It may just be me, but there are times when I look at Google Analytics or look at an A/B test and the page in question does not convert. So I rack my brain looking for ideas, the page loads fast on a mobile device, the call to action is clear and above the fold, the audience is relevant but no one wants to buy. I Google, I look at competitor sites and I even consider changing the colour of the button but nothing seems to works.

Then one bright sunny day (ok it wasn’t that sunny or that bright) something changed.  A clever algorithm recommended that I buy a book. Not just any book but a book that The Economist reviewed as:

 “Profound . . . As Copernicus removed the Earth from the centre of the universe and Darwin knocked humans off their biological perch, Mr Kahneman has shown that we are not the paragons of reason we assume ourselves to be (The Economist)

The book is called Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Thinking Fast and Slow Book

Before I explain the link between the book Thinking, Fast and Slow and why visitors may not convert, we should first discuss how classical economics views the rational man.

Homo Economicus

Homo EconomicusHomo economicus, or the economic man, is the concept found in economic theories that portray humans as rational and narrowly self-interested/self-focused agents who pursue their subjectively defined ends optimally. If any decision is sub-optimal then over time, the economic man will learn from his mistake and choose better. In other words, humans are intelligent and self-benefit focused.

How to sell to Homo Economicus

Demand and Supply

If Homo Economicus are rationally motivated, then the following factors will impact conversion:

  1. Price – the lower the price or the bigger the discount, the higher the demand for a product.
  2. Quality – if the quality of a product is better then a competitor’s product it will sell more.
  3. The greater the features or benefits that a product has, the more it will sell.
  4. Delivery – if delivery is fast and reliable, it will sell more.


Introducing Behavioural Economics

Behavioural economics postulates the idea that man makes ‘irrational’ decisions because they are influenced by psychological, social, cognitive, and emotional factors. Behavioural economics is therefore primarily concerned with the limits of the rationality of economic agents.

There are three prevalent themes in behavioural economics:

  1. Heuristics (is a mental short cut to problem-solving or learning that not guaranteed to be optimal based on previous experience): Humans make 95% of their decisions using mental shortcuts or rules of thumb.
  2. Framing: The collection of anecdotes and stereotypes that make up the mental emotional filters individuals rely on to understand and respond to events.
  3. Market inefficiencies: These include mispricing and non-rational decision making.


Introducing Thinking, Fast and Slow

In 2011 Nobel Memorial Prize Daniel Kahneman published the best seller Thinking, Fast and Slow. It was winner of the 2012 National Academics Communication Award for best creative work that helps the public understand science, engineering or medicine.

Thinking Fast and Slow Infographic


A Summary of the principles within the Thinking Fast and Slow

  • There are two different systems for thinking. Daniel Kahneman called them System 1 and System 2. Each has their own unique characteristics and each has unique advantages and disadvantages.
  • System 1

    • Automatic System – is a fast, automatic response system based on intuition, past experiences and it is commonly impulsive. It’s the decision making and recognition you do every waking moment, even though you may not be aware of it. System 1 drives your car while your thoughts wander. It’s how you recognise a friend’s face from afar in a crowd. System 1 is effortless in its management of these tasks. Other examples include:
    • Locate the source of a specific piece of sound.
    • Determine which one of two objects is further away.
    • Answer questions based upon memory e.g. 8 times 5 is 30 (eight fives are thirty).
    • Read a car number plate.
    • Understand simple sentences.
  • System 2

    • The Effortful System –  is slow, calculating, takes energy, factors in restraint over impulse. System 2 is what we call deep thinking or mathematical calculations. System 2, corresponds to our idea of rational reasoning, it is slow, deliberative and effortful.Thinking is like a Swimming Cat
  • Daniel Kahneman has said, “thinking is to humans as swimming is to cats; they can do it but they’d prefer not to.” Humans default to using System 1 over System 2 as it requires less effort and energy.

