In this week’s episode of Growth Interviews, we invite you to join our podcast conversation with Guido Jansen, cognitive Psychologist, CRO/CX/UX @ Vaimo, Magento Association board, creator @ Dutchento, CRO.CAFE and Core of Commerce

Welcome to Growth Interviews!

Welcome to  Growth Interviews, the fun, stimulating and engaging series of conversations driven by digital business growth. Our mission is to provide valuable insights from the eCommerce arena, and each episode is a fascinating quest into the best-kept business secrets and money-making strategies of an insightful world-class expert.

Guido’s primary fields of interest are online behavior, usability, cultural differences and optimization for human beings. Secondary fields of interest are e-commerce, web analytics and online communities. He received the “Community Builder Award”​ out of the hands of eBay CEO John Donahoe for building the Dutch Magento community and events.

He enables growth by combining data with his background in cognitive psychology and scientific methods to optimize the (online) customer experience, increasing the user base and revenue per user. Through this process, companies and teams get insights about their customers behavior and learn how to improve their products & service.

Guido Jansen forms and enables ‘customer intelligence teams’​ and embeds the CRO process within the team(s). He loves working in multidisciplinary teams with strategists, business consultants, data scientists, SEO/SEM/SEA professionals, graphic designers, developers and marketers and the talk with him should not be missed.

Here are the biggest takeaways:

  • How CRO blends with cognitive psychology – 03.38
  • Applying psychology in marketing – 09.30
  • An expert’s frustrations regarding e-Commerce – 12.51
  • Customer retention and the key to loyalty – 18.52
  • Habit formation for repeat purchase – 25.19
  • Best of the best practices – 27.10
  • The starting point for optimization – 38.41
  • Tips for choosing an optimization team – 41.46
  • Growth and sustainability – 44.45

How CRO Blends with Cognitive Psychology 

When it comes to altering, influencing and changing human behaviour, everyone gets fascinated as it’s both a scary and fascinating phenomenon. Guido Jansen, one of the most passionate cognitive psychologists that chose to make a career in digital, shared with us, in our latest Growth Interviews episode, that just by adding and using simple forms like arrows or similar shapes on a website, for example, we can seamlessly direct or redirect someone’s attention. The alteration of attention or changing the focus from one point to another feels like a complicated cognitive process when in fact it’s based on a very simple behavioural tendency that everyone has.

Although human brains have a lot of processing power they are still very limited. “We can’t take in much more information than that our brain can handle.” said Guido during our talk. “And it’s also not really efficient for your brain to handle that information because it costs a lot of energy. Your brain is one of the most energy consuming organs that you have. So, the tendency of your brain to be able to conserve energy, is just to be lazy basically, to be really selective about what it’s doing.” he concluded. 

The laziness of the human brain influences a lot the way it recreates meaning from the same type and category of shapes. If a similar shape is met and there already is a cognitive process behind it, our brain has the tendency to give the same meaning to the new shape, based on its similarity. 

Conversion Rate Optimization, is a strategy of organizing a website in such a way that would foster a larger number of lead-to-sales conversions. In other words, CRO moves viewers to the buyer category and uses high-quality website design, calls-to-action (CTAs), and appropriate content that encourages online purchases. 

When combining the results of deep observation of human behaviour with the tendency of the human brain to subtract and CRO tactics, Guido concludes that it is almost impossible not to obtain a fantastic result. The only key left is to never forget to test.

Applying Psychology in Marketing

It’s no news that the greatest marketing experts are also great observers of human behaviour. Since its dawn marketing and psychology blended as any marketer should be aware at all times how people are absorbing and interpreting information and how they respond to certain stimuli, actions and communications. 

Besides a great amount of human behaviour knowledge a marketer should possess and apply, all marketers need to understand that there are a lot of limitations in the application of psychological sciences in marketing. The first are the limitations regarding the understanding of  how people act and react because there are a lot of factors and variables to be considered that are not controllable. The second set of limitations regards, in Guido Jansen’s opinion, the personal capacity of interpretation. 

Especially in digital, there is an enormous variety of people who all have different backgrounds, typologies, are coming from various geographical spaces, etc so its’ almost impossible to create a predictive model for all of them. For mastering a successful marketing strategy, Guido Jansen proposes that all marketers should split their target and visitors into various typologies and to treat them according to their needs and wants. Knowing the customers is crucial and it begins with understanding how to recognize them by how they act and react. As the process deepens, and variables grow together with the communication channels, Guido advises to use multiple sets of data collected from a multitude of digital tools and continuously look at different data sets that show different perspectives. The key is not in mapping out human behaviour on digital tools and channels but in researching what the data is showing about the customers. 

Customer Retention and the Key to Loyalty

“I think the economy is too good and people get lazy.” confessed Guido and we couldn’t agree more. There are many companies that are just not paying attention to their customers and are not setting their tools and data right. Most of them are not even looking at customer retention even if there are clear signs that they should. However, there are companies that, due to the big players in the digital landscape, especially in e-Commerce, are focusing on the lifetime value of their customers as part of a bigger process of becoming more data driven. 

Besides the products and the services, what makes an e-Commerce unique stays also in the way it treats the whole buying process, from promotion to after sales, and in the way it uses the information it gathers about its customers. Doing market reviews, tracking what’s actually having an impact on those numbers, measuring revenue per visitor or revenue per user on a short and long term basis and measuring brand impact and top of mind, are the most important actions any e-Commerce should take in order to create a thriving business and a great customer relationship. “Most customers are not there to start a new relationship. They’re not there to marry you right from their first buy. It’s gonna take a couple of times so realize that you can’t expect those first users to stick around for many years. It’s not the first the first buy necessarily a win.” said Guido and then continued “count as a real new customer someone who bought like three times or four or five times”.

Repeat customers are one of the most important qualitative performance indicators of any company, especially of an e-Commerce. It shows respected product quality, great customer journey, brand affinity and awareness. Repeat customers are not only tremendously valuable in economic terms but also very important in the phenomenon of social proofing. In the process of becoming loyal by repeating a purchase any customer is granting undeniable trust which translates in personal recommendations and social proofing, two of the most sought after success indicators.

Habit Formation for Repeat Purchase

Qualitative products and services are at the core of a successful business and Guido Jansen advises to “start by having that unique value proposition and having that figured out right.” 

No matter the amount of effort that is put into promotions, advertising or email marketing  automations, the most important aspect is that the business is “ actually providing value to the customer”. The unique value proposition sets a business and its products apart by positioning them clearly into the mind of the customers. It’s the core of the business.

“That is something they really want and the reason they find compelling to buy your service and keep buying a service. That’s that should be your main focus to start up. And once you’ve figured it out and you’re ready to scale and figure out what resonates, that’s where really a data driven approach comes in, and both quantitative and qualitative data.” further continues Jansen.


Successful businesses are about people. What they want, what they need and how they perceive a business are crucial from the first moment. Defining the product’s USP is the most important for any new venture as it defines the entire culture of the company and sets the landmark for the perception of the brand. 

We hope you enjoyed our video interview with Guido Jansen.
For more valuable insights, make sure you come back to check out our next Growth Interviews as well. 

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