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Christmas rolling pins, engraved, hand made,

Helping people find things they want

by James

This week we’ve released a few new features on Folksy, some based on improving our search engine optimisation and some things you can see. We release things regularly and in response to a variety of information around user research and data about behaviour. Our single aim is to increase sales. That aim should align with the community of people who use Folksy to sell their work; our key stakeholders. And we are a community. We listen and respond, and work together to support one another.

One feature we released yesterday was in response to information about how people use Folksy and I want to outline this as an example of how we work to support everyone.

Gift Guide Promotions

Some items resonate so strongly with people that they talk about them and share them. The Christmas Rolling Pins from Boon Homeware are a case in point; shared on social media, and viewed nearly 3,000 times in the last 48 hours – our most popular item by eyeballs alone.

Many people rely on the footfall of traffic from those new buyers coming to that product page to then browse around Folksy. This is more serendipitous; some search in categories, others go to the homepage and follow item and seller links and gift guides.

The point I’m trying to make is that, by and large, everyone benefits from everyone else – that is what marketplaces offer. So, in this case, Boon Homeware is giving other sellers on Folksy a net positive benefit because many people go on to look for other things.

Most people arrive on Folksy at the item page level from Google or social media. Item pages are the first sight they have of Folksy and of this community. We’ve worked hard to make sure this page performs well, but still many people ‘bounce’ from the item page – a bounce is when people look at one page and then exit. Items pages are our most significant landing page type, but they are also our highest bounce rate type. We want people to find it easier to browse and to reduce bounce from item pages, while respecting that the item on that page is the key object and the main relationship you want to encourage is to buy that item.

In order to raise sales across the community and reduce bounce rates and help people find things they will buy, we introduced a gift guides promotion on item pages. It’s subtle:

CHRISTMAS-pattern-embossing-wooden-rolling-pin-...-Folksy

 

 

The promotion links through to the gift guides because these have one of the highest conversion rates across the site. Alongside this, we have increased the number and range of gift guides and aim to include as many sellers as possible within them. We will continue to work on more. Gift guides help people to convert into buyers and support existing ways to browse the site, such as categories and shops.

Our analytics show that many people land on an item page and then leave again, almost immediately. Our primary aim is for them to buy the item on that page, but if they don’t we need to find better ways to engage them and stop them leaving the site; by adding the gift guides promotion we hope to give people another clear way into the content and access to browsing generally.

This is a trial and we will be tracking it closely to see how it performs to improve conversion for the *whole community* of sellers, supporting one another to raise sales. If we can raise conversion globally, the community benefits in aggregate.

We have done this with good intentions, and we are listening to your feedback. So please do tell us if there amends you would like to see. Perhaps a link to recently listed items from gift guides too, or a more discreet promo on the product pages? We are open to your suggestions.


UPDATE 16 Dec 2014

We have stopped the testing on the item page gift guide feature and it is no longer visible on Folksy. The experiment was showing that there were *fewer* conversions with the badge (but only marginally) and because of this and the general negative feedback on the release, we have decided to ditch it.

Another means to navigate to gift guides has been deployed and is now viewable on the categories nav (on desktop) and the top of the page on mobile view.  This was suggested by quite a few sellers and should be a more effective solution to enable buyers to find what they want as it is in the general categories / search area of the page and is persistent across the main ‘buying’ views on Folksy.

Thanks,

James.

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46 comments

Liz November 29, 2014 - 11:29 pm

This is the first time I’ve ever been able to view this blog! The unwanted promo on our item pages is NOT SUBTLE! It takes people away from our pages! Please remove it.

Folksy is not a level playing field. The only ones to benefit from this change are featured sellers and those chosen few in the gift guides. We all pay the same fees, but most of us are getting a very poor deal.

I love the Folksy forum, it’s full of wonderful people and the support from them is amazing.

We have all been working so hard on promotion that most days there is no time left to design and make.

