Think Closely About the Choices You Present

One wrong word (or phrase) can injure conversions.

Dyson is an amazing company. They KNOW how to market their engineering story. They also have beautiful products and a beautiful website. But no one is perfect.

Before I go on, let me ask a question: do you prefer reading text or watching a video?

“I prefer watching a video”:

“I prefer reading”: Ok, so here are the options they present:


Pay attention to the first 3. The 3rd option (3rd from the left) has one extra feature listed: Intelligent processor in the head:


This leads to all sorts of cognitive issues because I assumed the first 3 options were the same, except for color. They have the same price and number of reviews, which supported my theory. I even clicked the down arrow to see if maybe the 3rd model had differences in terms of accessories. Here too I couldn’t spot any difference:


To investigate I explored the Learn more button for all 3 models. The phrase Intelligent processor in the head isn’t mentioned anywhere on the product pages. At this point, my brain is getting a little fried.

I believe Dyson made a mistake. They accidentally added the phrase Intelligent processor in the head on the 3rd option even though that’s a feature that applies to all 3 models. This could be a fatal conversion killer. I’ll tell you what it did to me. When I first got to the page the red color model spoke to me (1st one listed). I was about to pull the trigger when I noticed the phrase Intelligent processor in the head. The narrative in my head was that the iron/fuchsia model is $399.99 and has Intelligent processor in the head. Do I really like the red color so much I’m willing to forgo a compelling feature (“Intelligent processor in the head”)? I don’t think so.

Navigation flow slowed (that’s not a good thing for Dyson). Ended up spending an extra 20 minutes to get to the bottom of Intelligent processor in the head and couldn’t figure it. My emotional self wants the red color and my rational side isn’t willing to give up on Intelligent processor in the head feature (especially because it is FREE on the fuchsia color model).

Guess what I did? I decided to defer the purchase. Guess what that really means? I might never return to the site.

One wrongly worded phrase totally messed up the comparison table.

Reconsidering the Phrase Coupon Code


If you hate watching videos read this:

The Zeitgeist affects the emotions phrases evoke. One such phase is “coupon code”. 10 years ago (to me) it meant “use if you have one”. Today (to me) it means “leave this site and Google + coupon code“.

But it doesn’t have to be. If the phrase coupon code has been highjacked use something else. Just ensure the new phrase makes sense to shoppers that do have a code while not tempting others to hunt for it on Google.

This is what does:


They’re begging me to leave the site and hunt down a coupon code (top of the screenshot).

This is what Zingerman’s does. They use the phrase, “Have a secret code?”. It’s great because customers with a coupon code will intuitively know coupon code is a form of secret code. But someone without a coupon code will not instantly know how to search online for a Zigerman’s secret code. It’ll require extra mental effort. And humans are lazy. default state:

Zingerman's_Default.png activated state (here they make sure to use the phase discount code):


How Do You Feel?

When submitting a ticket to WordPress the user is presented with an extra question (red box in the screenshot below):


Why does this matter? Because shoppers who post questions to customer service are often experiencing some level of anxiety. By presenting options WordPress is saying, “we care”.

The funny thing is that these options may be purely serving as a placebo (meaning they have no impact on how the query is handled in the back-end.) But placebo effects are powerful (source).

Getting More Recurring Plan Signups

Our objective is to get people to buy the monthly auto-ship plan (and not the one-time option).

Here is the control (what’s online now):


Everything is laid in front of the user. This can cause analysis paralysis (too many options). Also, the shopper is likely to pick the one-time option because they don’t want to get into a monthly membership.

I had an idea to make this better. This is what I would have done if I was working on this site.

We added a priming treatment. The idea is to activate System 2 for the shopper. Where System 1 cares about the short-term (impulsive emotional side), System 2 cares about the long-term (rational side).

Now when the user reaches the product page we show a welcome message and ask them to make a selection:


This activates System 2. We fully expect most shoppers to select, “I want to change my life for the long term” option. Who wouldn’t? When they do that we show them this screen (notice we’ve eliminated the one-time purchase option):

Test_Option_2.pngThe user will be surprised but immediately remember, “Oh that’s right, I did say I wanted long-term benefits”. It’s now 7% more likely people will stick with this choice.

If the shopper had selected “I’m looking for benefits on the short term” they would have seen this:


Using Small Ask Trigger to Get Leads


Online shoppers (especially mobile) are intimidated by forms. They’re hard to fill out, take a long time, and often make the user give up information they don’t want to. A Small Ask is a good way to get the ball rolling. Definition: Small Ask is when you inspire the shopper to take a single action.

In the bottom right screenshot, “For whom do you need a hearing aid?” is the Small Ask. It’s an innocent and non-threatening question (that’s the key).

Once the user answers the Small Ask they are shown the rest of the form. At this point it’s likely they will continue (sunk cost syndrome). The user thinks, “I already answered this first question, might as well take a look at the next.” This is why the image on the right works so much better than the one on the left.