By most metrics that you track, your e-commerce brand is doing fine. You have a lot of followers on social media, your SEO campaigns are paying off, and your website traffic is right in the sweet spot. The only problem is that all of those factors just aren’t translating into purchases, revenues, or increased customer loyalty. Why, when your brand is seemingly performing well on the internet, are you still struggling to record strong conversion rates? Read on to see how you can improve shopper engagement.
Dwell Times: The Most Important Metric for Your E-Commerce Website
If you look at the dwell times for your product pages, you will find the source of your conversion problem. Yes, you are getting good page view numbers. You are successfully getting customers to your website and onto your product pages. What you aren’t doing is inspiring them to stick around and make decisions.
Dwell times tell the story of an e-commerce company’s success much better than page view numbers and social media followers can. They don’t just tell you how many people clicked a link and visited a URL, or how many people tapped the “Follow” button. Dwell time figures tell you how customers are interacting with your website. When the dwell times for your product pages are somewhere near 60 seconds on average, that’s a sign that people aren’t engaging with the content or products on those pages. Something is causing them to lose interest and abandon the page. The question is, what’s the culprit?
Criteek’s Newton Running Experiment
At Criteek, we recently had the pleasure of working with Newton Running, a globally regarded running shoe brand headquartered in Boulder, Colorado—one of the most popular running cities in the country. Newton is generally a well-regarded brand, not just for the quality of their shoes but also for their environmentally-friendly practices and their philanthropic efforts. Despite all of this, Newton Running was having the same problem with their online store that so many e-commerce brands experience. Despite strong traffic and a fairly robust social media following, Newton Running was struggling to maintain strong dwell times.
Working with Criteek, Newton Running implemented a professional experiment to increase customer engagement on a few of its key product pages. The question behind the experiment was simple: could implementing video-based customer reviews on product pages increase the dwell times for those pages?
The answer to that question was a massive “yes.” Each page increased its average dwell time by over a minute with the biggest leap at 70 seconds. 84% of surveyed users said they felt that the addition of video reviews improved the user experience of the product pages in question. The presence of video reviews made customers feel more inclined to engage with those pages.
Why Customers Aren’t Engaging with Your Product Pages
Put yourself in the shoes of the customer. You are shopping for a product online and you end up on a brand’s website, browsing their product pages. The pages include product descriptions directly from the brand as well as a photo or two. However, the pages include no information you can use to gauge the quality or usability of the product. You therefore have two options: you can take the brand at its word and trust that the product will suit your needs perfectly, or you can head back to Google and try to find reviews for the product in question.
In a Dimensional Research survey from 2013, 90% of respondents said that their buying decisions were influenced by online reviews. Most customers actively seek out a second or third opinion when they are shopping for products. They don’t just want to trust the brand’s product description without finding any additional trustworthy information to back it up. As a result, e-commerce sites that don’t host customer reviews tend to lose visitors who either go elsewhere to find reviews or simply give up on that product or service.
This trend explains why many e-commerce brands see poor dwell times for their product pages. There is nothing for customers to engage with on those pages, so they don’t inspire customers to stick around. When customers don’t stick around, those product pages don’t convert.
Implementing customer reviews—and video reviews specifically—is a terrific way to boost engagement, dwell time, and conversion rates at once. When customers have the option to read a review of a product, they will take that opportunity to learn more about the product and come to a purchasing decision. Video reviews are even better because they create strong emotional connections between the reviewer and the shopper and allow for real-time demonstrations of products. Not only do customers learn more about product features via video reviews but they also see those features in action.