One change increased sales by 82 percent

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Recently we made one small change to a client’s ecommerce site which increased their sales by 82 percent.

The company sells an innovative sporting product, which they make right here in Hamilton and ship around the world.

They have a strong website that is highly optimised and producing a large number of sales each month, and yet this one change made an enormous difference.

Unlike many ecommerce sites, their website is not a multi-product ecommerce store, but is instead a single product site. When users arrive, they need to be introduced to the innovative product, convinced it will work and then given options of what quantity they would like to purchase.

The sales video on the website is a key part of this process of introducing website visitors to the product, and then convincing them to buy. 

If you have an innovative product that needs a bit of explaining, video is a powerful medium for connecting with your audience. A good video can take people along the journey from not being aware of the problem your product solves, to being strongly aware of the problem, and then to knowing that your product is most definitely the best way to solve it.

The sales video on our client’s website does just that.  It is well scripted and takes viewers along the journey towards wanting to buy. It cleverly handles key objections, and throughout the video builds the case for which their product is the perfect solution.

The video is a tad over seven minutes long. While this is fine for a compelling sales video, we suspected that when people see the length it might put some people off watching it in full. 

One option we could have explored would have been to test a shorter edit of the video against the longer video. However, this would have required cutting out crucial content and would have taken significant time to get completed.  So instead, we ran a split test where we decided to measure the result of hiding the video controls.

This meant instead of seeing all the standard controls (play, pause, timeline, etc), website visitors were just given a play/pause button. They couldn’t see how long the video was, and they couldn’t fast forward.

Our hypothesis was that if people couldn’t see how long the video was, they would watch the video and see if it was interesting, without being put off by the length. This would cause them to watch more of the video than the users who could see the controls, which would lead to them being more convinced and buying more product.

Our split test sent half of the traffic to the original page and half of the traffic to the duplicated version that had no video controls.

You already know the result: The page with no video controls produced 82 percent more sales than the original page, with the same amount of traffic!

With such an outstanding result we dug into the video views data to see how much further users were watching through the video. The data wasn’t at all what we expected. We measured the percentages of viewers who watched 50 percent, 75 percent, 90 percent and 100 percent of the video, and in each of these brackets the original version of the page had better statistics!

It didn’t make sense… until we examined the scrubbing (fast forwarding) data. Users on the original page with the full video controls were often skipping forward along the timeline. So, they were reaching the markers at 50 percent, 75 percent, 90 percent and 100 percent  of the video, but they hadn’t watched all the content leading up to that. 

Whereas the new version of the page had a lower percentage of people watching to the later parts of the video. But because they couldn’t skip over the content, they watched the full message and became more convinced about the product, resulting in 82 percent higher sales.

This approach won’t work for every business. But if you have an innovative product or service, and a good convincing video that is more than 2-3 minutes long, try hiding the video controls in a split test, and measure the difference. It might just produce a substantial boost in sales, just like it did for our client.

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About Author

Josh Moore

Josh Moore is the managing director at digital marketing agency, Duoplus. www.duoplus.nz