[Private] Our Secret Sauce: A Behind the Scenes Look at What We Do

In this post I’m going to be talking about something that is really at the core of everything we do at Frictionless Commerce and that is a process we call ‘Deconstruction’.

For those of you that prefer video, I recorded a video walkthrough (note: the video is 18 minutes long, but it’s worth your time if you want to know how we come up with our conversion ideas):

If you prefer reading text, continue below.

Deconstruction is essentially when we look at every single pixel, word, and emotion that is expressed on a page. When we deconstruct a page, we’re doing so from the perspective of a first-time shopper. We step into their shoes and navigate through the site as if we shared the same intentions, FUDs (fears, uncertainties, and doubts), and so on. Our goal is to identify points of friction and come up with ideas to fix them. This is how we come up with all of our insights to help increase conversions.

In this post, we’ll deconstruct a product detail page on Bogsfootwear.com and show you a concept that we’ve created to address some possible customer FUDs.

Bogs sells and manufactures winter boots and outdoor boots; I think most of them are waterproof. The product we’ll be looking at is the Bozeman Tall Men’s Insulated Waterproof Boot, which is $150. This is, I believe, one of their highest selling boots; there’s a lot of emphasis on this product on the site. It’s also the number one rated winter boot by Outside Magazine.

While going through this page, one of the things we first noticed is that if you go to the boot selection or the size selection, you’ll see that there are many different sizes:

size options

This section doesn’t address a possible customer FUD— is the boot size is going to be the same exact size as my shoe size? If you’re like me, you’ve probably experienced some sizing discrepancy when it comes to shoes. My dress shoes always run one size larger than my tennis shoes.

It never fails.

Since I’m not the only person in the world who has experienced this problem, we wanted to add some messaging here that would remove any confusion. Take a look:

shoe size.jpg

In our concept we added “(SAME AS SHOE SIZE)” after “PLEASE SELECT” in the size options dropdown menu. This lets shoppers know that the boot size they select will be the same as their normal shoe size. They don’t have to worry about accidentally buying a boot that is smaller or larger than expected.

The next thing that we noticed is that this page is linking shoppers to a blog post by Outside Magazine. This post claims that the Bozeman Tall is the #1 winter boot:

winter boot.jpg

This is typically a great way to build credibility.

So what’s the problem?

The problem is that when the shopper clicks on “View The List”, they are taken to a blog post that shows a different price for the boots:

outside mag

When the shopper arrives at the blog post, they’ll see a more expensive price of $160. This can cause two things to happen: 1) the shopper will think they’re getting a better deal since the new cost of the boot is $150, or 2) the shopper will become confused and not know which price is correct. Is there something wrong with the Bogs site?

This isn’t even the biggest issue, though.

In the blog post, the writer links the shopper to two different pages to purchase the boots: 1) the Canadian version of Bogsfootwear.com, and 2) their Amazon store. Both locations show very different prices. Here is the Canadian site:

Canadian site.jpg

The Canadian site shows a price of $175. The majority of shoppers will not notice that they are not on a U.S. site. Additionally, the product name doesn’t include “Men’s Insulated Waterproof Boots” like it does on the U.S. site and there’s no longer a camo color option. Is this boot waterproof still? What happened to the other color option? Shoppers will undoubtedly become confused, and many may leave the site altogether.

This is what the Amazon page shows:

Amazon page.jpg

Instead of $150, the price is no between $127.99 and $159.95. So what is the real price that a shopper will pay?

In our concept, we wanted to eliminate all of this confusion. The most important detail here is that this is the #1 rated boot by Outside Magazine (which is a pretty popular outdoor magazine). Just by showing this as a heading will be enough to establish credibility.

Additionally, we added copy that was more personable to connect with the shopper on a personal level. The copy is personalized, as it changes based on the type of person they are. See below:

our concept default.jpg

When the shopper clicks on the dropdown menu, they’ll see this:

our concept activated.jpg

(Note: Ideally there would be a few more options here to address all possible use cases and personalities)

After selecting the type of person they are, the shopper will see copy that is personalized for them:

our concept final.jpg

This copy adds personality and likability while creating a story. Currently, Bogs doesn’t have much copy on their page, which contributes to a bland experience. Remember, people buy from people they like, so establish a genuine connection with your shoppers.

