Last Updated Aug 15, 2011 8:25 AM EDT
For example, Cory Doctorow writes at boingboing about sites requiring customers to register before they buy and how much money this can cost them in a year, according to a 2009 article on e-commerce site design by Jared Spool:
Spool is recounting the story of an unnamed large ecommerce retailer who had one of those forms that made you register before you could buy anything, and to remember your login and password before you could shop there again. Removing this form, and allowing the option of saving your details with a login and password at the end of the transaction, increased the retailer's sales by $300,000,000 in the first year.Doctorow goes on to note four other important points that go well beyond requiring site registration:
- The insight is "something that anyone who shops widely online already knows."
- Companies could make a lot of money if they paid attention and implemented the insight.
- The insight is commonly known in writings on e-commerce.
- Too many companies simply ignore it.
What's fascinating are the top reasons for abandonment:
- Shipping and handling costs were too high -- 44%
- I was not ready to purchase the product -- 41%
- I wanted to compare prices on other sites -- 27%
- Product price was higher than I was willing to pay -- 25%
- Just wanted to save products in my cart for later consideration -- 24%
Maybe that works to some degree, but with 75 percent bailing out, you have to wonder whether these companies only get the sales they would have otherwise had while eliminating the possibility of the additional sales they might otherwise get. They don't provide the information that the consumer needs to make a purchase decision.
What's sad is that hiding the information only hurts e-commerce companies in the long run. If a price or shipping cost is too high, consumers won't be deterred from leaving -- obviously -- when they finally see it in the shopping cart. By not making the information easily accessible, the companies build distrust with customers and make it more difficult to track whatever is deterring customers and then try to find ways to counter it.
Related: lazy_lobster, site standard license.