The Power of Marginal Gains: How Your Online Business Gets Big Boosts from Small Tweaks

There’s a lot to be said about the power of little things – particularly when the eCommerce climate is in a constant state of flux. The ‘Marginal Gains’ theory ( popularised by Sir Dave Brailsford CBE, one of the principal architects behind Great Britain’s gold medal winning cycling team, Team Sky ) is the idea that making 1% improvement in a whole host of areas creates a significant change in performance as a whole. But how does this principle translate to the performance of your online business? And most importantly…how true is it?

They May Come If You Build It, But Will They Buy?

It could be that you’ve had a thriving online store for quite some time. Things were ticking along just fine. Then, out of nowhere, your results become stagnant. Sales have just stopped…or worse, dipped. Has complacency set in? Where could you be going wrong? Alternately, imagine building a brand new website, spending considerable amounts of time on the images, branding and using precious time and marketing resources to promote it. Yet your conversion rates are devastatingly low. Whether it be the former or the latter, it’s important to identify where these gaps are happening and what actions to take. This is where applying a marginal gains perspective would help immensely.

Here are some small tweaks that can help:

  • Don’t put the hard work on the user: always apply a fresh consumer perspective to your store design. If someone has to search high and low for more info about something they want to buy (though you might think it’s fine after having been on the site for hours), it’s a good chance that they will quickly go somewhere else.
  • If a lot of crucial info is TLDR, make sure it’s summarised or easily spotted: be succinct when it comes to copy and strategic about placements and positioning with buttons, section headings, and call-to-actions. Making these as obvious as roadside neon signs will lead the customer towards info they want (or you want them) to have.
  • Speed it up: nothing irks shoppers more than sites that take forever to load. No matter how appealing or striking the videos you worked hard to create can be, consider the weight that it adds to your website and what you can do to boost your page load speed.
  • The 101 on your 404: Have you factored in your ‘Error 404’ message? Adding a reminder to return to the store or having a more playful take on this will help and engage a lost shopper to find their way back. More so than just the stock standard error message.
  • Shoppable social media: Instagram, TikTok and Facebook are boarding the eCommerce train and for good reason. As entertaining as they are, social media platforms collate a strong consumer network that are watching real-time reactions to products on their personalised feeds. Find out what social platforms your customers are interacting on and why they are engaging with certain content. This helps you create content that trigger purchases and promote the ways your product benefits them.
  • Always be automating: Identifying gaps, testing subject titles, or requesting reviews at the right stages of the cart abandonment process is key. And once you’ve refined the process, automating all of this would lift a weight off your shoulders too.
  • Simplify the checkout process as much as possible: 3 clicks and strike – you’re out! Obviously, customers are used to clicking, filling in fields and providing some info at this stage. But making this process more tedious than the experiences they’ve had on other sites is a danger point. You don’t want them changing their mind because of there being too many hoops to jump through.

While marginal gains rebukes the idea of one grand overhaul that solves all your eCommerce problems, it makes sense. Given the ever changing nature of the digital landscape, the online businesses that thrive are the ones that continuously measure the small stuff and identify adaptable solutions in these small improvements over time.

Feel like your eCommerce business is ready for a spike? Boost that growth with us today and see how we can help. Book a free strategy session here. Or, better yet, check out our secret to helping your business grow with less effort over time.