Add Funnel Steps to Improve Conversion

In my last post I discussed how an understanding of consumer psychology can be extremely helpful for understanding how to design funnels that convert. In this post I’m going to give a concrete example of how I did this at Lookcraft to drive 18% conversion through a funnel with 18 discrete questions and 4 major steps. I got 18% of users who hit our homepage to enter their email and password, information about their fashion taste, and full sizing information. I’ve used these same tactics across multiple different products to similar effect with other companies I’ve worked with or consulted for and hope they will be useful for you as well.

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A/B Testing is Expensive

Over the last few years the startup community has really gotten behind A/B testing and hyped it up quite a bit. There is a more nuanced point about the downsides of A/B testing that needs to be understood: A/B tests are very very expensive for most startups at the time when they matter most, early in their formation.

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Goodbye Wholesale Brands

The next few years of e-commerce growth are going to fundamentally change the way soft-goods retail works today.

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E-commerce has been growing rapidly for the last 6 years with equally rapid projected future growth. To date the growth has been mostly powered by existing brands moving rapidly online. Great direct-to-consumer brands like J. Crew realized this early, got out ahead of the curve, and are reaping the benefits. New companies selling other brands (e.g. Zappos) were notable as well. For the most part these companies built revenues through leveraging existing audiences (in the case of existing direct-to-consumer brands) or taking advantage of SEO and paid acquisition opportunities (in the case of wholesale retail). There is still some growth left to be had in this area, but there is one segment in particular that will drive e-commerce growth over the next few years: existing designer brands who previously only sold wholesale moving into direct-to-consumer online.

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The Problem With “Warby Parker for X”

Direct to consumer online-only retail is not disruptive because its online. Do not mistake good marketing for a new and innovative business model. Warby Parker was a special case driven by very interesting market dynamics that don’t apply to the other companies in the space. Let’s dive in and take a look.

Over the last few years there has been a surge in new direct-to-consumer online-only companies, particularly in the apparel space, companies like Everlane, Pickwick & Weller, Beckett Simonon, and Pistol Lake. These new models have been framed as [disruptive innovations] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disruptive_innovation) by investors, the media, and of course the startups themselves, but the fact is that they are not offering something that is fundamentally different from the market incumbents from a business model perspective. These verticalized retailers are mostly trying to replicate what Warby Parker has accomplished with eyewear, but unfortunately that category had very specific advantages that don’t apply to other vertical apparel segments in general. Warby Parker used online distribution to put the first chink in the armor of a huge monopoly, Luxottica.

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The Future of Analytics – The Data Platform

The future of analytics is event based, with events tracked back to individuals. People not pageviews. There are a couple obvious trends that are driving this:

  1. Tablet and mobile are now growing at a much faster rate then the web, as mobile moves to take over web in terms of market share we’ll see apps driving more usage than websites.

  2. Websites are moving from thin-client to thick-client and single page applications and other similar Javascript heavy sites are becoming the norm. Client-side frameworks like backbone.js, ember.js or new full-stack frameworks like Meteor are further enabling this.

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New Startup? Think Twice About Mobile First

Since Fred Wilson wrote the original post about “mobile first” companies nearly two years ago, there has been a large uptake in this philosophy. In general, this makes sense as internet usage is moving rapidly off the desktop and onto mobile devices. Every day more new services are being developed that are truly “Mobile Only” where their web presence will always be relatively minimal (Uber, Hotel Tonight, Instagram, etc.).

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Growth Hacking: A Primer

Introduction to Growth Hacking

Almost every large successful internet company right now has a team dedicated to growth, but it isn’t some sacred thing limited to companies with millions of users. Since there seems to be a lot of interest (http://andrewchenblog.com/2012/05/11/how-do-i-learn-to-be-a-growth-hacker-wor… around what the process is like, hopefully this post can shed light on the situation.

So what is growth hacking? I think of it as the practice of gathering data, exploring that data, and exploiting knowledge uncovered from that data in a systematized way to directly further the business goals of your company. Its more than just a role fulfilled by one person or a team of people, its a way of thinking you can use to make sure you’re getting the most out of the work you are putting into your company. It works for small startups (we prioritize development using this framework at Lookcraft all the way up to huge companies (Facebook’s growth team has massive influence across the whole organization).

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