Is great web content being wasted by a terrible buying experience?

18th July 2009 | Posted in Web content

This week I thought it was probably time for a little more direct marketing of my own. So I headed for the site of a list seller that I had used before to check whether they had new offerings that were more relevant to my copywriting business.

I had hardly entered the site when I was stopped in my tracks. I’d registered last time, but now there was a message on-screen telling me that the company liked its customers to change their user names and passwords periodically, so would I please call this number. Really? Well, I can recognise an excuse for a hard sell when I see one. So I didn’t call and I didn’t get any further with purchasing a list from that company.

The attempt to push too soon and too hard lost that company a potential sale. I’m only human and I know how I like to buy. Browse, sift the information, ask for help if I need it, and buy anonymously. Same as in real life.

Yet even without the hard sell, online vendors seem to have no hesitation in demanding information before allowing a sale. That’s not good news because apparently the buying experience is a major factor in failures to convert interest to sales on the web. Forrester reports that when US shoppers are required to register before buying, a quarter promptly leave the site. Why would they want to hand over personal data without a good reason? So it’s up to the seller to explain the benefits of registering, and make it as painless as possible. If there aren’t any benefits, companies need to think of some incentives. WebPro News reports that one retailer took away the registration button and found another 300 million dollars in sales.

Today’s moral: potential customers like great, well-written content that tells them everything they need to know about your products and services, and a number to call for help if needed. Then they want to buy simply and quickly. No hard sell. And no life story.

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