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Reduce e-Commerce pogosticking

Way back in 2001, noted usability expert Jared Spool offered a key insight into shopper behavior. Shoppers buy more when they have no need for backtracking, which Spool calls pogosticking—choosing a link and then hitting the back button to return to the previous page to choose another link. Spool recommends that product list pages show all the information needed to allow shoppers to choose the right link to follow, which makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, it’s easier to say than to do. What do you do when your page would be so filled with information that shoppers could be overwhelmed with data?


Until recently, there wasn’t much you could do. You could undertake user testing to see what product information was needed on the product list page. You could try several different sample layouts to see which version provides that best clickthrough and conversion rates. But recently, one more choice has been added.
A new programming technique, known as AJAX, combines the power of JavaScript and XML to refresh parts of Web pages without redrawing the entire page. Netflix shows a great example of how AJAX can be used for product lists.
At first glance, the Netflix page seems ripe for pogosticking. Look at those pictures of movies for rent—how can shoppers decide which movies they want from that? Aren’t they sure to click several different movies to see details on each one before finally deciding which ones to rent?
Not with AJAX they don’t. Try moving your mouse over one of the movies as if you were going to click it. Watch what happens. You are immediately shown a cartoon bubble that contains more information about the movie—maybe enough to help you decide which one to actually click.
This mouseover experience offers the best of both worlds. Page designers can show many movies in a very small space, allowing shoppers to scan for what is desired. But as the shopper considers each one, mousing over each one reveals all the information needed. The result? A neat, elegant look for a page loaded with information.
AJAX has many other uses, but previewing links is one of the most powerful. If your e-Commerce site does not preview links, check out AJAX today.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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