Most Etailers Have Poor Decision Making Processes
It never ceases to amaze me how despite the extensive online availability of massively powerful tools for improving conversions and sales, the vast majority of marketers & e-tailers still rely, almost exclusively, on “gut-instinct” (their own, or that of others) as the only system for making the decisions that manage their business. In my humble opinion this may well be the main cause such a vast percentage of online businesses fail, despite the relatively low overhead cost that going online offers when compared to a brick-and-mortar business.
From my experiences only few online retailers bother to study the statistics of their website traffic closely, and even fewer do so effectively – i.e. know what indicators are the most important for their business and how their day-to-day operations influence them.
This is a particularly sad state of affairs because the ineptitude can’t be traced back to a root cause that makes sense, for example a desire to avoid expenditure on software or resources. Some of the most powerful tools available for gathering statistics and acting on them effectively are available online for FREE.
Are You Optimizing Yet?
One example of an extremely powerful tool, that far too few people are using, is Google’s “Website Optimizer” service, which allows etailers to test how various combinations of changes to their website content will affect conversions, in order to choose the most effective one. Website Optimizer lets etailers choose what parts of a page they’d like to test – headlines, images, design styles, etc., and then runs an online experiment directing a portion of the site’s traffic to each variation in order to determine which content users respond to best.
Over the years I’ve studied this failing rather extensively as it represents what to me is a very intriguing paradox:
On the one hand the very fact a person succeeds at opening a business would seem to indicate a certain level of competence and diligence, however on the other hand that very same person is often unwilling or unable to carry that effort through by providing it with all the opportunities it requires for success. This despite the fact that this person often acknowledges freely their awareness that their ineffectiveness means they’re “Leaving money on the table” and losing their business as a result. The most obvious question to ask would be WHY???
Why Not Indeed…
After spending a fair deal of time pondering this I’ve come to the conclusion that the fault is NOT exclusively that of the entrepreneurs, a degree of blame must be laid at the feet of the developers and engineers that provide these incredible marketing tools.
Most Powerful Online Marketing Tools Are Too Complicated To Use
A well known paradigm of technology development is that all too often engineers develop products without consulting enough, or even at all, with their target audience. At the end of the process they end up with a product that is intuitive and easy enough for THEM to use, but NOT so for anybody else…
I think this may well be the case with many of the marketing tools available online today. Although they’re powerful and effective, and at times even free, they’re engineer-friendly design makes them simply unusable by the vast majority of the population. The fact someone is a great marketer, a driven sales person, and an industrious entrepreneur, is no guarantee that one has the skill sets required to operate a bit of software designed with an engineering audience in mind. Some might say that the exact opposite might be true (think why so few engineers become effective business owners…).
What could be done otherwise
One of the reasons so many people love Apple’s products, despite their technological limitations, poorer features and complete reliance on Apple’s closed marketplace, is because these products don’t require you to learn how to make them work. They simply work for you.
Apple’s products are designed around the core understanding that:
People don’t care about technology. They care about what technology can DO FOR THEM.
Why We’ve Opted For Automation
This truth can be extended just as easily to the world of ecommerce – At the end of the day when presented with the question:
“Do YOU want to increase your revenues by becoming an expert at operating our software, or do you want US to increase your revenues for you?”
9 business owners out of 10 will prefer to simply have their revenues increased (& the 10th is likely to be a “Power User” type with a strong affinity for technology…). This is precisely why we at Treepodia opted to automate as much of our service as possible, and are constantly pursuing new methods for increasing this automation.
We believe wholeheartedly that we serve you better by not burdening you with technobabble you don’t really care about ,and focusing you on what you do care about instead:
Your business results and bottom line revenue.
Now you tell me:
Assuming we GUARANTEE your ROI,
don’t you actually prefer it that way?…
Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/firepile/438134633