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It’s been linked to all sorts of Shopify growth problems—here are the symptoms of Conversion Bias Disorder, and what to do about it.

It may seem obvious to say, but your conversion rates have major implications on your Shopify growth and your overall profitability. Yet many merchants have no idea that they suffer from Conversion Bias Disorder.

In this guide, we’ll explore what Conversion Bias is, what the symptoms of Conversion Bias Disorder are, and how to give your Shopify traffic the proper attention it needs to deliver growth.

What is conversion bias disorder?

Your Shopify site traffic contains a multitude of different visitors. But your store’s theme and functionality were envisioned for the average buyer. This seemingly logical best-practice creates a barrier between the customers you’re already converting, and the revenue potential from the rest of your traffic

You can’t help but focus more on visitors who survive your funnel. Those who connected with a product of interest and purchased. They’ve become your customers after all – according to research that’s just 1.9% of Shopify traffic. Motivated, you try to get more of the same. On a basic level, this is what conversion bias disorder is.

When every other kind of visitor comes into your site, conversion bias triggers high bounce rates, high cart abandonments, and other negative metrics. Conversion bias is also associated with everything from a decrease in ROAS to backed-up inventory.

Most surprisingly? According to Zee Aganovic, Obviyo’s founder and PhD in Optimization Theory, “[every] ecommerce team has some degree of conversion bias.”

Conversion bias disorder symptoms

Still, even if all brands experience it, some ecommerce teams suffer more than others. It’s important to spot the signs of conversion bias.

A few of the most observed symptoms of conversion bias, include:

  • LOW CONVERSION RATE – visitors can’t discover products of interest and leave.
  • HIGH CART ABANDONMENT RATE – shoppers are unsure if they made the right product choices.
  • LOW TIME ON SITE – without deeper engagement, chances visitors connect with relevant products vanish.
  • MOBILE REVENUE GAP – sales from mobile traffic have much lower rates compared to regular traffic.

There is also mounting evidence that conversion bias is correlated with the rising use of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). And truth is, CRO works, with a high ROI. However, it focuses on a tiny fraction of visitors who follow paths trodden by your existing customers. This ignores likely 90% or more of so-called ‘out-of-market buyers’.

Even a moderate conversion bias may therefore have a direct impact on your ability to sustain or accelerate revenue growth from your traffic.

What causes conversion bias disorder?

Because this is a newly discovered condition – the Shopify community hasn’t fully agreed on what causes conversion bias – there are many angles to the diagnosis. Yet out of this rapidly growing consensus, a clearer picture starts to reveal what causes a conversion bias.

Causes of a conversion bias can include:

  • Large redesigns of your site, which hardens the traffic-revenue barrier.
  • Random a/b testing and reliance on ‘UX best practices’.
  • Copying competitors, convinced they’ve figured it out.
  • Weak price-discount-promo to profit ratio.
  • Poorly managed inventory, with over reliance on best-selling products linked to existing customer demand.
  • Trying every new Shopify upsell app.

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How to overcome conversion bias: treatments for conversion bias

1. Detox your conversion mindset

A visitor-inclusive strategy can help lessen the impact of conversion bias, or prevent more biases from hardening your traffic-revenue barrier. It’s the quickest form of treatment for conversion bias. In general, you want to:

  • Reduce, or eliminate, your reliance on best-selling products.
  • Activate more jump-off points on your top-of-funnel entry pages.
  • Curate diverse product collections, which help tap out-of-market buyers and dissolve your store’s traffic-revenue barrier.
  • Expose visitor session history with recently viewed feeds on every page.
  • Ensure your store is full of relevant products for your core buying personas.

While more evidence is mounting, many brands experiencing signs of conversion bias are also eliminating or reducing the following concepts:

  • Email capture pop-ups.
  • Incentive discounting.
  • Excessive a/b testing.

2. Prioritize your customer bonds

Even though you can’t see your visitors, they all react to your merchandising, and marketing. This reaction is the super-critical stage before a conversion can even happen. We call this customer bond building. So, for another way of ridding conversion bias, consider:

  • Connecting with the broadest spectrum of buyer personas looking for more diverse product options.
  • Differentiating your site by blending editorial and product content to create hyper-personalized shopping.
  • Tapping revenue from existing web visitors, rather than over-paying to acquire expensive new traffic.

3. Rethink your conversion rate optimization

Many teams immediately turn to a/b testing when it comes to updating their Shopify sites. And while a/b testing is known to improve low conversions for ‘look-alike’ shoppers, it has a natural revenue ceiling.

Customer results show that combining specific ecommerce ingredients help accelerate new revenue from existing traffic and relieve conversion bias. These include:

  • Diverse personas, which can guide shopping experiences based on unique product features or brand affinity.
  • Long-tail products, because every product has its own market providing it can connect with a relevant audience.
  • Branded content, the way to create market differentiation and establish trust.
  • Buying life cycle, the neuropsychological trigger-points for purchase decisions made by visiting traffic.
  • Visitor behavior, when detected and acted upon, are the best predictor of purchase intent vs historical patterns alone.
  • Your business goals, directing ecommere efforts to achieve and measure your most coveted outcomes.

If you’re concerned about the state of your own traffic-revenue barrier, don’t neglect your non-buyers. Treatment for conversion bias can help connect the revenue dots on your Shopify store, promoting sustainable and profitable growth.

Start your conversion detox today

A complimentary, ‘done-for-you’, 7-day use of Obviyo’s Shopify app:

1. You install Shopify app

Start on Shopify app store and then activate with only a few clicks in your Shopify admin panel.

2. We initiate your Customer Bond Building routine

Our services team will select and provision 4-6 bond building HyperBlocks™, hyper-personalized content, on your site. Before going live, you’ll review and approve the setup. Once live, your 7-day clock starts ticking.

3. You review results

We’ll meet after at least 7-days of live Customer Bond Building. By then you’ll have enough results and experience to decide if bond building is valuable for your brand.

ben virdee chapman

Author: Ben Virdee-Chapman

VP Marketing