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Monday, February 25, 2008

I was recently looking to buy tickets for a sporting event online. I knew exactly what event I wanted to attend, where the event was being held, and at what time. When I visited the particular site that listed the event, it didn't provide clear ordering instructions. After studying the site for a few minutes, I found a place to buy tickets. When I clicked to buy the tickets, I was taken to a completely different website.

But wait, this consumer buying experience gets even better. After visiting this website, I had some difficulty finding the tickets I wanted. In fact, after numerous clicks, I did reach a purchase page. However, it offered 3 options and I couldn't tell them apart. Other than the fact that the 3 options had different prices, I honestly didn't know what they meant. So, did I buy? No. I got frustrated and threw in the towel. I guess I'll just watch the event on TV.

I share this story because I'm not unique. Every day millions of consumers navigate away from websites for the very same reason. Many websites do a poor job of simplifying the purchase decision process. The result is often times a frustrated consumer and a lost sale. If you want to succeed online, make it easy for your customers to buy.

Not sure if your site does what it should? Gather a focus group, provide a discount for customer feedback, or test the complete purchase process on your own. Regardless of which method you use, make the purchase process simple and informative - you'll be glad you did.


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