Conversion: "Our most popular product"

By /

August 12, 2006

This is not really about e-commerce: it is based on experience with a lead gen website. The e-commerce angle makes it easier to understand, though.

What should you do if have a category page with five products on it, and one of them is head and shoulders above the rest in terms of popularity but is a much lower margin product?

I always like to call out “most popular” products and put them in eyesight order (i.e. the most popular product is in the upper left hand corner of the active portion of the product page.) Yesterday, I had a customer complain about doing that.

“But we don’t want them to buy the less expensive, lower margin product,” she said. “We want them to buy the more expensive product.” Well, true enough. But we can’t always have what we want, and sometimes we take the best of what is within our grasp.

There are three reasons that I like to point out the most popular product:

1) Jared Spool’s company addresses this issue with what they call “Inukshuk content.” An inukshuk (also spelled “inuksuk”) is a beacon of sorts, usually a little stone totem, that people would build or leave a rock on to say, “I was here.” Just as there is something wonderfully gratifying about finding out that others have gone before you in the wilderness, it is comforting when you see that others have bought the product. This can take many forms (product reviews are a better format than the etailer himself writing, “Most popular.”)

2) At a much less sophisticated level — I’d rather get a small sale than no sale

3) If you have a lifetime value to your customer, and not all sites really do — then a small, successful sale will often bring in larger, even more successful sales.

Robbin Steif
LunaMetrics

Our owner and CEO, Robbin Steif, started LunaMetrics ten years ago. She is a graduate of Harvard College and the Harvard Business School, and has served on the Board of Directors for the Digital Analytics Association. Robbin is a winner of a BusinessWomen First award, as well as a recent Diamond Award for business leadership. You should read her letter before you decide to work with us.

  • Anonymous

    #3 resonates with myself. As it’s exactly the way I do purchase online.

    I will usually buy a smaller, cheaper item from an online company as a test of sorts.
    * What’s the responsiveness like
    * Accuracy in times to delivery
    * Information provided
    * Quality of packaging
    * Better to lose $50 on a bum sale, than $2500. Or more.

    and so on.

    If they pass the test, then they can expect a long and fruitful relationship, for both of us. If they don’t? Well that’s obvious.

    Cheers!
    - Steve

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