Practical Ecommerce

Conversion Review: “It’s In The Stars” Needs Help

“Conversion Review” is a high level evaluation of a website that a company has submitted for assessment. When doing a review, we analyze the website as if we were a potential customer with a typical usage scenario. We then assess how well the site does at converting visitors into buyers. For this review, we’ve evaluated It’s In The Stars, a site that has been selling personalized, bound astrology reports as gifts for couples and parents since 2006. For the review, we’ve assumed the following: “I want to buy a personalized gift for my wife.”

Elizabeth Ball, the director of It’s In The Stars, feels her conversion rates could be significantly improved and wants some insight into how she could achieve this.

First Impressions – Am I At the Right Place?

Itsinthestars Home Page On arriving at the website, it’s not immediately clear to me what the website is selling. While the words “personalized gifts” appear on the home page four times, it is somewhat difficult to discover what these gifts are. The home page itself (together with the rest of the site) is visually bland and fails to evoke a senses of desire and interest, which is what I’m expecting to see on a website that is selling personalized gifts.

Do I Trust This Company?

There are clearly aspects on this website that do contribute to feelings of trust. Customer testimonials are displayed on the home page and there are clear links on the main navigation bar to About Us and Contact Us as well as more testimonials. In particular, reading About Us reassures me that I am dealing with a professional company.

Is It Easy For Me To Find the Right Product?

The website sells two main products, LoveStars and BabyStars, which are personalized astrological reports for either grown couples or for your children. Given that there are just the two choices, it was fairly easy to find the product relevant to me.

However, while there was fairly good content on the product pages, it remained somewhat difficult for me to ascertain what the product actually was and what I’d get for my money. The key product description, “your beautifully presented, hardcover A4-sized LoveStars gift report is printed on luxuriously thick 100gsm gloss paper”, is buried way down the page and likely to be missed by most prospects. Improved clarity here and better use of sub-headings would enable prospects to quickly scan and understand the product and its benefits.

There were some photographs of the actual reports together with a link to a sample report, which helps a potential customer understand what they will receive. However, the product images are very small. Improved imagery on the product pages would really help with persuasion.

Calls to action are key to any ecommerce website and I was surprised to find the Buy Now buttons were placed way down the page. To draw your visitors through your website you need to have clear calls to action that are immediately visible on each page.

Will I Get Good Service?

It’s In The Stars has a “100% Money Back Guarantee”, which is a great way to take the risk out of buying online. It also says that your money will be “cheerfully refunded” if you are not completely satisfied, which reassures me that this company believes in good customer service. Because this is such a strong guarantee there is an opportunity here to better promote this throughout the site.

I found it somewhat difficult to understand the shipping costs. You need to go through a fairly long form in the checkout process before shipping cost information is displayed. It would be advantageous to clearly show this information at the beginning of the checkout process, as this unknown detail may be a barrier for some buyers.

How Easy Was It For Me To Buy?

Checkout is the point at which most people leave a website, so it’s really important to get this right. Unfortunately, I found the checkout process at this site to be quite painful. To begin with, I was forced to provide a password but no reason was given why this was necessary. Forcing new customers to register before they purchase is one of the top reasons for cart abandonment.

When I was entering the necessary personal information for the astrology report (such as my name, and date, time, and place of birth), I felt uncomfortable that the page was not secure (i.e. no “https://”). I also had to reenter information that was lost when I clicked the Back button. Making improvements to the checkout process would help to increase conversion rates.

Conclusion

As a website, It’s In The Stars is visually uninspiring. Increasing the wow factor and getting customers excited about the products would help enormously. There are elements of persuasion and promotion on the website, but these need to be stronger and better placed to increase conversions.

Request a conversion review site grade, by emailing conversion.report@practicalecommerce.com.

Alan Cox

Alan Cox

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Comments ( 6 )

  1. Chris "Cartel" English May 1, 2009 Reply

    I still can’t figure out what they’re selling :)

  2. Armando Roggio May 1, 2009 Reply

    Not sure what they’re selling, but I find it interesting that they are using the Verve CMS. I asked the Lateral Systems folks for a demonstration.

  3. Chris "Cartel" English May 1, 2009 Reply

    "Verve CMS?"… time for a Google search.

  4. Elizabeth Ball May 2, 2009 Reply

    Alan, thank you very much for providing the conversion review.

    It is always intriguiging to see how others veiw your website! Now that I have your comments I will be going back to see the designer and developer to make some changes.

    The site sells personalised astrology reports as gifts for couples and parents. I will definitely rearrange the copy so that the selling point – the fact they’re printed on 100gsm paper etc – is much higher up in the copy.

    In the upcoming redesign, I will showcase larger images perhaps with the target customers ie couples reading LoveStars, a mother reading a BabyStars with her child etc, move up the Buy Now buttons and add subheadings and see about getting secure pages for the birth details.

    I did once request the web developers to allow checkout with no registration but seemed to hit resistance with this. Unfortunately, customers also resist having to register!

    I also need to spell out the shipping costs more clearly as there aren’t any! They are included in the one flat price for each report.

    Thanks again Alan for taking the time to provide your expertise!

  5. Elizabeth Ball May 2, 2009 Reply

    Chris, can you please clarify your last comment: "Verve CMS… time for a Google search."?

    I’m not clear what you’re saying…

  6. Chris "Cartel" English May 4, 2009 Reply

    itsinthestars,
    It seems your site is built on Verve CMS as opposed to a traditional shopping cart system which could explain why you it was so difficult to figure out what you’re selling.

    I have never heard of Verve’s CMS so I was simply stating that I was going to do a google search to find out more about the company and what they offer.