unconscious decision making

  • A human may believe that they have made a rational decision but often, the conscious mind is merely post-rationalising decisions that have already been made using System 1. This can be a problem if you are trying to understand why your customers took a certain action as they don’t have full introspective insight into their decision making process and what they claim motivated them to take action could be inaccurate.
  • Illogical decisions can occur choosing System 1 over System 2 or vice versa.
  • Heuristics – are simple, efficient rules which people use to form judgments and make decisions. They are shortcuts that usually involve focusing on one aspect of a complex problem and ignoring other aspects. System 1 thinking associates that aspect to an existing pattern or thought rather than develop a new pattern for a new experience. An example of this would be to consider every tool in a tool box to be a hammer because they all have flat edges. The resulting errors are known as cognitive biases.
  • Anchoring – influenced by irrelevant numbers. Most people, when asked if took over 200 litres to fill a bathtub would give a much larger estimate than those who were asked if would take over 35 litres of water.
  • Availability – judging the probability of something occurring based on how easy it is to think of examples of it. In other words, the easier it is to recall the consequences of something, the greater we perceive these consequences to be. If someone has read news reports of a recent fire, they are more likely to believe a fire will occur then a flood.
  • Substitution – if you were to be asked the question, “how popular will the Fidget Spinners be six months from now?” You may have thought about it, you may have even researched into the topic, but usually, an answer will appear in your mind straight away.  Even though there are uncertainties about the future and without considering them at length, you have reached a conclusion. What has happened is you have substituted the question to how popular is the Fidget Spinner today?
  • Optimism and Loss Aversion – this bias generates the idea that we have substantial control in our lives. That is, people overestimate their ability to control events and dismiss the chance of loss. System 1 also responds more strongly to losses than to gains. This is called loss aversion. For example, losing a penny/cent is more important than gaining a penny/cent.
  • Framing – involves processing the same piece of information in different ways, depending upon the context it was presented in e.g. as a loss or a gain. Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman explored how different phrasing affected participants’ responses to a choice in a hypothetical life and death situation.

Participants were asked to choose between two treatments for 600 people affected by a deadly disease. Treatment A was predicted to result in 400 deaths, whereas treatment B had a 33% chance that no one would die but a 66% chance that everyone would die. This choice was then presented to participants either with positive framing, i.e. how many people would live or with negative framing, i.e. how many people would die.

Treatment A was chosen by 72% of participants when it was presented with positive framing (“saves 200 lives”) dropping to only 22% when the same choice was presented with negative framing (“400 people will die”).

  • Sunk Cost – throwing good money/time/effort after bad, because of the belief that one is already too committed at this point to change direction.


How to apply the lessons of Thinking Fast and Slow to m-commerceMaking Things Easy

  • Don’t make me think – use simple language and keep things easy to understand. Less mental effort means greater buy in.
  • Don’t confuse me – confusion leads to doubt and doubt requires System 2 thinking to resolve. So rather than resolve the confusion, a visitor may visit a competitor site.
  • Don’t make me speculate – if I have a question about a product, I know I have to put effort in to find the answer,  so it may be easier to go to a competitor site. Ensure all relevant information about the product is available and easily accessible.
  • Giving too many options – have multiple options on a product page can lead a drop in revenue, as choice requires System 2 thinking. Reducing the options available can lead to an increase in conversion rate as the decision is easier. Taking this a step further, offering upsells and cross-sells is a way to increase the value of the basket (AOV). Test to see if conversion rate improves by reducing the number of options in the cross and upsell or eliminating it completely.

Sales End Today

  • Running limited offers can lead to impulse buys. Many people do not like losing out on an opportunity to save money. You can tap into their FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Voucher codes with expiration dates also tap into user emotions of FOMO. Daniel Kahneman writes about Loss Aversion and how the fear of loss is a much stronger driving force in human behaviour than the evaluation of gain and this can lead to irrational behaviour.
  • Consider limiting product availability. Both McDonalds and Nintendo do this.
  • Providing solutions to problems that are currently trending – these are more likely to sell than solutions to problems that are less known about.
  • If selling a product requires thinking, simplify it. Uber simplified moving from A to B.
  • If there is uncertainty buying a product (will it be suitable?), leverage trust. Providing expert advice, independent reviews or being in the field for many years builds trust. Generating trust reduces the need for System 2 thinking. In order to build trust in their products, Zappos use 365-day return to eliminate the fear that the shoes they sell may not fit.

