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Strategic insights
Shopping Inconveniences And Why People Pay

Written by on October 19, 2011

One thing that prevent brands from getting a good conversion rate is friction.

There are many things that can cause friction. The site can be slow, the navigation intolerable, there can be too many steps, you can be forced to go into a specific "mode" or be required to use a specific device ...or when it is a Facebook shop, you have to allow the shop app to access your personal profile before you can do any shopping.

All these things add a level of annoyance that will literally turn people away.

Note: I get into to this in greater detail in my book "Social Commerce." Subscribe to Baekdal Plus to get it for free.

Think of it like this. If you lose 25% of your audience for each step people have to take, asking people to click a link, log in to Facebook, authorized the shop app to access you account, will cause you to lose lose 97% of your audience.

For a bit a fun (and to put this into perspective), Reto List pointed me to this great video from Google Analytics illustrating friction with online shopping.

Why are people willing to pay for your products?

Paypal did a study earlier in 2011 where they looked at why people would pay for music and movies. They found that people are willing to pay for premium content if...:

  • 71% if it's convenient
  • 59% if it's easy
  • 42% if they can get it on any device
  • 41% if they don't have to leave home (i.e. don't have to buy it physically)

All of these are based on the trend of convenience. People are willing to pay if it is more convenient than whatever they had to do before.

Paypal also found that:

  • 11% pay to get unreleased material
  • 6% pay to remove advertising (yes, it was that low)
  • 2% pay because it was cheaper
  • 7% pay for other untold reasons ...(only Paypal knows what those are)

If you want to sell a product online, the first thing is obviously to create a product that is worth buying. Notice that only 2% said they would buy a product because it cheaper. Just making something is not going to cut it.

We live in a world of abundance. We don't want more!

Focus your attention on making something worth having, and make sure it is more convenient than anything out there. The product, and how you use it, needs to be convenient. The way you buy needs to be frictionless.

And if you think this is going to cost you a lot of money, take a look at this article: "How to make a mobile commerce site for £200." This, of course, is a rather extreme example (and I'm not sure how scalable it is), but the key to success is not a fancy system.

Finally, if you watched the video, noticed how a smiling sales person is not really making much of a difference. Don't get me wrong. Giving people a great customer experience is extremely important.

But the smile on their faces is just 10%. The rest is all about the experience of using your product or how people get buy it.

Focus on making your customers smile.

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.


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