What Are the Symptoms of Shopify Conversion Bias Disorder, and What Causes It?
It’s been linked to all sorts of Shopify revenue growth problems—here are the symptoms of Conversion Bias Disorder, and what to do about it.
It may seem obvious to say, but your conversion rates have major implications on your Shopify growth and your overall profitability. Yet many merchants have no idea that they suffer from Conversion Bias Disorder.
In this guide, we’ll explore what Conversion Bias is, what the symptoms of Conversion Bias Disorder are, and how to give your Shopify traffic the proper attention it needs to deliver growth.
What is conversion bias disorder?
Your Shopify site traffic contains a multitude of different visitors. But your store’s theme and functionality were envisioned for the average buyer. This seemingly logical best-practice creates a barrier between the customers you’re already converting, and the revenue potential from 90% or more – the majority – of your traffic.
You can’t help but focus more on visitors who survive your funnel. Those who connected with a product of interest and purchased. They’ve become your customers after all – but recent research suggests that’s just 1.9% of Shopify traffic. Motivated, you try to get more of the same. On a basic level, this is what conversion bias disorder is.
“[Every] ecommerce team has some degree of conversion bias.”
– Zee Aganovic, Obviyo’s founder and PhD in Optimization Theory,
Conversion bias disorder symptoms
Still, even if all brands experience it, some ecommerce teams suffer more than others. It’s important to spot the signs of conversion bias.
A few of the most observed symptoms of conversion bias, include:
- SLUGGISH CONVERSION RATE – out-of-market buyers can’t find products and leave.
- HIGH CART ABANDONMENT RATE – shoppers unsure of their product choices.
- DECREASING TIME ON SITE – chances visitors connect with products evaporate.
- LARGE MOBILE REVENUE GAP – mobile sales weaker compared to regular traffic.
There is also mounting evidence that conversion bias is correlated with the rising use of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). And truth is, CRO works, with a high ROI. However, it focuses on a tiny fraction of visitors who follow paths trodden by your existing customers. This ignores likely 90% or more of so-called ‘out-of-market buyers’.
Even a moderate conversion bias may therefore have a direct impact on your ability to sustain or accelerate revenue growth from your traffic.
What causes conversion bias disorder?
Because this is a newly discovered condition – the Shopify community is still agreeing on what causes conversion bias – there are many angles to the diagnosis. Yet out of this rapidly growing consensus, a clearer picture starts to reveal what causes a conversion bias.
Managing your Shopify store as a simple sales funnel.
This leaves you no choice but to focus on your conversions. Be it site wide or micro-conversions at each step. Ironically, the sales funnel totally mis-represents what’s happening on your Shopify site, because:
- Your traffic is full of extremely diverse ‘personas’.
- Visitors are mostly unfamiliar with your brand and offering.
- Shopping online is rarely a linear sequence.
- Buying journeys are chaotic and fragmented.
- Visitors start and jump between different stages of the buying process.
- Different buyer personas have different needs and preferences.
- Each visitor is at a different decision making stage.
Obsessing over conversion rates overlooks the ecommerce realities above. It’s tunnel vision around the buying experiences of those who are likely to buy. And, success from this obsession means your site becomes very efficient at ignoring everyone else. The majority of your traffic.
The alternative? Cultivate complexity across the customer lifecycle.
In 2013, Forrester Research proposed the customer lifecycle model. Ushering a new wave of customer centric strategies in the marketing industry. Fast forward to 2022, and much of the original model holds true. It’s just no longer as straightforward as the diagram once suggested.
Today, leading brands remix, and re-author the customer lifecycle model. Shaped by ever-tightening data feedback loops and market adjustments from global health-scares. They actively seek to entangle themselves in the often irrational, unpredictable behavior of digital consumers.
But, whichever way you slice it. Building connections with people remains paramount. Done right, conversions and other benefits will follow:
- Diverse web traffic becomes new market opportunities.
- Elevates brand differentiation and value.
