June 11, 2001, 12:00 AM

Quick fixes can make big differences in web site performance

Site improvements needn’t be costly or time-consuming to have impact, Forrester says.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

A new report from Forrester Research says online retail sites don’t always have to spend big bucks and lots of time to improve customers` experience. In a review of more than 100 retail web sites and a look at its own data, Forrester turned up several quick fixes that weren’t expensive to achieve yet had impact.

Among them:
--Making it easy for customers to look around. Retailers should get rid of mandatory demands for personal information with no clear user benefit attached, Forrester says. “Officedepot.com’s requirement that customers register before purchasing even a single item ignores the 58% of consumers who don`t trust web sites with their personal information,” says Forrester analyst James Crawford.

--Helping customers buy as soon as possible in the shopping process.

--Making the site easier to use. Making customers click through multiple pages to find what they want prompted bailouts in 65% of shopping trips examined in one study, Forrester notes.

--Making search work the way customers think.

--Weaving customer support through the site.

The cost of such quick fixes? In most cases, no more than time from web developers and designers already on staff, Forrester says.



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