Friction: Are your webpages rubbing customers the wrong way?

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We’re all familiar with friction as the force that tends to slow down moving objects. The amount of friction an object experiences is a factor of the medium through which it is moving. Well, we can think of the movement of visitors through the purchase process of our websites in much the same way.

As a visitor moves through the buy process of a commercial website, the experience can be characterized by anything from a smooth and seemingly effortless progression from offer to “Thank you,” to that of a frustrating, confusing and exhausting death march ending in order abandonment. The difference lies in Sales Process “Friction.”

Friction, in this sense, does not exist on the webpage, but rather in the mind of the consumer, and is defined as Psychological resistance to a given element in the sales process. Of course the greater the Friction experienced by the visitors, the lower the probability of conversion.

The good news is that, among the factors that determine conversion probability, Friction is among the easiest and cheapest to fix. And efforts to reduce Friction often pay off with a disproportionately high return in conversion rate increase.

There are two primary types or components of Friction and for each there are some simple and inexpensive methods you can use to make them as small as possible for your product and your sales process.

In the recent MarketinExperiments research brief “Landing Page Optimization Tested: Big Conversion Gains from a Little Scissors & Grease”, we explored the nature and principles of Sales Process Friction in detail, using case studies with four different companies across different industries, and revealed specific ways that you can apply those principles to increase conversion for your own web pages.

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Then, to see how Friction fits into the big picture of website conversion, you can visit the MarketingExperiments Journal website and explore the full Site Conversion collection of research briefs (categories in the left navigation bar), or consider taking either of the Landing Page Optimization professional certification courses for the most structured, in-depth and comprehensive coverage available.

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