Episode 17: Customers Who Click (CRO), Why customer feedback might be more informative than data

Podcast 17 Will Laurenson

On this episode of Retention Chronicles we are joined by Will Laurenson of Customers Who Click and he is an expert on conversion rate optimization (CRO). He works with ecommerce brands to reduce customer acquisition and get a higher return on their spending but to also get more customers through the door, increasing their average order values (AOV) and lifetime value (LTV).

On this episode you’ll learn about:

  • What conversion rate optimization is and why it’s important for LTV and retention
  • Testing for optimization in areas like free trials, marketing copy, customer pain points, CTAs, and returns policies
  • Simple things you can do to really increase your conversion rate
  • Why customer feedback might be better than data
  • How to take customer and community pain points to inform and differentiate your marketing copy

Be sure to subscribe to stay up-to-date and checkout Malomo, the leading order tracking platform for Shopify brands at gomalomo.com. Try our free trial today!

Episode resources: Baymard Institute and GoodUI.org

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Mariah Parsons, Will Laurenson

Mariah Parsons 00:03

Hello and welcome to retention Chronicles, a podcast sponsored by Malomo, a shipment tracking platform that helps ecommerce brands turn order tracking into a profitable marketing channel. On this podcast, we welcome leading DTC brands and experts to chat about all things customer retention, and E commerce. We absolutely love highlighting all the amazing things that our customers are doing in the post purchase space. If you like what you hear, be sure to check out our website go malomo.com. Maybe you'll even be featured on this podcast someday in the near future, who's to say to help us continue to bring new guests and information to you. Please be sure to subscribe to this podcast wherever you like to listen. On this episode of retention Chronicles, we are joined by Will Laurenson of customers who click and he is an expert in customer retention optimization. He works with E commerce brands to reduce customer acquisition and get a higher return on their spending. But to also get more customers through the door and increase their average order values and lifetime value. By listening you'll obviously hear about CRO and so many other cool topics that we go into because as will point out, conversion rate optimisation. Optimization isn't just about the conversions, but so much more. We'll chat about various testing that you can run for areas like free trials, marketing, copy, customer pain points, CTAs and return policies. We'll also talk about sending helpful content to your customers and why customer feedback might be more important than data. Let's get into it. Hello, everyone. Welcome to retention Chronicles. Today we are joined by Will Laurenson at customers who click, he's here to tell us all about the conversion rate optimization. So thank you for coming on the show. Well, we are so happy to have you here.

Will Laurenson 02:08

Hi, thanks for having me. First,

Mariah Parsons 02:10

I thought it would be great if you could share with us your background, how you got into the space, and kind of why you like to tell us about customers who click and everything that you do there.

Will Laurenson 02:22

Yeah, sure. So my background was in marketing. It's always been quite kind of general, in a marketing manager, Head of Marketing sort of roles in startups, as well. And I kept coming across the same problem, which was as a marketing team, we were told, here's your budget, go and acquire customers and grow the business. Right, it was kind of the expectation that having a pot of money was all that it was required to go in and acquire customers and make a lot of money for the business. And every time I come across the same problem in that the website wasn't optimized checkout flows, signup pages, the actual general usability of a website or an app just wasn't that great. So either we were struggling to get people to sign up or purchase in the first place. Or once we did get them through initially, they just weren't really sticking. And so I started pushing myself more and more into the product teams basically. And I say push because it was very much I am working with you now. We're gonna work on fixing this. And, and just trying to work on fixing, fixing the websites, fixing apps, to make sure people actually converted with them. And then I, my last role was head of conversion for quite a big gambling company in the UK, which is quite interesting. I was actually a mix of CRO and email marketing. Okay, so the main, we can't like Team owned kind of everything from so the moment people landed on a website, so the the, you know, PPC or SEO team had done their job taking them through to sign up and then to actually get them to deposit and make their first first place in games. So this conversion team wasn't just responsible for conversion rates, it was responsible for that little bit of ongoing, ongoing experience. And then I left there, November 19 2019. I decided to go out and do this on my own and work with mainly ecommerce brands to improve conversion rates, help them reduce their cost of acquisition, get better return on ad spend but also get more customers through the door, increase the average order values and crucially improve lifetime value as well. So you know, the way I see conversion doesn't just end up that, that actual conversion points, right? Gotta be looking at those as longer term metrics like the return All right. And by that I mean product returns, order returns, lifetime value and stuff like that. Because if I increase conversion rates, but returns go up and retention goes down, then I'm not really I'm not really adding anything I'm like,

Mariah Parsons 05:15

Yeah, real quick, what I'm, like you mentioned the metrics that you're looking at the long term metrics. What do you use to like, look at those metrics? Like, is there a specific technology? Or is that like you tracking every customer step,

Will Laurenson 05:28

I was just generally dashboards, like in Shopify, and things like that just you know, the, the general dashboards you get, and just kind of keeping an eye on them. Obviously, checking in with customer service, as well, and doing a lot with the teams there. So that they're seeing, you know, they're recording how many tickets coming in through it because of a return, why people have requested those returns. When I worked for a subscription app, it was, you know, collecting that feedback on the cancellation page, and asking, you know, finding out why people were actually canceling. And looking at various, various stages that they were actually canceling at. You know, one, one thing I found out there, which was really interesting, because there was loads of debate about this, and that's whether to ask for a credit card on signup. Okay. And, I mean, we tested loads of options we tested with and without credit cards, we tested 714 and 30 day trials, we tested paid offers straightaway. And we found that a 30 day trial without a credit card was the best option.

