Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Travolution@WTM--Booze, Batteries & the 11.5 Second Rule

Attention all online retailers: If your customers can’t choose a product on your site within 11.5 seconds—the average time it takes a consumer to select a product in the offline world-- then you’re likely losing out on a massive amount of business.

Such was the message from Amadeus vice president, multi-national customer group, Gillian Gibson during the Travolution conference at World Travel Market.

Gibson, citing Forrester Research, noted that 70% of consumers feel satisfied after completing an offline transaction, compared with a saggy 26% satisfaction rate online.

A more startling statistic is that the average online retailer fails to convert 97% of site shoppers into buyers.

Those sites that can mimic good, real-world service will be the most successful.

Perhaps surprisingly, Gibson said online retailers should take a shelf from real world supermarkets.

For instance, Gibson said, supermarkets do a great job of cross-selling items such as alcohol and batteries by stocking them next to one another.

Why? Because men are the biggest purchasers of both products.

“During Christmas, when women are more likely to buy batteries because they’re more logical than men and know you need batteries to operate the Christmas toys,” Gibson mused, “the batteries are likely sold alongside other products which women are more likely to buy”.

Lastminute.com is one example of an online retailer that has successfully used offline, supermarket-style selling principles, delivering user-friendly search results which encourage visitors to make a purchase.

“It looks very simple but there are millions of bits of information behind this to make sure customers can make their choice within 11.5 seconds, which really is the best in class.”

Tricia Holly Davis
Freelance Journalist

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