Immediate Feedback

We are actively engaged when our actions result in direct feedback from the system.

Can you provide a environment that responds to the visitor? Can you change the content of your webshop to the specific needs of the client? Magento for instance has the ‘layered navigation’ capability which allows customers to dynamically filter the content of your shop to fit their needs instead of restricting them to predefined categories to choose from. Or you could allow customers to add content to your website through (for example) reviews or ratings and showing immediate changes.


Positive mimicry

We learn by comparing our behavior to others.

What options do you offer people on your site to compare their behavior to other visitors? Show them how others interact with your website and/or products through twitter/ facebook/ comments/ a forum. Show what the most popular products or searches are (‘people who looked at eventually bought product X’). You can also highlight or reward people who demonstrate positive interactions with your site (‘customer of the month’ or a list with ‘most active commenters’).

Further reading on Mimicry at the Wheel of Persuasion.


Affect Heuristic

The affect heuristic is a heuristic in which current affect influences decisions. The emotion your in influences your decision making and judgement.

Emotions (subconsciously) influence our actions. You can use this to stimulate certain behavior. You can use your websites copy, images or design te evoke certain emotions te elicit feelings such as humor or pleasure.


Guestpost: Sync Magento websites with MAMP and Dropbox on your Macs

If you’re anything like me, the confines of 4 walls is unpalatable. So you opt for working at the local coffee shop, book store or even the beach where there are signs of life other than your own pulse. But how can we do that when our work is so dependent on having an internet connection? Simple. With a couple of Macs, three apps and about an hour, you can cut the cord — the Ethernet cord that is.

What you’ll need:

Preparing your directories for syncing Magento files on your first machine:

  1. Install MAMP (or optionally MAMP Pro)
  2. Install Dropbox: when prompted, choose to change the location of the Dropbox folder. Place the folder in /Users/Shared rather than a specific user.
    “Why,” you ask, “should I put it in the Shared folder rather than the user folder?”
    There is a very good reason for it. The path will be used in Magento’s configure.php file so the path needs to remain consistent whether you are working one Mac or another. If you use two different usernames, naturally that would be a problem; the path would work on one machine and not the other. You can always opt to create a user that is named exactly the same on all of your machines.
  3. Now that you have your Dropbox folder, create a directory inside of it for site files, you can name it whatever you’d like.
  4. Now open MAMP and click the “Preferences” button. Go to the Apache tab and change the document root to: /Users/Shared/Dropbox/YOUR-SITE-DIRECTORY/.
    (In MAMP Pro, change you disk location to: /Users/Shared/Dropbox/YOUR-SITE_DIRECTORY/.) If you don’t see the Disk Location box, look at the top left and make sure you are on the Hosts tab rather than the Server tab.

Preparing the databases for syncing on your first machine:

  1. Download and install SymbolicLinker 2.0
  2. Create db directory in Dropbox directory, you can name it whatever you’d like.
  3. Ctrl + Click (or Right Click if you have that option) on the db directory you just created in Dropbox and choose “Make Symbolic Link”.
  4. Open a finder window and go to: Applications/MAMP/db. Copy the contents of the MAMP db directory to the database directory you made in your Dropbox.
    (In MAMP Pro, the databases are in a different directory: /Library/Application Support/appsolute/MAMP PRO).
  5. Delete the /db directory in /MAMP directory
    (In MAMP PRO /Library/Application Support/appsolute/MAMP PRO).
  6. Move db symbolic link you have created to /MAMP
    (In MAMP PRO /Library/Application Support/appsolute/MAMP PRO).
  7. Rename the Symbolic Link to: db (the same name of the MAMP db directory you deleted).