Mariah Parsons 06:34

Okay, it's interesting, you say that we're at Malomo. Now a 30 day trial without credit card addition. So that's good to hear. Yeah, pre trial,

Will Laurenson 06:43

what we found was, quite obviously, you get, you get far more people signing up. But then your retention rate from the trial to paid plummets, but you then build it back up, right, some people, the free trial just expires, and they've forgotten to put the card in, whatever. So you can, you can gather some of these people back, you can win people back. But after what we were finding was after three months, we had a better conversion rate on the low credit card trial. So better, better conversion rate, better retention rate, you know, we had more customers after three months, after 90 days, than we did on the credit card side. So that first month retention looked really good. But actually what was happening was people were forgetting they were being charged for the next month, a lot of people would still then use it a little bit, but then they would cancel. Right? Or they would, you know, all that renewal would happen. They canceled immediately. But then just use it a little bit for that month. And yeah, generally, what we found was people who then opt to come back and put their credit card in, were more valuable and better in the long term than people who put the credit card in at the start. And then and then continued.

Mariah Parsons 08:00

Right? I'd imagine kind of like you're after a free trial, after you have had 30 days, you don't have to put in your credit card in the beginning when you go back. That's like the added action of or like the reconfirmation of, oh, I want this service to continue. So you might have, like you said, a smaller pool of customers who are coming back, but they're very, very valuable and dedicated. Like it's, it's kind of like that trade off of what, you know what, as a company you're looking for the most. And I think if you have a smaller group that is more dedicated, that's bigger, that's better than a bigger group that leads off over time.

Will Laurenson 08:41

It's interesting how you phrase that, right, you said a smaller group that comes back. But the reason we looked at 90 days was because we knew we were going to have that drop off. And we we knew we would have a better retention rate with a credit card, but then they things would switch. So we looked at 90 days. And that's what we considered that that kind of true conversion. So So when when we looked at it that way we didn't see as we were getting a bigger drop off. We were seeing it as we had more customers. Right. Okay, so the situation we were in. Yeah.

Mariah Parsons 09:12

90 days. Yeah.

Will Laurenson 09:13

Yeah. But but having a credit card. Yeah. Okay, month one, retention was really good. We had better, better retention rates, who actually paid month, but then so many more of those people dropped off because they actually didn't want the product because they'd forgotten about it or whatever. So I can't remember the exact standard. I think it was about I think our conversion rate was about double up. So like that kind of 90 day, 90 day conversion rate. I think it was about double for people who hadn't put a credit card in at the start.

Mariah Parsons 09:47

Yeah, well, that's crazy. I mean, you have the numbers to back it up. That's that's wildly successful to get that number to double. Would you say that so? Like how you mentioned the state Is that you looked at the stages that people were dropping off at was there like a specific stage in the customer journey that they that customers would fall off from?

Will Laurenson 10:12

So I know we're kind of talking about a digital product. So I don't know if you want to go back to focus on E commerce. But in this particular example, we were looking at, so this app was like a Spotify for magazines. Right? So you had loads of content on there, it was all you could consume. For a monthly fee. We, we were looking at a certain number of magazines read within the first few days was generally the indicator. The reason for a 30 day trial was because it improved conversion rate to trial, signup rate, so it was far more enticing than a seven or 14 day trial. And you know, when you look at Netflix, Spotify, all those sort of things, they will give 30 Day trials. So it's kind of industry standard, you know, when the when the big, big guns in the industry, what sort of industry are doing it? It's difficult to go off that. So yeah, it was it was trying to get people to do a certain read a certain number of magazines within their first, I think it was three days, or three or seven. And then another indicator was the number of devices that they activated their profile. So if they, if they used it on multiple, multiple devices, they were much more likely to retain. And essentially what was happening there is password sharing. But it was allowed. We were we were telling people just know you can have up to five profiles on your account. I don't, again, like we were talking. I thought I leave there six years ago. Yeah, I don't I don't believe that we were stopping any kind of concurrent usage or anything like that. So you can have all five people using the app at the same time. I think we even positioned it as you know, it's one one subscription for the family. So that sort of thing. But yeah, so you know, those were the two metrics if they, if they read a certain number of magazines within Yeah, I think about three days. And if they activated the device, or more than one sort of profile on more than one device, they were much more likely to stay with us.

