Think back to the last purchase you made online where you didn’t know the exact product you wanted. How did you come up with that? How did you make that decision? Where did you purchase it from?

Right now, I’m in the market to buy another pair of workout shoes. Buying a pair of shoes can be a crazy experience. There are so many different types of shoes, which one is right for me? It can be overwhelming. For me, when I am faced with too many choices, the temptation is to push the decision off to a later date. And the sale never happens. Maybe you can relate. Well, I’ve been through this cycle several times. And, by the way, I did settle on a pair of shoes—but not from a name brand as I like to support small businesses.

The goal for most shoe-buying websites is to help you filter results to find the perfect pair. It’s hard to communicate.

Decision paralysis

9,652 results? That’s decision paralysis (Zappos).

I’m not selling shoes, and chances are that you don’t either. Anytime I’m looking for something, I’m trying to understand my own decision-making process: what makes me settle on what I am looking for?

Skip to: 04:08 What if I can help my customers find what they are looking for, and educate them in the process?

While this idea might not work in every industry, but this is an important idea. Not only will this increase revenue and keep people on the website longer, but you and I will also be the ones educating them. That has to be at least worth something BECAUSE they are on your website right now.

Let’s look at my story on this. My online store improves people’s quality of life: more time with family, more influence in their company. How do I do that? I sell books that help people become Magento certified. I have written a course as well, and I have built banks of practice test questions so that someone can get a good idea as to how they will do when they sit for the exam. You might say, “Joseph, but you sell information on how to get certified.”

Good point. But what is the result of someone making this investment? All of the above.

As I help people become certified, the question I have given much thought to is: “how can I help someone achieve success and not failure?” The material that I write is only as good as the investment that the buyer makes on actually learning this stuff. I could write incredible material, and if you buy it but don’t take the time to learn it, that makes me look bad, because you’re upset you failed.

Look at it this way, I am aware that there are some question dumps out there for Magento certifications. They are wrong, illegitimate and unethical. However, you could purchase it and still fail because you didn’t memorize the questions.

One way that I have found helps make my customers successful is education.

  • How do you prepare?
  • What do you expect on the test?
  • What tricks can you do to get through the test?

Skip to: 07:01 This education is good, but we just missed the most important topic of all! “Which test should I take?”

Here’s why this is important. I get regular emails from people who take an advanced test and fail. As someone who has invested hundreds of hours in preparing for tests, I understand the pain in failing. The simple answer is that they should have started with an easier one and then progressed up. Not only do they now have a much better shot at passing as the easier test is about half the difficulty, based on percentages, they will get more certifications to their name.

My first solution is to build a quiz. There’s only 1-5 questions and at the end. And the great part is that this does not involve my time in answering emails. This also keeps the customer in their own context, where they don’t have to pick up the phone or open their email client and email me.

Iteration 1

Iteration #1 on Certification landing page

The statistics:

  • 4% of those who saw the quiz clicked on it.
  • They spend an average of 20 seconds taking the quiz.
  • 5% increase in revenue.
  • 10% increase in average order value.
  • 10% decrease in bounce rate.
  • Once through the quiz, 3-4x more likely to buy something.
  • Conversion rate for US and Mexico almost doubled (average order value almost tripled).
  • Most other places took a major conversion rate hit.

Iteration 1

Iteration #1 on individual Certification pages

That said, here’s the bad news. Overall the conversion rate is down by 10%. The older the audience, the less the conversion rate. Isn’t that a big problem? Yes, if this was all we are going to do. I look at it as an interesting statistic and see that I need to refine the presentation of this. Still, a 5% increase in revenue despite a 10% drop in conversion rate is not an immediate failure, in my opinion.

Let’s talk about my hypothesis for why we have a decrease in conversion rate.

Let’s say I am a developer. I want to take a test, and I have decided on taking the Professional Developer certification. I find SwiftOtter via Google Search and see a quiz. I may think that they are just trying to sell me something, so that’s a bit of a turn-off.

Here’s the challenge that I face: the opposite is true, my goal is education, but I’m seeing that this may come across as a sales push.

I will be testing this and we will do a follow-on podcast about my findings here. But, what will I be testing? What will I do differently this time?

If my hypothesis is correct, that means we need to help the visitor understand that this is not a sales trick. Instead, it is my desire to help them find the right product so they are more successful. Visitors must also see that this quiz is very minimal (20 seconds and less than 5 questions). They must see that they have something to gain by it. Since only 4% are utilizing this tool, but it has a very polar impact on conversion rates and average order value, I will focus on the button itself and not the content in the form.

I see plenty of good signs that we are on the right track, and thus will create version 2 of the test.

But how do I implement this?

How often do you get questions about which product to purchase? How often do you get exchanges for another similar product? If you sell three products and none of them require guidance, then you don’t need to help your customers find the right product.

Next, can you categorize the products that you sell in such a way that you can provide a path to finding them? Maybe can you create several quizzes, one for each grouping of products?

If you are using Magento, configurable products can be a quick and easy way to implement questions. Choose this color and grade for this particular part. Choose this size for these shoes. It’s not as much a tool for education as much as it is a tool for selecting a product.

To create an actual quiz, I used TypeForm (not a referral link). It does most everything I need it to and only costs $35/mo. You can do it yourself and don’t have to pay for a developer to do this.

I can create a quiz that asks questions and then assign logic that utilizes the visitors answers to formulate a decision. Then, you can embed that onto the website with a slideout panel, kind of like you see on mobile websites, or using a modal window.

Frankly, it took me only about an hour to build the questions and logic. Something about the logic was a little tricky and some of the routing doesn’t make sense to me but without much effort I was able to get something together that I was happy with. I had to do some trial and error because what I pictured in my head didn’t work with the software.. Expect to play around and experiment with TypeForm until you get something that works.

But remember to test this! You won’t learn anything if you don’t utilize Google Optimize to understand how or why this works or doesn’t. As you can see, my test is reasonably successful, but we made new observations and are building a version two of this test.

In summary

How are you helping your customers find what they need? Are you receiving feedback, directly or indirectly that they are having problems? If you sell products that can be categorized and filtered, there is a good chance that you may be able to help educate your customer.

I’m going to also put this offer out there: please feel free to contact me if you found this helpful OR if you have any questions about how. this would apply to you.

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