Joysofglass November 29, 2014 - 11:42 pm

“So please do tell us if there amends you would like to see”

Please remove the Big Advertising Button from all our listing pages immediately. Consult, explain, justify, discuss later if you wish but remove the button first.
Joy

Heather and Gary November 29, 2014 - 11:52 pm

Think the timing of this experiment has been ill judged and tinkering of this nature should be performed in low season.

Therefore could you remove your experiment ‘badge’ from our shop with immediate effect.

Kim November 30, 2014 - 10:53 am

Quote:
‘The point I’m trying to make is that, by and large, everyone benefits from everyone else – that is what marketplaces offer. So, in this case, Boon Homeware is giving other sellers on Folksy a net positive benefit because many people go on to look for other things.’

Wrong…only the favourite that are in the gift guide have a chance to benefit….everyone else loses a potential customer and sales.
! would like this sticker removed from my listings please.

Dawn Witt November 30, 2014 - 11:22 am

Very disappointed in this.

I DO NOT approve of you trying to improve the bounce rate by using MY listings – which I work very hard to promote – by ‘bouncing’ people away from my shop.

Without a doubt the bounce rate needs to be improved, here’s how ….

Bring back decent tags – the search facility as it stands is a joke, people get frustrated looking for items THIS is why they give up and navigate away from the site.

REMOVE the ‘buy elsewhere on the site ” tab which I DO NOT support. Use the space you have effectively taken over within OUR listings which WE pay for to actually show larger tabs for other items in our own shop.

I have been with Folksy since May 2010, with my AudreysCat and WittyDawn shops – I have stuck with Folksy through many changes – some difficult but THIS is a low blow indeed.

Colleen Campbell November 30, 2014 - 1:49 pm

Really don’t see any justification in this blog at all for including the “button” and not a small one at it, on all our individual listings, you should start listening to the people who support your site by advertising here or you wont have many left! Come on Folksy, its time you brought customers to our shops, this is supposed to be the festive season, have a little spirit and REMOVE THE BUTTON!

James November 30, 2014 - 1:51 pm

Thanks for your feedback so far.

The trial feature seems to have stirred up quite a lot of emotion. I think this stems from a territorial instinct and also fear of consumer choice, both of which are valid. Let’s look at the assumptions around the work to see if they make sense:

1. Item page ownership. Item pages are foremost about celebrating the ‘thing’ for sale providing clear descriptions, provenance and designer-maker information. The buyer needs to know more about the item at this point to know if they want to buy. The design of the page lies with Folksy who work out the best way to convert people into buyers across the whole site. We tried to brand shop pages as being the concession store giving greater freedom of expression to sellers to promote their own look and feel but item pages require more consistency. Does this seem right?

2. Buying behaviour. People visit Folksy (Google calls them ‘acquisitions’) from a variety of places and with differing intent. Some will come to buy something they have seen promoted on social media, others come from a search in Google not knowing what to expect and looking to ‘browse’ more. The key thing here is that people tend to buy things they want to buy. Showing them a range of different things shouldn’t affect that – we assume buyers know their own mind and know what they want to buy. So, look at Amazon (also includes a marketplace) and booking.com (effectively a marketplace) and other successful retailers – they recognise buyers know their own mind and support them by showing alternative products on a product page – “customers who bought this also bought”, “ideal alternatives for you”, “other people also viewed…” We have to respect that choice for customers is a good thing and what they want without compromising on giving the item (product etc) itself prominence. Do you think this is right?

3. Item page traffic. Approximately 50% of traffic to product pages comes from Google search and about 20% direct and around 30% from other channels such as Pinterest and Facebook. The majority of traffic is not from self-promotion but from search value. There is an argument to say that when someone comes from your own personal marketing that you ‘own’ that acquisition and we could look to build in logic to support that and produce different things to support you and the buyer from such acquisition. That would require quite a lot of work. The buyer – being someone who has a relationship with you from social media channels or from a market they attended – is far more likely to buy your item anyway. They are a strong lead. Not showing links off to more choices is unlikely to affect their propensity to buy your thing. This is an assumption that is hard to test but anecdotal evidence and social e-commerce research points to this being the case. Do you agree?

