2nd visit – Oh, you’re back!

Mark  Ryan

September 30, 2008

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Extractable’s clients use their sites to accomplish a broad set of goals (Lead Generation, Online/Offline Revenues, Reach/Awareness, Customer Loyalty). One key to discovering which variables influence conversion of visitors is knowing whether or not visitors convert in 1 visit, 2 visits, 3 visits, etc. Whether filling out a lead form, purchasing an upgrade, or entering some product feedback, we typically see that the most valuable actions from visitors are on the 2nd+ plus visit. So why is it that most sites look the exact same each time a visitors comes back?

The first time visitors see Amazon.com, the visitors can be impressed with the sites wide selection of products, the wealth of information about every product, and the ease of purchasing. But the most impressive aspect of Amazon is what happens on the 2nd visit, 3rd visit, 4th Visit, etc. The site keeps track of what you looked at (whether you made a purchase or not). The site makes personalized recommendations based on what you viewed and how many items you viewed. Sites like LinkedIn and Facebook are personalizing navigation and recommendations based on past navigation patterns. BannaRepublic is customizing product recommendations based on the products that you looked at most recently.

With a lot of the sites that we view, the first visit is an introduction. The visitor is looking at high level product and organizational information – they are browsing around at wide breadth of content. The first time visitor is validating the site/product as a viable option. On the second visit, their navigation is much more focused. When a user comes back, they tend to be a little more focused in their clicks/searches.

Knowing what content/products a customer has looked at makes a big impact on what they view on their second visit. Most sites should follow Amazon’s example. It doesn’t take a significant about of planning and programming to think about how to make that 2nd visit a little easier and ideally, get a better conversion rate. We’ve had great success with clients websites by simply placing quick links to previously viewed promotions on the homepage.