Every good Internet business understands the value of conversions versus hits received. Far too often, businesses become fixated on the hits they are receiving instead of monitoring their hit to sale conversion rate. This misguided focus is the road to ruin because it fails to take in the issue of abandonment.
“Abandonment” is one of those terms that has a unique meaning when applied to the Internet. The term refers to reasons why a user abandons a site before taking the action the site owner desires, typically purchasing a product or making an inquiry.
There are a number of beautiful sites on the Internet with unique innovations. Unfortunately, these sites rarely turn a profit or unnecessarily limit their profit potential. Site owners must focus on only one thing when building a site – converting visitors to customers. To avoid abandonment issues, you should focus on the following:
1. The site should always load as quickly as possible to accommodate visitors that are using 56k dialup modems.
2. The site should be designed for ease of use, not “what looks good.”
3. All advertisements must click through directly to the items that are being searched, not the home page of the site.
4. Site pages should be kept short to improve load times.
5. Information that is not germane to the product or service should be removed.
6. Flash, music and other “atmosphere elements” of the site should be removed or optional to speed up load times.
7. Signing up for the site newsletter must be incredibly easy.
8. Customers should be required to fill out the minimum of information to make a purchase.
9. Newsletters should be issued in HTML and text since some email systems do not accept HTML.
10. All images should be compressed for quick loading.
11. All links and emails must also include AOL friendly equivalents.
12. All emails must have automatic text wraps at 60 spaces so that the recipient does not receive a disjointed mess of code in their email box.
13. Email communications from the public must be responded to within 24 hours.
14. Communications made after business hours must be responded to first thing in the morning.
15. The site should offer accumulating bonus points for purchases that eventually lead to a “free gift”
16. When an order is shipped, an email should be sent to the customer telling them as much.
The list is fairly endless, but you should always view site designs and advertising from the perspective of the customer. The universal question for each project is, “How could we make this easier for customers?” By emphasizing this approach, you will bypass many of the problems you see on the net and avoid wasting your advertising dollars.