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Why Buyers Shop the Way They Do, & How to Nudge Them with Rishi Rawat - Honest Ecommerce Ep. 23

Rishi Rawat from Frictionless Commerce noticed at a young age how complex the decision-making process was for shoppers, and became fascinated by understanding what goes into the sales process.

While we like to think that shoppers make their decisions rationally, by default. People will even use their rationality in hindsight to justify irrational decisions.

Understanding buyer’s psychology is important for anyone who sells a product or service, and today Rishi tells us why, and how we can take advantage of the process to sell more and help our customers.

In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • [5:05] What is buyer psychology, and why is it important
  • [7:50] The two systems of decision-making
  • [9:45] Using rationality to justify impulse decisions
  • [11:54] How to use emotional appeals for your marketplace
  • [17:25] The number one thing to keep in mind about buyer psychology
  • [20:02] The power of narrative
  • [29:30] Using serendipity to meet your customers where they are
  • [37:32] How added time on the page leads to more sales
  • [40:42] Sign up for the mailing list


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    Rishi Rawat

    So we assume that when the price point is low, people behave irrationally.

    But if someone's buying a home or if someone is finding a spouse to get married to or someone is buying a car, there's no way they're going to be irrational and they are completely wrong. It is still completely, completely irrational.

    Annette Grant

    Welcome to Honest Ecommerce where we are dedicated to cutting through the BS and finding actionable advice for online store owners.

    Chase Clymer

    I'm your host, Chase Clymer.

    Annette Grant

    And I'm your host, Annette Grant.

    Chase Clymer

    And we believe running an online business does not have to be complicated or a guessing game.

    Annette Grant

    If you're struggling to scale your sales, Electric Eye is here to help. To apply to work with us. visit electriceye.io/connect to learn more.

    Chase Clymer

    And let's get on with the show.

    Annette Grant

    On today's episode of Honest Ecommerce, we welcome Rishi. He's from Frictionless Commerce and we discuss buyer psychology. Why shoppers behave the way they do and how marketers can nudge them?

    Chase Clymer

    Hey everybody. Welcome back to another episode of Honest eCommerce. I am Chase. I am joined by Annette Grant sitting across the table from me.

    And today, across the internet, we welcome today's guest, Rishi from Frictionless Commerce. How are you doing today?

    Rishi Rawat

    I'm doing really good. Nice to talk about the few.

    Annette Grant

    Hi, Rishi.

    Chase Clymer

    Yeah. Rishi and I spoke about a partnership between our agencies once and then... Honestly, that conversation was so valuable. I was like, "Oh. We gotta get you on the podcast. You telling me this stuff isn't good. You gotta tell everyone."

    Rishi Rawat

    Dope. It's awesome. It's good to hear.

    Chase Clymer

    Yeah. So let's get into it. I didn't give you much of an intro there. And that's my mistake. I was up late watching Game of Thrones. (laughs)

    So let's talk about what you guys are really, really good at over there at Frictionless Commerce.

    You guys specialize in buyer psychology and why people behave as they do. So I got one question now, how long have you been studying buyer psychology and what is it?

    Rishi Rawat

    That's a great question. And for me, the journey started when I was 16 years old and I was in a retail store.

    I remember looking at the aisle from one angle, and I saw this one customer --it was a really small store-- but I saw this one customer stand on one of the aisles and they lifted up the item, they were investigating it, they clearly seemed confused.

    They wanted it but they weren't sure about it. I saw them struggle with it. And then they put it back, they walked away, they came back, they looked at it again.

    And then on the left-hand side, I could see the cash register where the owner of the store was sitting and I thought to myself that this person who's sitting at the cash register is obviously paying a lot of attention to transactions that are taking place.

    But what about that struggling moment that this person is having an aisle 4 or aisle 5 who will never make it up to him? What if he knew that this person is struggling with this question?

    He clearly has the motivation but doesn't have the right answer to make the purchase. If they if we could anticipate that, wouldn't that be amazing? This was way before Ecommerce was even a viable thing.

    But I remember that question really mesmerized me and I thought to myself, it'd be so fascinating to kind of get beyond just transactions.

    To understand what's going on in the pre-sales process. And I wasn't able to do anything with it. I went to my... I did my engineering, came to the US and did my MBA.

