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THE SCIENCE OF e-Marketing
By Cliff Smith

Online Success Comes From the Right Mix
of Design, Functionality, and Marketing

According to an AT Kearney Global E-Shopping Survey, 80 percent of customers attempting an online purchase abandon it before the sale is completed-costing e-retailers an astounding $3.8 billion in lost sales. But you don't have to be victim to these statistics, when your site has the right design, functionality and marketing in place.

The right design comes on the front-end with a user-friendly interface that is easy-to-navigate, that is current, and that quickly presents customers with products relevant to them. This design must be tested both on a pre-launch and ongoing basis to ensure it can consistently deliver.

The right functionality comes from providing customers with the tools they need to quickly find and purchase the products they want-in terms of customer support, simplified requests for information and providing a truly complete online shopping experience.

Support your customers through 24x7, on-demand customer service via e-mail, FAQs and phone; protecting their private information; enabling accurate and quick product searches; and providing a number of payment options.

Ensure the simplicity of the information you request from your customers during the purchase process. Make sure you only request information that is relevant, and only ask information once. Then use that information, along with histories of their site transactions and behaviors, to develop detailed customer profiles.

Experienced online shoppers want to complete their entire transaction online, so the long-term relationship is put at risk when errors occur that prevent the purchase from going through-or when confusion about the information requested requires them to pick up a phone and call a customer service representative. Currently one-third of online transactions are not pure-meaning a customer begins the purchase process online and then turns to another vehicle to complete it. When this situation occurs, e-retailers risk the transaction being abandoned entirely, and if the customer decides to proceed anyway, their confidence in your site suffers with 60 percent becoming "highly frustrated-not to mention your exposure to higher immediate and future costs due to a use of manual tasks and post-launch changes.

The right marketing comes from leveraging the customer information you capture throughout the sales process and online activity to provide both one-to-one follow-up on each purchase, and targeted communications and offers based on the customer profile. Knowing your customers on this level helps you focus your marketing resources-both time and costs-to build long-term customer relationships.

When your site incorporates the right mix of design, functionality and marketing, you'll realize increased likelihood of closed sales from selling to the right audience, and reduced costs from the maintenance of customer relationships, a reduction in errors and costly post-launch changes.

Clifford J. Smith
President / CEO

1st Look Interactive, Inc.
11415 West Bernardo Court, San Diego, CA 92127

Tel: 858-673-6400 | Fax: 858-485-1203

About the Author:

Cliff Smith is a Fellow of the Business Forum Association.  He is the President of 1st Look Interactive, Inc.  Under his initiative, 1st Net Technologies Inc. is a member of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce and The San Diego and Imperial County Better Business Bureau. In 1997, Cliff teamed 1st Net with the San Diego Chamber of Commerce and Pacific Bell to create and develop a presentation titled the "Tour of Technology" for the San Diego Insights 1997 World Conference.

Cliff has represented 1st Net Technologies through public speaking engagements at the San Francisco Money Show where he made a presentation on investor relations marketing services for public companies on the Internet. He also conducted two investor relations marketing workshops at additional Money Shows in both San Francisco and Seattle. Mr. Smith was also a Speaker at the 1998 Regional Investment Banker's Association Conference in Washington, D.C. and in San Francisco where he presented an overview of 1st Net and the company's proprietary technologies regarding affinity- based browsers, content-based routing, email management software and IP telephony.

He appeared as a guest on “World Business Review” hosted by Casper Weinberger in June 1999 where he discussed two of the company’s proprietary technologies including the affinity based browsers and the 1st Net "Interactive Business Cards" used to efficiently and cost-effectively market any e-commerce web based business.

Cliff was the creator and conceptual designer of the company's latest marketing product called the 1st LookCD, effectively bridging the gap between the real world and the Internet, all while leveling the playing field for smaller technology companies to compete on a National level.

Previous articles by Cliff Smith:

The Dawning Industry of e-Marketing Technologies
The Search Engine Mystique
Is your on-line e-Marketing Strategy Keeping Pace?
Send it in Style

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