Mariah Parsons 12:12

Okay, well, that's yeah, I wouldn't think like the device, tracking the devices that they sign in on. That's super interesting. And then so one other thing I wanted to touch upon that you had said is when you go to like, say, someone doesn't convert, and you go to build that backup, so I think it was in the range of like, the 90 days. How do you kind of like how do you get those customers to convert? Like, ways you do that? Is it like you're targeting them with ads, or emails or anything along those lines?

Will Laurenson 12:44

Yeah, a lot of it was email marketing. So we would feed data back to our acquisition team to run ads. So they would run those ads to the audience who were opted out of marketing. But yeah, generally, it was it was email marketing, and, and we just use content that they'd they've been engaging with. Right. So, you know, we actually came up with a, an in house recommendation engine. So it would, you know, look at, I think it was they've, they've kind of favorite magazine, I think we might have had favorite magazine and favorite category. And then we could base stuff off that. So we could say, well, here's here's another magazine that's related to the magazine that you've read his his third one as well, or a second relevant one. And then his. We could do popular, popular with other people who were reading similar stuff, right? I think so it's it. I mean, when you when you look at it, like if I if we, if I showed you the kind of algorithm and stuff, it looks really basic, it's really, really simple stuff that we were doing. But it just made a big difference to being able to convert people. And to build up that engagement within that first 30 days as well. You need to be able to email someone within seven days saying the new new issue of this magazine has gotten live that we know you like or we've just launched this magazine onto the platform similar to the one you've read, why don't you check this out? That stuff made a huge difference.

Mariah Parsons 14:17

It's interesting, you say that, it's like the algorithm that you built is simple. And I think that's encouraging, right? Like to hear that you don't have to do you don't have to go above and beyond to, you know, resonate with these customers. And to convert them. It can be simple, if like you said, I mean, the analogy of Spotify for magazines, like I completely get it right. Like they recommend you songs, they're recommending you a magazine of oh, this is what other people who are like you're listening to that's what they're reading. It makes a lot of sense that it would be perhaps a simple like not super complicated methodology behind getting someone to convert. It's just understanding what kind of person you have, what groups they fall into, and then handing them the information that they're looking for.

Will Laurenson 15:02

Yeah, I mean, I think the, the most amount of work that was required for that project was literally categorizing magazines, crazy for the purpose of the algorithm. So we had category add a single category in place for each magazine for the purpose of the app itself, using the app. But when it came to the personalization engine, I think we, we gave every magazine three categories to allow us to then link things up a bit better. And that was it. So yeah, the longest piece of work was my colleague had to run through about 1500 magazines, pick a category on each of them. And then two or three of us, reviewed it and put our and made any suggestions. You know, the actual tech side of it was done very quickly.

Mariah Parsons 15:51

Okay. Yeah, I would say that's really encouraging. So let's shift gears a little bit. And talk about if someone is looking to increase their conversion rate, where where do they start? You know, you mentioned that you worked mostly with startups and still work with them. So let's, let's like, look at it through that lens of if you have a startup or a scaling brand, where do you where do you recommend someone would start?

Will Laurenson 16:21

Yeah, so I suppose I work more with scale ups now. Because, you know, CRO, does require a bit of traffic, right? Yeah, to a website, generally, otherwise, you're looking at more of a little project, rather than what that ongoing optimization be, I mean, the first place to start is research. So there's two, two approaches to it. I'm, I don't think it matters too much, which which one you take, you can even go down the data route first. So dive into Google Analytics, find out where the blockages are in your website, which pages people are getting stuck on which areas of the funnel they're getting stuck on. And then use heat maps, click maps, session recordings to further kind of analyze this pages, find out where people are not clicking, not seeing. And then the other side is, is that user feedback. And so actually speaking to customers, finding out what's important to them. I think if you I know some people will probably hate me saying this, but I think you can avoid the data side completely. And if you just did really good customer research will be good interviews, because they the learnings that you're going to get for them from them are going to allow you to do testing across your website. So there will be certain things you know, there will be the weird things that you can't really get from that customer research, because people don't know how to, you know, you're not you're going to struggle to get someone to tell you what the perfect filter setup should be for your website, because then they're going to struggle to explain that properly. Yeah, but you can get some insight from them, which allows you to come up with hypotheses and then just just give it a go.

Mariah Parsons 18:09

Would you Yeah, so it's interesting, like those two different branches of the research that you can have of like the data, and then customer feedback or, you know, getting in front of customers. So I'm curious to hear what you'd say about this. I feel like data is maybe one of those things like brands already have. So they can like they don't have to say, bother anyone to get it. And so I wonder if you come across this of if you recommend going the like user feedback route, is there any hesitation because a brand would be because the brand doesn't want to, like bother their customers or reach out or any of that.