    And then at that point, I said, "Hey, this is something I can explore more on a professional basis." And that's pretty much all my whole journey started.

    Annette Grant

    Rishi, that's such a cool story. I'm not I'm trying to envision what I was doing at 16 and I don't think it was analyzing shoppers in a retail location. (laughs)

    Rishi Rawat

    I wasn't intending to but I just saw someone struggling and I thought to myself, "There must be a way to solve this problem." I mean, just serendipitously I happened to be there. And I noticed there but it took me I don't know, 15 years to do anything about it. So...

    Annette Grant

    It's very interesting.

    Chase Clymer

    I had a mohawk at 16 so I was getting chased out of those little stores. (laughs)

    Annette Grant

    (laughs) May we ask what was the product that they were looking at? Just to...

    Rishi Rawat

    I honestly don't even remember. It's some kind of packaged product that they were holding in their hands. It might have been some kind of a printer cartridge or something.

    I wasn't exactly sure what the product was. They were quite a distance away from me, but I could make out that they were... I could... Their body language.

    It was just one person but the body language is so specific. It was so clearly showing a struggle in a conflict where there was a strong desire to buy it but an even stronger desire not to screw up and buy the wrong product. I found it quite interesting to watch from a distance.

    Annette Grant

    That answer is probably the most perfect answer that you weren't meaning to say. Because I think this is important for anyone that's selling anything.

    That there is buyer psychology. So do you want to walk through that a little bit? What is buyer psychology? And why is it important to anyone selling anything?

    Rishi Rawat

    Yeah. Well, I mean, that has become the quest of my life and when I'm 80 years old, I hope to really have mapped it out. It is such an interesting question.

    There are many, many ways in which marketers can think about buyer psychology. I think that there is a lot of science.

    There's a lot of behavioral economics that has been developed over the last 30 years that singularly is focused on this one question.

    And one of the key aspects of buyer psychology that economists have figured out --which is very different than how we used to look at buyer psychology prior to that-- we used to assume, --and this is the area that I find the most fascinating-- is that economists would assume that shoppers and buyers are rational actors which simply means that if a company is able to come up with a product that is 5% cheaper, they will dominate the marketplace.

    But when you look at reality, when you actually look at Microsoft or Google or Facebook or any consumer brand, it doesn't matter what you are, you notice there's actually no correlation.

    There isn't necessarily a direct correlation between the best product and the best sales. And this confused economists... Because this doesn't make sense.

    Markets should be efficient, people should behave in rational ways.

    And then a bunch of economists 30 years ago, started questioning this idea and started experimenting around it, they came up with concepts like Prospect Theory, they came up with lots of experiments around buyer psychology.

    And what they found was that, even though we assume that people are rational actors, and even though we believe we ourselves are rational actors, there's a pretty big part of our decision making that is irrational.

    And what's happened is over the last 30 years they've realized, not only is our decision-making irrational, pretty much all of it is irrational.

    In fact, rationality is an inconsequential part of that whole process. And I think that is really interesting because if marketers can understand that, what it's telling us is that we can actually influence people to behave in certain ways which are very different than how marketing is done right now.

    So most marketing is done around features and benefits.

    So you go to any website, if they have a product, they'll say, "Here are features. Here are our benefits. Here are 30 customer reviews."

    And then they just expect people to come there and say, "Well, here are the features. Here are the benefits. Here's the social proof. I see customer reviews. I see this return policy. Boom, I'm done."

    And actually, that's not how we work at all. That's not how our brain works.

    And what scientists have figured out is, there is something called System 1 and System 2.

    System 1 is the irrational side of the brain.

    System 2 is the more logical, methodical side of the brain.

    System 1 is very quick.

    So when you see something, the first thing that's activated is System 1.

    System 2 is much more methodical, much more scientific, much more cautious. But System 2 is also very lazy.

    So what happens is in almost every scenario, System 1 gets activated by default.

    And in most cases, we're not able to turn off System 1 to turn on System 2, which is what we really should be doing.

    If we were rational actors, what would happen is that every decision will be based on System 2, which is the rational side of the brain.

    But because System 1 gets started so fast, --and most people don't even know their System 1 mode-- it's very, very hard for them to turn off System 1 and start System 2 and there are plenty of examples.

