Go back


What do online shoppers think about?

We explore this question on our blog

Clever Advertising Idea

There are 2 types of mattress shoppers. Those who have bought a mattress online and those who can’t imagine doing so. This ad is for the second group. On click, take them to a page that starts by empathizing with this mindset and then busts that objection. What do you think? FURTHER READING We’ve spent the last 13 years in …

Conversion Tip: Avoid Segmentation

As marketers, we’re trained to segment our traffic sources. Is this always a good idea? This article makes a controversial recommendation— avoid segmentation when designing your marketing pitch.

How Being Fired Saved Me

Being fired is a terrible feeling. But it can also transform your life. It did mine. Bare my heart in this article.

5 Ways to Fix Leaks WITHOUT a Redesign

Marketers looking for ways to improve sales (and conversions) default to a redesign. But redesigns are super risky. This article reveals 4 amazing ideas.

Don’t Share This Secret

There are thousands of blogs that talk about millions of ideas to win online. In actuality, there are just 4 tactics that really matter.

Gradually, Then Suddenly

Us marketers have ignored mobile users for too long. Something big is brewing and we need to sit up and take notice.

Need Your Input

This is you: you do a Google search for a branded keyword (Big Ass Fans). Where do your eyes focus on in this screenshot? I have a theory I’m exploring. Will reveal my answer after collecting a few comments:

6 Ways Amazon Sucks

It’s 2019 and here are the 6 ways in which Amazon is terrible. If you want to compete against Amazon here are the 6 ways in which to do it.

Undo Option

Online browsers are so distracted they often don’t full realize an action until it’s been done. Even if it’s something they would have seen value in. This is a problem for us marketers because the worst situation is meeting an interested buyer who is unable to take action. On browsers there is a BACK button but the back button isn’t …

9 Year Journey: 3 Lessons

There are too many ecommerce marketing tactics to keep up with. If you don’t have the time to chase down every shiny object (as you shouldn’t) just focus on these 3 ideas.

Conversion Rates Are a Pretty Crappy Metric

We have an unhealthy obsession with site conversion rates. When they’re up we feel good. When they’re down we want to shoot someone. As a former conversion addict I can tell you conversions aren’t the right only metric. Just like carat weight of an engagement ring isn’t the only measure of love. When you focus on conversion rates you are …

Jobs to Be Done (JTBD) + CRO

This post is about how jobs to be done (JTBD) thinking can be used to maximize conversion rates.

Ethical Line of Persuasion

If you don’t like watching videos here is the written version of the article. The things I do for my readers 🙂 Marketing has become incredibly powerful. Whenever you go to a website (whether it’s CNN or Walmart.com), often times anonymous aspects of our data are sold in the marketplace. The goal of this is to not release personal information …

Simple Idea to Boost Your Conversion Rates

We look far and wide for the best marketing growth hacks. I’ll give you the best idea right now: carve out time to just ponder on your biggest marketing challenge. That’s it. Do this and I promise you’ll see a lift.

Driving Conversions in a World Where User Attention Is Really Low

Don’t know about you but for me, 2017 has been the year when I’ve had to admit I have a problem. A problem with fragmented attention. Whether it’s email, instant messaging, or even reading research articles on conversion optimization I find it hard to focus for too long. And this doesn’t only apply to my work and personal life. This …

Time and Conversion Rates

People are kinetic creatures. We are never stagnant. Our views and behaviors change based on outside stimuli, whether that’s the time of day, what side of the bed we woke up on, or, are we hungry? You’d think these things wouldn’t have any effect on important things like our jobs or the future of others but you’re wrong. In a …


Ecommerce is great for ideas that are utterly impractical as a physical store but make perfect sense when connecting a wide market even if only 1 in 10,000 people would be interested. Stockx.com is such an example. It’s a secondary market for sneakers. Super niche, super successful:

Focus on Just 2 things

Marketing is a boundless playground and you can drive yourself nuts trying every flavor of the moment. So you need to narrow your focus. After nearly 11 years of testing I can tell you that the only 2 things that matter are answering these 2 questions: How can we do a better job converting first-time buyers? What caused a first-time …

Breaking Convention is Really Hard

In 2007 1% Google users clicked I’m Feeling Lucky button: I’m sure that number is even lower today. Yet, all rational reasoning aside, Google still leaves it there. Why? Because I’m Feeling Lucky was there from the earliest days of Google. They’re attached to it. What widgets and features do you have on your site purely for nostalgia? Should they …


