How to Improve Ecommerce Conversion Rate : Lessons from Betty Crocker

I was watching a video about the psychology of consumers, as used by big companies, to sell more stuff to more people and how to improve ecommerce conversion rate.

The interesting part the story was how Betty Crocker were able to explode their sale by overcoming a psychological trigger in the customer. which was preventing them from making a purchase.

The insights to how they were able to do this was very interesting and really quite amazing, well to me at at least. So I want to break it down for you here so you get the essence of what I learned

But first its story time…

So back in the day early 50’s or 60’s, at about the same time the American housewife thing was in full swing America and the world were becoming a consumer society. Everything from fancy gadgets to fancy and convenient foods were taking over and growing in popularity.

Just go and watch an episode of mad men and you’ll know what I mean.

The marketing message was all about empowering the average consumer to live it up and by stuff and have a better quality of life, etc, etc.

 how to improve ecommerce conversion rate

What was interesting though was technology had come so far, manufactures were able to create food products etc that just needed to be microwaved, or just add water simple everyday tasks were becoming easier and more convenient, and in the Betty Crocker example house wives were given tools to make life easy and made the kitchen a status symbol for them to live in and live by.

And for alot of average American house wives they adopted the wave of time saving life easing things accept for one… The Betty Xrocker pre-made cake mix.

Cake mix?, yep that’s right  (no cake mix is not the secret to a great ecommerce conversion rate!). The cake mix was a brilliant idea. It saved time money, created a flawless cake every time. all was needed was water, mix and bake. soooo easy. As a male this is my kind of baking super simple and super easy.

So you might think that women in there droves would be lining up to make cakes and save time and create a brilliant and delicious cake everything. Because they had been conditioned at the time by advertising.

The answer?

Sales tanked. Dismal sales because women ignored the product and didn’t use it.

But wait,

If at the time women who were housewives could improve their self esteem by baking a cake to prove they loved their husband, well you’d think they would all be baking cakes like they were going out of style.

Nope. Instant cake mix was a flop.

Now, before I reveal how they fixed this I want you to think about why the sale and acceptance of this product was so poor.

Stop and think why, it’s important to have your own idea as to why before we move on.

My thoughts were that it was a largely processed product. But back then the nutritional habits of people were less concerned about that.

The marketing team at Betty Crocker did all the right things with the advertising, made it appear to the gender beliefs at the time that made you a “good house wife” and “family provider” if you could make a cake.

Now please remember I’m not trying to put down women here.

So what was the solution?.

Turns out they approached the problem with the help of a psychologist and created a focus group of women. They asked them why the weren’t buying the product and how the felt about it. A large number of the women in the group really wanted the product but,

Get this. They felt …. Guilty. Guilty about using this solution.

What really struck me was it was an emotion that drove their decision. All the pleasure and all the satisfaction the marketing was trying to communicate was shut down in the mind of the customer because of guilt.

The guilt associated with using such an easy and simple way to bake made the house wives feel as though they were cheating or somehow they had to work hard and toil away in the kitchen to create something. The fact that it wasn’t part of them or another way to think about it, They hadn’t felt like they put them selves into the making of the dish either because they had not much involvement in the entire creation of this cake.

So convenience =  guilt. The very thing they are trying to communicate was shut down by the guilt factor.

Now the guilt part was very interesting to me, because guilt can be a motivator or a blockage to making a purchase. The emotion of guilt is powerful and persausive. evident by the fact that the millions of $$$ spent to advertise this to the mind of the prospect was blocked by this powerful emotion.

So how did Betty Crocker overcome this problem and Explode sales.

Get this…

They added an…. Egg.

That’s it!

improve ecommerce conversion rates

What does an egg have to do with anything? the egg that the baker needed to now add, signaled their involvement in the creation of this cake.

It was no longer just a simple mix and pour. The housewives needed to select an egg, choose the best one which on the deep emotional level signified the “putting a part of herself” into the cake, something of which she could be proud of.

The sales of the cake mix took off by overcoming the emotional trigger of guilt, with the emotional trigger of involvement.

When I saw this my mind was blown. Not by the egg, but by the fact the emotional triggers are such powerful tools and we need to understand that to get these kind of results in our businesses.

How could you overcome someones guilt with involvement to increase your ecommerce conversion rate? Well depends on what you sell either a product or service. You may even be able to use the emotion of guilt to guide a customer to their desired outcome with the product or service you sell.

The key take away points about this story for me was, emotions = triggers = actions. At the end of the day Betty Crocker isn’t selling cakes. They are selling the feeling of creating a loving home by showing you care about your family, the togetherness, the love and good feeling etc.

How can you use emotional triggers in your ecommerce conversion process? Getting your customers emotionally involved on some level is the key to getting them to take action. But each and every situation is different.

Hope you liked reading this article let me know what you learned in the comments section below.

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