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What Wikipedia Can’t Tell You About How Confusion Affects Conversions

One of the long standing rules we have with design is that reducing confusing will help boost your conversion rate. Although this concept makes sense in theory, in actual practice many businesses are consistently failing with this aspect and losing out on a lot of revenue. As an experienced web design company, we would like to share what Wikipedia can’t tell you about how confusion affects conversions.

You might be thinking, “Well this probably doesn’t occur on my site,” but you would be surprised how often it does happen.

A common problem with online shopping

One of the more common problems with online shopping has to do with sizing. Everything from clothes to luggage to appliances has issues with the size either not always being listed, the method for measurements varying or the dimensions not including exterior features (such as wheels and handles for luggage or refrigerators).

For certain purchases size most definitely matters. Luggage, for example, is always a hot topic because of the variance between airlines on allowable carry on size. That coupled with different methods for measuring and even different conversions when changing to metric measurements can cause headaches for travelers. Clothes fall into that same area along with other items where you are limited in space or want a perfect fit.

Often it is the seller of the item who is not solving the problem because they do not take the time to provide all of the information desired by consumers, or don’t provide it in an easily understandable manner; both of which causes confusion.

Confusion isn’t always obvious

In some cases, analytics can actually hide confusion from us. For example, a confused customer who is actually fairly diligent might have excellent engagement metrics. While they are taking the time to hunt down the information that will help them decide to convert they might have a large time on site, lots of scrolling and even repeat visits.

What they also have is an abandoned shopping cart.

These metrics, when looked at over a period of time that includes a lot of customers might not help you see that you are losing a portion of your customers because of confusion. By finding and eliminating the confusion you open the door to a confident consumer that is willing to convert.

How to identify problem spots

It is actually fairly easy to identify problem areas and the best retailers already do this – by paying attention to all aspects of customer feedback. Customers provide plenty of direct and indirect feedback if you are looking for it:

  • Consider customer questions – Questions regularly ask for or search for things they find confusing. If you keep seeing the same questions popping up then either they need to be added to product descriptions or included in your FAQs, or both! Keep in mind for every question asked there is probably multiple people who simply left without bothering to ask.
  • Read all reviews – We feel this should be done regardless, but you can find out important issues within people’s complaints. For example, one retailer kept having negative reviews from customers based on sizing of a particular line of apparel. By adding new sizing charts with more body type examples they were able to eliminate negative reviews for that issue and increase conversions.
  • Track Reasons for Returns – Along with reviews, returns are often a customer response to confusion. If a customer provides a reason for the return that is specific, consider how it fits into the purchase itself and if there is something you can change to ensure they find the right item or fit the first time.
  • Track Cart Abandonment Points – Where did they drop out? What did they do or were they looking at prior to dropping the art? This might take a little more detective work, and possibly even some testing, but there might be something triggering confusion that you simply aren’t aware of.

The bottom line is that confusion has two direct affects with your business. The primary issue is that it costs you conversions and revenue. The secondary issue is that it then drives business to your competitors, and if they are running a good business, they will then keep those customers. What Wikipedia can’t tell you about how confusion affects conversions is that if you clean up the confusion you not only earn more revenue but you are also effectively stealing sales from the competition.

Be sure to check back every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for great new Lounge Lizard blog articles.


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