With that being said, I want to remind you that we don’t use templates for our projects at Frictionless Commerce. Each concept we come up with is custom-tailored for each site’s needs. Conversion optimization works best when we realize that each business has its own unique conversion challenges.

Just like your business isn’t a cookie cutter business, we’re not a cookie cutter agency.

Many people think if something worked well on one page or site, it’ll definitely work just as well on another. But that’s not always true. And that’s why Deconstruction is at the core of what we do. Every time we deconstruct a page, we come up with new ideas that target the points of friction that exist on that page.

Thank You Card

My girlfriend (a social worker) recently rescued a kitten from a client’s condemned home, so we had to take her to a veterinary clinic to get cleaned and up to date on her shots. It was our first time at this particular clinic, but it was definitely friendly and hospitable.

About a week after our appointment, I checked my mail and received this card:

Image of a Thank You card

Image of the opened Thank You card

The doctor and staff at the clinic hand-signed a thank you card after visiting them for the first time. This immediately put a smile on my face and I still have the card at home.

Although this is a physical card, the same approach can be taken on your website or with your email campaigns. Thanking someone for their patronage may seem like a fruitless task, but guess what? My girlfriend and I are most certainly taking our two cats to this veterinary clinic again in the future. There’s a clinic 2 minutes away from our home that specializes in treating cats, but we don’t mind driving the extra 10 minutes to the clinic that sent us this card.

Your customers will return to your site too if they feel valued.

My Holiday Shopping Experience

Now that it’s the holiday season, we are seeing websites use many different strategies to increase conversions. Some of these strategies include special holiday sales, free holiday shipping, extended return and refund policies, and so on.

While doing my Christmas shopping for one of my close friends, I decided to take some mental notes of my observations while on the web. The two of us play video games together often, and he had mentioned a few times over the past year that he was thinking about getting a new gaming headset (the Razer Kraken Pro V2, to be exact). He still hasn’t purchased a new headset, so his gift this year was an easy choice.

I did a Google search for “Razer Kraken Pro V2” on my phone, and these were the first two results:

Search Results

I clicked on the first search result, which was Amazon.com. Although I use Amazon a lot, I’ve never been a fan of the layout of their product detail pages. I eventually decided to go back to my Google search results page and find the manufacturer’s site because I know many sites offer extra benefits if you buy from them directly instead of through their Amazon store.

After navigating to the listing for Razer.com, this is what I saw at the top of my phone’s browser:

Razer Nav Bar.png

Razer informed me that if I ordered today, I would receive my headset before Christmas and get free standard shipping. Razer made a good decision by ensuring me that I’d get my gift before the big day. I already knew I was definitely going to buy this headset, however, but the only information I cared about was if this headset was definitely compatible with my friend’s PlayStation 4.

After scrolling up and down the page multiple times while skimming through the copy, I finally found confirmation that this headset would meet my friend’s needs. I then clicked “Buy now”, entered my payment information, and received my package within 2 days of ordering.

So why am I telling you all of this?

While shopping for this headset, I was in the unique position of being both a gift-buyer and a gamer while shopping during the holiday season. Most of Razer’s customers are likely not in the same position. Many are potentially parents buying a present for their kid while many more are gamers like my friend and myself who are buying a headset for themselves (in fact, I have been considering buying the same headset for myself).

Why is this page treating both of these groups the same?

Parents and gamers will have wildly different questions and concerns when shopping for this headset. I highly doubt a parent cares if this headset is made of Bauxite aluminum, but a gamer definitely does because it makes the headset very lightweight. A gamer who is buying this headset for themselves may not care if they receive it by December 24th, but a parent most certainly will. Both parents and gamers will care if this headset is compatible with their kid’s or their own gaming system, however. No one wants to go through the hassle of returns and refunds.

This is the perfect time of the year to personalize content for shoppers to reduce friction and increase conversions. As an example of this, we created a mockup for one potential solution for Razer. In our concept, when a shopper arrives at the Razer Kraken Pro V2’s landing page during November and December they see a question:


When the shopper makes a selection, they see this next question:


(Note: for shoppers who answered with “myself” in the first question, they won’t see “I don’t know” in this question)

Here we ask the shopper which device they need this headset for. This will serve two purposes: 1) to let them know if this headset will be compatible with the device they select, and 2) to personalize the copy around their selected device on the product detail page.

