Four reasons why you should not be talking about conversion

As digital marketers, one of the hardest things is understanding the experiences of people on your site – especially the ones who don’t convert. Successful customer experience does not always end with a conversion, and conversions are not always attributable to successful customer experience. Like the guy who browses on a jewelry website and then takes his wife to purchase the ring the next day in the actual real-life store (a “non-converter”, but with a very positive experience) vs. the woman who clicks on checkout to complete her frustrating purchase of a dress she can’t find elsewhere, but also knows she’ll never return to this site (a “converter”, but with a very negative experience).

Conversion is not the end game but rather it’s about how we can improve customer experience, and we need to start talking about conversion in a completely new way. Here’s why:

  1. With the average conversion rate around 3% we can’t infer if a customer interaction on a site was positive or negative based on conversion rate.

    What can we actually infer about the non-converting visitors? As seen from the example above, non-conversion is not always a result of a negative experience, and vice versa. Marketers and analysts treat experience as an objective state but actually it happens in visitors’ minds. Take for example, the family trip to a theme park. The kids had a blast on the rides, while the parents suffered from the long lines, extreme heat and extortionate prices. Experience of a same situation is interpreted in people’s minds and can differ from person to person. UX experts often focus on design and changing elements etc. in a website – in hope of increasing conversion – when actually it’s not about the elements, but rather about the visitors’ mindset. There are in fact so many factors that impact conversion.

  2. Conversion rate does not equal customer experience. So we have to stop talking about conversion and to shift our discussion around experience.

    In order to delve into experience, we need to better understand what is an experience for an online user.

    Experience is a personal interpretation so we need a new measurement that can evaluate the personal interpretation of an interaction which reflects the understanding that we don’t remember all the experiences in the same way.

    The way we experience a brand is not related to conversion. We often feel very positive towards a brand, with many pleasant hours perusing the website, on many different occasions, but for all sorts of reasons we don’t purchase. We need to understand that the main predictor of whether a visitor will return to your site is NOT conversion but actually if they FEEL POSITIVE ABOUT YOUR BRAND. It’s about long-term relationship building and not a one-off purchase. When you invest in the experience you invest in the long-term relationship with your customers.

  3. It’s about what you remember – customer experience is largely defined by how it felt during or after interacting with your website.

    Think about a movie where you laughed your way through but found the ending completely illogical. How will you remember your experience of the movie? On a website experience is determined predominantly by the last page the customer visited AND by the emotional intensity felt throughout the journey (such as level of frustration). Both these factors will shape the customer’s remembered experience of your site.

  4. Experience CAN be turned into a metric.

    We’ve understood for some time the need for an entirely new way to measure experiences – a model that can detect the mindsets of our visitors at each page and indicate the number of positive experiences vs. negative experiences in a visitor journey. Today, using advanced psychological modeling and monitoring technology, we can quantify user experience at multiple touch points, in real time.

    We are able to measure and evaluate various on-screen actions that have been shown to express different states of mind – which clearly define each individual’s experience on your site. That way, instead of looking at conversion rate, we are able to understand what your customers will remember from their visit and how likely they are to come back to our site.

So remember, stop talking about conversion because to increase conversion, you need to be talking about – and measuring – experiences. Meanwhile learn more about what way the experiences of users on your site impact conversion, and how customer experience analytics can detect what people are feeling just by observing digital interactions.

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