Increasing Sales By Improving Product Appeal

UXE methods create products with marketing appeal because customers prefer products that look good, that get the job done, that are easy to use, and that others are using. In short, customers prefer products with visceral, behavioral, and sociocultural appeal. Visceral appeal reveals itself on first impression. Behavioral and sociocultural appeal is conveyed in press reviews and by word-of-mouth. As the marketing influence of conventional mass media wanes due to increasing fragmentation, word-of-mouth becomes even more important [30]. The average customer speaks to seven other potential customers, producing a user-experience ripple effect [85].

Here are a few examples of increasing sales by improving product appeal:

  • Whirlpool increases market share from 0% to 40%. Using a team of usability anthropologists, human factors experts, and industrial designers, Whirlpool designed the new Duet/Dreamspace line of frontloading washers. Duet/Dreamspace looked different than anything Whirlpool had previously marketed, with a new visual brand language. They incorporated features that customers found both useful and easy to use, giving the washer excellent behavioral appeal. The powerful visceral and behavioral appeal of this line drove Whirlpool from a 0% share of the frontloading washer market to 40% within a year [3].
  • Procter & Gamble earns $500 million annually from its Swiffer brand. The Swiffer concept was inspired by direct field observation in customer’s homes, watching them mop. With this data, Procter & Gamble developed a innovative, more usable mop and created an entirely new revenue stream [142].
  • Digital Equipment Corporation increased RALLY revenue by over 80%. Unlike the first release of this software, the RALLY version 2 was developed with UXE methods. In a survey of users, many pointed to usability as a key motivator in buying the new version [139].
Increasing Sales By Making E-Commerce Sites More Usable

The behavioral level of design is critical to e-commerce success. Users who find it hard to locate a product or complete a purchase can simply click elsewhere and they often do not give the site a second chance. When asked for the most important reason to shop on the Web, 83% chose “easy to place an order,” ahead of both large selection and cheaper prices [88]. Forrester Research estimates that e-commerce sites can lose up to 50% of their potential sales if it is hard for customers to find merchandise, and 40% of users will not come back [75]. UXE methods can improve the situation significantly: a 5% improvement in usability can increase revenues by 10% to 35% [10], and simply providing product information where customers expect, rather than buried in a site, can increase sales by as much as 225% [132].

Here are a few examples of increasing sales by making e-commerce sites more usable:

  • Dell’s sales increase from $1 million to $34 million per day over 18 months after applying UXE principles to its e-commerce Web site [112].
  • doubled sales and reduced customer complaints by applying UXE methods to redesign their Web site [33].
  • Macy’s increased their conversion rate by 150% by making it easier for customers to find products they want with a more usable search engine and a restructured site [62].
  • ADC (telecommunications) increased their sales by 341% and produced $10 million of quote requests by completely revamping their Web site using UXE methods [89].
  • IBM increased sales by 400% in the first week after a complete redesign using UXE methods. Customer satisfaction ratings also improved [112].
  • Junior’s Restaurant increased their conversion rate by 900% and greatly reduced call center volume. Their fresh cheesecakes have rigorous shipping requirements so UXE methods were used to develop a sophisticated shopping cart that could reduce ordering complexity [89].

Increasing Sales By Stimulating Cross-Channel Activity

Web sites can also support sales in other channels such as retail stores, direct sales calls, or call centers. Here ROI is more difficult to measure, but the examples below show it is still significant:

  • Major American retailer’s brick-and-mortar sales increased 15% after UXE methods were used to improve their Web site [59].
  • New York Life accomplished a 213% increase sales leads from their Web site after a redesign using UXE methods [89].
Increasing Sales By Improving Customer Retention

Loyal customers make a significant contribution to a company’s profitability. For example, while a single package from a onetime customer may generate $5.00 revenue for FedEx, the lifetime revenue from a single loyal customer has been estimated at $360,000 [100], and this figure does not include the value of word-of-mouth referrals. The same trends can be seen on the Web; for example, the average first-time purchase on an e-commerce site was $127, but repeat customers spend $251 per visit [87]. The influence of a company’s Web site extends beyond the e-commerce transaction, a Forrester Research report found about half of the customers polled say their bank’s Web site is important to their overall satisfaction, and these are more loyal to their banks than other customers [120]. And a Gartner Group study showed that UXE methods improve user satisfaction by 40% [43].

Consider this example of the relationship between customer retention, UXE, and increased sales:

  • Staples increases repeat e-customers by 67% after a complete redesign of their Web site guided by UXE methods. They also reduced dropoff rate by 31%-45%, increased traffic by 80%, and increased sales by 491% [54].
Contents, User Experience Engineering (UXE) Essentials Series