A guide to conversion rate optimization with virtual waiting rooms

Many online retailers will only think to roll out a virtual waiting room for their customers if they fear a big event may crash their site. However, our customers report increased conversion rates after using TrafficDefender, making virtual waiting rooms a useful tool for conversion rate optimization. Here’s how they do it.

Opportunity to showcase products and offers

Usually, website visitors are not expecting to be put into a queue, unless they are given a heads-up beforehand. As the queue page is unexpected, most consumers will take the time to absorb any information on the page and find out what to do to get to their desired destination.

As with any landing page, this gives you a good opportunity to focus their journey towards converting.

You should therefor use the queue page to signpost customers towards attractive items and deals they may be interested in. You can use images, galleries or even videos to engage people while you have their attention, and guide them to take the desired action once in the site.

You might even introduce a new product or offer they weren’t aware of previously, so that once they get through to your site, they will stay longer and browse more pages looking at these products – another important conversion goal for your eCommerce team.

Scarcity sells

Demonstrating exclusivity is an excellent and widely used conversion rate optimization tactic. Research shows that we place more value on things that we perceive to be scarce or exclusive. Whether it’s a case of having what everyone else has, or having it before anyone else, there’s nothing like a limited edition or restricted sale to boost desirability of a product.

Placing a queue in front of anything immediately signals that there is a lot of demand. Some people will even join a queue before they even really know what they are queuing for!

Sometimes demand for something is so great that a queue is necessary to maintain order and fairness on who gets their hands on the limited stock first, or to make sure the website can handle the traffic. But in other cases, a queue can be put in place simply to highlight a feeling of urgency and scarcity for customers – that way, as soon as they reach the front of the line, they are sure to snap up their purchase right away (before the next person grabs it!).


Sunk cost bias

A big factor in why people stay in longer queues and convert at the end is the sunk cost bias. There is a tipping point while waiting for something where we feel a strong impulse to remain in the queue so that the time we have spent waiting so far is not wasted.

For example, if you wait in line for 5 minutes and notice the queue is not moving very quickly, you are likely to leave the queue or come back at a quieter time since you have only spent 5 minutes waiting. However, if you have been waiting for a more significant amount of time, like 30 minutes, you are much less likely to abandon the queue because you have already “sunk” the cost of your time into waiting, and that time would be wasted if you left at that point.

We are not suggesting you should extend the amount of time customers are sat waiting in line, but it is worth knowing that most people will keep waiting past a certain wait time threshold, so it’s worth optimizing the queue experience to keep people engaged. Once they have spent that time waiting to enter the site, the chances are they will be more inclined to convert to a sale.

Fast websites convert better

It’s been known for years that page slowdowns kill conversion rates on retail sites. A sluggish user experience between pages turns off most consumers and makes them less likely to continue to the checkout process.

Most retail sites should be optimized to load quickly, but this is quickly compromised when servers are overloaded with web traffic. As a result, many sales events cause eCommerce sites to slow down significantly, affecting conversion rates.

A virtual waiting room removes this strain by controlling the flow of traffic onto servers, delivering a smooth experience for customers browsing the site – a vital piece of your conversion rate optimization strategy.

You can even reward your most loyal (and high spending) customers using TrafficDefender’s VIP feature. A subset of your customers can be allowed to bypass the queue, delivering lightning-fast pages with no waiting in line even at busy times. This boosts conversion rates even more for your top spending clientele.

Bookmaker William Hill used our VIP feature to great effect during the Grand National, delivering faster-than-usual pages on their busiest day of the year for their regular customers, all while welcoming a record number of new customers through their virtual waiting room.

Protect your revenue, not just your uptime, with TrafficDefender

We believe your virtual waiting room should be part of your wider strategy to maximizing the effectiveness of your website, whatever its purpose. We will work closely with you to deliver maximum benefit, supporting you with our simple DNS based implementation through to your big sales events and beyond.

Make TrafficDefender part of your conversion rate optimization strategy. Get started with a free demo of TrafficDefender today.

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