Will Laurenson 18:51

So firstly, from what I've, from my experience, customers are happy to chat to a business. Mostly if they're happy, but I've limited it, I think an interview was it yesterday or Monday. And the guy wasn't happy. It wasn't he wasn't furious. It was an unhappy with the business, right. But he said, you know, the product wasn't working for him. It didn't seem to help wasn't doing it. So he was he was going to find out the business and just ask him some questions, you know, try and try and identify why it wasn't working. But he still jumped on a call and was happy to chat with with me, you know, a non not even an employee of the business. So generally, they're happy to chat. You only need to do five to 10 of them. If you're asking the right questions. And you know, I always find I've kind of missed a question in a couple of interviews. But someone has said something and maybe the third one that I'm thinking okay, now I need to ask a question about this in the following interviews because I actually want to dig into this, but I hadn't really considered it before. But what I would say is, I don't think you can go down the data route with that do the research the customer interview route? Because they're going to tell you, they're the ones who are going to tell you how to fix the problems. Otherwise, you're just kind of you are hypothesizing, you are, you're making your best guess at how to fix the solution. And you won't always know why. So, you know, I can look at Google Analytics. And I'll see that the add to cart rate isn't great. Right? So I'm thinking, okay, so there must be, there's probably an issue with the product page. Right? So people are getting to the product page, and that no one's adding, it's adding that product to cart, why not? Then you look at heat maps. And you can see where people are clicking, you know, they might be looking at the images, they might look at a bit of, you know, the product description, bullet points, but they're not scrolling, you know, something like that. Or would you can do there is say to yourself, they're looking at the gallery, they're looking at the scription, they're not adding to cart. So something must be wrong with those. Something is stopping them at that stage from from either adding to cart or Scrolling further down the page to seek more information. But that's as far as you get with it. But you've got, you've got no other information to tell you what might be wrong with that page. Right? The customer interview comes in. Because then Then what you're asking people is, you know, why are you interested in these products? What research did you do? What's the, what was the problem you had that made you make you want to seek out these problems? What was the job that you need doing? If you've if you've got that product and used it? How do you now feel about that product? How do you now feel about your life? Has it? Has it has it fixed that pain point has it done that job for you. And that's the information that's going to give you that wording, sometimes almost exact wording to use on your website. But otherwise, it's just the the kind of themes and topics that you need to be approaching. So I'm doing interviews for CBD brands at the moment. And as you between the interviews and reviews, pain points generally seem to be the same. So people having problems sleeping, but taste comes up a lot. People people like the taste of the products of my clients products, but also a number of people have specified that other CBD products taste better. Okay, so there's, there has been people try the products. And they've had this understanding that generally CBD products don't taste that nice, but these ones do. That's a massive selling point. Because there might be 1000s of people out there who haven't enjoyed the CBD products that they've tried. And so they're looking at this page thinking, Okay, well, I want to try CBD because I know it helps, but I don't like the taste. So we're not talking about the taste to promote the good taste. There, you know, then they're thinking, Well, I'm going to take a take a chance on this. You know, I know I can see from the CBD information that this is a good product, but I'm still taking a chance on the taste. So now if we really highlight that information, we've removed that anxiety from from their mind. And they're thinking, okay, I can, I can buy that because people people like the taste. And that's been the key thing for me. Another thing that keeps popping up is the word groggy. When I ask people when, what's the what's the problem, that their pain point is causing them? You know, when they wake up the next morning? How do they feel? Loads of people have said they feel groggy in the morning. Right? Not just one person spent three interviews, and it's popped up in reviews. So that's language that we can now use on the website specifically, to say like, you know, don't wake up groggy in the morning, or something like that. Because that seems to be a message, you know, wording and a message that that people respond to. And then of course, you can test it. You could test it AB test it to make sure it's actually the right language. But there's yeah, there's, there's no way you can really get that feedback unless you you're actually asking customers. And if you don't ask that customers, you're never, you know, I would never have used the word groggy. Yeah, I never thought of using that word on the website, I would have, you know, I would have probably would have been something boring. Like, you know, you're no longer going to feel tired in the morning. That's boring. If referencing can I feel groggy or, you know, fuzzy minded, or whatever they say? That's the language they use. So why not? Why not use it on the website?

Mariah Parsons 24:39

Yeah, and it sticks out right? Like if that's what Yeah, it's interesting, like the understanding the community pain points. I've never really like with user feedback. I feel like it's like oh, the you're using one individual to understand like more about their experience, but when you could tie that to a whole community like you said, like the tea Send the grogginess you can now of course, like you had mentioned, use those pain points, use that customer feedback to then really make sure that your product, your messaging is all matching like the community and then helps your conversion rates.