    We don't want to get too much into the weeds or bore you guys with it. But this is basically the fundamental building blocks around which the whole field of behavior science is built.

    Chase Clymer

    Absolutely. So when people are going with their gut, that's System 1?

    Rishi Rawat

    Yep. When people are going with that gut, it's System 1. And the thing is that most people don't even know they're going with their gut.

    Chase Clymer

    Yep. So...

    Rishi Rawat

    Really what's happening is where you... A great example would be, one would assume --this is another mistake that marketers make-- is that if you go to a retail store, you'll notice that at the end caps or at the checkout place, they have these impulse items, like candy, magazines, whatever.

    So we assume that when the price point is low, people behave irrationally. But if someone is buying a home or if someone is finding a spouse to get married to or someone is buying a car, there's no way they're going to be irrational and they are completely wrong. It is still completely, completely irrational.

    And so what I mean by that is we...

    If you ask someone why they choose to buy a certain premium brand of car, they wouldn't say that "I bought it because I was being impulsive and the leather felt really good or the steering wheel felt really amazing. I felt empowered by it."

    They use a whole bunch of rationality or rational-based reasons to justify their choice.

    So they'll say, "It's number one rated for consumer reports. It's got the best ratings on safety ratings."

    Whatever it is, they're using their... In hindsight, they're using rationality to justify an irrational choice that they made because it's very uncomfortable to say, "I bought this car because... I spent 50,000 bucks because I loved the color of it."

    That doesn't seem rational. Even though that's exactly how why they bought it.

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    Chase Clymer

    Absolutely. So let's narrow this in. So how does this come into play when you're talking about an Ecommerce store? How are we taking these impulses, these emotional appeals, and using it on a website?

    Rishi Rawat

    That's really a good question. So we've identified 10 or actually 9 specific --this is an expanding list. -- So as we do more research and were able to compartmentalize some of these tactics, we've identified there are basically 9 dimensions in which we can influence the buyer.

    I won't necessarily go through all nine but if a user or if a listener to the podcast is interested at the end of it, we can talk about how they can actually learn about all of the tactics that we utilize.

    But I want to talk about a few of them. So, one of the tactics that we utilize is Thoughtfulness.

    And Thoughtfulness, basically, is if you are an online retailer, and you are selling any product, --you could be selling a commodity. You could be selling whatever-- you have to ask yourself, "Why did this user come to my website?" You have to essentially work backward and ask yourself, "How did they end up here and what was their journey?"

    And this is a difficult question. I think this is a question that most retailers don't want to think about.

    Because we just want to say, "Okay, someone landed here. We spend money advertising. Got them to our website. They came here and now we have to push them to buy."

    But I believe that if you can really understand why they came to you, then you can actually start crafting messages that are tailor-made for that audience. I'll give you a great example. Let's say that you are selling a product where...

    Let's say you're selling a product and you know that your advertising budget doesn't show you as the first-page result.

    So let's look at a specific scenario where a small retailer knows they have a limited budget, they're spending that money to target a certain keyword, but they know --because you can adjust this in AdWords-- but they're not showing up as the first result because their ad spend is slightly on the lower side.

    So there may be showing up at the bottom of that first results page where you have paid ads.

    Now, if they know this and if they get someone who clicks from that ad and comes to the landing page, that clearly implies that the user went --obviously users first will always go to the first result-- But clearly whatever they saw on the first page or the first result was not a good fit for them.

    So the retailer can say, "Okay. Well, we're number 2 or number 5 or whatever. Why would someone look at option number 5?" And the reason is because they are not satisfied with the value proposition, the price point, the service, the way it was described, for the first results. So you can actually reverse engineer this and say, "I'm going to change my description to match."

    And this may not be the best example but Thoughtfulness essentially in simple terms, is really think about why the user would have come to your website or your product page or considered buying from you and then work backwards to feed a message that would resonate with more people that matched up that mindset.

    Chase Clymer

    Absolutely, that makes sense. I know that we had Brennan Dunn on a few weeks ago and he's got an app that does just this.

    But essentially talking about if you know where they're coming from, their journey and you can match that marketing message for example...

    What he was using was, say you're selling some sort of product in that you have some influencers, other people that are talking about you. Say they put you in their email blast or they're linking to you from their blog.