After the shopper selects their device, this is what they see:


(Note: for shoppers who said they are shopping for their themselves, this page will begin at the YouTube video)

The gift-buyer’s biggest questions and concerns will be answered. They will see that this headset is compatible with the device they selected and that they will be able to receive a refund if they need to return the headset. For shoppers who are buying for themselves, they will see that the copy on the page has been personalized based on the device they selected. Here is a closer look (the content in square brackets [ ] is dynamic and changes based on the device selected):

Razer LoL.png

Razer PC.png

League of Legends is an extremely popular PC game. We’ve used our Serendipity tactic by predicting something about many shoppers who arrive at this page and play this game. By doing so, we’ve increased the chances that a shopper will convert. Alternatively, a parent may notice this content and remember that their kid plays this game. That may be enough to tip the scale in our favor.

Razer is a company that saw $4 billion in sales last year and they are one of the biggest names in the eSports world, which is growing every year. And yet, even their website has room to improve conversions.

Black Friday Sale

Black Friday is a great time to go treasure hunting online. But I wasn’t looking for deals this past Black Friday. Instead, I was searching for the new or unique ways websites were trying to get us to stick around for a bit longer.

Prettylittercats.com did something pretty interesting.

I went to their site, searched around for a bit, then moved my cursor to the back button of my Chrome browser to look at some other sites. Before I was able to click, a popup appeared:

Popup on exit

Let’s play a game. Can you spot the difference between that popup and the sale banner that appeared on the rest of the site (see below)?

Sale banner

Do you see it? The banner was only advertising the Black Friday weekend sale while the popup was doing that in addition to saying, “PLUS: Get A Bonus Cat Toy with Every Purchase.” For some shoppers, that added bonus may have been enough to keep them on the site.

Prettylittercats.com used Choreographed Experience by showing this popup only when I moved my cursor to exit the site. The unexpected popup grabbed my attention and, as a result, I saw a piece of compelling information. Have you considered doing something similar on your site? All it takes is a little bit of HTML or JavaScript.

No Site Is Perfect. Can We Improve Conversions on Any Site in the World?

Hi there! My name is Preston and I work with Rishi at Frictionless Commerce as a conversion optimization specialist. I’ll be contributing a bit to Better Retail, so I just wanted to say it’s great to talk with you all and share some of what I’ve learned and worked on with Rishi. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned while at Frictionless Commerce is that there’s always room for improvement. In this post I’ll show you what I mean (just a heads up: this will be a lengthy post because there are a lot of moving parts that need explaining).

If you prefer video, click below (transcription below the video):


Sometimes when we look at websites we are intimidated. What do I mean when I say “intimidated”? Well, when we visit the websites of Fortune 500 companies, for example, it’s difficult to see where improvements can be made. These types of companies already have huge marketing and development teams at their disposal. So what measurable effect can we have on these sites as conversion optimization specialists? It’s easy to point out areas of friction on the sites of local mom-and-pop shops. But can we actually help companies like Nike, Comcast, or Best Buy increase conversions on their sites? If we can do that, then we can without a doubt improve conversions on any site in the world.

We’ve all heard the expression “less is more.” Sometimes, however, too little can be just that… too little. For websites, this means a number of things. One, this can be understood literally and mean that if your site isn’t giving your shoppers enough compelling information for simplicity’s sake, then you are offering too little and your conversion rates will suffer. On the other hand, this can mean that if your content isn’t easy to find, then for all intents and purposes your content is invisible to the user.

This is an issue that occurs on The Home Depot’s website. That’s right. The Home Depot, a Fortune 500 company (number 23 on the list, to be exact), has room for improvement. This is a company that has over 2,000 stores in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, over 400,000 employees, and over $100 billion in revenue in 2017. I must be crazy for thinking that their site can see better conversion rates. But I’m not crazy (at least as far as I know), and I’ll show you why.

