Oct 24, 2023

Optimizing your customer journey for conversions - Interview with Viket Benzesin

Optimizing your customer journey for conversions - Interview with Viket Benzesin
Optimizing your customer journey for conversions - Interview with Viket Benzesin
Rebecca Anderson

Rebecca Anderson

Optimizing your customer journey for conversions - Interview with Viket Benzesin

Optimizing your customer journey is one of the most impactful ways to increase your online store’s conversion rate. 

Instant interviewed Viket Benzesin on our Click to Buy podcast to hear her best advice on this topic.

Viket Benzesin is the Customer Journey Manager at Mars Petcare D2C Europe. She’s responsible for getting digital customer insights as well as running experiments on the website for website optimization.

This article dives into the key points from our discussion with Viket. 

For our full conversation, tune in to our episode: 

On-site versus off-site reviews: Which are more effective?

We asked Viket what her preference was when it came to reviews. In her opinion, both on-site and off-site reviews are important for different reasons.

On-site reviews help with immediate conversion. 

  • Seeing first-hand experiences from other shoppers builds trust when new visitors land on your product page. 

  • These reviews show how many people vouched for the product. 

  • This nudges visitors one step closer to making a purchase.

Off-site reviews can help with your long-term brand reputation. They show a brand's excellence and credibility because they come from external sources. 

So, if your goal is quick conversion, on-site reviews are indispensable. Every eCommerce website should consider integrating them. 

But for establishing trust and brand loyalty, don’t underestimate the power of off-site endorsements.

Video versus written testimonials: Which one wins out?

Next, we asked Viket if she preferred video or written testimonials. 

Her preference here was clear: written testimonials are essential - especially those with a photo.

Here’s why: 

  • Adding video testimonials can sometimes slow down a site's loading speed. This can hurt your user experience. 

  • Additionally, there's no guarantee every visitor will invest the time to watch or listen to a video testimonial in its entirety.

  • Written testimonials are snappy. They allow users to quickly gauge feedback. The addition of a user-generated photo adds additional credibility. 

So, for a balance of authenticity and user experience, written testimonials (with pictures) are a safer bet, in Viket’s opinion. 

User-generated content versus professional product photos

Another topic that some CRO experts disagree on is whether user-generated content or professional product photos are better. 

Viket believes both are important but leans towards professional product photos because of their clarity and quality.

  • On product pages, where the primary image often plays a pivotal role in influencing purchase decisions, it's crucial that the image is of the highest quality. 

  • Every detail, from the main features to intricate elements like ingredients, must be clearly visible and comprehensible. 

  • Viket even highlighted the importance of this in products like cat litter, where potential buyers might want a clear view of the actual litter particles.

  • Professionally taken photos ensure this precision. They can offer a depth of detail that user-generated photos might sometimes miss.

That said, if you can use both, Viket recommends adding user-generated content to your reviews and testimonials. This way, you offer both a clear view of the product and the added trust that comes from real users showcasing their experiences.

The power of social proof in boosting conversions

The discussion about adding photos to testimonials and reviews led us to discuss the role that social proof plays in the human decision process. 

VIket believes that social proof isn't just about showcasing testimonials or reviews; it taps into a basic human instinct. 

People inherently look for validation, be it through understanding what others are buying or what they're saying about a product. We are faced with so much information daily. To make our decision-making easier, we often rely on the choices or recommendations of others. 

This is especially true when purchasing products. Sometimes, we don’t have the time or the tools to analyze every available data point before making a choice. 

Social proof offers a shortcut—a reliable and efficient way to determine the value of a product based on others' experiences.

Harnessing customer insights for effective conversion optimization

According to Viket, the key to conversion rate optimization is considering customer feedback. 

With customer feedback, brands can get a glimpse into a user's mind—what's working, what isn't, and what needs tweaking. 

Here’s how Viket’s team has created a feedback loop:

  1. Direct communication with customer care: Significant concerns should lead to both new tests and action to improve the customer experience. 

  2. Feedback platforms and surveys: Platforms like TrustPy and on-site surveys offer insights into what customers think about their experience. 

  3. Analytical tools: Session recordings and heatmaps can act as silent observers, tracking how users interact with the site. They fill the gaps, offering a picture of user behavior where direct feedback might be lacking.

That being said - the maturity level of your website may limit the type of customer feedback you can gather. Newer websites, still in their growth phase, may not have the traffic volume to run meaningful A/B tests.

For these cases, Viket recommends leaning on general marketing insights and session recordings. For more established brands with higher traffic, there's greater flexibility, allowing for a more in-depth exploration of optimization strategies.

Converting cat versus dog owners

Since Viket works at Mars Petcare, we asked her if she had found any specific differences in conversion tactics that worked for cat owners versus dog owners. 

While you first have to consider the type of product, the pet, and the market, Viket mentioned a few key differences in conversion tactics:

  1. Cats: For feline products, the palatability of the food is crucial. Cats can be fussy eaters. So, it’s not just about the taste but ensuring the food is suitable for their unique needs.

  2. Dogs: With canines, there’s a broader variety of health issues to consider. 

    For instance, certain breeds, like golden retrievers, might have specific allergic tendencies, guiding the choice of hypoallergenic food products. 

    Additionally, customers are often concerned about the health and appearance of their dog's coat, making aspects like "shiny coats" a selling point for dog foods.

Viket also pointed out that local market nuances can also play a role here. 

For instance, in Germany, consumers prefer a no-nonsense approach. They're not looking for flashy marketing language; they want the facts, especially about ingredients. This contrasts with other markets where the emphasis might be more on branding and storytelling.

Understanding the distinctions between cat and dog needs and localized market preferences is crucial to achieving successful conversion rates in the pet food industry. 

Common conversion mistakes to avoid

To wrap up our interview, Viket gave us advice on how to avoid 3 common mistakes that many DTC brands make. 

  1. Overemphasizing aesthetics: Many startups and smaller brands who are trying to stand out often prioritize aesthetic elements that may not necessarily align with a customer's primary intent – to get information or make a purchase. 

    While innovative designs and shiny animations can indeed capture attention, they can also be distracting.

  2. Too much movement: Many brands use animations or elements that move as a user scrolls, causing the text to shift around. 

    While such features might seem advanced and trendy, they can detract from the user experience. It's not just about looking good; it's about ensuring that the design enhances, rather than hinders, the user journey.

  3. Ignoring the power of simplicity: Viket emphasizes that the most successful platforms aren't necessarily the most visually appealing. 

    Their strength lies in their straightforward, user-friendly design. They focus on clarity and ease of navigation, ensuring that customers can find what they're looking for without unnecessary distractions.

While it's essential for businesses to have high-quality images that clearly showcase their products, they must strike a balance. Excessive animations, a barrage of colors, and overly intricate designs can overwhelm a user, pulling their focus from the primary objective. The key is to prioritize functionality and user experience over mere visual appeal.


Overall, the main takeaway from the Click to Buy episode with Viket is this: if you want to improve your conversion rate, think about your customers first. Improving their journey should be your main goal. The best way to do this is by setting up feedback loops to continually give you ideas for new tests and improvements to make on your site. 

Here’s where you can find Viket for more of his conversion tips and advice: 

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Explore Instant today to start building high-converting landing pages and sections, no-code required.




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