    So when you know where those people are coming from, you can set up the messaging on your site to...

    Hell, just use a testimonial by the person that just sent you to your website to double-down and have that matched marketing message.

    So people are like, "Oh yeah. This guy sent me here and here. He is, again, talking about this exact product." It just helps.

    Rishi Rawat

    Actually, I'll give you an even better example of Thoughtfulness which is that I find this happens a lot where a retailer will use a lot of jargon on their website.

    So for example, if they have a product that has certain measurements, they'll put all those measurements or their use terminology like, I was looking the other day at a pair of boots. Winter boots. And they were using...

    They talked about the thickness of the boot. They talked about the insulation. They talked about all...

    They have lots of these patents so they were talking about proprietary trademark technology.

    And I was trying to figure out, "What does this even mean?" And I felt so stupid because I was like, "I see all this terminology and all this jargon that they have on this page. But I don't really know what it means."

    So Thoughtfulness really is asking yourself, "Does this jargon really help the user?" If we would tell it explaining to...

    The best way I explain this to people is to think about it like you're explaining to a 10-year-old. You're not trying to dumb down the content.

    You're not trying to talk down to the audience. That never works.

    But just empathize with the fact that they are having a struggling moment. That they're just not clear about what that terminology...

    Look at every single word on your page and ask yourself, "Would everyone understand this? Or am I assuming they understand because I look at it all day long?" And you will notice you get a bunch of insights that will significantly ease the data to your descriptions.

    Chase Clymer

    That's great advice. That's great advice. So I think from a 30,000-foot view here, what is the number one thing like Ecommerce retailers should be keeping in mind when it comes to this buyer psychology?

    Rishi Rawat

    I mean, there's a bunch of them. I talked about two that we use a lot that I think most marketers don't really fully understand. But I'll talk about both of them. So one is what we call Narrative Control.

    This is actually a very important, very powerful strategy that can really unlock sales for you. And what Narrative Control --basically, the simple definition of Narrative Control-- is that nobody... When you are selling a product, you're not just selling one thing, you're actually making a series of micro-promises.

    So for example, if you are selling those winter boots like I talked about, you're making a promise that this product is going to be durable.

    That you're not going to have to buy one every year. You're making a promise about how useful it is for the winter conditions in which...

    So for example, I live in Michigan, we have severe winters over here. So obviously, I don't want to buy boots that would be great winter boots for people that lived in a warmer climate when it kinda gets cold, but nowhere as stone-cold as it gets here.

    So that's the other one. You're making a promise about how easy it is going to be to return the boots if you have any difficulty.

    So you're making a sequence of promises. And what happens is that, once the user has gone through all those micro-promises, that's when they are ready to pull the trigger.

    So first of all, as a retailer, you need to list out what each of those micro promises are. And there's a whole bunch of them. It's not just one or two.

    And then you have to say --you have to look at each of those-- and then you have to say... Okay, let's say that someone is a skeptical buyer and they did not buy this...

    Let's say that we talked about insulation and we say, "We have the best insulation technology in the world." Let's assume that the person who read that said, "I call BS on that, I don't buy it. What's the evidence?"

    What would you say to this person? Now, sometimes it doesn't make... I mean, you have to ask yourself.

    Oftentimes, what happens is marketers make a bunch of claims but they don't back up what they're saying or they don't really give further qualification. You don't have to give a scientific report or something.

    But there needs to be some kind of mechanism for the user to understand. I'll give you a great... One of the best examples of Narrative Control...

    By the way, we do tons of A/B testing. So all of these tactics are talking about this is not based on like, "Hey, this would work well for you." This has been rigorously statistically validated through testing.

    So one of the great stories I can give you about Narrative Control and this will apply to all your listeners is that free shipping is a really interesting phenomena because we know that consumers really like it.

    But the problem is that free shipping doesn't really exist, right? So if you're giving free shipping, the way you do it is by adjusting the price of the product itself to cover shipping.

    Now, what we did was one of the clients we work with, refused to give free shipping because they just thought it was gimmicky and they felt that it's not true. It wasn't true to who they were.

    They said, "I'm not gonna lie to my buyers by saying shipping is free, only to increase the price of the product. I mean, we just want to be... We pay for UPS shipping, therefore we want people to know."

