Posted Thursday, January 20, 2005
In retailing there is a saying that sales are made in the last three feet. What this means is that no matter what you have done with your marketing, the final purchase decision is made when a customer is in-store, with the product in front of them.
The web is somewhat similar if you think about it. Have you ever started to buy something online and found yourself rushing to complete the transaction? Or have you ever started to buy something and stopped?
Why did you decide to go ahead with the purchase or walk away from the purchase? The answer is something happened to you in the Internet equivalent of the last three feet. Here's some common reasons people might abandon a purchase online:
- General lack of confidence
- A sites server is too slow
- The purchase process is too complex
- Their excitement faded
- They got distracted
- Their internet connection dropped out
Here's some common reasons why they might go ahead with the purchase online:
- A strong guarantee is offered
- They really, really want the product
- The reasons to act now are reinforced on the order page
- They are reminded what they are buying
There's nothing worse than losing a sale right on the finishing line. After all you're worked hard to attract a visitor and convince them to buy. So now it's time to look at your site and ask yourself honestly how are you're 'last three feet'? Are they maximising sales or are you losing? Here's how to find out.
You must know how many people are coming to your order page (the page where they enter their credit card details and press the buy button). You need to then know how many sales were made in the same period. For example if 300 people visited your order page in June and you made 240 sales, 60 people didn't buy. In other words 20% of people didn't go ahead with the purchase for some reason. You need to know what this reason is. To find out why people didn't buy you should:
- Go through the purchase process yourself and see if you can spot anything that would put customers off
- Get some friends or colleagues to do the same and see what they find
- Survey your existing customers and ask if there is anything you could do to simplify the ordering process
Here are a couple of suggestions to help avoid losing people in the last three feet:
- Minimize the number of clicks to place the order
- Don't ask for any information that isn't essential (people don't like paperwork and online forms are in this category)
- Use fast, reliable servers for ordering
- Track your ratio of visitors to your order page compared with the number of completed purchases
So take a look at your site and make sure you do everything you can to reduce the number of abandoned purchases. If you need further help, feel free to ask me. Good luck.
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