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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

Plurk? Twitter? FriendFeed? Utterz? Social networking is all the rage. Everyone seems to want to know more about Web 2.0. That’s especially unfortunate for traditional catalogers and direct marketers whose sites are still at Web .05. Here are the reasons: • These days, most businesses get more than enough Web traffic. • They just don’t know how to convert it effectively. • And to mask their inability to actually enable people to easily add stuff to their carts and check out seamlessly, these companies send more and more traffic to flawed sites. Short term, it can be a great idea. Long term, it’s

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? How does the nonstick material stick to the bottom of the pan? Why do we park on a driveway and drive on a parkway? Life has many mysteries. Building a perfect checkout system is not one of them. Users Know Best Over the past decade, Internet users have repeatedly told us what works best in checkouts. Unfortunately, many companies ignore the customers’ sage advice — which is proven by sales and conversion in the cart — and recreate the wheel. This is nothing short of a travesty, and if you’re smart, or at least hungry for

Catalogers know the Web can be a valuable place to sell product. However, it’s likely that many are missing the chance to generate even more sales via the Web. To boost your chance at success, pay as much attention to closing the sale online as you would in your print catalogs—perhaps even more so due to the nature of the Web. Therefore, to convert more of your Web shoppers into buyers, consider three key points in your Web-shopping process: online customer service; shipping and handling; and order-taking and processing. Online Customer Service Here are two commonly held misconceptions about online customer service:

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