    So what we did was, on the cart page where there is the shipping option for you to select, there were a couple of options.

    There was overnight shipping, which was very expensive. And we knew that if someone was price-insensitive, we don't have to show them this message.

    But the lowest price point available was $5.99. So when someone selected the $5.99 option from the drop-down, when they made that selection, there was a link that appears to the right of the drop-down that said, "Why isn't shipping free."

    So it only appears when you select the lowest tier because those are the people that wanted to essentially pay zero, but that was the lowest price point.

    If you click on it, we showed a pop up where we explained why we charge for shipping.

    And we simply said that "We charge for shipping because we pay for shipping. And it's really important to us to get the product to you in the right quality, in the right packaging, not to break and to be able to handle returns blah, blah, blah, blah, blah."

    And we notice a 17% improvement in conversion rates by simply explaining to people why shipping was not free because people...

    Again, it goes back to System 1 and System 2. The irrational side of our brain expects shipping to be free. "That's what I want. I don't care."

    But when you can use copy to activate their rational side and say, "Guys, do you really believe shipping is free?" People understand that. "You know what that's true, that doesn't make any sense."

    And by just explaining it to them without giving any discount, --because, obviously we could have made shipping free-- but that wasn't the solution.

    We focused on explaining why shipping wasn't free. And we noticed that people actually were accepting that message.

    That's a great example. Do you have any others that are like that? Because those are the fun things that (we) read about. These unique use-cases where just rationally explaining something usually helps.

    Annette Grant

    And I think if it's a smaller store, too they can explain that because everybody feels like they need to compete with Amazon. And it's just not possible. So I think that was a good explanation.

    Rishi Rawat

    That's a great example. You're exactly right. So oftentimes, we deal with clients... So actually, Amazon is a great example.

    So we've actually done lots of testing around this as well, where what happens is that some clients have their products within Amazon as well and they’re really scared of cannibalizing sales.

    That if they don't reference Amazon, they feel that people will still go to Amazon, they'll still their own product on Amazon.

    And if they have Amazon Prime, there's really zero chance of them buying it from their website. So what we do is they actually implement the link that takes into Amazon directly on their website.

    But what we've experimented with is when you click on the link before you go to the website, there is a pop-up that appears.

    And that simply stated, "It is true that you can buy our exact product for the exact same price on Amazon and we totally respect it if that's what you want to do. The only thing we want you to know is that if you buy it from us, we get to keep more money, therefore, invest more in research and development for our customers..."

    Whatever the story is.

    And it turns out again, as long as you explain to people what your reasoning is... People are rational. People are empathetic, so if you explain it to them...

    Without pandering to them. Without begging them. You have to do it in a very, very subtle way. That's exactly how you use Narrative Control to prevent people from leaving your website and trying to find the cheapest alternative on Amazon.

    Annette Grant

    That's great because I didn't know... I have not seen an example of an Amazon vendor that sells on their own site and on Amazon doing that pop-up but I know that would probably, my System 1 would buy it because I'm like, "Oh man, this is a small business owner. I like what they're doing".

    Rishi Rawat

    It's actually the System 2 that would buy it. System 1 wants to actually get the lowest price points. System 2 is the more rational side that says, "Hey, you know what, let's look at the big picture."

    And this in this instance, we're actually activating System 2 because we know System 1 is going to lead them astray.

    Annette Grant

    Oh, man. I got my systems messed up. (laughs) Oh, well, that's probably not the first or last time that's going to happen. So we'll just go with it. That's an excellent example because Chase and I, we host a Shopify Meetup here in Columbus. And we have a lot of people.

    There's a debate. There are smaller vendors, and they're like, "Do we go to Amazon? Would people actually buy goods on Amazon that are handmade goods versus Etsy versus Shopify?"

    So I think it's just appealing. Again, like you said that narrative. Wherever your products are, making sure that that's there.

    Rishi Rawat

    No matter what you say, there's always going to be a contrarian view. One of the things I find really amazing about the clients that we work with is that if they are small business and if they have a team of let's say two or three employees, they feel really nervous about showing a picture of their team because they're concerned that people will say, "Well, that's a really small business."