I wanted to flag up the assumptions we’re working on for our aim of improving sales across Folksy as a whole. Your feedback on these assumptions above would be much appreciated. Perhaps a Q&A in the forum next week (8th?) would work?

Other things flagged up:
1. Gift guides are unfair. The categories and sections are the main way people browse from item pages but gift guides are a different ‘type’ of thing to categories. We pick items for gift guides based on their image quality (we know this has a huge impact on conversion and many people unfortunately still don’t take good product images), relevance to the theme, price and perceived quality. So work is self-selecting. We’re working on linking more persistently to other views such as ‘recently favourited’, ‘most favourited’, ‘other people who looked at this also looked at’ to provide more views in which more can be seen.
2. Timing. Raising conversion at the busiest shopping time seems a laudable aim. The assumptions this test is based on have proved successful elsewhere so we believe they will help improve sales here and improving sales when you have more eyeballs seems right. With around 5-7 days of data we should know with sufficient confidence if it is working (some tests take longer).

For some of you this rational, objective explanation won’t be helping at all because you just feel a sense of injustice which you can’t necessarily explain it just feels wrong. I do understand that but to help us make decisions we need to break these feelings down and understand why – otherwise we’d be basing all our decisions on features and functionality on “how do the sellers feel about this?” and feelings may not make good business sense if on aggregate people are benefitting. A tough one. Help us to work it out would you?

Joysofglass November 30, 2014 - 4:45 pm

Q&A tomorrow 1st would go down better I think you will find.

James November 30, 2014 - 6:33 pm

A week or so gives us time to see the data and then reviewing the feature. I think we’ve flushed out a lot of the feeling on this so far – here and in the forum. Getting data to see what has worked will help make an informed decision and see what is any benefits accrue from the work and if they outweigh the cons.

Can I ask you if you’d feedback on the comment I made outlining our assumptions? We really want to better understand where the bad feeling is coming from.

Thanks.

Sara November 30, 2014 - 4:48 pm

Unreal.

You seriously expect us to be happy that you are advertising other sellers in our shops? We didn’t sign up for that. We pay our listing fees and commission as our ‘rent’ for our shop space. If these were high street shops you wouldn’t be allowed to walk in and start advertising competitors items!

Anyone else pays to advertise – you are just invading our shops.

Why not just take the link away for now, talk sensible with your customers (us shop keepers) and then make a decision?

James November 30, 2014 - 6:06 pm

Hi Sara,

If you could reply to the questions in the previous comment that would really help to understand your concerns more fully. The link to gift guides is not dissimilar to the link to categories. It’s all ways for buyers to find things they want on Folksy.

Joysofglass November 30, 2014 - 4:53 pm

Q&A tomorrow 1st would go down better I think you will find.

I also suggest that if you are intent on leaving this advertising button on pages to drive traffic to the pages you want them to go to, that you allow an opt out for those of us who object.
As someone who successfully spents a lot of time and energy promoting Folksy, my own shop and the site in general and directing people to my own listings. I think it is only fair that my efforts are rewarded by not having to contend with the shops which do not bother promoting themsevles but rely on you to do it for them.

Kim November 30, 2014 - 4:58 pm

OK James, I will ask 2 specific questions:

1.How does this benefit the majority of us who are not in the gift guide?

2.Regarding the gift guide, I sell some bookmarks. They would sit well in your ‘gifts for bookworms’ category, but I’m not there. I think my pictures are ok, they are a good price. I sold 5 to one customer and she came back 2 days later and bough 7 more. She thinks they are brilliant. So why are they not good enough for your gift guide?

Camilla November 30, 2014 - 5:48 pm

Hi Kim. To help us respond, could you give me a link to your Folksy shop so we can have a look? Thank you.

Kim November 30, 2014 - 5:57 pm
Liz November 30, 2014 - 4:59 pm

Translation: Folksy will do whatever they want and won’t listen to sensible criticism.

