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Everything eCommerce

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Newsflash - Annoying Websites Cause Customers to Leave

A study that came out today reaffirms my personal mantra. Get customers to your site, let them find and buy what they want as quickly and painlessly as possible. Anything that gets in the way of customers ordering results in lost sales, and negative feelings about your company.

Here's an excerpt of what they said:


The Center for Media Research reports that over 70% of consumers said they'd give a company the old heave-ho if they find a "pet peeve" on their website. But only 25% of them say they'd complain to the companies about what they found objectionable. "The Internet has matured to the point where consumers demand an easy online experience. ... Consumers are warning companies, 'You're going to lose my business if your web site experience is annoying,'" says John Lee, vice president of Hostway Inc., the author of the survey.

The consumer's list of website pet peeves:
· 93% find pop-up ads to be annoying.
· 89% don't like installing extra software.
· 86% hate dead links.
· 84% are annoyed by confusing site navigation.
· 83% dislike registration log-on pages that block free content (some
are even taking action-click
here).
· 83% said slow-loading pages are an annoyance.
· 80% are annoyed by ineffective site-search tools.


Here are some mopeeves peaves to think about:
· Splash pages - For 99% of sites with every click there is drop off between visitors and shoppers. The less clicks between entering your site and checking out, the greater the conversion rate.
· Sound - you're reading this right now as you're working. Now let me plaannoyingd anoying sound clip that says "HEY I'M NOT WORKING" - not the best way to keep a customer.


The aesthetics of websites was slightly less important to them, but the numbers were high enough to merit concern. Just under 60% thought moving text was annoying, while 55% felt strongly that poor choices of colors, fonts and formats were annoying.

The reactions to these annoyances were quite strong, at least in words. Of those surveyed, 74% considered unsubscribing from company promotions or messages, 71% were likely to view the company negatively, and 55% were likely to complain to their friends and associates about the site. If accurate, these numbers are a huge indicator that the look, feel, and overall experience of your website can make or break your online business.

I can releate to the reaction side of things. As I am building a new house I wanted to make it a "smart home" and incorporate all of the latest home automation, control and monitoring. There is a company called X10 that has great prices on the equipment that does this very thing. The problem is X10's marketing is pretty sleazy. They were the ones that started the popunder revolution, featured animated graphics of simulated camera screens panning up and down swimsuit clad women, and change their prices daily. I considered their products repeatedly and even added a few packages to my cart, but each time I couldn't push checkout, because their marketing and site appearance made me doubt that the products would arrive or be even passable quality. I'm sure for every one sale they made, there are at least one person like me who is so turned off by their "crazy eddie" style marketing that they'll never buy from them.

Take the time to look at your site from the customer's viewpoint. Keep things simple, keep things quick, and watch your conversion rate rise. Remember going from a conversion rate of 1% to 1.5% increases your sales by 50%. Little improvements equate to real financial rewards.

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