    And I always tell them, "Take every single negative of yours and spin it into a positive because that's what it is. Because there are many benefits to being a small business.

    And instead of hiding behind the fact that you are not as big as a Best Buy or a big as an Amazon or an Etsy or whatever, why not embrace and lean into who you authentically are.

    Because what that then does is it allows people who believe in that to connect with you.

    If you hide that fact then you're missing out because you're not appealing to... You're potentially fooling a few people who might assume your big. People are naive, but you're definitely not appealing to people that actually appreciate working with...

    There's a bunch of consumers that want to be buying yours and want to buy things before the big guys are selling them.

    They want to have discovered it on their own and so they really would resonate with, "We're small. We're boutique. We're gonna take good care of you." You just have to kind of turn that negative into a positive and it works really well.

    Chase Clymer

    I really love that.

    Annette Grant

    Yeah. That was that could have been an episode on its own. That was excellent advice. And I think, hopefully, reassuring for a lot of our listeners that are nervous on how to tell that story.

    But I think Chase and I say it all the time, "People buy from people. So if they see your face, if they see your story they're going to appreciate that more." Everybody just thinks to Amazon is Jeff Bezos.

    They don't know too many other people behind the scenes there so that was excellent.

    Rishi Rawat

    That's the one thing that you can beat Amazon on, customer service even though they harp that they're really good at it.

    That's the number one thing you can beat Amazon now as a small business is you can go above and beyond for your customers. And that's not something that Amazon can do.

    Annette Grant

    And create a relationship. Yeah. And grow along with them. So yeah. That was excellent, excellent advice. And I think what you said...

    Take that negative into a positive. If you are a smaller crew, be honest about your shipping timeframes.

    Be honest about why you have a certain return policy. I mean that stuff is fine, where your pricing does come from. I think that you will find that people are buying from you.

    Rishi Rawat

    Actually, a lot of clothing retailers who don't accept returns for certain types of clothing, they explain that "We care deeply about our customers not having to wear clothes that had been worn by someone else, so we just destroy it. And that's why we don't accept returns."

    Now, as someone who's buying this product, I'm thinking to myself, "You know what, I myself would not want to want to wear some intimate clothing someone else wore."

    And to address it... Instead of hiding from that fact and saying, "Let's hide our return policy because people are going to see it and it's going to say, 'We don't accept returns.'"

    Why don't we get in front of the problem and say, "Let's turn this into a positive and explain it in a way that makes sense."

    Because usually there's a good reason why choices are made. You just have to explain why you're making those choices.

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    Annette Grant

    So I want to get at least one more tactic out of you because these have been excellent. So besides Narrative Control, what is something else that our listeners today could take action on one of your tactics?

    Rishi Rawat

    Okay. So the other one I want to talk to you about is something we call Serendipity. And it's a very, very powerful tactic. And I want to give you... I want to speak about it in very specific terms.

    So again, this goes back to what I said about Thoughtfulness. You have to... Ultimately, this is the final takeaway. This is the key takeaway that I want every listener to have.

    If you do not think deeply about your users, if you do not obsess about your customers, then you will become obsolete. End of story. And it's a hard message. But if it is absolutely true.

    So Serendipity is a mechanism where you have to ask yourself... Let's look at an example. Let's look at an example where... Every product or every service has trade-offs.

    And so Serendipity, basically, is a tactic that we utilize where we're asking ourselves questions about the person who is on this page right now. So for example, if the person who's coming to this page is coming on a weekend.

    This is one of my key things that I find really fascinating about how retailers don't innovate enough.

    So imagine if you have a product page where this is the main product you're selling.

    This is the biggest product you sell. I find it very fascinating, --even if I go to a large retailer and I go to their product page, their product description-- if I go on a January, if I go on three months from then, if I go in the middle of the year, if I go at the end of the year, the description is exactly the same.

    And I always find this really interesting because a shopper who comes to this product page at the start of December is probably here because they're in gift-buying mode either for themselves or for a loved one.

    If someone comes here in March or something, they're different, too. If someone comes here on the weekend, --also, it depends on what the product is. But let's say it's a business product-- and if they come in the weekend, clearly this person is different than someone who comes on a weekday.

    If someone comes on their cell phone in the evening versus if they come during business hours, they're different too.

