Increase conversions. Prevent procrastination.


Picture yourself arriving home after a hard day at work. As soon as you sit down for first time in hours... bang! you remember: My mom's birthday is next week! You need to get her something. So you start in Google. 30 minutes later.... you have chatted on facebook, checked your email 20 times, visited 3 different news sites and 10 different blogs. But no present for mum.

What happened?

You just procrastinated. You delayed a task that you had to do, but you don't fancy.


The official definition:

Procrastination is the act of replacing an important task for another which is easier and we enjoy much more.

We procrastinate all the time.

At work you can identify procrastination when you leave the important tasks in behalf of less relevant tasks that you enjoy more.

Behind the look of "laziness" resides a deeper problem that, when stated and faced, can be solved. But we are not going to talk about our procrastination as professionals (a huge productivity enemy). We want to find out what can we do with our user's procrastination.

Are we losing conversions due to procrastinating users?

Absolutely YES.

According to popular studies in cart abandonment, these are the main reasons of abandonment:

  • High Shipping Costs 44%
  • Not Ready to purchase 41%
  • High Product Price 25%
  • Wish To Review Selected Products Later 24%
  • Shipping Costs Not Clearly Mentioned 22%
  • No Guest Checkout Option 14%
  • Being Asked Too Much Information 12%
  • Complex Checkout Process 11%
  • Other...

The options in bold can be related directly with some grade of procrastination.

The user may not be aware of his procrastination, but we must address it and try to prevent it in order to have our user converting.

The great thing about addressing procrastination is that we'll increase conversion rates with a segment of users which is likely to convert, if the reason for procrastination is attacked.

What can we do to identify it and overcome it?

One of the best ways to identify the reasons why users are leaving our checkout process is to use Onsite Surveys like Qualaroo or 4Q.

With Qualaroo we can target only users that are leaving the page, and prompt them with a question "Are you considering to purchase this item in another moment?". If so "Why?".


With this simple survey you'll be able to find out:

  1. Which % of users are procrastinating
  2. Why (such a powerful insight)

When analyzing this data, keep in mind the most common causes of procrastination. Lets see what we can do in each case.

1 Skill deficits.  This happens when the user feels like not capable of accomplishing the task/conversion (due a long process, or a lack of confidence in his Internet skills).

It really happens a lot.

To solve it, having a clear telephone number  / chat helps. Also, provide the tools to let the user be assisted at any moment, and be clear about how easy is the process.

2 External obstacles. Users procrastinating on External Obstacles tell themselves they will find problems in the task. It doesn't mean they had them, but they will use any little excuse in our website to abandon the checkout or conversion funnel.

To prevent that's critical that our checkout is perfect and the page load time is excellent. Be serious about QA and test your checkout with users. Also analyze sessions recorded with ClickTale or  Inspeclet, and promise that the process will be smooth and easy. If you can, prove it.

3 Fear of the outcome. In CRO we are used to address Fears, Uncertainties and Doubts. Don't let the user use them to procrastinate and delay the purchase. Be Cristal clear about delivery options, delivery times, sizes and what will happen after the "Confirm" click.

In this example Sephora by including the line "In every email you'll have the opportunity to opt out" is preventing users to procrastinate based on fears of spam.


4 Lack of motivation. One of the main reasons for leaving the checkout is that users are not "that" interested on the product, or they are not ready for buying. Maybe we didn't addressed well their deep motivation to purchase the product.

When this happens, we need to improve the persuasion of our site and checkout. At this point it's very important to keep the momentum with scarcity techniques (only XXX left), social proof,  and time limited offers, so users are determined to take action now and not leave it for later.

5 Lack of focus and fatigue. There's  a segment of users that will convert from us if we succeed on keeping their attention and focus on the main goal.

That's why it's commonly recommended to remove any navigation from the checkout and get rid of unnecessary links or distractions.

CrazyEgg in the registration process has removed almost all the links, so there's just one way to continue the navigation:


6 Not knowing where or how to start Low willpower users will claim they want to do the task, but they don't even know where to begin.  For this users it's very important to have clear Calls to Action, that match their intentions and motivations. This example of AppLander shows a clear button with a Call to action copy that leaves no room to procrastinations like "I'll check it later".



We all procrastinate. And our tricky mind will sue any excuse to keep us from what we have to do. As conversion optimization practitioners we need to be very aware of how our user's mind works and prevent them from using excuses for leaving the purchase for later.

Converting determined fans and users who come to purchase is easy. Converting users who come to compare, research or look for info, is tough and challenging. But if we make a checkout easy, clear and persuasive we'll get all this low willpower users to convert, and we'll see our conversion rates growing.

That's what the Conversion Garden is about, isn't it?

You can't procrastinate commenting now :)