[thelist] Shopping Sites, Credit Cards

Jared M. Spool jspool at uie.com
Mon Jul 1 10:06:01 CDT 2002

Kathy Long wrote:

> In addition, I was the one who posted the story about my first
> attempt to purchase at my client's site using PayPal. Do you recall
> that story? It was a nightmare because of their member login
> requirement and ended up with me giving up. What good is a secure
> payment processing system if your buyers give up trying? I don't
> recommend anyone using PayPal unless they sell one-of-a-kind items
> which are the only kinds of products that may keep the buyers from
> high-tailing it over to Amazon where it is a lot easier to shop.
> Boy, I'd sure like to hear what Jared Spool would say about this. Is
> he on this list?

I am on the list. Here's what I have to say about this:

In a recent study of 44 shoppers buying from 13 apparel sites, there
were only two things that prevented customers who put product into
their carts from purchasing that product:

1)  Shipping info wasn't presented before the shopper started the
    checkout process *and* the shopper found it to be too expensive
    for what they were purchasing. (A lot of the sites had
    bricks-and-mortar equivalents nearby and the shoppers commented
    that they'd "just drive and get it.")

2)  Registration was mandatory to make the purchase. 2 of the sites
    had mandatory registration and it prevented many of the sales on
    those sites.

These were people ready to buy the products with cash we'd given them.

Interestingly, though we did see "usability" problems with the
checkout process (like unclear instructions and error messages
requiring users multiple attempts at entering the "correct"
information), none of those problems prevented a sale. (In fact,
there was a very slight positive correlation between the presence of
these problems and sales. It seems that, for our shoppers, the harder
the checkout, the more effort they were going to put into it. This is
*not* a recommendation to make checkout harder!)

We haven't tested any sites (other than eBay pages) that use PayPal,
so I can't comment on their process. I do know that the sites that
don't require mandatory registration to purchase will do better than
the sites that don't.

BTW, on 13% of the shopping problems are accounted for in this
discussion. If you want to know more about the breakdown, check out an
article called The Customer Sieve
(http://www.uie.com/Articles/customer_sieve.htm) which details where
customers run into obstacles in the shopping process. This has been
very consistent among all the shopping studies we've done.

Hope this helps.


- o - o - o -
Jared M. Spool
User Interface Engineering
jspool at uie.com   http://www.uie.com

Check out User Interface 7 East at http://www.uiconf.com

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