As you all may or may not know, I am the creator and developer of Soliloquy, the best responsive WordPress slider plugin.
I am always trying to improve the experience my customers receive when interacting with Soliloquy, so one of the ways I approached this was to try and ease the pain of upgrading from Soliloquy Lite to Soliloquy.
I built this really awesome upgrade experience in Soliloquy Lite, and I have demonstrated how it works in the video below.
Freaking sweet upgrade experience, right?
User Interface != Conversions
Which leads me to the title of this post – user interface does not equal conversions.
Although the process was well integrated and incredibly user friendly, my conversion rates plummeted. I mean plummeted. On average, I convert anywhere from 2.5-5% of users who come from the Soliloquy Lite admin to the Soliloquy website. Not exceptional, but way better than .05% on average with this new system.
That’s a very noticeable difference. I’ve been trying to think of why it would convert so badly, and here are my best guesses as to why it converted as awful as it did.
1. Credit Card Fear
Even though I explained that I was using Stripe, that Stripe was secure and even used “secure” wording, I believe people are straight scared of using their credit card inside of the WordPress dashboard. I had a survey automatically sent out to the folks who used the upgrade process, and I got a remarkable 100% response rate to the survey.
The feedback was more than overwhelmingly positive, but there was one comment that I believe was indicative about the mental process for other people who decided not to upgrade:
WOW! I cannot believe how easy the upgrade was. I have never experienced anything quite like this in WordPress before, but I must admit, I was a little frightened at first. I’ve had so many plugins not work well, so even though I knew yours worked well, I was afraid of what might happen when I upgraded. It seems a little odd using a credit card inside of the admin area, but if there was a process for it, yours would be the standard for sure. Loving the upgrade, too!!!
People simply don’t know what to do or think when using a credit card in the WordPress admin simply because no one has ever done it before.
Admittedly, I probably could have had better conversion rates by adding a video tutorial explaining the process step by step. I’m sure that would have eased the fears of some, but I believe I would have faced the greater reality of fear nonetheless.
2. Lack of Hand Holding
Since this process was completely new, and to my knowledge never been used by anyone, I didn’t provide enough handholding. I needed to place better action steps to make the customer comfortable with the entire process. Even though it was incredibly user friendly, it was daunting looking at it from the outside in.
As stated above, I believe a video demonstration of the process would have gone a long way to ease fears. This just goes to show that hand holding is a very powerful tool. This why I am going to be creating an entire documentation section of videos for Soliloquy. Folks will be much more likely to take action if they have seen how it works with their own two eyes.
3. Rotten Apples
I think the upgrade process also suffers from the “one rotten apple spoils the whole bunch” syndrome. The plugin repository is free, which is a very good and very bad thing. Good because there is a wealth of great functionality; bad because there is a wealth of awful functionality failures. I received multiple comments about folks being weary simply because some other plugin upgrade experience was bad.
This goes to show that branding and reputation can go a very long way when creating, building and selling products. Unfortunately for me, even though I have a good reputation and create solid, well-built plugins, the mistakes of others probably cost me real dollars. That’s just part of the price you pay when you list your work on something like the plugin repository. The good gets mixed with the bad, and when something is free, people rarely remember the good because they have no vested interest in it.
So, in short, I pulled the plug on this manually before I had word that is was not allowed because it was costing me so many sales. Instead, I will now focus on the landing page that users arrive to when they click on an upgrade link inside of Soliloquy Lite. I will work to make a more compelling case there so that I can increase conversation rates and make even more loyal customers.
User interface does not equal conversions.