E-commerce Insights: Don’t Waffle Around With Your Web Site
The Internet isn’t pink, and it’s certainly not gray. It’s pure black and white.
Users want Web sites to be like grocery stores: It doesn’t matter which supermarket you go to in the U.S. — whether it’s a Piggly Wiggly in South Carolina, Safeway in Seattle or Shop ’n Save in Maine — you know milk will be near the eggs, flour close to the sugar and the bananas in the vicinity of the apples. You don’t expect ice cream in the dog food aisle or pickles sandwiched between puppy chow and cat litter.
A typical grocery store is full of absolutes. Same with a Wal-Mart, a Starbucks, a Jiffy Lube, an L.L. Bean catalog or Amazon.com.
There are things that work and things that don’t. There’s not a cataloger in the world who’ll tell you the cover isn’t a hot spot. Nor is there an intelligent Web marketer who’ll deny there’s a magic formula for the perfect checkout. The Web world is full of best practices and must-haves. You don’t have to like them, but for the sake of your online business, you should know them.
How Do I Learn the Absolutes?
First, look closely at your stats. There’s no better way to find out what your users like and don’t like about your site than to look closely at your data.
Second, sites like MarketingSherpa.com, WilsonWeb.com and MarketingExperiments.com, or the blog at FutureNowInc.com, have many case studies and ideas about what’s working online. Look to them regularly to find out what others are testing; apply what’s applicable to your business.
Where do you start? There are so many things to look at that many folks simply get overwhelmed and postpone the analysis until a later date. Try these:
1. Abandoned Web shopping carts or forms. Find the percentage of people who start your online order-taking process and then abandon it. Look closely at the step where they’re leaving.