Imagine this scenario: you A/B test an idea and it does well.  The second test also does well.  And the third test ends up outperforming both preceding tests.  Now you test the fourth idea and it underperforms.  The fifth and sixth ideas also underperform. Does this mean we need to move on because we’ve discovered the best version of this page?  …

Optimize for the Right Goal

I recently signed up for a racquetball league at my local gym.  League fees are $65 (whole season) and gym membership is $150/month.  When I went on my league day I noticed 83% of the 12 racquetball courts were unused. Here are some important details about racquetball courts: 1: They take up physical space. 2: Once you add a court …

One Size DOESN’T Fit All

The beauty of the Internet is that it allows us to be different things to different people. Let’s take the case of a vacation planning site. There are budget vacationers who are willing to travel during the off-season in return for a good deal. And there are price-insensitive shoppers who only want to go when the weather is perfect (i.e. prices are high). …

Why eCommerce Is Such a Big Deal

The magic of ecommerce is that it allows a retail entrepreneur to launch a virtual store that would have failed as a brick and mortar space. For example, livingstonepillow.com is a site that sells pillows shaped like pebbles. This is an idea that only appeals to 0.01% of US shoppers– It would be silly to open a retail store for …

How Greed Kills Conversions

Many websites evolve to get too busy. This happens even with the best of intentions. Here’s what happens— 1: They look at their email marketing platform report and see that historically shoppers who signup for newsletters have a higher lifetime value, so they add a giant popup to drive up newsletter sales. 2: They look at their Google Analytics data and see …

Message from Our CEO

Your story matters, especially for first-time visitors.  This isn’t an opinion, it’s data fact.  Inc. 500 award winner (#1 in travel category) Regal Wings knows this, which is why when you land on their site regalwings.com you’re shown this floating tab— I love floating mini tabs because they take up very little screen space but are hard to miss.  For their tab, …

I Know Nothing

Because I’ve been obsessing over ecommerce for 8 years I often erroneously start believing I’m an expert.  I’m not.  Case in point— on my virtual stroll through ecommerce stores I stumbled on bikesdirect.com.  Please stop reading, visit their homepage and return in 10 seconds.  I didn’t take bikesdirect.com seriously because it was obviously a “small” site with a “1995” look.  …

Banner Ads of eCommerce Site 2 on eCommerce Site 1

There is something that’s bothered me for years. Some ecommerce sites (example www.fast-growing-trees.com) have banner ads promoting other businesses. This is the banner ad that’s currently on display at the footer of www.fast-growing-trees.com — Mind you, www.fast-growing-trees.com isn’t a low traffic site, their traffic is impressive— I can see why a tiny ecommerce site would have link-sharing with other sites, …

All Conversion’s Aren’t Created Equal

I’ve had a thought float in my mind a long time, but never managed to figure out a way to express it.  Now thanks to Smriti Chawla from VWO (who pointed me in the right direction) and Rand Fishkin (who beautifully described it) I can just link to my thought— https://fast.wistia.net/embed/iframe/xq1iovyyaa

I Should Ask the Meat Man

Askthemeatman.com is a site I’ve known about since 2007.  It’s a popular site and gets over 23,000 monthly visitors (traffic used to be way higher few years ago)— Back in 2007 the design of their site seemed dated.  My theory was they’re probably about to do a redesign; surely. Every year I’d check back and the site design would remain …

Mighty Small

Nankin Battery is a one location car/motorcycle battery shop in my neighborhood– This small business has some serious disadvantages: 1. Higher costs (because of higher per item overhead)2. Smaller selection (small shop)3. Limited reach (1 location) If the business owner spends her entire day stressing over her much larger online competitors she’ll want to shut shop.  But Nankin Battery has …

Empty Calories

1. When a shopper walks into a brick-and-mortar store in their head they’ve pre-allocated time and money investment.  The same phenomenon happens online. 2. Etailer X launched his site in 2003 with 37 pages.  These included product pages, category pages, checkout pages, shipping info, return policy, about us and newsletter sign-up.  With time etailer X learns more about ecommerce and …


One day I randomly discovered steepandcheap.com.  My first thought was, “this site is so similar to woot.com”.  I added a tag on steepandcheap.com called “woot” to remember it for future reference.  Now every time I type woot into Firefox address bar I’m reminded of steepandcheap.com (see red box below)- In the last two years I estimate I’ve visited woot.com 200 …

Secret To Winning Online (Venn Diagram)

Assume you’re a young pure-play etailer competing against a well established multi-channel retailer with 15 locations.  Your competitor’s strategic advantages are… 1. Ability to offer customers multiple shopping formats- catalog, store, phone and online. 2. Being a larger company driving higher volume they have greater pricing power.  Translation- deeper supplier discounts. 3. Their advertising costs are amortized across 15 stores, …

What Came First?

