Monday, October 31, 2011

Are you Optimizing the Wrong Steps of the Conversion Process?

Due to organizational structure, many marketers/analysts get a partial view of the customers’ conversion process data.  This result in them optimizing the wrong steps of the conversion funnel /channel.

Read below about a shopping experience I recently had, it will make it clear how this narrow view can come in the way of an organization's ability to effectively optimize the right step/channel in the conversion path.

 I was recently in the market to buy a laptop. I had a Lenovo laptop in past, which I really liked, so I decided to buy another Lenovo laptop.

I went to their site, configured the laptop and chose various options. When I got to the last step, I decided to contact a live person because I was not sure of all the options that I had picked. I clicked on the little chat button on their site and connected with a sales guy. The person asked me to save my order (create an account etc.) so that he can find the order and help me with it.

I did what he told me to but to my disappointment, the sales guy (online chat) was not able to find my order even when I gave him the email address I used to create the account. 

I had my credit card ready and was willing to make a purchase but they just could not close the deal. 

Where do think the problem is in this conversion process? Which steps are you going to optimizing?

Someone just focusing and looking at online channel data will not know the complete pictures. They will see a drop-off at the last step of the funnel and if there are a significant number of visitors like me, they will most likely focus their attention on optimizing (A/B testing, MVT etc.) the last step. Right? This is where the problem lies.  You may live in your little silo of online optimization but customers don’t follow your organizational boundaries. They will flow from one channel to other and convert from the channel that they are most comfortable with.  You can go ahead and A/B test all you want to the last step of the funnel but if the issue is not with the page layout, heading, fonts, colors etc. then you A/B test are not going to help.

As an analyst you should go beyond your designated channel. If there are other channels (e.g. contact center) that the visitors can use to complete the process then don’t ignore them.  Get a complete view of the data so that you don’t end up optimizing the wrong steps in the conversion process.


  1. Absolutely! Too many marketers forget that optimization can easily go beyond mechanically optimizing pages. If I may, here's a link to a very interesting article by David Jenkins, VP Merchandising & Optimization, which he wrote for the first issue of my newsletter:

  2. Matthias4:45 AM

    I agree, too. The most important part of the relevant context in your shopping experience happened offline. No chance to fix that online.

    In addition to your story, here's my personal experience, which make me feels sad for the poor analytics guys trying to understand my online behavior... ;-)
    I love Dell, so I use the Dell website to configure a new laptop. But in the end I always order on the phone, because there I can ask for options which are not available/displayed online (e.g. another screen resolution for the same screen size). This is actually a common advise I read in forums about buying a Dell.

    Not displaying all possible options may reduce the complexity of the Laptop-configurator on the site, but it also leads people like me to never complete the online buying process.
    Not sure if this was Dell's original intention..


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