Transcript of the UX workshop “Converting visitors into sales. How to reach the goal”

This is a transcript of a workshop hosted by Promodo at Ecomtim conference in Timisoara on the 13th and 14th of March, 2013.

Promodo Company was invited to speak at the conference and share their expertise in the sphere of UX design and usability of e-commerce sites. Our experts Paul Ryazanov and Marina Ryashchikova hosted a usability workshop on the second day of the conference (March, 14). The main topic of the workshop was “Converting visitors into sales. How to reach the goal.” The transcript will be published in two parts, the first one today, the other one – tomorrow.

The conversion rate optimization is a very important part of an internet marketing strategy. Can you believe that an average conversion rate for retail businesses in the USA is just 2.2%. This means, if you bring 100,000 users to your site that only 2,200 of them purchase something.

And, in many cases, the conversion rates are even lower than that especially for small and new brands.

While this is the core of the business – many companies still don’t recognize that.

An average of about $92.00 USD is spent by companies to get visitors to the site and just $1.00 to convert them into buyers.

And you won’t believe how a small change can affect your sales.

As part of a small case study, using a company that specialized in training and courses for new poker and blackjack players used Google AdSense, looking to get at much traffic as possible.

So they decided to target keywords like “Play Poker”, “Play blackjack” and the CPC in the campaign was about $4 per click. They get a lot of traffic, but burned the marketing budget with almost not conversions”

When we stepped into the campaign, we just added two words: “How to play poker” and “How to play blackjack.” We were able to decrease the CPC to 0.40 USD. We drove less traffic to the site, but conversion improvement was about 400%.

So just by using two simple keywords” How to,” we were able to significantly improve business results.

The reason why Promodo decided to organize this workshop – is because of our expertise. We are working with many retailers in Eastern Europe and manage online marketing campaigns for them.  Actually, about 70% of big brands use Promodo services: Rozetka, Regus, Bwin, DeLonghi, Namecheap.

We are able to generate more income for retailers by combining our expertise and technical knowledge in SEO, SEM, and SMM.  Using our skills in analytics, conversion rate optimization in ecommerce sites, a/b testing and user experience we are able to bring visitors to your site and help them to find what they want in a simplified, fast and comfortable environment.

Our speakers:

Marina Ryashchikova – Head of Usability Department at Promodo, certified Google analytics expert.

Paul Ryazanov – Director of business development, working with conversion rates optimization, speaker at conferences on internet marketing.

Unlike many other presenters we are not going to talk about bad design practices – we do know that your site is not perfect but looking at problematic sites does not help to fix yours.

We are not going to talk about retailers like Amazon and Zappos – they are market leaders and difficult to compare. And, Tony Hsieh (@zappos) – you have great staff, thanks for having us in Zappos back in 2012.

We don’t want to teach you or give you advice on your site design– no one can tell you what is good or bad, even we can’t until we test your site.

We are going to share one case study that might be useful for everyone.

So finally, what is so important? Check this video out to learn more…

90% of the reason why customers drop out during checkout is failure of usability.

So what we’ve got… is a #1 brand in the Ukraine founded in 1993 with more than 30 offline store locations, more than 7000 models of watches from around 40 brands oriented with both wholesale and retail business models.

We will review together four core pages:  the home page, listing page, product page and checkout steps.

Let’s review the original site:

 Being 100% fair we have to mention that there were also some good points:

–          Store had contact information and the call center phone number appears on the page

–          Online support – they had a feature to ask for assistance on the site, but on many occasions the operator was offline

–          They had a strong single brand highlighted on the page

–          Best deals sections were presented on the home page

–          Special pricing for models were highlighted well

–          They had a simple and an advanced search – but the location could be improved

–          Product reviews – many products had reviews.

–          Top sales models section on the home page was a good idea.


Now onto the sections that required improvements:

1)      The whole navigation actually spread out using different blocks on the page. It was really confusing – no central position, no focus on specific sections. To find out different sections of the site visitors had to look through all pages.

2)      Photos on the site were protected with a watermark – personally we think this is worth thinking about. Consumers shop around based on images, photos and emotions – so having such ugly watermarks would really influence their opinion.

3)      Consumers shop for specific brands and there was nothing related to special brands – many brands invest a lot of time into marketing their own trademark – for example Rado, Casio – everyone will recognize the logo, and it make a lot sense to keep the brand’s logos appear on the page so you can utilize and get part PR activity from original brands.

