Time and Conversion Rates

People are kinetic creatures. We are never stagnant. Our views and behaviors change based on outside stimuli, whether that’s the time of day, what side of the bed we woke up on, or, are we hungry? You’d think these things wouldn’t have any effect on important things like our jobs or the future of others but you’re wrong. In a study, the US National Academy of Sciences published findings of parole judges in Israel. In brief, at the beginning of the day, and right after lunch, a prisoner coming up for parole had a 65% chance of going free. Before lunch and towards the end of the day, the chances dipped to close to zero. If hunger affects the supposedly concrete rule of judges, it can be assumed that mere mortals have a similar predisposition to irrational behavior. Websites can change their message to great effect based on the time of day or the day of the week because assumptions on human behavior can be made.


For example, someone’s on a site at 2 AM on a Friday night trying to buy something. You can assume that this person has been out and there’s a credit card burning a hole in their pocket. What messaging tweaks should be made to the site to capitalize on this?

Is this the same behavior as someone coming to a site on 8AM on a Monday morning from a computer browser? This person doesn’t have all the time in the world. They’re popping in for a second before work because they have some time, or is it a mobile device which means they’re commuting on the train and have all the time in the world to kill. Is a conversion going to be made before they get to work? How does the site adapt to these situations?

Because a site can know where you are and the device you’re coming from, it’s possible to tell seemingly insignificant details. Where you are? What time it is? What the weather’s like there? All these factors can be brought to play when it comes to changing the message on the site.

Shopper Discounts Explained

Retailers give discounts to shoppers to nudge them to buy. On the face of it, one would assume discounts are the best way to improve conversation rates. But, it’s being done so much shoppers have become desensitized by discounts.

When buyers see that an item has been discounted $50 they disregard the discount amount and just look at the final price. So, whether the markdown is $2 or $50, it’s not taken into consideration, it’s ignored.

The solution? Grab the user’s attention by explaining why the discount is being given.

When you offer the shopper an explanation for why something has been discounted, it not only gets read, it improves conversion rates.

Check out the example we threw together for you below (we added the text why we’re discounting $36):


When “Why we’re discounting $36” is clicked we’ll show this popup message:


Active Versus Passive Marketing

There are basically two types of marketing: passive and active. Passive marketing is bottom of the barrel marketing where one is simply keeping up with competitors or implementing ideas based on internal pressures. For example, if your CEO asks to increase email channel sales contribution from 5% to 6% and you respond by increasing email messaging frequency by 20% then you are a passive marketer. An active marketer is someone who would take that CEO directive and improve Average Order Value without increasing send frequency.

I was reading an article about the success of the Starbucks app and that story nicely illustrates this point. Let’s look at two scenarios:

Passive scenario: (Made up example) Starbucks launches their app and sends a press release touting the fact that 14 million customers use their Starbucks app every week. This is the so lame, Starbucks has over 100 million customers and if 14 million use the app once a week that means nothing. Basically, the app is leveraging existing demand. If the app created new demand, now that would be impressive.

Active scenario: Starbucks launches their app and sends a press release that talks about how their app uses personalization. Their personalization algorithm uses weather and time of day data to make offers. It could offer a discount for iced coffee when it’s unexpectedly hot outside. Or, if a customer aways gets just one type of coffee the app could make a special offer so the customer can be marketed a higher margin item. This is a great example of active marketing because Starbucks app has taken a situation where the customer might not be actively thinking about getting a Starbucks and nudged them in that direction.

Looked another way, active marketing is when you are able to take a customer who doesn’t want to take an action and gently convince them otherwise.

What type of marketer are you?

Amazon.com Vs. ______.com

5 years ago an online retailer that had their own site but also listed on Amazon would see like 10% of sales come through Amazon. Today that number is more like 60%. Naturally, some retailers have decided it’s not worth competing and taken their focus entirely to Amazon. They either close their site or significantly minimize their attention to it since it’s not driving as much revenue.

I’m not sure if that’s the right call.

Amazon has some disadvantages. The biggest being that Amazon product pages have to be formatted pretty much identically. Product description is basically a list of bullet points. That means you can’t weave a compelling story on your Amazon product page.

Here is what I think is happening. Your potential buyers either discover your site first or are on Amazon, discover your item, check out your branded site, and then buy on Amazon. But the point is that a big percentage of your first-time buyers on Amazon did indeed visit your site. Just because they ultimately purchased the product on Amazon after spending 12 minutes on your brand site doesn’t mean Amazon should get all the credit. Even if they love your site they might prefer to buy from Amazon if they have Amazon Prime (and nearly 50% of American households do).

How can we know for sure that your branded site is influencing Amazon conversions? Glad you asked. One idea is to focus your PPC on a specific city (for example Austin, Texas). Boost your ad spend in this one city for a time period (based on purchase cycle for your product). Then go to Amazon and see if there was a proportional uptick in Austin orders. If there was it proves your site plays an important role in driving Amazon sales.