Retail, in the eyes of the everyday customer

new ideas and thoughts about the online retail world

Come out and Say It

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3ACTIVE is a brand of 3D glasses by Dimensional Optics ( is an e-tailer that competes against Dimensional Optics.  Makes sense so far?  Ok.

I Googled 3ACTIVE and this paid ad appeared on my screen—


With a juicy message like What 3active Owners Wish They Knew. Before Buying – Avoid Regret! it’s impossible to not click the ad.  Clicking the ad takes shoppers to a page where very eloquently explains why doing business with Dimensional Optics is a bad idea.  The page has been cleverly constructed and I recommend you check it out.

Is playing fair?  Who knows?  Is the tactic working? Most likely.  Google certainly doesn’t mind PPC bidding wars.

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March 3, 2014 at 5:23 am

Coupon Codes Page

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Shari’s Berries ( knows shoppers are trained to hunt for coupon codes.  Instead of having shoppers visit sites like or Shari’s Berries wants to keep coupon searchers on their site.  So they’ve created a page that lists their current coupons.  This is a win-win for both the shopper (convenience) and retailer (saving on affiliate fees, plus preventing a site like from showing a better discount code from competitors.)

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February 24, 2014 at 5:30 am

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Case Study: Make Them See Your Point of View

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As online retailers we want our site visitors to behave a certain way.  Our visitors have their own ideas about what they want to do.  E-tailers who figure out a way to get what they want are the most profitable. sells art supplies.  Most art supply items are fairly inexpensive (averaging $5-$10) so one-time purchases aren’t in the interest of  Art supplies are purchased by artists, and art is a lifestyle so if MisterArt can get a shopper to buy from them exclusively they’ll generate a nice profit over the lifetime of that relationship.  This is why they created a VIP Program which gives shoppers a small discount on each purchase.  The VIP Program costs $25 a year.  MisterArt wants shoppers to purchase this.  Shoppers might not feel as enthusiastic, so MisterArt has a clever tactic.  At every turn they remind shoppers how much they could save if only they were VIP program members.  In itself individual reminders aren’t persuasive enough to generate a signup but each instance nudges the shopper just a little.  Hopefully, by nudge number 4 the shopper will just give in.

Nudge 1 happens at the homepage—


Nudge 2 happens on product page—


At this point the shopper at least wants to see how they could save 30%.  So they click the Learn More link and are transported to sales pitch page.  Here they’re told about the $25/year fee along with nudge 3—


This nudge is a poor one because they are listing how much these shoppers saved in one order.  Since the VIP program has an annual fee it would have been more effective to showcase how much VIP members are saving annually.  Anyway, that’s a minor detail.  Overall, their sales pitch page is quite good.  I’d recommend reading it fully—

Now, if some fool is still not convinced they’re hit with nudge 4 on cart page—


If you liked this post you will also like my case study.

Written by betterretail

February 17, 2014 at 5:51 am

Let Us Call You

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Anything you do that reduces friction will improve conversions.  You know this, and knows this.  That is why on product pages they have this prominent call-to-action—


How does this make a difference, you ask?  Well, shoppers who have unanswered questions have 0% probability of converting; shoppers who have unanswered questions have 15% interest in going trough customer service hoop hell (note: it’s possible that Williams-Sonoma has little to no call wait time, but skeptical shoppers just assume they’ll be on hold a long time, thus the 15% interest in placing the call).  However, when shoppers with unanswered questions are given the option of having a service rep call them (thus no wait time) their interest level spikes to 40%.  This delta of 25% between 15% interest and 40% interest is what has eliminated by displaying a Let Us Call You call-to-action.

Screenshot of popup that appears when button is clicked—


You might not have the call center headcount of, but you can still use this tactic by displaying Let Us Call You call-to-action on select product pages (i.e. product pages that have a high visit count but low conversions or products that are higher ticket items.)

Also, you can set this as a test and measure sales generated via Let Us Call You feature.  Once you know attributed sales it’s easy to determine if leaving the feature is a good idea or not.

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February 10, 2014 at 7:28 am

Artistic Email Signup Popup

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These days nearly every site has an email signup popup on their lading page.  It must be flavor of the month.  But most of these email signup popups look alike, which is probably why visitors instinctively close them.  If you want your email signup popup to work you’re going to have to make it look different, in a good way.  In October we saw an example from Harry and David where they use Facebook social proof to garner signups (link), before that we saw an example from where they use clever copy to generate signups (link).  Now, I’d like to share an example from where they’ve used a hand-drawn design to get the visitor’s attention.  I think it looks good (ignore the offer, focus on the design)—


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February 3, 2014 at 5:28 am

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Fuzzy Ad

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Saw this advertisement on right hand margin of my Gmail inbox—


Notice how Software King icon is blurry? Not sure if this was deliberate or a mistake, but if it was deliberate these guys are marketing geniuses. Here’s why— blurry images immediately capture our attention because we’re expecting to see clear images. What makes this ad so effective is that while the logo is blurry the message 15% off on Office 2010 and all software when you enter code AdWords. Buy Now and Save Big! is super clear. In a way, the blurry image makes the ad copy stand out. Bottom line— they get my attention with the blurry image and get me to click based on relevance of sales copy. You should test this. I know I will.

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January 27, 2014 at 5:41 am

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Data Breach + Bad Usability = Worst Possible Combo

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Target (the retailer) was hacked recently and 110 million customer records were stolen.  Target took swift action and offered customers free credit monitoring for 1 year.  They sent an email asking customers to visit and enter their activation code.

Let’s think about this from the perspective of a Target customer.  They are obviously freaking out and any personal information requested by Target is a sore topic.  But I wanted my identity protected so I visited the requested page.  Screenshot of top half of page—


On I’m required to enter my Social Security number.  That’s a big deal.  I wanted to make sure this was a legitimate site so I scrolled to bottom of page and clicked BBB (Better Business Bureau) link on footer—


Guess what?  The link doesn’t work.  Don’t believe me?  Go to and click BBB (Better Business Bureau) link on bottom half of page.

Written by betterretail

January 20, 2014 at 5:35 am


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