For today’s video, I’m going to look at The Home Depot’s Fence Installation service, and the goal is to increase the number of people who sign up for in-home consultations and quotes. Here’s what their fence installation page looks like:

Fence Installation Page

To provide some context, this page is one that is visited by shoppers who are interested in having their fence installed by workers contracted by The Home Depot. So as we navigate the fence installation page on The Home Depot’s site, we need to make sure we’re looking at the page from the perspective of one of these shoppers. Here is a link to the page so you can follow along and navigate through the page: https://www.homedepot.com/services/c/fence-installation/8fa995a0c

The first thing many shoppers will be drawn to are the visual elements. That means they’ll see the background image at the top of the page, then read the heading and see the form on the right. But what do they know? Well, nothing really other than that they’re on the fence installation page. If anything, some shoppers are actually more confused. There is no copy that tells them what to do and the form—which is the focal point of the entire page—is poorly presented. What’s the form for? Is it to get an online quote? To be contacted by their team? All it says is “Check availability”. “Availability” of what?

All of this is either answered much lower on the page, while filling out the form, or after the form has been completed. Why provide these answers for shoppers who have already committed to filling out the form? They obviously don’t have these same questions. For the shoppers that are asking these questions, however, there needs to be visible information that provides answers up front.

So let’s start with the most important element on the page, the focal point, the “check availability” form. This is going to be where we place all of our attention because this one form determines who signs up for the installation service and who doesn’t. The first issue we need to tackle is making sure shoppers understand what the form is for. Once completing the form, you are taken to a confirmation page that contains this extremely important information:

Confirmation Page.png

Essentially, The Home Depot has placed all of their Narrative Control at the… end of the funnel? This means that shoppers who have already completed the form are seeing this Narrative Control (that they clearly didn’t need in the first place). What about the people who left the page entirely before filling out the form? Why did The Home Depot ignore them and their concerns?

What we’ve learned after going through the form is that the form exists to set up free in-home consultations with shoppers. That way they can get an accurate quote. So why doesn’t The Home Depot say that up front? Well, it’s simple really. People do not like the idea of strangers coming into their home. But this is why we have our Narrative Control tactic.

So what we’ve done in our concept is add intro copy to this page that assures shoppers that they will be working with licensed professionals that are backed by The Home Depot. We’ve also killed two birds with one stone by telling shoppers exactly what the form is for. Already we’ve likely increased the number of shoppers who at the very least begin the form. Take a look:

Zip Code.png

Now comes the difficult part: getting them to complete the form. Let’s look at our concept again. The first few steps in the form are the same. “Tell us your zip code”? Well that’s not personal enough to create pause in the shopper. “What type of fencing material do you want to install?” Easy peasy. “When do you want to start your project?” Done. “What’s your name?” Uh, well, I guess I’ll tell them that.

“What’s your address?” Hmm. Why do they need to know that? Are they going to send me annoying mail?

To combat this concern, we’ve added a little link that will lead the shopper to a full-screen overlay with plenty of Narrative Control:



Now shoppers know why their address is needed. A licensed professional will be sent to their home for a free in-home consultation. What we are doing here is taking the information that The Home Depot gave us at the end of their form and bringing it to the top of sign-up process. This way shoppers will feel more compelled to move forward with the form.

The next point of friction in the form occurs on the very next step: “Tell us how to contact you.” The shopper is then asked to enter their phone number and email address. Well, now the shopper may be asking themselves if The Home Depot is going to bombard them with deals, promotions, newsletters, etc. Again, to combat this concern we’ve added another full-screen overlay that provides Narrative Control:

Phone Number


For shoppers who clicked on both popup links, they will see the popup above (for shoppers who only clicked on the second one, they’ll see a mega popup that includes information from both). This popup lets shoppers know that they need their contact information just so a licensed professional can set up a consultation date with them. The popup also lets shoppers know why a consultation and quote cannot be done over the phone. Additionally, for those shoppers who are a bit more price sensitive, we’ve added information about The Home Depot’s Consumer Credit Card and Project Loan program.

At this point, shoppers will definitely feel more relaxed about The Home Depot’s fence installation service and feel assured that they will be receiving top quality. We are absolutely confident that these few changes can increase conversions for The Home Depot—again, a Fortune 500 company with a huge marketing team. So surely we can increase conversions on any site in the world. The trick is to walk through sites from the perspective of shoppers.

Again, my name is Preston and you’ll be hearing more from me in the near future. I look forward to talking with you all in the comments and sharing more of what I’ve learned!