And finally, let’s sync those other machines…

  1. Repeat steps 1-2 and 4-5 on your other Mac(s). You can skip step 3 because you already created the directory in Dropbox and it will automatically sync.
  2. Ctrl + Click (or Right Click if you have that option) the database directory you already created in Dropbox when setting up your first machine and choose “Make Symbolic Link”.
  3. Open a finder window and go to: Applications/MAMP/db. Delete the MAMP /db directory.
    (In MAMP Pro, delete the /db directory in: /Library/Application Support/appsolute/MAMP PRO).
  4. Move the Symbolic Link for the database directory from your Dropbox directory to: Applications/MAMP/
    (In MAMP Pro, move it to: /Library/Application Support/appsolute/MAMP PRO).
  5. Rename the Symbolic Link to: db
  6. Create your database with phpMyAdmin
  7. Add Magento files to your new website directory in Dropbox and install Magento as you normally would.

Done. Dropbox needs a few minutes to sync depending on how much there is to sync. Take this time to pack your beach bag and don’t forget the sunscreen.

This is a guestpost from Cristina Solana, originally posted at about Joomla! MAMP and Dropbox. This post is slightly rewritten to make it work for Magento.


Recurring events

Periodic events create a sense of belonging, anticipation and sustained interest.

Do you give users a reason to return to you website? Do you let them know about returning events that are of interest to them and that they can look forward to? Think about periodic discounts, workshops or new products or updates. Some e-commerce sites like utilize this principle to the extreme by offering one new product every day.


Conversion testresults: the ‘about’ menu

Last week I’ve run a test on my website measuring the click through rate to the ‘Guido Jansen’ menu item you see at the top of this page. My assumption was that new visitors to my site don’t know who I am and when they look for more information about the person behind the website it should be easy to find. So I created a test to find out what made people click the menu item.

I created four test variants and the only thing I changed was the text of the menu item. Since I think this page is most relevant for new visitors I tested this only on new visitors to my site. As test variants I used ‘Who’s Guido’ (the original), ‘Guido Jansen’ ‘About’ and ‘About Guido’. All other aspects of the menu were left untouched. And although the variants might seem trivial, the results were quite clear on a winner!


As you can see, the ‘Guido Jansen’ variant performed best – much better than the original – and I changed the menu item accordingly. Of course testing is a continues process so you’ll be hearing back from me soon with more test results!

Limit choices

It’s easier (and more likely) for people to make choices when there are less options to choose from. If you offer too much, you risk Choice Paralysis.

Check your website. How many options does your customer have? Can you reduce the amount of options? If you can’t reduce the total amount, could you divide the selection process into several steps with only a few options each? If you can’t simplify for all customers, think about providing a  customer segment with different/limited options, specific for that segment.

Example 1

  1. You have an online hardware store with many products. Some products are for general use, some products are a specific add-on to other products.
  2. Most of the time, users looking for specific products (Group A) don’t surf around on your site, they will use the search function to find the product. Users that aren’t looking for a specific product (Group B) are just looking at what you have to offer. They will not search for specific products but will browse your catalog looking for inspiration.

Now you won’t need to limit product choices for Group A since they already made their product choice. But it’s very useful to limit the product choices to Group B. You don’t want to overwhelm Group B with specific parts or product variations that only makes it harder for him/her to make a choice.
In Magento, this can easily be done by changing the visibility of the product. Specific products are set to ‘Search’ only, general products are set to ‘Catalog, Search’.

Example 2

You have a shoe-store and a customer bought some shoes size 40. After some months, that customer returns to buy another pair. Chances are pretty big that he won’t be interested in sizes smaller or larger than 40. Use customer segmentation to put this customer in the ‘size 40’ segment and only show him shoes that will fit his feet. Of course other sizes won’t fit, but if they’re still presented as an option they’re just making it harder for the customer.
(Of course you will need to be careful with this and present the customer with the option to view all products. Maybe he wants another size, for example to buy someone else a present).


Authority figure

We want to follow the lead and advice of a legitimate authority.
(for example, take a look at the Milgram Experiment)

We all look for guidance and direction to some extend. Especially when something is new and users feel a little uncertain about what to do or what to choose. An authority figure or brand can guide them through you webshop to reassure them and give them direction on what the right choices are. Consider letting famous/ well known people from within your community or from TV to promote your products or your brand.

Repeat Cashmere has a Magento based e-commerce webshop and does a perfect job on ‘exploiting’ this theory. They have top model Doutzen Kroes promoting their product on their webshop. Well done!