The WUA! Digital Sales Model
From our years of intensive research we know exactly what makes a website become one of the best on the market. We also know why the consumer ultimately commits to buy a product or service and therefore can calculate the conversion rate for any given site. All this information is made available to us through our Digital Sales model.
Our in-depth and methodical research projects at WUA! all share the same fundamental element – the same starting point. Online participants in the study are set a task to search for a product or service. They are then asked;
- How they searched for the websites.
- What is their user experience of each site
- How do they perceive the Brand
- How do they evaluate the Offer
- Their overall impression on the Look & Feel
- We then ask them to rank the sites and give us reasons why they made those choices.
Once the results are collected we add them to our benchmark database. In recent years we have analysed more than 9,000 different websites with over 21,000 participants. Through this extensive research and data analysis WUA! has found the most important aspects in a website’s conversion rate come down to the three key assessment categories: Look & Feel, the Offer and Brand.
The diagram below gives an overview of the WUA! Digital Sales model. Further down this page you will find detailed explanations on the workings of the model and on the relationships of all the elements.
The following breakdown goes into more detail on exactly how each stage of the Digital Sales model actually works in practice. There are also explanations on how to interpret the results when measured against the online orientation and benchmarks which we run daily at WUA!.
1. Search Results
The obvious starting-point to attracting new potential customers is insuring that they can find your website. If the participants in your target audience cannot find your site, product or service during their online search then the process ends here.
2. First Impressions
If the website is searchable and is found by our participants we then focus on the first impressions guests receive once they enter the website environment. Based on this reaction the participants (potential customers) will then choose to remain on your website, search further or return to a competitors site. The first impressions are benchmarked and scored in the Digital Sales model on the three key assessment categories of: Look & Feel, the Offer and Brand.
What it means to create a good first impression can be broken down into several categories;
On a more abstract level the visitor is seeking confirmation that his or her choice has been correct and this assurance goes on to validate the information they receive from the site. During this step it is important that the potential customer has a feeling of control over the search process (Autonomy, Wheel of Persuasion, OD). Successful websites display relevant information upfront and encourage instant interaction with the visitor.
A visitor should immediately be presented with important and relevant information. The navigation should also be clear and easy to understand so answers can quickly be found to important questions. Usability should also mean an error-free experience.
Appearance & Impressions
A pleasant & consistent appearance of a website always creates a positive first impression and helps focus the message for the visitor. The overall impression, including images, should evoke positive associations (Conceptual & Associative Priming).
Once your site has been found by your target audience there is a decision process or checkpoint where the visitor either chooses to remain on your website and explore it in more detail, continues searching or even returns to a competitors site.
The decision on whether a visitor chooses to stay on your site is heavily dependent on the first impression they receive. Visitors who choose to leave at this point do so for a number of specific reasons related to their first reaction. This is why at WUA! we ask our respondents detailed questions on exactly what makes a successful, or unsuccessful, first impression so we can feed back this crucial information to our clients.
4. Information Search and Product/Service Comparison
Once the respondent makes a decision and selects a website we then start to asked focused questions on the three fundamental areas of the Digital Sales model;
Look & Feel
As earlier stated, the visitor is seeking assurance that they have made the correct choice in the selection of your website. Therefore, in terms of Look & Feel, it is vital that the site is error-free and contains accurate, complete, comprehensive and current information. The relevance of this information is very important and it should also be appropriate for the time of the visit. The potential customer should also be able to easily navigate through the site to find answers to their questions quickly and efficiently. It is of the upmost importance therefore that the information is presented correctly.
In this step it is important for providers to strike a balance between too many and too few options within their offer (Paradox of Choice, Schwarz).
In addition, the choices must also be relevant and give the visitor the ability to quickly filter the required information and relevant options.
During the first phase (first impressions) your website should create the idea of a trust. The next phases (Decision Point & Information Search and Product/Service Comparison) then further reassure and strengthen this idea.
For a brand/supplier to truly connect with a customer they must “commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal” (Commitment and Consistency, Cialdini). There should be no inconsistencies in how a brand presents itself and no disparity between; the trademark or brand image, their corporate message, or the statements made on their website.
Is the customer already familiar with your brand and is that consistent with what they see on your website?
A brand should also underline their commitment to their clients and the level of support they can expect. One way to do this is to open a dialogue with the customer through contact and chat options: a brand must always be reachable and open to its clients.
5. Overall Website Rating
During the research testing and analysis process the participants compare several sites and assess each one according to their overall impression.
6. Preference / Choice
Once the research assessment is complete we ask respondents to rank the sites based on all three key assessment categories; Look & Feel, the Offer and Brand. In the form of an open question we then ask for an explanation for each respective ranking. WUA! determines to what extent each factor contributes to the overall judgment and ultimately to their final selection decision. This can of course vary from market to market.
The final result is a comprehensive ranking table that contains in-depth analysis and information based on our established Digital Sales model benchmarks.
A Tested Model
To validate the model we have determined the predictive value in a number of markets. Firstly, we established through factor-analysis that our three key assessment categories; Look & Feel, the Offer and Brand were indeed the most critical aspects for the consumer. We achieved this by recruiting 600 carefully chosen respondents to answer questions about three very different market, basing their answers on the key aspects of a website. Through this research our model was indeed proved to be correct and the three key assessment categories of Look & Feel, Offer and Brand were validated. The validation also showed that a good overall impression of a site does not necessarily lead to a strong conversion rate for the provider. We therefore included the individual comparison points and benchmarks and how the respondents directly compared these with other sites into our model. This then emphasized again the importance of the inclusion of competitors in research studies and why our philosophy here at WUA! is ‘On the Web: The Winner Takes it All.
A Predictive Value Rate of over 70%
Every good model should have a strong and reliable predictive value rate. If your model does not have sufficient predictive power it is due to the fact that the relevant criteria, critical in the decision processes, have not been taken into account. The validation of a model therefore must include all the applicable variables of a site and whether or not the end result is a good representation of reality. Once a respondent has searched for and found a website we ask them specific questions regarding their first impressions based around the three key assessment categories of Look & Feel, Offer and Brand. We then ask the respondent if they wish to remain on the site, continue searching or go back to a competitors website. We can predict with an accuracy rate of above 70% what their decision will be based on the answers and scores they provided us in first phase. This accuracy rate also applies to the total overall impression and assessment of the site and we can clearly identify a respondent’s preference and final purchase decision. The fact that we can achieve this is due to the strength and reliability of the WUA! Digital Sales model and its ability to represent a realistic situation.