Gone are the days when opening a store and sending out a leaflet or email were enough to get shoppers through the threshold where you would welcome them with open arms and sell the goods you had carefully selected. In our ever increasingly competitive world, the channels through which we engage with our prospective customers are varied and success requires a communication and advertising strategy that brings shoppers across from through multiple doors.
And the truth is that getting visitors is only a small part of the online selling journey. The next, and essential, step is to create a lasting impression that will set the tone for the ongoing relationship you’re hoping to maintain with a customer. The welcome experience for visitors is the key to doing just that and it must be relevant to the different shoppers, channels and entry points to the site.
Why a Welcoming Home Page Sets the (Conversion) Stage
As a woman in love with online shopping (the reasons are many… more on that topic on another day), I have come to truly appreciate an online retailer that has taken the time to create a shopping journey that is so fluid and seamless that will lead me down the path of throwing all caution to the wind and buying 3 pairs of shoes (or more) in one go.
You’ll be curious about what that shopping journey looks like and the truth is that there are many small elements that create that easy, breazy trip to the online shops but I’m focusing on one very specific factor: the welcome to the site.
In a physical store, all shoppers come through the same doors and are exposed to the gorgeous window display that merchandisers had spent much time considering and putting together. It’s easy to expose them to the trendiest, the newest stock in-store (with varying degrees of success). But online stores have multiple doors because there are many roads leading shoppers there and as such, it’s essential that you give the same attention to curating the multiple welcome experiences (not just the homepage).
The 4 Crucial Entry Points for New Site Visitors
In my years helping Nosto clients optimise the online shopping journeys, I noticed that, for most stores, there are a minimum of four potential entry points for shoppers. In this series of articles, we’ll look at how product recommendations can be utilised to create welcome experiences that matter (and convert) on a homepage, category listing, product page and even when customers get “lost” on a 404 page.
Since many prospective customers are referred to a site by a search engine listing or ad that redirects to the homepage, this is the most obvious entry point and “welcome station”. If we were to compare it to a physical store, it would the the front shop window. It’s no wonder that it usually contains the most attractive products as well as information on the key selling points and reasons why shopping there would be better than elsewhere.
We’ve noted that first time visitors who land on a homepage and spend some time exploring it are often interested in knowing more about the business and all that is on offer rather than focusing exclusively on a given product or category so this is the best place to introduce them to the catalogue, highlight any new/trending products and even expose the best deals on the site.
Let’s explore some of the possibilities for product recommendations…
1. Bestseller recommendations – Show them what you do best!
This is the purpose of Bestseller Recommendation. The homepage is where this recommendation type truly shines and does some of it’s best work in guiding customers to explore the site and get discovering product straight away.
In the example below, Closet London have used a carousel recommendation that highlights the bestselling items to encourage shoppers to explore further.
Displaying the bestselling products (based on purchases or views) with Nosto is an easy task and requires very little filtering. The screen below shows the scoring mode based on “Most views” in the “Last week” to highlight the most popular product
2. Build F.O.M.O. with Live Feed Recommendation
People are highly susceptible to influence from their peers. The items that other shoppers are browsing and purchasing are desirable and so, recommendations that hint at what other visitors are also interested in have proven to increase conversion and click through rate.
Below you can see an example of how Prime Loops have done just that by sharing insights into what music samples other users are interested in.
3. Highlight favourite products
For shoppers that have previously browsed products on the website, welcoming them to the site once more with product recommendations that are personally relevant are both a no-brainer and a simple, low effort/high impact solution.
Personalised recommendations are used by brands such as Isabella Oliver to showcase a shopper’s favourite items from previous visits as a reminder and incentive to complete a purchase.
4. Browsing History Related Recommendations
Browsing History Related Recommendations are also a smart option. This recommendation type creates personal selections of items that customers have not yet discovered but are likely to be interested in based on previous browsing history. This is used often by merchants such as Cordings who want to help shoppers discover more of their product range
Nosto’s fallback recommendation option (more details on this topic can be found in a separate article available in the playbook) allows the layering of recommendation type to ensure that within the same real-estate on your homepage, a personal and relevant experience can be created regardless of the visitor’s preferences and history of browsing on the site.