If you  found this article useful, please share it. Every tweet, every post and every link helps 🙂

The purpose of this article is to look at the how we can create emails that convert whilst on the go, in the bathroom or in bed. Sometimes it is easy to forget an email which you spent days creating can be simply ignored or deleted because of a football match or the constant message notifications being delivered.

Before we look at strategies to get the conversion on a mobile device it would be beneficial to state some facts on email marketing.

Facts on email marketing:

  • Email remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media—nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined (McKinsey).
  • Email has an average ROI of $44 for each $1 spent (CampaignMonitor)
  • 75% of all Gmail users access their emails from a mobile device (TechCrunch).
  • About 53% of emails are opened on mobile devices. (Campaign Monitor)
  • One out of every three clicks within an email occurs on a mobile device.  (Campaign Monitor)
  • 57% save the email for later and 48% bear the information in mind for later. 47% go to the website via another route (#EMD17)

Adobe surveyed more than 400 US-based white collar workers, 18 and older, about their use of email and this is what they discovered:


70% of those surveyed checked emails whilst in front of the TV, 18% whilst driving and 42% whilst in the bathroom; it would be fair to say customers may not be fully focused on your emails.


How to Create Emails that Generate Attention


Attention grabbing subject lines

Did you know that just under half of email recipients open emails based only on the subject line ?  This shows the power a subject line can have, it can make or break your email marketing campaign.

Some simple tricks to get someone to open your email.

  • Keep it short and sweet. Make it easier for your customer to understand what they will receive if they open your email.
  • Ask a question. Questions create curiosity, and curiosity can lead to engagement.
  • Make it personal. If the subject is relevant to the person reading the email it will grab their attention.
  • Surprise. A surprise grabs a person attention and interest.
  • Avoid spam words where possible. Spam words include buy, save, help, % off. To learn about spam word I recommend reading this article.
  • Test subject lines. Your customers are the best judge of what works and what does not.  Test different subject and measure which results in the highest open rate.

Attention grabbing content

Once you got someone to open your email the next step is to ensure that they engage with your content. Here are some tips on achieving this.

  • Headings should contain two to more of the following characteristics: be unique, specific, useful and convey a sense of urgency. With being unique it should stand out from the other emails in their Inbox. With urgency, It should include something that compels the reader to continue reading. The sense of the possibility of losing out can be sufficient to keep the reader engaged.
  • Useful: if your content is identifiable as relevant it will read, kept and even forwarded or shared. To understand what is useful survey your readers.
  • Personalise. Personalisation from a user perspective includes giving the user the choice on how often they receive your emails and what the email should contain. From m-commerce perspective, it means delivering content based upon the reader interaction with your m-commerce platform. Using your mobile/web analytics and ERP you can develop an understanding of their order history, what categories and products they have looked at, what items are in their basket. With this information, you can develop emails which relevant and personal to the user.
  • Be brief and concise, less is more.
  • Use white space to focus attention.
  • Use colour to draw attention to what is important.
  • Have a clear call to action and ensure it is above the fold. Repeat the call to action before the footer of the email.
  • Communicate your value proposition.  What makes your offer unique?

Getting the timing right

Sending an email at the right time can lead to a higher probability of a sale. The opposite is also true. Should you send an email before work? At lunch time? In the evening? During the weekends? Below is a  tongue in cheek response to the question by Silverpop know known as IBM Watson Campaign Automation.


To answer the question to boils down to two elements. What does your data tell you? And what have you tried? Using your analytics what day and when do you have the highest sales volume? When do you have the most visitors to your app/website? This will give you a picture of when customers are most likely to purchase.

Have you tried sending at different times of day and different days of the week? If not set up a test. If you have tested in the past, test again.

Remember every industry is different and every website is different.

Tying email to m-commerce

Email with M-CommerceAn email will grab someone attention and if it relevant they are likely to visit your landing/product page.

Here are some tips to take someone from the click on the email to the final purchase.

