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Thursday, Apr. 26, 2007 at 1:51 pm

Conversion Stumbling Blocks in the Real World

By Melissa Burdon
April 26th, 2007

sonicblog.jpgDriving by Sonic on a main road in Houston at 11pm one night, I saw a large billboard advertising an Oreo fudge milkshake. The message quickly hit my stomach and my instant craving made me pull off to check out the goods. I looked around for a drive-through and didn’t see one. Instead, I noticed that each individual parking spot had an ordering menu so I pulled into a spot.

There was a big red button with copy that said ‘press when ready to order.’ Although I’d never been to a Sonic before in my life, I’ve been to a drive-through before, and the copy on this menu board clearly told me what action to take. I placed my order as my mouth began to water.

The order was in, but I had no idea what to do next. I sat in my car for a short while, wondering if someone was going to come out and bring me my order, but it seemed to take awhile. I looked around on the board next to me but nothing explained what to expect after placing my order. I thought that perhaps I was expected to go to a drive-through at this point, or maybe I was expected to go inside.

I decided to press the big red button again and ask what they wanted me to do, and was explained that someone would be out shortly with my order.

If this scenario had happened online, I probably would’ve bailed out of the checkout process. People just don’t spend a significant amount of effort and time trying to figure out what your sales process! If the customer has questions that aren’t being answered once they’ve entered the checkout process, they’re likely to just drop out and go somewhere else.

Check your analytics. Take a look at how many people are entering your checkout process and dropping off before converting. And ask yourself: Why would you be willing to give your customers’ dollars to your competitors?

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Comments (2)

  1. I frequently bail out of shopping carts simply because so many sites deliberately attempt to hide pricing information. Often the only way to find out is to start an order, find the price then bail while continuing to look around the site.

    Same applies with shipping charges, tax and other such hidden charges – often the only way to find out for sure just what the actual cost is, is to begin a purchase.

    No idea why people do this. I’ve worked in direct (person to person) sales and am familiar enough with building value before revealing the price but hiding it in the checkout cart is ridiculous.

    Even worse are the ones where to get a price “Telephone one of our representatives to…”

    Find out the price? No thank you.

    “Fill in our detailed marketing information questionaire, so we can hammer you for the next 10 years or so, and we’ll give you a free quote!”

    Sure thing, my name is Miss D Customer…

    If your pricing is so high you’re embarrassed about it, I don’t want to do business with you. Why is this a difficult concept?

    The net is not print, no excuse for not ‘printing’ the price and updating if needed. Even if you DO need some info before giving a quote, give me a rough idea and we can tune the details later. But hiding the price is a big no-no for me and I suspect most people. So I’m not surprised many experience high cart abandonment. Can you imagine a real-world store where you had to put things in your cart then go to the checkout to see if you want it or not? It’s not even some checkout peep but a high-pressure telesales bod in some cases. I think not.


  2. Melissa, It is early here in the Southeastern part of the US and now I want a Sonic Burger. Three Points: First Start with a product that people actually want or need, make sure you are ready to sell when they are ready to buy, and make it easy and fun.

    What you observed is so true about the internet. While in your car you had invested more of your time and effort and you had a reasonable expectation of food gratification…very powerful. On the internet you would have had a much longer wait for food no matter how easy it was to order.

    So I agree, that regardless of what you are selling; be proud of it, make it easy to acquire and be ready to deliver as fast as possible.

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Melissa is a Senior Persuasion Analyst at FutureNow.

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