"Need More Orders? Fix this..." by
After 3 years online I found a mistake that instantly increased
my orders by 20%...
Last month I learned a few more valuable lessons about doing business
I didn't know it, but I was committing a mistake that was costing
me thousands of dollars each year.
I really should have know better actually. I've been marketing
online since 1996. And I've been told by many folks that I have
a good grip on how to do business online.
What's that old line, "physician heal thyself?" Well it applies
here. Three years is a long time to be making the same mistake at
my website. But that's how long this had been going on.
So what are these horrible mistakes I had been making for so
I thought you'd never ask.
I've been pushing away potential customers by dragging them through
more trouble than necessary at the most crucial time during their
visit to my site -- right when they were ready to place an order!
Actually, I refused to truly acknowledge the problems until I was
forced to reckon with them. I had received a fair amount of complaints
from potential customers who had trouble ordering at my site, but
the complaints were well spaced out so I figured it was just part
of doing business online. Then again, most problems you tend to
ignore until something brings them to a head. That's what happened
at my site just before the holidays...
It all started when the third party website that processed all
secure orders from my site essentially went dead. Along with it,
my orders all but stopped. When the company (which shall remain
nameless for their own protection) could not get the ship righted
in a few days, then a week, then two weeks, I finally smartened
up and took action.
And what started as a real pain in the you know what, ended
up as a blessing in disguise.
After investing lots of time and a little money, I have increased
the orders being placed at my site by a full 20%. Without generating
extra traffic. That's a lot of money, especially over the course
of a year. Scratch that, especially over the course of THREE years!
As any webmaster knows, the lifeblood of your business online can
be the secure ordering process you offer to your customers. So when
my secure ordering system shut down, the last thing I thought it
would be was a blessing in disguise. But that's just what developed.
The lessons I learned were invaluable. I only wish someone else
had suffered them and wrote about it in their ezine first! :-)
Anyway, here they are. Don't take them lightly...
Lesson #1 and 2: You absolutely MUST keep the secure ordering
process at your website simple, streamlined and fast. If at all
possible, offer a one-page, secure checkout for your customers.
And you may not really need that shopping cart!
My own example elaborates on this perfectly...
First, here is the "Old Way" I accepted secure orders at my site:
(Bear with me, this is a bit tedious...)
My old secure shopping cart system took customers through no less
than four separate web pages before they were done ordering. At
each page they would enter some information.
Page one was off my site altogether, was not secure, and resulted
in scaring away about more people than I realized. From there shoppers
who were bold enough to continue had to click the "checkout" button
to go to the secure area. (If they accidentally clicked "continue
shopping" they were brought back to my site instead of to the checkout
page.) If they DID click the correct SSL checkout button they moved
to the secure area. That is, IF their ISP kept them on the same
server. If not, and many ISP's do not, their cart was reported as
empty. Bye bye customer. The surfers who made it to step three usually
continued through and placed their order.
Sounds sloppy right? Well believe it or not, many shopping cart
providers have inherent problems similar to these that you do not
learn about until you've invested too much time or money.
For this reason, I strongly suggest you take a look at your site.
Do you really need a full blown cart? Maybe not. If you are selling
a small number of items, the answer may very well be no. You could
actually do much better with simple stand-alone order forms. I certainly
do! Just take a look at my...
"New Way" to accept secure orders at my site:
The surfer clicks "Secure Order" and is immediately brought to
a secure order form in the SSL area of my server. The form is a
single page which lets the buyer complete their transaction in one
step. Done. Order placed.
To see this simple setup in action, click to any "Secure Order
Form" at my software
The nearly instant 20% increase in orders has taught me (the hard
way as usual) that web surfers want a simple way to place their
secure order. They cannot be bothered with learning how to use your
cart or clicking through too many pages. The quicker you get them
in and out of your checkout process, the more likely they are to
complete the transaction.
It makes sense really. Have you ever walked out of a store because
there was only one register open and the line was too long? Well
that's what you are doing to your web surfers if you can't give
them a speedy checkout process, or express line!
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And I learned one more lesson from all this...
Lesson #3: Think twice before you hire any third party company
to provide a service that you may be able to perform without them.
This applies especially to something as crucial as processing your
There are many things that webmasters hire third party companies
for. But things like website maintenance, product shipping, credit
card transactions and the like, may be very simple to do in-house.
In most cases you'll find software that can automate or at least
simplify most tasks so that they can be handled without a third
party provider. Not only will you save money doing this, you will
also have the peace of mind that comes along with depending less
on other companies.
If you are just setting up shop online this lesson will really
help you save money and aggravation in the long run. If you already
have a web presence, make a commitment to sit down and evaluate
it. Can you pull things in-house that are being handled by other
companies right now? Even if it means shelling out cash for your
own merchant account or SSL server space, you may be very glad you
made the move some day.
That's not to say you should never hire other companies online.
Undoubtedly you will need to hire SOME web services that are just
too costly to do in-house, such as web hosting or real-time processing
providers. But the fewer third party services you employ, the less
likely you are to be left in a compromising situation that is beyond
your control. And that's not good if it handicaps your ability to
do business online.
So take some time and learn from my mistakes. I promise to keep
making them as long as you get something from them!
Owner - bizweb2000.com
Article by Jim Daniels of JDD Publishing.
Jim's site has helped 1000's of regular folks profit online.
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