    Yet the copy and the story is always identical. It doesn't adjust at all. Serendipity is basically you anticipating the mindset of the user, not just from a global perspective, but in that situation. "Why would a person using their cell phone come to our product page during business hours?" Could we...

    It doesn't mean that you have to always draw a conclusion but it opens you up to asking that question. Most retailers don't even ask that question. And you can then adjust (the) copy.

    So for example, that December, you can create a rule that says, "In December we're gonna change the copy." A lot of times, retailers will kind of put a banner, they'll say, "Hey, Christmas sale!" or whatever.

    A banner is just a band-aid. I think, to be really persuasive, you should rewrite your copy from the perspective of the person who's on that product page.

    You need to ask yourself, "Would this be something that someone's trying to get as a gift for themselves? Or is this a gift that someone's trying to get for someone else?"

    And just based on that assumption, --this is what serendipity is. You're creating a moment of serendipity.-- and then you have to ask yourself, "How would we change the copy?"

    You don't have to rewrite the whole copy. But you can adjust it a little bit just based on that situation.

    And if you have, --and again, this is not based on just speculation. this is something we've tested extensively-- you'd be amazed at the kinds of conversion impact you have by simply kind of personalizing it for their situation.

    Annette Grant

    Two things. The banners, the band-aid is really great because I know what I want to just like fix things or get a message out quickly and not really think about it, I change my banner.

    So now I'm thinking that's the easy way out.

    But secondly, do you think that Google Analytics appreciate or it takes that into account when you're changing the product description periodically? Would that help?

    Rishi Rawat

    Only if your description is to enhance or update your content is good for ranking purposes as well.

    But I mean, you don't have to do it. If someone is concerned about rankings, assuming that's your question, I don't think you need to change it in a drastic way. It's just about adding an accent to it that lets the user...

    Again, back to their System 1 mode. Most decisions are being made in the System 1 mode. So I'll give an example. Let's say that I knew, based on your behavior, that you are someone who hates your cell phone carrier.

    Let's imagine we are a cell phone carrier and we know that the user who comes to our website, --with whatever technology we used, we figured out that-- the user hates their cell phone carrier. Imagine if we had a headline that said... And we knew your carrier.

    Let's say you have Verizon and imagine that the headline on the page said, "Verizon really sucks and we have a better solution for it." Even though you... It would subconsciously be such a draw for you, because you're like, "Yes! Yes! That's exactly what I'm thinking." And so this is how Serendipity can really play a role.

    So you don't have to necessarily rewrite the whole copy. Just that headline change will actually make you 10 times more likely to buy the service because they've reflected what your beliefs were.

    Chase Clymer

    Absolutely. And then there's just something that you kind of touched on a bit. And all of this, you're testing.

    You're not making sweeping changes and not playing against the control. There's an AB test going on with all of these?

    Rishi Rawat

    Right. In everything we do. And for the last nine years, we've ran over 400 experiments. We're constantly testing, learning more. And all of these tactics I'm talking about...

    We didn't come up with the tactic and then run a test to validate it. We actually did testing and then based on successes, work backward and said, what are the key trends we're seeing here?

    Chase Clymer

    That's amazing. So if I am a nerd, and I love all this stuff, --which I do-- how do I find out more about it? Where do I go? What do I do?

    Rishi Rawat

    I mean, there are a couple of things. I would recommend you check out my website, frictionless-commerce.com. It's a pretty long name.

    Over there, you will find detailed explanations and tons of examples of the tactics that we talked about here, but we've got a lot more.

    From there itself, you go to the footer, you can actually access our blog. We've been writing about this stuff for the last 12 years now we've written over 500 articles about it.

    Actually, all the articles have been organized based on tactics. So, you might say that, "Hey, look. My brand. For what I'm trying to do, Power is the tactic that I want to explore the most."

    You just click on the Power link and we'll pull up all the articles we've written about it.

    And we don't just write articles, we actually show examples with screenshots and mock-ups and videos so you can easily understand how it applies to you.

    Because one of the key things that we've learned is that our customers don't have the time to hear a concept and then have to work backwards and say, "How do I apply this to my website?"

    They want to see a concrete example like that "Why isn't shipping free" idea so they can directly apply that to their website and don't even have to change the copy and just pretty much use the copy that we've already invented.

