February 28, 2005, 12:00 AM

Taking Their Time

(Page 2 of 2)

"Relevance, trust and credibility are the critical factors to making a web site persuasive; once you have the visitor interested if you can`t establish trust and credibility, you will never persuade the visitor to take action," says Bryan Eisenberg, co-founder and chief persuasion officer of FutureNowInc. "The highest priority for web site owners is to instill confidence in their visitors. Confidence is a fuzzy concept but I can assure you that without confidence nobody will do business with you."

Move the sales focus from shopping cart abandonment to site abandonment. Shopping cart abandonment has been a major concern since the beginning of online shopping. Abandonment rates of 50% or more are not unusual. However, the behavior that is behind this abandonment is not what many have thought. Our research indicates that shoppers have learned to use the "add-to-cart" function as a convenient tool in their comparison shopping strategy. Abandoning the cart is simply the act of moving on to the next comparison. Shopping carts must therefore become convenient shopping tools, encouraging shoppers to return and buy. Saved search functionality where returning purchasers can easily pick up where they left off is critical to saving more of these types of purchases.

Survey data clearly indicate that encouraging today`s digital window shopper to explore product information and to gain a memorable sense of trust and safety while doing so have a strong influence on their search for value. Armed with this new understanding, site designers need to focus on special features producing a shopping experience that is not only informative and secure, but also memorable and easy to return to.

Ken Leonard is CEO of ScanAlert, a security auditing company that offers the HACKER SAFE certification service. He can be reached at 707-224-7656.

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