  • Loading times is king, especially on a mobile network. Look at the speed at which the landing page loads and the time it takes to take payment. To improve the speed performance look at using a CDNs, ensure images sizes are optimal, removing unnecessary images and code, try minification of HTML on live servers and reduce the number of steps it takes to make a purchase.
  • Be consistent. Use the same images, same facts between email and landing page.  Confusion leads to doubt and doubts lowers the chance of a sale.
  • Make sure your value proposition is not only consistent with the email it is clear and visible on your product page/landing page.
  • Where possible ensure all relevant information (such as sizes, colour, warranties, guarantees, FAQs or any USPs) are easily accessible on or from the product page. If a customer has a doubt or a question that is not answered it will impact the likelihood of a sale.
  • Provide credibility, be that customer feedback, independent reviews or guarantees of security/data protection.
  • Create a sense of urgency or scarcity. If an offer is limited by time or quantity this may induce a person to make a decision to buy and not delay any further.
  • If are there any special offers make sure they work and it is clear and simple for the customer to use. Consider auto applying the discount so that is one less thing the customer has to remember to do.
  • Allow guest logins, Paypal or Amazon Pay to speed up the checkout process.
  • Can you find a way to allow the customer to save the item to buy later?
  • If it the item is out of stock offer an alternative.
  • Offer an upsell and a down sell of the product but ensure the decision is easy to make. If someone cannot distinguish and decide which version of the product to buy you may lose the sale.

Email and Retargeting

If you already using retracking on your website have you ever considered incorporating your email offers into your retargeting banners?

A simple update could see your email offer follow your customers over the Internet and Social Media.

Email and Facebook Marketing

Have you considered using custom audiences on Facebook to amplify your email campaign? Facebook gives you the ability to import your email database which then matches the email addresses against its own database. In my experience, I have seen Facebook identify over 65% of the email addresses you import. You can then use Facebook advertising to target these customers with your email offer.

I hope you found this article useful if you could share it that would be fantastic. Every tweet, every post and every link helps 🙂

I love Fridays, it’s my favourite day of the week it’s even better than Saturday and that is saying a lot. But Friday, especially Friday afternoon, is usually associated with being lazy so I thought wouldn’t it be cool if I could put together 10 simple hacks to improve conversion rate on a product page that you could do on a Friday afternoon. The idea is to make an immediate change or be simple enough to encourage you to begin a cascade of changes. As they say from small beginnings, come great things.

Hack 1:

This is my version of the Grandmother test. To do this you need a product page, the physical product, two volunteers and a pad of paper (yes you can use a digital device but, I recommend writing on paper). For this to work, the volunteers cannot have seen the product before or be able to communicate or see the other volunteer.

Give the first volunteer the product, and let them spend a few minutes with it. Then ask them the following questions; describe the product and what are the benefits? Make notes on what they say.

Give the second volunteer a print off, of the product page (so that they are not tempted to Google it). Ask them to describe the product and what are the benefits? Make notes on what they say.

Now compare the two descriptions of the product; ask the question what changes can you make to the product page to improve the product description?

Rational– there is one thing to be given the physical product and another to understand something by reading about it.

Hack 2: 

The higher your advert ranking in the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages), in general, the more traffic you will receive. An important factor to consider is the CTR (Click Thru  Rate) this is the percentage of clicks relative to the number of impressions for that search term, or in simple terms does you advert gets lots of people to click on it. It is possible to have a lower position in the SERPs but, still get a higher number of clicks compared to someone who is higher on the page than you.

Google has a really cool tool that lets you preview what your mobile snippet looks like on Google.

Mobile Snippet Tool

Pick a product page you wish to optimise. In one browser (PC or mobile) have the mobileserps tool open and on a mobile device search for the product page that you wish to optimise . Have both browsers viewable so it is easy to compare the results. In the mobileserps tool type the title, meta description and the URL of an existing product page . In the browser search for the exact same product.  Review your competitor’s results. Is there something missing from your snippet compared to your competitor? Does any snippet stand out from the others? What is unique about it? What can you change to improve the CTR? Edit your snippet until you are happy with it. Once your editing is complete, change the Meta Title and Description on the live site.

Rational – the more relevant and customer-focused your snippet is, the more clicks it will generate.

Hack 3:

Not everyone uses their phone in portrait mode for every task, some people use their browser in landscape mode. Yes, they hold their phones sideways when they use an Internet Browser.