James November 30, 2014 - 6:08 pm

Hi Liz,

In what way are we not addressing your particular concerns? The criticism so far seems to be based on the assumptions we’ve made and we’ve outlined these in the comment above. Would you mind looking at those and feeding back on them? It would really help us to understand the basis of the criticism.

Eileenscraftstudio November 30, 2014 - 5:06 pm

Remove the button that is leading my customer from my shop otherwise.

If you wish to advertise other sellers on my listing which I have paid for than you need to contact me so we can discuss my fees. Otherwise I’ll have no option but to invoice Folksy at my normal advertising fee of £45 per day, along with my normal terms of 2% increase of invoice fee for late payment. This will be at compound interest added daily for every 24 hour of late period of payment.

James November 30, 2014 - 6:10 pm

Hi Eileen,

You’ve paid for a listing which also includes categories and links to the homepage. Do we take these away too? The basis of your argument would suggest that we do. Again, having outlined our assumptions and our thinking around this it would be really helpful if you could let us know how these don’t align with your own interests. Linking off to other areas of Folksy helps people who don’t want to buy the item on the product page and also helps other sellers.

Chrissy November 30, 2014 - 5:22 pm

“…feelings may not make good business sense if on aggregate people are benefitting.”

Good business sense for you because you’re receiving more commission from sales. Good business sense for those in the gift guides because they’re benefiting from extra promotion. NOT good business sense for everyone else who is having their customers lured away from their shops so the few (and you) can benefit.”

Heather and Gary November 30, 2014 - 5:36 pm

So in brief:
The button is staying.
Overview appears to be, no apologies, decision made, like it or lump it…

James November 30, 2014 - 6:29 pm

I stated in the post our assumptions (which should align with yours in increasing sales on aggregate) and that this is a trial and in the next 7 days we should have sufficient data to tell us if it is working. I am personally sorry that I didn’t foresee the bruhaha this has caused as it has taken up time and resources that could have been used more productively. We only do what we think are in the best interests of people selling on Folksy – to do otherwise would be terrible business! We don’t always get that right, but that’s why we test and use data to help inform our decision making.

Sara November 30, 2014 - 5:47 pm

I’m with Eileen on this. You, Folksy, are using space WE have paid for to advertise. It’s not on.

Wonder what the legal position on this is for us sellers? After all, when we signed up this was not part of the deal….

James November 30, 2014 - 6:15 pm

That’s not quite true Sara. You don’t pay for space, you pay for a listing which is different. The listing page has to support the buyer and their wants and needs. We would be remiss to do otherwise. As a seller you would benefit – on aggregate – from supporting buyers needs and not your own. It perhaps sounds counter-intuitive, but by supporting linkings out from a product page not only do you benefit but other sellers do to. Of course we have to do this in the right way and test it to make sure it works as intended.

Sara November 30, 2014 - 6:51 pm

I pay for a listing that I want to use to promote my own item, not other people’s!

Silva November 30, 2014 - 5:59 pm

So why not just devise a new pricing structure that allows those who want to pay for the extra exposure to do so and be “featured” in the Gift Guides, and remove the button?

I have to say I am a little offended that “perceived quality” is given as a reason to be excluded from a gift guide or any other listing. I would say the perceived quality of the Folksy experience is quite low at the moment, and people will be voting with their feet.

I also question why any sales-based website would be happy to anounce publicly that they only have 400 visitors at a time on average throughout the day. Does that figure include IP addresses of sellers who are busy listing items and not actually shopping?

Your third point above is cleverly worded. You start by saying that only 20% of views is direct traffic (for example, someone entering the URL of a shop having received a business card), but then you say that showing the Gift Guide button to those people wont affect the probability of the sale – this is true, but it is not what people are cross about. It’s the 50% of visitors from Google who arrive on a shop page having already done a portion of their searching, who might like your item but then get tempted to look at a few other things in other people’s shops and may or may not end up buying something else. It would be MUCH better to give a clear link to the shop’s home page to let the visitor see the rest of the items in that shop, rather than immediately take them away to those shops that Folksy has decided look better. Then put a Gift Guide tab on the shop home page so that visitors could investigate at that point if they choose to.