- Enables adaptive buying journeys.
- Unlocks long-tail product sales.
- Responds to visitor behavior in real time.
- Drives greater profitability.
Furthermore, the way you measure and improve success of your customer connections changes. It starts with leading indicators. KPIs. Page views, click rate, or time on site become integral. Followed by results of customer engagements, like revenue per visit. The ultimate goal is to increase lifetime value of customers, repeat buys, or frequency of returning customers and purchases.
How to overcome conversion bias: treatments for conversion bias
1. Embrace customer complexity
We live in what Forrester calls the ‘Age Of The Customer’. A 20-year business cycle in which the most successful businesses will reinvent themselves. Systematically understanding and serving increasingly empowered customers.
Translated for ecommerce? Shopify brands can build competitive advantage by creating more value for their customer. Staying ahead of disruptive forces. Shifting from a transactional sales funnel to managing diverse customer lifecycles. Where the customer’s needs are coded into business decisions in real-time.
By living through your customers’ unique point of view, your brand will naturally absorb customers’ needs. Nourishing connections in the right place and right time.
2. Prioritize your customer bonds
Even though you can’t see your visitors, they all react to your merchandising, and marketing. This reaction is the super-critical stage before a conversion can even happen. We call this customer bond building.
Here are some of the most critical bond building activities:
- Connecting with the broadest spectrum of buyer personas looking for more diverse product options.
- Differentiating your site by blending editorial and product content to create hyper-personalized shopping.
- Tapping revenue from existing web visitors, rather than over-paying to acquire expensive new traffic.
Customer results show that combining specific ecommerce ingredients help accelerate new revenue from existing traffic. These include:
- Appeal to diverse personas, which can improve shopping experiences based on unique product features or brand affinity.
- Exposure of long-tail products, because every product has its own market providing it can connect with a relevant audience.
- Blended use of editorial content, the way to create market differentiation and establish trust.
- Improved consideration logic, the neuropsychological trigger-points for purchase decisions made by visiting traffic.
- Acting on visitor behavior, when detected and acted upon, are the best predictor of purchase intent vs historical patterns alone.
- Use of business goals, directing ecommere efforts to achieve and measure your most coveted outcomes.
Customer bond building helps connect the revenue dots on your Shopify store, promoting sustainable and profitable growth.
3. Detox your conversion mindset
Undoubtedly, the road to higher conversion rates is ‘paved with good intentions’. Even a marginal lift in conversion rate will generate 10x ROI. We totally agree with this.
However, this conversion mindset can become your downfall if the following hits close to home:
- Conversion Rate is our primary site metric – this indicates focus on the outcomes not root causes.
- We focus on ‘look-alike’ buyers – this greatly limits your market potential and blocks revenue potential from out-of-market buyers.
- We must first A/B test any site change – trying to exactly measure lift of dynamic customer bond building content is an advanced data science exercise. It suffocates agility. Instead you should rapidly-innovate while using proxy metrics to estimate the impact.
What if you took practical actions to dissolve your traffic-revenue barrier:
- Activate more jump-off points on your top-of-funnel entry pages.
- Merchandize relevant products for your core buying personas.
- Curate diverse product collections.
- Create greater exposure for your long-tail products (not just your best-sellers).
- Slow down or eradicate price discount promotions.
- Expose visitor session history with recently viewed feeds on every page
Start treating your conversion bias today
A complimentary, ‘done-for-you’, 7-day use of Obviyo’s Shopify app:
1. You install Shopify app
Start on Shopify app store then activate from your Shopify admin panel.
2. We initiate your Customer Bond Building routine
Our services team will select and provision 4-6 bond building HyperBlocks™, hyper-personalized content, on your site. Before going live, you’ll review and approve the setup. Once live, your 7-day clock starts ticking.
3. You review results
We’ll meet after at least 7-days of live Customer Bond Building. By then you’ll have enough results and experience to decide if bond building is valuable for your brand.