Hold your phone in landscape mode and look at your product page. How does it render? Did you get an OMG moment? Did something break? Is it easy to find the add to cart/basket button? Compare your page to your top competitor, can you see something they do better than you? Go around the office show people, see their reaction, create a conversation. Do you use Basecamp? Teams? Slack? Take a snapshot of the page, upload and begin a conversation. Sometimes you do not need to have the answer you just need to initiate the conversation. Or find someone in the office who can make the change.

Rational – people use mobile phones in ways you would never expect, so sometimes it helps to consider about possibilities.

Hack 4:

Not everyone has access to super-fast WiFi or able to benefit from 4G/LTE. You may hate me for asking you to try this, switch the WiFi off and change the connection speed on your phone to its lowest connection speed. On my iPhone it is 2G. Now your phone is on super slow model; go to the homepage of your website and try and buy a product.

Before you scream in frustration, take note of the areas of the website that you feel are super slow. You can use tools like Google testmysite or Pingdom to independently test your site.

Pingdom Speed Test

Once you have identified a possible culprit ask the question; what change can I make today? An example of a change you can make immediately is to compress the sizes of the images on the page. There are online tools available to do this or use Photoshop and the save to web function.


Rational – Sometimes it is easy to miss very heavy page(s)  because of a fast Internet connection. People use phones on the train, in big metal buildings or in crowded areas . In these situations, speed plays an important part of whether to buy now from you or buy later or from someone else. And we know buying later can mean don’t buy at all.

Hack 5:

Wear a pair of gloves and use your website to place an order. To make this work it cannot be just any pair of gloves (even the ones that your grandmother knitted) it must be a pair of touchscreen gloves. Extra tip; the bigger the Touchscreen gloves the more you can learn.

What did you learn when placing an order? Were the buttons too close to each other? Were the search boxes easy to use? Make a note of an improvement you can easily make.

Rational – people can have a disability or use a phone whilst simultaneously doing several other things at once. Reducing the chance of making a mistake improves conversion rate.

Hack 6:

There are two ways you can do this hack.

Open a product page on your smartphone and then hold the phone at arms length. If you have a super large phone (Phablet) you may have to step away from the phone.  The other way is to borrow the smallest screen smart phone in the office.

What can you see on the page? What should you be able to see? Is the price visible? What about the add to Basket/Cart button? Does the product image do justice to the product? Make a note of what you should change.

Rational – If there is anything that can a cause a distraction or if the most important elements on the page (price, description, image or add to cart/basket) are hidden, it can lead to a lower conversion rate.

Hack 7

Pick a product and, now, search for the same product on a search engine.  Can you find it cheaper elsewhere? Can you get free or cheaper delivery? If you can find it, on then your potential customers can do the same. Ask the question what should I change on my product page to combat this potential loss of revenue? Dropping prices isn’t always the best answer.

Rational – The Internet gives you the freedom to check multiple sites easily. Knowing that you are in a marketplace helps you remember; what may have worked yesterday may not work today.

Hack 8

Find a product page where sales volume is low and ask the question if six months from now sales for this product were to be tenfold higher, what did I do to cause this today?

Rational – These types of questions open the mind to think of a place of plenty and a belief that it did and can happen as opposed to scariness and a belief that it may never happen. That positive shift in focus will lead to different answers than just asking what can I do improve sales.

Hack 9

Reading out aloud help identify errors

In some way similar to Hack 1 but different enough to be its on hack 🙂 Open you product page on your mobile and read out aloud every thing on the page. Does something sound strange? Odd? Could something be improved? Does it flow?


By reading out loud it is much easier to identify  mistakes in punctuation, spelling and things that do not make sense or are missing.

Hack 10

A picture is worth a 1000 words

A study by VWO showed better image selection can improve conversion rate. With the phone in hand, open a product page and this is where the fun starts. Find people in the office or in the street you don’t know and ask them, if I were to re-shoot the product shots, what could I improve or add? Brownie points for you if you can find people who are your target audience. Once you have enough data, brainstorm ideas on what images you need. With a little determination and maybe Photoshop or a camera person, you can have something ready in a short space of time.

Rational – a picture is worth a thousand words. Conveying more information or a better quality of information in a picture can ignificantly improve conversion rates.