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normally charge you £560 for this set of plastic vegetable chopping gizmos, but I am not going to even charge you £250; instead . . .’

• Stores mark up to mark down. So they can show a was high anchoring price.

• Jewellery is expensive— even though diamonds are practically worthless second hand, a high retail price triggers the ‘expensive is good.’

• The last experience of someone’s holiday has a huge impact on the review they give. So savvy hoteliers make the checkout and last night an amazing experience.

Even though we know this is going on, we are not immune.

So we e-commerce owners must be careful what we show the visitor before they reach the website. Therefore, bidding on brand on Google AdWords is important—as we can control the message they see before they visit the site. The organic listing often lacks punch and anchoring.

The first image they see on landing is also critical to their subsequent experience. That image will anchor their whole experience on the site. Split testing landing page images is one of the most rewarding activities you can do.

The first review they see on a Google Search for ‘Brand Name Review’ will anchor the following reviews.

The products on the top line of the category will anchor


the experience of the other products. Try putting one expensive product in the top line of each category to see what happens to your average order value.

If you do offer coupons, try making the before price bigger and the after price smaller in font sizes. How does this affect conversion?

DOES THE SITE APPEAR EASY TO USE? You may be aware of the famous experiment by Daniel Simons where he asks people to watch a video and count how many times a ball is thrown.

After watching the video, people are asked if they ‘saw the gorilla.’

In the video, a person in a gorilla suits walks onto the screen and beats their chest and then exits. It’s obvious, but 50 per cent of people taking the experiment missed it. Daniel Simons calls this attentional blindness.

This blindness comes from the way our eyes are built and minds wired. The high- resolution parts of the eye are small and use a lot of energy to use, thus we can only focus on a small amount of an image at any one time. We believe we are seeing the whole picture as the subconscious fills in the rest of the image with what ‘it expects to be there.’

This is so powerful that, in conversion rate optimization, perceived ease of use is pretty much aligned with actual ease of use. | Direct Commerce

That’s quite a powerful statement, if you think about it.

It means that if your website looks easy to use, then people will find it easy to use. But if it looks hard to use, then people will find it hard to use, even if it isn’t. People focus on what they believe is the truth and look for corroboration that aligns with that. It’s too hard for the brain to constantly change its opinion, especially for something like buying from an e-commerce site where they are in ‘leisure mode.’

Looking at attention blindness first in relation to an e-commerce site, people only focus on a small part of the screen, and optimising the parts they focus on will have a huge impact on revenue per visitor.

Optimising the parts of the site they don’t focus on is a waste of time.

We can find out which parts of the home page, product page, category pages, basket pages and checkout pages people look at using a heat map tool. The hot spots are the places where you want to focus your split test work. They are the small parts of the site that are focused on and will disproportionately affect the user’s impression of the store.

Also, take a step back and ask if your website looks easy to use? Are the Add to Basket buttons clear in a different colour and big and obvious? Ditto with the Proceed to Checkout buttons. Are there elements

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