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Growth Tip #21: The Progress Bar

Once I was in a grocery store grabbing some necessities (oreos, whole milk, and other healthy stuff), when I rounded the chip aisle end cap and saw line after line pouring over into the produce section like tenticles. I did a quick pass of all the lines assessing how long I thought each would take to clear and allow me to buy my things. I jumped from one short line to the next each time regretting leaving the line before. Now if any place needs a “progress bar” it’s grocery stores!
 
My point is nobody likes uncertainty. How long will this take to download? How many minutes do I have to wait? How many steps is this checkout process? Not knowing often results in the visitor just giving up and not completing the funnel, checkout, or conversion action you wanted them to complete.
 
This is where progress bars come in. Not only do progress bars give finality to the perceived infinite, they also scratch our itch for completing something. We love seeing a task checked off, a job finished, a purchase completed. In fact, our bodies release a small amount of endorphins every time we complete a task as a way of saying, “Atta boy! Great job.”
 
Take advantage of this and build progress bars into your website, checkout, forms, and anything that has multiple steps.

How to execute this growth tip

1.

Map out your customer journey using the Customer Value Journey Canvas (you can get yours free via this link). Think about where in that process your customers may bottleneck due to uncertainty (maybe a quiz, or a form, training, or a checkout). Just look for process in your journey that require two or more steps.

2.

Contract a designer and a developer to whip up the look and function of your progress bar. It should update visually as the customer or visitor moves step-by-step through your process or task list.

3.

Test the heck out of that bar. Try to break it. Try to make it not work. And once it's performing flawlessly, set it live and track the improvement of that conversion stage.


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