    So that will be the best way for for readers to learn more about our process and essentially keep in touch with us. There's also a...

    Anyway, once they get to the website, they'll be able to figure out how they can get in touch with us.

    And we do a free assessment as well to understand what's going on with their business and understand what the upside potential is. So that also is available on the left stock page on our website.

    Chase Clymer

    Awesome. Thank you so much for being on our show. I do have one more question because I remember being on your website way back when.

    Hopefully you can catch on to what test I'm talking about here but it was about time on page and how you increase time on page to then help increase sales. Am I getting that right?

    Rishi Rawat


    Annette Grant


    Chase Clymer

    It was like a pop up with a timer...

    Rishi Rawat

    Oh, yeah! Yeah. Actually, that is not something that we've AB tested.

    So what we do is we are constantly developing theoretical concepts which we then go to some clients with because it's really very brand specific. It only works... I'll give you...

    I'll just want readers to understand. I'll tell you what the idea was. The idea was a pop-up that basically says, "If you spend 10 minutes in the website we'll give you... We have something surprising for you." Correct?

    Chase Clymer

    Yeah, that was it.

    Rishi Rawat

    And the idea here was... What happens is when we look at data for our clients, --and again, this depends on what type of client you are-- So let's look at an example of a jewelry website.

    Because this idea is specifically designed for those types of websites. Jewelry website or a fashion brand or a product or a website where you have a lot of varieties of variations of things. 

    So what we find in analytics is that the number of users that actually explore multiple designs is a very small percentage.

    So typically, less than 20% of people will explore more than five product pages on your website. But the ones that explored five product pages have a significantly higher conversion rate.

    So we can see a direct correlation between how much they explored on the website and what the probability of them buying is. And this is very common.

    Like I said, it's very common for websites where you have lots of designs, lots of patterns and stuff like that.

    So what happens is, the more you navigate the website, the higher the probability that you will find a piece of jewelry that you absolutely have to have.

    And it's very difficult as a merchandiser to know what that is at the top of the funnel.

    This is why you exploring across the website is so important. Now, most retailers like to give a discount coupon code, the moment you landed the website. First of all, I hate the idea. We've tested it. It's not effective.

    But there's plenty of nicer ways, smarter ways of doing it.

    But my point is that instead of giving them that discount up front, if you have to give a 10% off or 15% off any way, why not use gamification to say, "Hey, if you spend 10 minutes browsing my website, I'm going to show you something special."

    Now the reason why it's so effective is first of all, our brains are wired for games. We love games so we are instantly drawn to it.

    But from a from a data perspective, we know that if users slow down, the activate System 2. And if they activate System 2, and if they spend time on the website, there is a much, much higher likelihood that they'll stumble on a print or a design or whatever that they would have never discovered this if they spent just 10 seconds on the website.

    So that's the idea. But it's theoretical. So we still haven't tested for a client yet, but we hope to sometime this year.

    Chase Clymer

    Awesome. So to stay up to date on what's going on with that concept, you gotta jump on that email list, right?

    Rishi Rawat

    That's exactly right. Yeah. If you go to frictionless-commerce.com/join, you can sign up for our mailing list and every Monday we publish one simple actionable idea.

    Because that’s the keyword. It has to be actionable. People don't want ideas that are really book-smart but are not practical. But that's right.

    Once we figure it out and once we start testing it... We will never, of course, talk about a specific test that we've done for a client.

    But what we will do is we'll basically add a qualifier in the post that says, "This is something that we've tested."

    And then we have now data to say, "This is something you should probably experiment with on your website as well."

    Chase Clymer

    Cool. Well, thank you so much for joining us today. There was so much in there and I am signing up for your mailing list right now. I don't know why I wasn't on it before. But I'm excited.

    Annette Grant

    Thank you.

    Rishi Rawat

    Thank you so much. I appreciate you guys. And if there are any questions that have come up, go to the website and you can contact me directly, but this has been really good.

    Thanks for your time.

    Chase Clymer

    We can't thank our guests enough for coming on the show and sharing the truth. links and more will be available in the show notes. If you found any actionable advice in this podcast that you'd like to apply to your business, please reach out at electriceye.io/connect.

    Annette Grant

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