Shoes, Spark Plugs and Satisfaction ... Online
If you’re like most consumers, buying online is more of a possibility today than it was yesterday, and you’ll probably think about it more tomorrow. Can big wins be made by optimizing your online shopping experience? Best Buy did and boasted a 34 percent increase in online sales for the fourth quarter of 2008. infoUSA.com did, and it more than doubled its online revenue in just one year.
It all started with a pair of shoes. When it was time for a new pair, a friend of mine strongly recommended Zappos.com, because it ships quickly and pays for returns. Great customer service made her an active advocate for Zappos — and for doing business online. It took two brands, three styles and two colors (five returns in all) to find the perfect pair of cross-trainers. Buying shoes online wasn’t very hard at all, really, and the luxury of trial and error made it fine, so long as there was time.
Not everything is as easy as shoe shopping online. Spark plugs, for example, can be quite challenging to order. There are at least 200 varieties available on NAPA Auto Parts’ Web site, and at least 20 for my specific make and model vehicle. Uncertainty like this in the online buying experience is just one culprit among many that leads consumers to other Web sites or offline altogether.
Could it really be that hard to sell data online? Well, the conclusion we came to is that it’s no pair of shoes, that’s for sure.
To make the process as simple and satisfying as possible, infoUSA discovered that the best approach was to listen to customers. While selling data online proves challenging, talking to our customers is actually quite easy. In fact, once we started, it became hard to stop.