The 80/20 Rule
We’ve all heard of the 80/20 rule, originally created to describe the unequal distribution of wealth. Named after the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto who observed that 80% of the income in Italy was received by 20% of the Italian population, the assumption is that there are a “vital few and trivial many”. In other words, most of the results in any situation are determined by a small number of causes.
In Business the 80/20 rule means that 80% of outcomes can be attributed to 20% of the causes for a given event. In eCommerce this translates to a majority of purchases will be the result of a few actions.
The 80/20 Rule and eCommerce Web Design
Applying the 80/20 rule to eCommerce web design, it is important to recognize that certain aspects of your website will achieve greater results and thus require more attention. For example, if you are running an online store, it’s not difficult to argue to that the steps leading right up to the purchase itself are imperative to get right. Working backwards, those steps are typically comprised of the following:
Purchase Confirmation < Checkout < Cart < Product Page < Call-to-Action
Not many of us make purchases before doing at least a small amount of research into what we are looking to buy. Given the convenience and ease of comparison-shopping through eCommerce stores, online buyers value information and the efficiency of acquiring it. Most people like to gather as many product details as possible through the Product Page – such as additional images, specifications (e.g. dimensions, or labels), price, and customer reviews before actually clicking on that familiar “Add to Cart” button. This is the closest thing that they will get to seeing and touching the actual physical product. And yes, there are definitely ways to increase purchases through the layout, design, and verbiage from this page, but that’s all insignificant if your customers never land there in the first place.
The Call-to-Action features of your website are an often undervalued part of the 20% that can dramatically improve online sales. You’ve seen them before – a scrolling slideshow on the homepage to highlight new products, a sidebar advertisement displaying a promotional code for free shipping, and product images with a SALE icon and the old price crossed out. What do all of these have in common? A Call-to-Action phrase such as “Buy Now” and/or link to the product page.
Think of these as individual salespersons with the sole purpose of selling a single product or promotion. And keep in mind that what works for your brick-and-mortar won’t necessarily work for your eCommerce store. This is where you’ll need to put the thinking cap on and get creative. Online commerce is more competitive than ever, thus the need for creative and effective call-to-action features are more important than ever.
Luckily, we’re here to do that for you. Contact us today to find out how we apply the 80/20 rule to ensure that your website is 100% effective.