View Full Version : How not to sell stuff on your website.

22 Nov 2005, 04:05 PM
Selling products on a website isn't hard, but it's surprising how many sites try to discourage people from buying from them.

Here's a few way to get people to buy stuff somewhere other than your site:

Require them to have a password to buy from you. While there are times this is a preferable way to do things, always give people the option of simply adding stuff to their shopping cart and then paying for it.

Don't check your software. Some time ago I tried to purchase an item from an online store. I added it to the cart, selected "check out" and gave my name, address and shipping information, clicked continue and got a message that "your order is being processed and will ship within 24 hours" ... only they never asked for payment. They also never contacted me to complete the order, although they had both email and phone number.

Don't user test your site. A few years ago at a Seybold Seminar there was a live demonstration on siote design using gap.com -- the panelists, all web professionals, were unable to figure out how to add anything to the shopping cart. What's an average user supposed to do?

Don't tell people where you're located. One site lost a big sale because I didn't know what starte they were in, so I couldn't determine if sales tax would be charged or not. Another time I was looking for something I could drive to and pick up, and sites that didn't have a location weren't considered.

Don't tell what the price is. I just bought a new CD duplicator online. The model I wanted has a street ptice of $995. One site had a "price too low to display" note with a link to get the price emailed to you. Required filling out name, address, phone and email address to get this "low" price. I reluctantly filled out the form, used fake info and a throwaway email address and got the price they couldn't publish--$1080.

Don't give shipping costs (or at least make them hard to find). One site I considered for the duplicator purchase wouldn't tell me the shipping cost until after I gave them my personal information and my credit card information, neither which I'm going to do until I make a purchase decision.