Not investing in conversion optimization because you have disappointing sales. -or- You have disappointing sales because you haven’t invested in conversion optimization?

Share Of Wallet

Total discretionary consumer spending is a fixed number.  It’s a finite pool from which millions of retailers are drawing sales.  When you look at your store don’t frame the question as, “Why would people buy from me?” frame it as, “Why would a moderately satisfied consumer change buying habits, sever existing vendor ties and buy from me?”


I’ve never made a prediction on this blog. My friend’s dad was a creative director at an ad agency.  He once told me that a TV commercial needs to be aired six times before it starts registering with viewers.  If that’s true, which I believe it is, retargeting will be a huge deal online…

Common Misspellings

Hotbuckles.com has a page dedicated to all the ways in which “belt buckles” could be misspelled- Does this strategy work?

Tough Love

If your entire business model hinges on unconditional customer love then all you are doing is delaying the inevitable. If you want customers to stay help them understand why your store is a better alternative than competition (brick-and-mortar or online).

Overstock.com Sponsored Links

I’m hoping my smart readers can help me out here.  Why does Overstock.com carry Sponsored Links?  Is it a good revenue stream? Do you think this is a good strategy? A screenshot:

Better Business Bureau Browser Add-On

For a majority of shoppers buying online is still a strange new experience.  When I walk into Best Buy I don’t have to worry about the company’s credibility which helps focus on the buying process.  But when I click on a Google result and visit a site for the first time there is no way to know if they offer …

Why eCommerce Is So Damn Paradigm Shifting

I’ve been a big fan of the Road Warrior segment in Fortune magazine for a long time.  It’s such a clever idea: interview frequent travelers on their favorite travel companions (items) and publish it for readers. I would launch an ecommerce store that played on this idea.  The site would be very similar to the Fortune segment but customers will …

Why Can’t We Be Friends

For a retailer, it would seem, the brick and online store are like oil and water.  Both are needed individually but must never be mixed.  But mixing has its benefits. In previous posts we’ve discussed bringing store functionality online through features like browsing stores by area code, but the reverse is equally powerful. Retail space is expensive and brands like …

In-Store Analytics

A big advantage for ecommerce sites is the ability to track minutest details of customer activity.  For the average store, however, swing door operators is the extent of their analytics.  Now it’s time to bring analytics deeper into store isles. One idea consists placing infra-red sensors at the ends of isles.  These would trip each time customers walk in or …

Losing Sale To Poor Memory

A few months ago I bought a new hot-sauce and fell in love with it.  Now it’s time to restock but I have no clue where I purchased it.  The packaging makes no mention of the grocery store that housed it.  I could look online or search for the product on my next grocery trip but by not mentioning store …

Dishola For The Offline World

If restaurants added a feedback feature on bills it would give valuable input on how people liked individual dishes.  As long as the feedback process was painless most patrons would participate and the information could be integrated to update the menu.  Avinash has shown how simple feedback gives valuable insight through 4Q, my idea merely extends the concept to an …

The State Of Retail

As you all know the world of retail is presently living in the house of pain. Last week I had a long conversation with my cousin who works for a big retailer in the home improvement space. That section of the market has been facing the full brunt of the soft housing market so I wanted to get news from …

An Idea For Redenvelope.com

Redenvelope.com is a great site but they need to refrain from posting intimate images on their homepage between 9AM-5PM (office hours).

An idea

Allrecipies.com is a great site and I often use it for recipes and cooking instruction. The other day I found a dish called anniversary chicken. Only problem was that I didn’t have teriyaki basting sauce. I wish the ingredients were listed in a format where I could mark a little x on an item I did not have and then …

When The Weather Outside Is Frightful

It’s common knowledge not all store visitors buy, some are there to browse. But customers that visit stores despite bad weather (heavy snow, frigid cold, rain, flooding etc) tend be more serious about making a purchase. I wonder if retailers like Best Buy already know this because this morning was super cold (4 degrees F) and I still went to …

The Kindle

Much has been written about Kindle. Most reviews give it a 50/50 chance or call it a failure, but from the vantage point of having no real knowledge of the product I would like to make a bold claim: Kindle will (eventually) change the world. Everything about this product is skewed in Amazons favor: – They own the “last mile” …

But Why?

Why do online retailers ask for type of credit card? If it starts with a 4 it is a Visa and if it starts with a 5, it’s MasterCard


I like seeing marketing ideas I've never seen before

True or False? ??


Then you are in the right place.

Receive 1 unique conversions idea in your inbox every week. Interested?