Will Laurenson 25:17

Exactly. And I think it's what's really important is to, is to see that, that recurring theme with with those responses, because it's really easy to pick up on something that you think is interesting, but actually only comes up once. Right? So I remember doing doing a survey for a client's last year. And it was about an orthopedic pillow. So we were asking people, you know, I can't remember the exact question was something like, what's, what was the problem you were facing? When you when you wanted to buy a pillow at one, these pillows, and neck pain came up as the vast majority, which we kind of expected? Because that's, that's what it's designed for. Yeah, shoulder pain came up a lot and back pain, which again, those were kind of what we expected. By when I was running through the survey results, I noticed stiffness come up a couple times. And initially that stood out to me. And I thought, okay, stiffness, that's, that's interesting. Because that's a, you know, everyone says neck pain, but actually, when when they say neck pain, do they mean neck stiffness? Yeah. But when I fully analyzed the results, it was something like two mentions in about 1000. So then I'm thinking, well, actually, is there really enough there to be worth doing a test on? And I don't think it ever came. I don't think anyone ever mentioned it in an interview. So that's where yeah, you know, it can be could be really easy for me to have picked up on that and go like, hey, we need to test some stiffness messaging, messaging, but actually, it probably wouldn't have been worthwhile.

Mariah Parsons 26:55

Right? Yeah. So you have to kind of like find that balance of Where's something repeatedly occurring? And like, where should you take that and test it? And then where is it just like, like you said to and however many chances of like, Oh, it came up twice, but not enough to test different messaging? Is that the,

Will Laurenson 27:16

the reviews that I've looked up for the CBD products? It's not all the reviews, obviously. But of all the ones I've picked out 70 of reviews, about a quarter of them mentioned taste well into the nice taste. So that tells me this is definitely something to go and and run some tests on.

Mariah Parsons 27:36

Okay, yeah. So it's definitely with that you would say it's like a numbers game of seeing how much something is populating in, in the dataset you're looking at? Yeah, I mean, that's super interesting. And I love that you're getting so many examples for all of these, like you said, like, the CBD products, the the pillow as well like having to, for each brand, each client that you're working with, like, pivot and see what for those brands that they need in that moment to really create the best product for their customers.

Will Laurenson 28:09

Yeah, yeah. Another example, that again, came from something that came from interviews, actually, I think it just came from a survey was for a retailer. And we found that actually, you know, everyone talks about free shipping, right? Everyone wants to put that free shipping right in front of people. But actually, hassle free returns, came up, came up as the as one of the key the key messages that people want to see, not necess even and I think this has been a deep check in interviews, not necessarily free returns. Right? Easy returns? Yeah, people want to know that if they need to make a return. They can print off their own their own return slip or you know, if it's Amazon, you just take them in fact, I've returned to the product recently with Amazon where they said don't put it in a box instructions it's like specifically said don't box it up, just give us the product take it back to like a Hermes drop off point. And in and they explained it's because they will pack it up so that they can get more packages in their in their van. Well, which is great. But yeah, the point is, people wanted hassle free returns, you know, free shipping was always a a nice to have. But if a brand had free returns, then they would be more likely to pay for shipping. Knowing that they if they if the product was bad, like bad, then they could send it back.

Mariah Parsons 29:35

Yeah, okay, well, that's I've that parallel between the two of them is so interesting, like everything that has to do with the returns and shipment process because they feel like you do like you're expecting kinda like free shipping but you stand out if you see like hassle free returns easy returns.

Will Laurenson 29:54

Yeah, I think that's a that's right. It's almost like the expectation now is that If you've got free shipping, even if you've got to spend 100 pounds for something, the expectation is if you spend enough money, you're gonna get free shipping. Return side. I think some brands are setting that expectation about returns. So you know, obviously, Amazon, we've got a sauce here, who I think I've been known, the basically known as the company that you just buy loads of clothing from, and then send back whatever you don't like. Right? So I think that's setting the expectation for free returns, but not everyone does it yet.

Mariah Parsons 30:33

Okay, cool. Would you say to with all these different ways that you've been talking about? CRO is there? Like, does it does your I guess where you would start? Does it depend on like, the size or the type of industry that a brand is in? Or is it pretty? Like across the board? Have you see like this, a couple of main, like pain points, or a couple of things that multiple brands across multiple industries aren't doing that you can like then come in and help them with further CRO?

Will Laurenson 31:10

I think everything's got to go through the research really, you know, I've done this for when I've been doing this as a consultant for about two and a half, three years now. And before that for about six years in house. It's difficult to say like, yes, certain things keep popping up. And I think you do have some no brainers, such as making sure if you've got free shipping and free returns, stick that on your product page. But outside of that it gets it gets difficult. But some some messaging just doesn't work. So another example, we're working with a footwear retailer. We were looking at, you know, Amazon, Amazon, right. They've got that almost like the countdowns, you know, they'll say order it. Yeah, either. It's sometimes it's by five o'clock, sometimes it's in the next this amount of time, and will to receive it tomorrow. And we tested that. We tested two versions one was it was so both times with the timer. So it was always a countdown timer. Place your order within timer for I think one was next day delivery. And one was to be shipped today. Okay. Obviously not an exact messaging, but message was next day delivery or ship today. Yeah. And ship today one.

Mariah Parsons 32:43

Wow. Would you say like? Yeah, like the urgency, I guess of like today is like quicker than tomorrow?

