(an excerpt from Chapter 6 in Becoming an OBM)
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and ask: is there anything in your buying process that could be simpler, quicker or more pleasant?
As we got a glimpse of in the last example, automated systems can also make it much easier for customers to engage with your client, which is VERY important for the success of their business. You want to make it very easy for customers to buy, and automated systems will make the buying process smooth and enjoyable for all concerned.
I’m sure you have come across a situation similar to this – you are on a website and like what they have to offer. You go to click the Buy button and on the next page you’re directed to print out an order form and fax it in, or to call in your order.
Now I don’t know about you, but in most cases they have just lost my sale (unless I REALLY want what they have to offer). I don’t want to spend the time to print out a form, fill it in by hand, fax it in and wait to get a response or confirmation of my order. Nor do I want to pick up the phone and wait for service or delay my order because I’m surfing in the off hours (as I often do). I’m ready to make my purchase now, and would willingly submit my credit card number to do it. I want to order and pay and get immediate confirmation of my order. And in the case of downloadable products, I want instant access.
The more steps you ask a potential client to take in order to purchase, the less likely they will be to complete the sale. So look to automate and simplify the buying process as much as possible. An online shopping cart system is a definite must if you are selling online.