18 August 2006

When is eCommerce not eCommerce?

No, it isn't the first line of joke. When we build a website that sells we try and cover all the options to reassure people that:
  • we are who we say we are
  • our product is as good as we say
  • our guarantees are real
So the answer to the question 'When is eCommerce not eCommerce' is that a site isn't eCommerce when someone rings our office number and says either:
  • I would like to buy
  • Do you have them in green?
I suppose the first one is forgivable, the person leaving the message doesn't know that we have several sites, so the message I would like to buy, please call me for my card details could mean a whole range of possibilities. Question, why not press the buy now button? Don't you trust your card to the internet? You are still willing to hand over your card details to us over the phone?

The second one is confusing. We don't mention green on the towels site, all the photos are of white towels or white embroidered towels. Having seen the site, why would anyone think that we have them in green? We do, but that's beside the point. We have a champagne site, selling the output of a single grower, do people assume that we sell other kinds of champagne?

The point is that you can't visualise every possible outcome, and the punters aren't asking stupid questions or leaving stupid messages. It could be layout, language or something entirely separate but you have to listen and, if necessary, respond to these messages. They are a very real feedback on how people interpret what you meant when you were putting the site together.

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