Will Laurenson 32:51

Possibly. Yeah, maybe it was the today tomorrow message that was actually resonating for people. Maybe, you know, maybe it's further down the funnel as well, you know, so people. Some next day delivery was was paid. So you'd get free standard delivery. But next day delivery was paid. So actually, let's dig and dig into the stats for that. For the add to cart rate, but it's Yeah, possibly more people adding it to cart and fewer people would then converting because they saw the payment the charge. Whereas on the ship today version? There's there's no expectation. There's kind of no expectation, whether it's whether it's paid or not, or, or what that shipping. Shipping speed is. It's just the fact that it's going to be shipped today. It'll be out the door today. And so you know, you're gonna get it. You'd expect it within two, three days, at least here and here in the UK. I think you'd expect standard delivery to be two, maybe three days.

Mariah Parsons 34:00

Okay, yeah, that's super interesting. We fact check. So maybe I'll have you dig into those stats. And I can, I can add them in at the end. And so so you have like the first step. I mean, it's a huge chunk, right? The research, whether it's data or customer feedback. So then once you get that research, where then do you go? Like, can you give us a couple of examples of how then like you're either using the heat maps to improve, like the customer journey or improve that conversion rate.

Will Laurenson 34:32

Yeah, so generally, then the kind of ideation stage happens, where we've we've got that feedback, we know where problems are. We've now got ideas of messaging, and and what's important to customers. So then we start looking at those actual pages thinking, Okay, what's this going to look like on this page? What is the exact message that's going to work? We'll come up with a bunch of test ideas. So this will at this stage it's just SCBD example it'll be, we need to get a taste message on the on the product page. And that's it. And that goes into the prioritization list. With product, we score and prioritize all these test ideas, then we move it to Trello board, like a Kanban board. And that's when we start working on things. But generally, the idea is to come up with two or three versions of what this test should look like. And doesn't mean we have to test the variance. But it's generally, the idea is that the second or third idea is going to be better. Right? It's rather than your first idea, your first idea is probably going to be a bit boring. It just, you know, a statement like, you know, has a nice refreshing flavor. But then when you think about it, or you might even see some examples elsewhere, of how people have talked about flavors, and shown off flavors, you might come up with another idea on how to better present that in a more just a more interesting way. And that could be you know, some sort of graphic instead, an image, yeah, whatever. And then you kind of deciding on what that best one will be best, or what you think the best version will be. If you can't decide you tested both, as long as you've got the traffic, and then you just keep moving from there. So now that I know, taste is a big issue for people. You know, it's not just a case of running that one test, hopefully getting a winning test winning result, implementing it and moving on something else. I should be thinking, well, now we know people to care about taste. And we've proved that because test has worked. What's the next step with taste? Where do we go from here? Is it further iteration? So do we need idea number four? Number five, number six? Or is it somewhere else on the website? Should we be saying, you know, instead of CBD for your need, whether it's sleep or calmness or focus, should we be saying CBD by taste? Do you want? Do you want a minty taste? Do you want a caramel taste or an orange taste or whatever? And letting people browse, browse that way instead? Obviously, that has complications, because if you're looking for a sleek product and the sweet products only in one flavor. Yeah, there's not a lot you can do with that apart from say, well, product team, you need to start stuffing multiple flavors. But yeah, I mean, that's an idea off the top of my head. But the point is, now you've got something that's working, and you know, people are responding positively to this message, how can you get more out of that message? Rather than just saying, cool, done? Let's start from scratch again with something else and work on work on a different test.

Mariah Parsons 37:47

Yeah, like kind of eliminating that, like, pivot to a different project, but like really hone in on this one thing that is proving to work really well for you? And so it's like, how do you continue to kind of like stand out as a brand, because that's the differentiator between other you know, competitor products is that taste. And so I love that idea of not just like pivoting and trying to change multiple things across the board at once. But you've, you're honing in on that differentiator with your with your product.

Will Laurenson 38:19

Yeah. And, you know, there's nothing wrong with running tests on different areas of the website, at the same time. But it's yeah, it, you know, don't do one test on flavor on the product page. And then that's it, and you never touch it again, and you start moving on to shipping messages or benefits of the product or whatever. Maybe you do do that next while while you analyze and think about but just make sure you come back to those ideas, those winning tests. Yeah. And, and even the losing ones, actually, you know, there's, there's a reason you decided to run the test in the first place. And that reason should be it was backed by data, it was backed by research. You came up with a hypothesis to solve this solution, solve this problem. There's a reason it's then lost. So you should be trying to work out why that's happened. Why did not respond to this message properly?

Mariah Parsons 39:16

Hmm, okay. Yeah. So like kind of playing both of like, winning and losing tests in those, you know, in those terms of things that's going well, and things that doesn't like it could have been something in like slight tweak of the messaging in the test that isn't going well, that could then turn that into a test that goes really well.

