Offline Reps Need to Care About the Online Experience

I finally tracked down that hard to find item online. It was the right size, the right shape, the right finish, and a tolerable price…and free shipping!

I clicked the nice, big, obvious “Add to Cart” button to dive headlong into the conversion funnel. ERROR. Some jargon written by a software developer. No phone number. I did what anyone in the mood to buy would do – I clicked the back button and tried again. ERROR. I clicked back again, and luckily for this eTailer, the toll free number was prominently displayed in the active window, AND I didn’t have any of their competitor sites top-of-mind.

Rep: Welcome to [store with error-ridden website.com], how can I help you?

Me: Well, I’m trying to buy [Item X] on your website, but I can’t, so can you start by checking whether it’s in stock?

Rep: OK, I can help you buy [Item X] no problem.

Now, let’s imagine that conversation as it should have been…

Rep: Welcome to [store with error-ridden website.com], how can I help you?

Me: Well, I’m trying to buy [Item X] on your website, but I can’t, so can you start by checking whether it’s in stock.

Rep: Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear that! What happened? Can you describe what you were doing when our website failed you? Did you get an error message? What browser were you using?

Note the difference? A little empathy would’ve been effective and memorable…maybe even blog-worthy. Don’t sound matter-of-fact that your website blew up, or I’ll never use your online channel again, and your brand has been damaged.

And I’m sure the technical team behind that website would’ve LOVED to get their hands on the error code that I’d written down and done some tinkering. And they should’ve, because that website was bleeding money yesterday.

[Originally published September 18th, 2008 on GrokDotCom.com, an award-winning, but now defunct, Marketing Optimization blog.]

Checkout Design Mistakes: Grid and Visual Hierarchy

ll bean payment pgIf you’re like L.L. Bean, and have been exceeding customer expectations for nearly 100 years, you can probably skip this post, because you can get away with a lot of ecommerce checkout design mistakes!

For the rest of us, we need to be very careful about the design of the pages in our shopping carts and checkouts. Prospects have a good deal of anxiety about giving us their money, and small design flaws can cost you the difference between a visit and a sale. If your Conversion Rate could use improvement, optimizing the design of your checkout pages can be a quick, direct route to your goal.

I’m not a frequent L.L. Bean customer, but I recently went through their checkout process, and was amazed by how confusing the layout of their “payment” page was. I had to really look around the page to orient myself and figure out what was going on, and how to move forward.

Like Amazon.com, L.L. Bean’s checkout flow is not intuitive to me, but I assume they’ve done a lot of testing and have optimized for their target audience.

I’m going to point out a few potential issues with the design and layout of their page which you can check against your own checkout pages. Actually, these broad design principles can be used to optimize ANY web page you’re working on. Continue reading

Optimize Your Perpetual Shopping Cart for the Holidays

I’ve started to see more and more articles about prepping your site, your marketing, and your conversion funnel for the 2012 Holiday Season, so I thought I’d post about Perpetual Shopping Carts – a crucial site experience for multi-item gift shoppers. Continue reading

Cross-post: 1-hour Marketing Optimization Discussion with Fluidshopping

Hello, world. The bad news is that I haven’t been posting as much lately. The good news is that I’ve been busy consulting, which means I’m learning, which means I’ll have more to share on this blog 🙂

Recently, I had a fantastic discussion with Jose at Fluidshopping, a Berlin-based startup looking at testing technology for eCommerce. Particularly, their focus is on building tools to enable the testing of business rules in addition to the usual UI elements.

We covered a lot of ground: testing tools and technology, marketing “system” optimization, KPIs, and 7 specific tips on how to move your online marketing state from “just testing” to “marketing system optimization.”

Jose noted some time stamps, so you can skip around if you don’t have an hour to devote. But, I recommend you open it in a browser tab and let it play–it’s wall-to-wall content, baby!

Listen to the interview now »

 

 

What Do Your Trust Tattoos Say About You?

trust logos

Image courtesy of Actualinsights.com

A past client of mine coined a wonderful phrase when he mentioned the fact that his shopping cart “had all the usual security tattoos,” referring to the seals/badges/logos seen around the Web as credibility indicators and anxiety reducers.

While I laughed at the time, I now think that there’s something to this idea that trust badges on sites are like tattoos on people. You can make some pretty safe assumptions about people’s personalities based on their body art, so maybe online shoppers are making assumptions about your site based on your security “tattoos”! Continue reading