How Gregory Ng Ruined My Morning

Yesterday I attended the Triangle AMA Digital Training Camp where I listened to a lot of smart people speak. I was entertained by the great story telling of Peter Shankman and inspired by Brian Dally of Republic Wireless and his story of trying to fix the broken cell phone industry. But the one thing that really stuck in my head was something Gregory Ng said.

Gregory Ng

Gregory Ng

Greg is a friend of mine, but also the Chief Experience Officer at Brooks Bell. Sometimes I forget how good Greg is at both his job, and presenting meaningful data. Near the beginning of his talk on converting your visitors into customers, he mentioned that the average online conversion rate is 2.2%! That’s pathetic.

He went on to explain that many businesses focus on driving more traffic rather than converting the traffic they already have. As bad as a conversion rate of 2.2% sounds, it’s even worse when you flip it – it really means you’re not closing the deal on 97.8% of your visitors!

Can you imagine the general manager of your local Target saying to the staff, “We saw 10,000 people come through here today, and we rang up 220 of them? I’m guessing the store would stop everything and fix whatever was causing the problem.

This morning I walked into my friend’s new kids consignment store and started looking at it through this new prism. Was the store optimized? It really isn’t as well optimized as a Target or Wal-Mart. It could be better. I stood staring at the path from the front door, the high-profit items (for consignment) were not the focal point, what about the stuff way in back? What sells more, girls or boys stuff?

After a few minutes I had to leave because I wanted to start A/B testing her store.

When was the last time you sat and stared at your store/website/house/office and thought about ways you could optimize it?


  1. Thanks for the mention and glad it got you thinking!

  2. I agree, his presentation definitely got me thinking about the “data” and how to test our assumptions. In the end, I would love to optimize my life, but I’m not sure I know HOW. Tis the reason we have guys like Greg (and you).

  3. At what point of the buying cycle were you in, Phil?

  4. Jamie Tharp says:


  5. LOL, there’s a button for that Jamie :-)

  6. Thanks for sharing Phil! Greg is brilliant!

  7. Now where’s that “buy” button?

  8. Well, Phil, as the owner of an e-commerce site, I have to say that knowing that the conversion rate for my site falls above the average is good news.

    I guess it’s relative. A 2.2% conversion rate might seem poor, but if it’s the average it must be good, right? You have to consider the fact that shopping online is a completely different animal than physically shopping at a Target store. It’s way easier to comparison shop online than it is to compare prices when you are physically standing in one store. It’s much easier to click away from a web site than it is to walk away from something you’re interested in purchasing when you’re at the physical location of a brick-and-mortar that might have taken you 1/2 an hour or more to drive to.

    Anybody know the conversion rate of the Target web site as compared to Target brick-and-mortars? I’m sure the numbers are amazingly different.

    Your question: “When was the last time you sat and stared at your store/website/house/office and thought about ways you could optimize it?” My answer: “Nearly every waking second of every day.”


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