Will Laurenson 39:34

Yeah, I mean, I've run, you know, multivariate tests where it's been, it's essentially the same message but the wording is different, and some are positive, some are negative. And, you know, one that as you get another example from a client that stands out is introducing Kleiner to our website. So we wanted to add it to the product page, so we were going to stick it just underneath the call to action, the add to cart, it was just that standard banner, which says Klarna. Buy now pay later. That static banner, not the pay this amount per month, I think. Yeah. So I said, Well, I've actually come across some research recently around kind of call to actions and messages that were brand related, not generic. So I said, Well, why don't we try doing sleep now pay later? Because it was Yeah. And the sleep now pay later, I think it improved conversion rate by about 3%. I can't remember ARV probably is probably about the same. But client a buy now pay later reduced conversion rate by 5%. So my test, my variant was sleep now pay later was 8% better off than the client version. But the important factor is that the client of the standard version would have lost the client money by implementing, and originally that was going to be something that you know, that was going to be one of these best practice things that they were just going to put on the website. Because, you know, everyone says, well, it's cleaner, it's a buy now pay later option that improves conversion rate improves average order value. And then this test showed that actually, they would have they would have been losing money by just putting the standard message on there.

Mariah Parsons 41:19

Yeah, that's super interesting that like the because I guess the action item, or like the action word is like you're buying something rather like which, you know, sometimes we were like, Oh, I don't want to buy something even though you're, you know, you're buying a product, but then it's like, oh, sleep now. It's like, oh, you can just relax. And there's like a better connotation with that wording.

Will Laurenson 41:38

People want sleep, that was why they're buying the products, they want to be able to sleep, sleep now pay later, because it will also match them with the guarantee as well. Now obviously, with Kleiner, they can they can pay in 30 days anyway, but also the brand had a 30 day 30 day No, no questions asked returns policy as well.

Mariah Parsons 41:56

So it lined up, like fairly well with that. Okay, thank you for sharing. That's super, super interesting of like, even, yeah, that that little detail that could make all the difference of like 8% to help conversion rates. I mean, that's huge.

Will Laurenson 42:12

Yeah, I mean, 8% Fantastic. Really, the test had a 3% improvement, which is okay, it's fine. You know, there's nothing wrong with that, if you get a bunch of three percents every, every month or whatever, that's it's gonna start stacking up. But yeah, the important thing was the fact that the standard one was was a worst performer than the control would have been better off not putting it on there at all.

Mariah Parsons 42:34

Yeah. Wow. That's awesome. I'm gonna take that with me for sure. One thing I know that we're coming up on time, but one thing that I wanted to ask your opinion about being a CRO expert is where do you see like conversion rate optimization in the post purchase area, where like really comes into play, like helping out the LTV, and you know, that like repeat purchase rate coming back to a brand? And like reconverting?

Will Laurenson 43:06

Yeah, so I think one thing that what I mentioned straightaway is the big misconception around CRO is that it's only about conversion rates, and it's only about a B testing. Obviously, it doesn't help the CRO stands for conversion rate optimisation. Right. But really convert CRO is about growth, right. It's it's building a strategy and a process for business growth, whether that's conversion rates, ARV lifetime value, retention rates, if you're converting someone for the right reason, you're really convincing them, this genuinely is the right product for them. And then they do see that benefit, because obviously, you've got good products, they'll come back. If you convert someone for the wrong reason, because you've given them a 50% discount and free shipping, then it's likely it's entirely possible that they've bought because the incentive is so good, they've gone well. Yeah, I'm that sort of just give it a go. And then obviously, if there's a free returns policy, then they are 100% incentivized just to give it a go. Never give it cost them 3040 Maybe $50 to buy this product at that discount. And if they don't like it, they just send it back. Then it just costs you money. You know, not only do you have you know, you've got the return, you've spent money acquiring that customer, you've spent money on the return potentially depending on the product, you can't resell it or you might have restocking fees, you know, it costs you money so you've got to convert people right reason to get them to come back. And then there's the part about the research that that feeds into to it all a lot. You know, I don't really know why, but for some reason, the only teams that I really see doing customer research are CRO teams. Never really see email marketing teams do it PPC teams Then you might get some bigger, like big agencies who will do it just as part of an overall market research package. But don't get me started on those. But yeah, so CRM, CRM teams are the ones speaking to customers speaking of customer service, as well to find out more information from them. So then they start feeding that information into the other areas of the business. And that could be, you know, email marketers, we think should be using this information, people really resonate with this. These these words, these these phrases, this is the educational content that they're asking for. Or it could be, you know, like, the actual product team, you know, everyone is we're getting loads of feedback, saying that the packaging isn't sustainable. And people don't like it. And they say they're getting too much packaging, and that's putting off people. So can you look into either reducing packaging or, or making sure it's eco friendly and stuff like that? And, you know, I know, that's not an easy thing for them to do. But it's important that the information at least gets there. And then they can at least start thinking about it. And then it's, you know, it's kind of their decision, and a business decision whether to actually go forward with it. But yeah, I think, you know, like I said, it's converting people for the right reason. And then you're just relying on the actual product experience to be good. And then if it's good, they should come back and buy again. And then yeah, it's that it's that feeding into to the other areas of the business, making sure that that, that messaging gets into advertising gets into the email. And then when they're clicking through from all that they're coming to a page, which then reinforces all that information as well.

