February 20, 2003, 12:00 AM

Little fixes pay off big for CompUSA

Comparison shoppers at CompUSA.com spend more than non-comparison shoppers, but a look at how the comparison shopping page functions showed needed fixes. After the fixes, comparison shopping increased, drop-off rates decreased and total sales went up 3%.

CompUSA Inc. got dramatic proof of the pay-off that simplified online shopping can bring when it analyzed customer drop-off points at its web site, George Coll, vice president of e-commerce, told the eTail conference taking place this week in Palm Springs, CA.

CompUSA managers already knew that the site’s comparison shopping page drove a disproportionate share of sales. Customers who compared products spent 33% more than those who did not, and 17% of all sales came from the comparison shopping page but only 13% of customers used it.

Using web analytics from Coremetrics Inc., CompUSA took a look at how customers used the comparison shopping page and were surprised to find it was a more cumbersome process than they had imagined. Customers had a hard time viewing a picture of the product under consideration, they had to return to product pages to buy, they had to go to other pages to learn about rebates and then to yet other pages to find if a local store had the product in stock.

Analytics results prompted CompUSA to make the comparison shopping page link more prominent, make the layout printer friendly, allow customers to click on a picture to enlarge it, display rebates on the comparison page, make store inventory available, and allow customers to add an item to a cart and proceed directly to checkout.

The results: CompUSA increased traffic to the comparison page by 11%, reduced drop-offs from comparison page by 56%, and increased total sales just from improving the comparison experience by 3%.

Encouraged by the results, CompUSA looked elsewhere. “We identified every place where leaks were occurring,” Coll said. Focusing on the checkout page, managers found the page very complicated. Customers had to scroll too far down on the page to proceed and the checkout process took too long. It made checkout easier and experienced a 32% increase in checkout completion that resulted in another 5% increase in sales. “We eliminated lots of departures by doing some very simple things,” Coll said.


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