4)      There was clear space for a shopping cart – so it wasn’t difficult to initiate the checkout process.

5)      The page was really overloaded with a lot of plain text – looks more like a site about watches review/industry news instead of products.

So for this page we recommended following new approach:


1)      We changed the navigation to always be in one location – at the top. A primary simple change an obvious requirement.

2)      We kept the contact info and phone number at the top, plus we clearly highlighted the top five benefits why you have to buy a product with this e-commerce store.

3)      Shipping cart and search box – always available and easy to find

4)      We keep the collage  to promote a specific brand, also at the top we have social icons that recognize social activity for this brand, such small icons help to get more loyal visitors and establish reputation and trust by   first-time visitors.

5)      We highlight top categories – what is important we researched what styles people search for – and we created a special landing pages for these models.

6)      We highlighted more top models – to make these visually more attractive

7)      We kept some text / news but with more focus on products.

We worked even harder on the listing page:


1)      A very important usability feature to remember is screen size – you have to design the page to keep the most important information above the fold.  You have to remember that consumers shop from laptops, iPads and even worse for visibility – smartphones.

2)      Brands appear without images and it was difficult to navigate through them because the brand sorting was done in a particular way – not alphabetically. It would work better to have them listed alphabetically or by # of models in brand.

3)      The navigation was very hard to use – you could only select a category, there was no option to filter the results by various types.

4)      There was no way to sort results by price, reviews etc.

5)      Product photos were overloaded with even more info- like icons, so overall they became useless and don’t inspire anyone to buy something.

6)      A general search could return more than 180 pages of results with more than 3000 titles.

7)      There is no call to action button – there is no way to compare watches.

8)      What we recommend is to always  track user behavior – technically it’s possible to store information of what kind of product your visitors add to basket or even click on – having this info you may start building a special recommendation engine, organize a very focus-oriented email marketing newsletter, reminders etc.


The new listing concept was pretty fresh with a lot of free space.

1)      We added filters so customers can sort by name, by price, by model # or reviews

2)      We kept  only a specific amount of information for products and then once you move your mouse over a watch – we show some additional useful info – something like an extended product cart found on the right on the listing page.

3)      Small tags/labels for new arrivals, top sales etc.  helps to draw the customer’s attention to a specific model.

4)      We added one very important feature – the option to compare models. So now you can easily remember which watches you want to look at in more detail – you can add them to a compare block and have them stored there while you are shopping for another option.

5)      We have to say that we spend a lot of time spent on filters – to identify best option we had to spend hours on the offline store, talking to support and sales managers but it’s very important to get these right.


The product page is the core page of the whole e-commerce store. The reason is – for an internet marketing campaign you don’t need to use the home page as your landing page – many campaigns will be associated with a specific product so it make sense to send the client directly to your product page.

Plus, organic search visitors, in many cases will be redirected to specific page.

What was the issue with the original page?

1)      There was additional navigation that steered the user from the product page

2)      Product only had one photo

3)      There was not a clear message about how I can buy this product, and delivery information is also not shown  – so support get a lot of calls about the same issue.

4)      There was very little technical information about each model – so, if a user chooses a specific watch   he goes to Google to get info and then gets redirected to other sites.  So it’s good idea to try to keep him on the site by providing all info he needs.  Maybe highlight once again a phone number for questions.

5)      On the product page there was no way to showcase alternative options or suggestions of similar models.

After redesign, the product page became more friendly and “sales-oriented.”

1)      We completely revised the product card – it now has large photos and thumbnail views, a big call to action is close to the price.

2)      We added an option on payment and delivery on the page, and added nice-looking badges like” Money Back Guarantee”, “30 days risk free refund”.

3)      Another interesting fact we added to the info was for example, if this watch was seen in a movie or on an actor – we noted that here.

4)      We added a brand logo to the product details page.

5)      Included more technical details, and highlighted similar watches.

Quick tips:

Badging – conversion improved by 55%

Message consistency – conversion improved by 5-20%

TAX free – conversion improve 12%

Similar watches – recommendation engine is one of the most powerful you have to use. Back in 2009, Netflix spent $1million on a prize campaign to improve an algorithm about movie recommendations that was never implemented due to the technical cost.

But the improvement was for around an 8% improvement – so it is worth researching cost vs profit.

Please check the rest of the transcript tomorrow at our blog.

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Transcript of the UX workshop “Converting visitors into sales. How to reach the goal”

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