Increasing online conversion rates? Easy.

The digital commerce world is full of experts offering their specialist skills on how to improve online conversion at each stage of the customer journey. The checkout is the favourite place to focus and at Tryzens we are frequently involved in conversations about the merits of ‘single page’ or ‘one click’ or ‘guest’ checkouts.

Whatever the relative merits of these views, I prefer to follow a mantra of keeping things ‘Easy’ as in ‘Easy to do business with’.

The Harvard Business Review published the seminal research paper on the Customer Effort Score (CES) in 2010, which concluded that most customers don’t want to be wowed or delighted – most of us simply want things done easily. Get this right and customer loyalty increases significantly, which in turn leads to increased spend and positive referrals.

The CES research was extended by Henley Business School and BT in their report ‘Customer Effort: Help or hype?’. This validated the positive impact of being Easy particularly in customer service situations. Fundamentally, this is where my Easy mantra comes from.

What impacts the Easy Score?

So what’s this got to do with online checkouts? Well the things that impact CES, or the Easy Score as I call it, are the things we all experience when using both B2C and B2B sites. These can be categorised as:

  • Time: Do they value my time? Am I made to wait longer than I expect? Is it awkward or clunky to use? Do I have to work to overcome their shortfalls?
  • Emotion: I don’t want an emotional response; I just want to get it done easily!
  • Cognitive: Am I made to work too hard to find what I need? Have they anticipated what I want to do next? Can I trust what I’m seeing? Is there doubt in my mind?

During the checkout, all of these effort categories can be experienced in a poorly designed user experience. However, the most challenging for conversion rates is the last one, the cognitive exercise. There is plenty of research that shows most of us are “cognitive misers”, in other words we don’t want to have to think too hard especially about things we expect to be easy.

For online purchases to be easy and safe, we have to be able to trust companies with our data and rely on them to deliver what we have paid for and to quickly sort out any issues. Amazon understood this years ago with the ‘1 click’ facility and the increasing use by merchants of easy and trusted checkout features such as PayPal integration is following this trend.

So, does your site pass the ‘Easy’ test?