James November 30, 2014 - 6:23 pm

Great idea Silva, thanks for the suggestion. It might also be appropriate to features people could pay for that include not having any links out to other areas of the site.

I don’t quite understand this remark: “I have to say I am a little offended that “perceived quality” is given as a reason to be excluded from a gift guide or any other listing. I would say the perceived quality of the Folksy experience is quite low at the moment, and people will be voting with their feet.” If sellers aren’t aligned with selling more then it seems odd. Our satalytics evidence points to buyers being very happy with the experience of buying on Folksy. Satalytics is a poll we take after checkout and we are currently getting 8.5/10 for the experience. We don’t have an industry average to compare to but that seems good to us (and it’s increased in the last month).

We announce the number of visitors on the site at any one time because – again in user testing – people have said they like that. Some sellers seem to think this is bad practice but I’d ask you – why is this bad? Why not be transparent with the data. The number includes all sessions.

The google visitors Silva are those that are more likely to bounce! So by offering other things to tempt them we are saving them going back to Google and looking somewhere else entirely! The shop page link as well as other items in the shop are displayed more to the buyer (above the fold and also – from eye tracing research – in a place more likely for the buyer to see). I think sellers are focusing on it far more than buyers ever would in fact!

Silva December 1, 2014 - 6:45 am

Hi James,

Thanks for the reply.

I don’t understand how you connect my comment about the perceived Folksy experience for sellers with sellers who are not interested in selling. That’s not what I meant at all. I’m sure buyers love Folksy – they wouldn’t come back if they didn’t – but the experience for sellers has not been great over the past few days. That has nothing to do with a lack of a desire to sell.

I just think that 400 visitors is a very low number. In my day job, we average around 2000 visitors at quiet times to our website, and folks at work don’t even want to publish that figure because they feel it is low. I’m all for being transparent, but I don’t see the benefit in having the stats there – unless you’re trying to imply that Folksy is a more exclusive shopping experience? Talking of transaprency, you didn’t answer my other questions: does the number of visitors include the IP addresses of the sellers as well?

I still think the “other items in this shop” needs to be a bit bigger and the Gift Guide button either made smaller or moved to the tabs across the top of the screen instead. But having it there at all does not benefit me, because Folksy’s perceived quality of my items for sale appears to be too low.

Rosalind November 30, 2014 - 6:33 pm

Of course we are territorial over our shops, surely we have a right to be as we pay to be there we are renting that space from you. We also like promoting other shops on Folksy you only have to look at British Crafters and The Folksy Shop Group on Facebook and popular threads on the forums to see the community spirit. But I like to choose how I promote and directing a customer to go off my page and look at something else chosen by you before they have explored what I have to offer is not how I want to promote other sellers.

Of course choice for customers is a good thing but if a customer ends up in MY shop I want them to be able to explore other options in my shop first before moving on. I don’t want to be part of a retailer like Amazon, we are individual craftmen and women who work hard to direct traffic to our shops and the Folksy site as a whole. If you are all for choice why not advertise your competitors on your front page? Of course you wouldn’t as that would be taking customers off your site. Folksy will make money from customers whoever they buy from on the site but we only benefit if a customer stays in our individual shops and buys from us.

I and many others are staying with Folksy due to a loyalty to a British Site we like to be part of it but many of us are struggling with that decision. If I follow a customer on Google Analytics real time in my other online shop, I can see that customer going from page to page, item to item. They don’t always buy but the more they look at what I have to offer, the more chance they will think of me next time they want an applique. I am absolutely sure that following a customer on my Folksy shop at the moment will result in watching them moving out of my shop to see the chosen few in the gift guides.

However much you dislike our opinion about the chosen few that is what they are, it is discriminating against sellers who may have a better product but their pictures aren’t as good. OK that is fine if you are happy with that but I don’t want a button in my shop that benefits only a few of your chosen sellers. I am in the gift guide for Gifts for Babies and I did sell two jumpers this morning but was that because my customer came straight from another customer selling baby jumpers on to the guide and then to my site. If that is the case thats not how I want to sell it is not an even playing field.

