June 29, 2001, 12:00 AM

10 easy fixes

Forrester Research has identified 10 low-cost ways that retailers can improve the online buying experience.

Retailers still have a lot to do to make online shopping pleasant-but these days the money’s not there. Boston-based Forrester Research Inc. has come out with 10 ways retailers can improve their web sites on the cheap. Forrester bases its recommendations on reviews of more than 100 web sites, interviews with retailers and Forrester Consumer Technographics data.


1. Register and use common domain misspellings to redirect consumers who simply type the name wrong.


2. Delete mandatory demands for personal information. They alienate 58% of consumers who don’t trust web sites with their personal information.


3. Put goods where consumers can get to them and buy them ASAP. Click-throughs create barriers.


4. Showcase bargains to liquidate inventory fast and cheap.


5. Make search work the way customers think. Add common misspellings and product synonyms to help customers find what they want.


6. Get product copy and images from manufacturers instead of paying to create them yourself.


7. Show shipping times and costs before getting payment information to reduce abandoned shopping carts.


8. Stress timely delivery.


9. Keep up to date on customer service issues. Address them in FAQs, product descriptions and navigation links.


10. Eliminate dead ends by replacing the “HTTP 404 Not Found” message with links back to the web site.

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