ROCI: Return On Click Investment (aka Great Expectations)

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Christian Holst writes about ROCI Return on Click Investment. It’s a term used to describe the active user’s mental calculation on whether the path or experience they’ve chosen to purchase online is panning out—whether or not they want to “keep clicking”.

Click Investment

Clicking on a new page is a commitment to a page load and therefore an investment of time and effort on the online buyer’s part. Just as business owners and investors make decisions every day whether a particular investment has delivered as hoped (ROI), e-commerce shoppers decide if they’ve made a good or bad Click Investment in any particular Internet Retailer’s website.  They may abandon the site, their browsing strategy (search terms), or abandon the idea of online purchasing of the particular product/service they want or need.

How do e-retailers deliver a positive ROCI?

It comes down to setting expectations that are inline with what the consumer expects and your ability to deliver according to Holst. An expectation that they will find what they want efficiently (navigation) is as important to their initiating a purchase as finding what they need (content). Since it takes longer for mobile devices to load web pages, ROCI is even more critical in M-commerce. However, buyers who feel deceived—intentional or not—after clicking on a banner or item can become quickly disillusioned.

They also can become alienated by what Holst calls Lack of Information Scent.  In a specific test sample, “Best Buy fails to provide proper information scent” for their Deal of the Day because the user has no idea prior to clicking on the Daily Special banner what item or type of item was on sale. Ambiguous Information Scent occurs, for example, when the photograph of a room labeled “naturally beautiful” on Pottery Barn’s website takes the online shopper to a “Rug Sale” category page rather than to a furniture page. Ambiguity was also found on the Toys’R’Us website by shoppers clicking on Description and indeed finding a short description, but then choosing Additional Info as prompted for which seemed a lengthier product description. The link, however, only returned a set of internal references (product ID, UPC code, e.g.)

Lack of Return on Click Investment: Great Expectations

Lack of ROCI alienates the online shopper yet it’s not only content-expectation issue that produces a Browser Abandonment or Cart Abandonment atmosphere. It can also result if the expected content delivers—just not enough or with enough relevancy to please the shopper.

When online consumers clicked Current Specials during a Baymard series of tests, they were unpleasantly surprised to find inadequate information within the context of what was seemingly promised: A 3-line description and a Learn More button, which revealed only one new detail. Several Click Investments for scant information. It’s not difficult to imagine why a shopper would become disenchanted with the experience on this particular website and abandon further activity.

To motivate online sellers to click through to purchase, click investment must be kept to a minimum. a major online retailer based out of New York City has great deals on electronics and appliances. On higher-priced item as well as Macintosh product specials, it’s routine to not find the price unless it is added it to your shopping cart. This may increase sale initiation, but shoppers grow frustrated (sometimes furious) at this technique. User confidence plummets.

Shoppers Keep Score on Their Online Shopping Experience

According to the Baymard study, “Users are obviously keeping score, and they aren’t forgiving: negative returns make more of a mental impact than positive ones.”

One solution suggested is a “low-key qualitative think-aloud usability test”.

Another way of neutralizing Click-Expectation is by using a Personal Shopping Assistant Application (PSAA). By implementing a PSAA into the shopping cycle in your e-commerce you can effectively engage and customize shopper experience. This leads to shopping cart finalization, referrals, and repeat business because the online shopper experience has been quick, informed, and painless.



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