Are bumps in the road you send your customers down costing you sales?
A while ago I wrote a review of the website I used to book my vacation - see it here.
My message was 'Simple Sites Sell', and I described the experience: A simple, stable, reliable site that led visitors, step-by-step, through the process of choosing and booking a hotel. And flawlessly executing delivery when the time came.
Here's another example: This week I bought my first iPhone.
Having used Nokias for years I was reluctant to change, but my most recent Nokia was driving me crazy.
Every new software upgrade piled new bugs on top of old bugs and added new functionality I had no interest in.
So what about my first couple of days with the iPhone? Painless, so far.
The User Interface is a more intuitive than the Nokia, so setting it up was quick. Setting up iTunes (which includes submitting credit card details) and syncing the phone with my Outlook was also intuitive and went without a hitch.
It even included a software upgrade which didn't appear to deliver any new bugs.
So right now I'm pretty relaxed, because it all just worked.
What's The Lesson for Webmasters?
If you're selling stuff online take a long, close look at your customer journey. What hoops do they have to jump through in order to buy your stuff?
The drop off rate at the shopping cart stage of a customer journey is always high, so you need to check and re-check it to make sure you're not putting obstacles in your customers' path.
A site I reviewed recently is a case in point. The design is not entirely consistent (the payment page includes the logo of the bank processing the transactions) and the font colours make some of the messages almost illegible.
Further, I live in Flat A on my floor of the building. But the field for specifying the Flat in the details capture page is numeric only - and it's mandatory.
So I wouldn't be able to buy anything from them, however hard I tried.
Little wonder, then, that the drop off rate at the shopping cart page is high.
Submitting my credit card details to iTunes when I was setting up my new phone offered a quite different experience.
The font was simple black on white - no awards for design, but 100% for usability.
No new logos were introduced and everything went through quickly.
As with the site I reviewed a while ago, the iTunes page told me what to expect, and what it said would happen did happen.
These are all small things, but they make a difference.
And if they reduce the drop-off rate at your shopping cart page that will directly lead to more money in your pocket.
Another area where the same principles apply is your email list sign-up process.
I use Aweber and they enable me to create my own opt in confirmation and re-confirmation pages.
If you're not doing that I strongly suggest you do, because it gives you control of your customer journey.
You can explain to your visitors what's going to happen next, what they should do and what they'll get as a result, at each step along the way.
I have my own confirmation and double opt-in confirmation pages on all my lists and each one describes clearly what's going to happen next and what they should do.
And whenever I make changes to those pages I always see a change in the numbers of people who double confirm the opt-in.
These things matter.
So, again: review your customer journey and make sure you're explaining to them at every step of the way:
- What they've got to do now
- What will happen next
- What they need to do when the 'next' happens
- The benefit they'll receive for doing it.
And make sure there's nothing in the process that will stop them in their tracks. You don't even want to make them pause or question.
You need your customer journey to be a smooth, uninterrupted slide down to the transaction confirmed page.
It must all just work.