I am really sorry to say this but if that button stays then I will seriously consider closing my shops.

Minerva November 30, 2014 - 6:44 pm

Hi James & Folksy,

I understand the thinking behind helping customers if they don’t find what they are looking for in particular shop.

But there are already other ways available: 1) the categories above our listings, 2) the categories underneath ‘designed by…’. Then buyers can do a search which has been improved on Folksy. Also they can look at the front page and the recently listed items.

Adding another large, distracting badge in every one of our listings in not necessary. Buyers know how to look around, they will find something if they want to buy.

Dawn Witt November 30, 2014 - 7:38 pm

Hi James ,

Remove the button and let’s trial other bounce improvement strategies in the New Year – ones that we your shopkeepers can get behind and work with you on.

The rationale for keeping it going for the next week is flawed – the discontent is such that many people will be concentrating their promotion efforts elsewhere and modifying their strategies. For example directing targeted promotions to their shop fronts rather than to specific items …or worse directing promotion to their other outlets.

We will all benefit if we can get behind strategic changes to improve bounce ratesbut this is not the way to get buy in from one of your key stakeholders – your shopkeepers.

( and once again I put it to you that the real issue is the search facility – better tagging please )

Lisa November 30, 2014 - 8:55 pm

I’m guilty of being high bounce when searching via Google. I look at two things….product picture and price. If I don’t like both its straight for the back button and to the next Google hit. Given visitors to my pages who are high bounce are gone in under a second hence don’t stay long enough to do anything different to me they are unlikely to notice any buttons on the page and stick around. A few might but not the bulk of them. I’ve worked hard over my 5 years on improving bounce rate by targeting promotion and not relying on Google to provide traffic. I will be quite surprised if the button does much for attracting the high bouncers to stay and look round.
I can see why people are sore. The gift guides are quite particular to the tastes of the curators and even if the quality of your items, descriptions and photos is as good as those featured, sometimes better, some of us will never get featured simply because they aren’t to the curators taste

Sasha Garrett November 30, 2014 - 8:58 pm

So the aim of the link to gift guides is to get people to buy more items via folksy by showing them desirable things that don’t necessarily tie in with what they were first looking at? Surely if someone has ended up on an item page it is because they have seen something like (as fits their google search criteria or as seen on social media) so why not direct them to more items in the same collection within the same shop? (which is not currently possible). It might be they love the necklace but can’t afford it however the earrings that match might be within the budget. So they buy the earrings now and save up or get someone to buy them the necklace as a present. (Although at the moment there is no way to share your favourites list so when people ask what would you like for christmas/ birthday/ etc you can’t just reply oh I’ll email you my folksy wishlist).

I like the rolling pins in your example but I would want one for me so why would I click on a gift guide link? I’d rather look in the shop to see if they have some nice cookie cutters or look in other shops at similar rolling pins (I fancy one with dinosaurs, maybe they have one, maybe someone else on folksy does, I don’t know because I’ve clicked on a link to gift guides and I’m now faced with stuff for babies or stocking fillers).

I don’t mind having a link to the gift guides in my shop HOWEVER the current clickable link to the gift guides is bigger than the pictures of the ‘other shop items’ and given the effort that I put into promoting my shop I would rather people were encouraged to browse round my shop first and then look at the gift guides. Could we have clickable links to ‘other items in the same collection’, a more obvious ‘more items in this shop’ button with more photos (possibly on rotation) and a smaller link to gift guides instead?

James December 1, 2014 - 2:14 am

Hi Sasha,

Thanks for the comment. We could definitely look at promoting items from the same collection, good idea. Would that be in place of the “more items from this shop” thumbnail views? The gift guide promo is just one example and yes, we’d like to have better ways to promote other work from the same seller (and maybe other things from the same category?). Anything that helps people buy more in ways that are fair and benefit the community of designer-makers as a whole.

NB: Just to be clear the promo is not in the shop page but on the product page – very different spaces and buyers arrive at each space with differing expectations.

