.  Why would they have kept it so subtle?” And that thought would confirm for the shopper that the warning isn’t a gimmick.

Written by betterretail

February 29, 2016 at 5:29 am

eCommerce, Meet the Retail Store

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eCommerce is great. But the one thing it lacks is that between discovering an item and touching it is the pesky shipping bit.  Traditional retail mostly sucks but at least we can touch the heck out of anything on a shelf.

Enter b8ta (  b8ta is the first brick-and-mortar retailer architected to help you discover, experience, and buy the latest tech (I’ve ripped this line from their site).  Basically, b8ta is a showroom where gadget manufacturers showcase their hot new products.

Written by betterretail

February 15, 2016 at 6:39 am

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