E-commerce Insights: 19 Ways to Suppress Online Sales
Following are a few tactics that can torpedo your online conversion rate and impede your Web sales in 2006.
(P.S.: If you’re not heeding the following advice, congratulations!)
1. Make customers work to purchase. Be sure users have to learn how to use your site. This is the best way to get them to concentrate and forget about competitors who are just a click away. Ignore the accepted conventions of industry leaders and frequently change layouts throughout your site to increase “shopping suspense.”
2. Design by committee. Let a group of senior executives design your homepage — or you can let your CEO do it. What’s important is never to test it or solicit input from your customers or front line, contact center personnel.
3. Ditch the style book. To increase interest, use a lot of bright, contrasting colors, multiple palettes and at least four font families. Use animated GIFs. If they seem out of place, set them off with frames.
4. Don’t enable your site to load too quickly. Rapid response from the browser can confuse and bewilder your visitors. Ignore complaints from those using dial-up service — they typically represent only 40 percent of potential sales anyway.
5. Use all the bytes you need to create the image you want. Anemic homepages coming in at less than 50KB will underwhelm your users. Your brand deserves and demands more space — consider 1/4MB or 1/2MB homepages.
6. Embrace jargon. “Labeling” is an important concept in Web site usability. For key product descriptors on your site, simply repurpose the language found on your receiving department’s invoices. Manufacturer model numbers, such as MA107LLA, are precise and unambiguous. Consumer slang such as “black iPod nano” could mean just about anything. So why bother trying to match it?
7. Don’t suggest, and don’t guess. When your site search function fails to find matching results, make sure it offers a nice dead-end page. If you think this page must contain copy, be sure it’s written by the programmers responsible for search. Your customers appreciate straight talk from the people who can tell them why they failed. Don’t correct mistakes in spelling, punctuation or pluralization. Inferring what a customer might have wanted is overbearing and rude.