Thanks again,

James.

Sasha Garrett December 1, 2014 - 10:25 am

Hi James,
In my experience as a jeweller selling at craft fairs if someone has spotted a piece that takes their fancy they often ask if I have items to match (or I suggest it) and that does lead to them buying multiple items so I feel that links to items in the same collection would lead to more sales.
So within the specific product page I would have both an additional link to ‘other items in the same collection’ (probably just below the ‘add to basket’ button) and make the ‘other shop items’ thumbnails a bit bigger but leave it where it is. Eye tracking tests performed on web pages have indicated that people tend to look/ read the page in an F shape and that should put the links in the cross strokes of the F (hopefully that makes sense).
I would also have the ‘other shop items’ thumbnails so that you see different ones on each page you visit thus exposing the visitor to more items. (ie if you land on product page A you see photos for B,C,D,E in the thumbnails and think C is nice and click on that, from product C’s page you would then see thumbnails for F,G,H,I – at the moment you see B,D,E again with only one new thumbnail appearing).

Not sure how you could suggest things from the same category but by different sellers without generating animosity from sellers as they might feel that it is taking people away from their shop (as has happened with the gift guide link). Consultation with shop keepers would definately be required before anything was done to minimise any backlash.

Sasha

Dawn Witt December 1, 2014 - 9:13 am

I would FAR rather have a better way for Customers to browse my shop before they leave.

Please replace the ‘Gift Guide Promo Button’ in my shop with button/s linking to MORE items in my shop, particularly items in the same section. At the moment if someone arrives on say one of my mouse items they have to do two clicks ( one to my general shop page, then another onto my mouse section ) to find more of the same – this is not helpful.

Remember the bounce rate will improve just as much if people stay to look around MY shop .

I’d be SLIGHTLY more relaxed about links elsewhere if :
A) they were LESS prominant and BELOW additional links to my shop
B) They linked to a recently favorited list or other more varied selection – after all the Gift Guides are promoted in plenty of other places ….
C) People could create baskets with goods from multiple sellers and pay in one action – by all means shop in my shop and then add more items from elsewhere :)

I’m hoping for a quick resolution – ideally the removal of the offending button in the short term.

This next few weeks are all about promotion and I’d like to get back to giving my Folksy shop some wholehearted attention. At the moment this situation has at least simplified where I concentrate my efforts right now and sadly for Folksy it is, for now , elsewhere – this makes me sad though.

coatimundi December 1, 2014 - 9:50 am

James, can you have a look at this please https://folksy.com/items/6302931-Bird-of-Paradise-Silver-Pewter-Trinket-Box-with-Amazonite
Beautiful isn’t it?…scroll down a bit to see the description……Oh, what’s that big lump of red stuff that’s spoiling the look of the page….ooooh, little Christmas trees in Christmassy red….

Whether or not it improves the traffic flow or whatever, it makes my page look horrible and distracts from the item. If people want to go elsewhere on the site they can always click on the Folksy sign at the top. Why ruin my shop with your garish advertising hoarding?

Kim December 1, 2014 - 12:24 pm

This is just a thought…me thinking out loud…could we somehow nominate a couple of our items each week to be included in the gift guide…surely that would give you a bigger variety of items to chose from for the guide and give everyone a chance to be in it if they want to be.

James December 1, 2014 - 1:49 pm

Hi Kim,

Other ways to get curated lists of work would be great. The gift guides feel like editorially driven features but I’d love to look at other options for getting things people like in front of buyers.

Other prominent marketplaces have mechanisms where they charge to appear in gift guides and in promoted areas and marketing. That’s one option. Another is to have collections of work you like – not dissimilar to the Pinterest boards which are driven by the community and appear on the logged-in homepage view daily. Getting curated lists working would be brilliant, then we could promote lists that the product has appeared in. I think many people looking at this gift guides promo assume it is instead of these other ideas. It’s not. It is merely a test – and one which is relatively simple to try. The other suggestions take a lot more effort (weeks and possibly months of effort) to produce and consequently come at a greater cost.

