The search giant today launched an app called Inbox that could force retailers to change their e-mail marketing strategies.
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In another convenience feature, consumers' Rightcliq accounts retain all their online purchase records, and provide a single location where they can track delivery status of all purchases, though initially only when the retailer ships through the U.S. Postal Service.
Young and trendy
The social piece of Rightcliq includes a Wishspace for items consumers covet. The Righcliq plug-in lets a consumer frame and then grab an image of a product from a web site and drag it into his Wishspace. Rightcliq members then can seek advice from friends, for instance, asking which of four sandals to buy.
Visa is targeting two types of frequent online shoppers: tech-savvy "young trendsetters" who value advice and like to interact with others while shopping, and fashion-conscious "shopping enthusiasts" who like to share their advice on the latest trends. Together, Visa says, these groups account for 20% of U.S. online shoppers and 26% of web sales. Visa's marketing campaign will include advertising on retail-related sites that these shoppers frequent, such as DailyCandy.com, Gizmodo.com and WhoWhatWhere.com.
Rightcliq gets mixed reviews from payments industry experts.
The new Visa system could bring new customers to online retailers that extend offers through Rightcliq, says payments consultant Weinberg of Glenbrook Partners. And faster checkout is a big plus, he says.
But Brad Strothkamp, an analyst with Forrester Research Inc., says many consumers are leery of downloading plug-ins, and that the sign-up process is too much work for what it offers. "The point is to make the process of paying easier, and all the hoops you have to jump through are not very easy," Strothkamp says.
That's confirmed by a test conducted by web marketing expert Bryan Eisenberg in which he videotaped and chatted with three consumers as they signed up for Rightcliq, using technology from UserTesting.com. The testers didn't like providing answers to four security questions and were confused by the final step, which requires a consumer to scroll to the end of both a Terms of Service and an End User Licensing Agreement box before a button activates, allowing them to accept those terms.
Eisenberg calls the design of the site "sleek and simple." But, he adds, "The sign-up process is unusually burdensome and the confusion around the Accept button is a critical flaw. Only users who are very motivated and technically sophisticated will successfully sign up for this service."
Indeed, Visa and MasterCard are sure to be tweaking their new initiatives, and any new ones they launch, for some time. While there is no guarantee they will be successful, the resources and brand power of Visa and MasterCard make their efforts well worth watching.