Mariah Parsons 46:40

Yeah, like on that, even as you're talking, it's like, oh, on that page that you're set, like the tracking page that you're sending someone to all that like educational content, or like the messaging that the CRO team is gathering of like what's really resonating, then you can in the post purchase area, you can say like, Oh, if like our sustainability, or if our packaging, if that was really bothering people, you can now put like a message front and center and be like, we've moved as a company to reduce our shipment, like we listened to our customers. Kind of like telling them like, you know, it's another point that you're reinforcing right then and there for your, for your customers.

Will Laurenson 47:19

On some of the stuff you can't, you can't track you can't really put an ROI against. But one example is kind of related to that. With a custom PC business that used to work with, we found out that people, people generally didn't know what they were doing. Right. So the assumption was that if someone is building themselves a custom PC on a website, so picking all those components, and spending maybe a couple of 1000 pounds on it, they probably know what they're talking about. But it wasn't true, you're getting so many people who just they knew that a custom PC would get them a better PC for their money. And that's why they went down that route. So we started to introduce a QR code on a postcard into the box, people scan that QR code. And it was to be kind of like a post purchase page. In that it would say here's the next steps. But here's how to maintain your PC. Here's here's how to set it up in the first place. And at one point, you know, a month or two after we introduced that a five star review came through on Trustpilot. And the vast majority of the review was about this QR code that helped this guy set up his PC. So that kind of validated for me that was working difficult to put an ROI on it. and stuff. But I now know that people found that helpful.

Mariah Parsons 48:34

Yeah, yeah, no, that's a really good use case of that. of like having the postcard postcard and having that stick out. Yeah, that's great. One last thing I wanted to ask is what like resources would you recommend? It can be like anything from written or, you know, just like advice you would like to impart about CRO and your expertise.

Will Laurenson 48:59

So advice was ignore best practice. Ignore case studies which claim huge conversion rate increases, because it's generally stimuli rubbish. If they include all the data, then fine. And you can make your own decisions from it. But a lot of the time, it's small sample sizes or something. Something was just so terrible in the first place that obviously it's going to increase conversion rate. Yeah, do all your research and keep just keep asking questions. Keep speaking to customers. Couple of assets, resources that are like Bay MIND Institute. So they do have print a lot of premium research, which you have to pay for, which is fine, but also there's loads of free stuff on there. They just they spend time analyzing websites. Really cool and good. ui.org which, again, it's another CRO expert. He puts loads of case studies on there. He's probably what Probably one of the reasons I got into this space actually, I've known about his website for three years. And there's there's so much useful content on there.

Mariah Parsons 50:09

Yeah. Okay. Well, those are awesome. Thank you so much well for coming on the podcast and taking the time to share all of your wonderful advice. I know our listeners are going to take a lot away from this.

Will Laurenson 50:19

No problem. Thanks for having me.

Mariah Parsons 50:21

Yep, thank you. That was a phenomenal episode with will I know, it's been one of my favorites. Now it is time for the fact check. I just wanted to clarify all the tests that Will's talks about, and speaks to during that episode recording were tests that he's done with various clients of his. So that's what he's pulling that data from. And I'm so so happy that he was so willing to share with us about all those incredible tests because even just hearing from like free trials in the CTA, copy how little details, they really do have an influence. I think it's fascinating, but it's also it just echoes the importance of making sure that you have touch points with your customers, and that you're really looking at the data to reflect and to inform your strategy moving forward. I also wanted to say that I did really dive into what standard shipping would look like I know I said I would dive into that in the episode. So I wanted to give some of my provides my findings here. So I found that shipping, standard shipping in the US generally takes anywhere from three to five business days. I don't think that's much of a surprise to many of us, of course caveat saying that delays in delivery and world events. Of course, many things can delay shipments. And then different carriers also could work better or worse for you. Depending on many different things. international shipments do also differ. Just based off of warehouses and everything. And I actually think we have a very exciting episode for you all coming soon. But I do feel obligated to share that if you're looking to understand more information about your shipment performance. Malomo does have a shipment report that includes such information of how long it usually takes broken down by Carrier. I also want to emphasize the resources that will shares so the bay Market Institute you can find that at de mar.com. They this is their tagline. But the BMR Institute uncovers what designs cause usability issues, how to create state of the art user experiences and measure how your UX performance is doing. And then the other resource that we'll recommend is good ui.org And good. ui.org is a project started by Jacob Lenovo ski and he's from Toronto, Canada. Fun fact. And he has started that company to make it possible for amazing contributors to share their precious designs. I really hope you enjoyed this episode. Be sure to tune in to our next one that we'll be launching. And be sure to keep a close eye on Malomo because we have very exciting news coming up in the next two weeks, and I will definitely be sharing on the podcast when it is live.