Thanks for your suggestions – we’ll scope them out and look to paper prototype them.

Best,

James.

Catherine December 1, 2014 - 1:56 pm

You say your objective is “to raise sales across the community and reduce bounce rates and help people find things they will buy” and that “most people arrive on Folksy at the item page level from Google or social media”. I’m all for improving the bounce rate from item pages, but since people landing on item pages have already narrowed down their search to a single item (via Google or social media etc.), it’s madness to send them off to look at such eclectic assortments of items in the gift guides, which bear no similarity to what initially attracted them. Far better to show similar items from that seller. I would suggest that the existing links to other shop items, or ideally other items in the same collection, are made much clearer and more enticing. I like the idea of nice prominent randomised carousels of “More items from this seller” and “More items in this collection”. I think that would improve the bounce rate. There is an argument for a link to “More items in this category” but promoting competitors is bound to be unpopular and would need careful discussion.

The gift guides are not a bad idea and I can believe that they convert well, but at the moment the only clear way I’ve found to access them all is to log out and visit the home page. The controversial new button doesn’t shout “gift guides” to me and is quite ambiguous. So why not add a link to the category ribbon along the top of the page instead? That way if people aren’t sure what they’re after, they can browse them from there. Then there’s a genuinely subtle link to the gift guides on every page – win-win surely? And how about allowing people to submit suggestions for the gift guides, or to curate their own. That would add a great deal more diversity.

James December 1, 2014 - 2:58 pm

Hi Catherine,

Thanks for your suggestions. Your logic is spot on.

This is a trial and we’ll also doing some user testing on the product page journeys. Other ways to support buyer behaviour will continue to be tested and these will likely include some of the suggestions you’ve flagged up.

What we do know is that many buyers – and it’s difficult to quantify – are wanting stimulus to browse. Directed browsing – such as categories – do not work well for them as they don’t have anything specific in mind. They need more serendipitous ways in to a journey.

Silva December 1, 2014 - 5:46 pm

James, just one small point: if you have done UET and UAT of the way the pages look in order to determin where their eye line in and so to place buttons and links in the “best” locations to attract them, then it really should be possible to quantify a statement such as “many buyers …. are wanting stimulus to browse.” Something must have indicated this to you, and I’d be interested to hear more of the UAT and UET you’ve done to support the recent changes.

James December 1, 2014 - 8:44 pm

Hi Silva,

The user research we did (and do) doesn’t use eye tracking. We rely on third party research into ecommerce patterns – there’s quite a lot of consensus on ecommerce patterns now, especially on desktop views, which is no doubt why they are all so similar! Qualitative user research is used to determine a user need or want – in this case to support more serendipitous browsing from the product page. We create hypotheses to test from this user research that goes into the design process and things to test. Analytics data in the form of AB tests or event tracking is used to help us determine (according to whatever conversion measure we use – and we tend to use conversion to basket) whether the pattern is better than the alternative.

I hope this helps.

Lisa December 1, 2014 - 8:13 pm

Another suggestion, whilst we are on the subject of improving the site, and this probably only concerns sellers, why oh why isn’t there a ‘remember me’ button on the sign in page?

All other sites I visit regularly, Ebay, Facebook, twitter, Next, (and now I’m afraid to say Etsy) etc instantly recognise my device/address and automatically sign me in.
It’s very annoying when checking on things a number of times that you have to sign in every time. Whatever you need to to do technically to implement this, I’m not sure but having this would make for a much better user experience.

James December 1, 2014 - 8:48 pm

Hi Lisa,

You shouldn’t have to sign in each time. We remember you for a period of time (the precise period I’d have to check with the engineer). If you could raise a ticket with support to let us know about this we can delve into it for you – it will also enable us to see what OS and browser etc you use to see if that makes any difference (but it shouldn’t).

Thanks,

James.

James December 1, 2014 - 9:13 pm

Thanks for all the feedback so far. We’ve got a good sense of the main arguments now so we’re closing comments. Please feel free to raise a support ticket if your point is different to those already raised.

Comments are closed.