Retail, in the eyes of the everyday customer

new ideas and thoughts about the online retail world

Optimize for the Right Goal

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I recently signed up for a racquetball league at my local gym.  League fees are $65 (whole season) and gym membership is $150/month.  When I went on my league day I noticed 83% of the 12 racquetball courts were unused.

Here are some important details about racquetball courts:

1: They take up physical space.

2: Once you add a court there is very little maintenance cost.  90% of the cost is the addition of the court.

Here is something to note about racquetball as a sport:

1: You can’t play alone.  You need a partner, but it’s socially awkward to just walk up to someone who is playing with someone and introduce yourself.

As a result, most people who are interested but don’t have a partner will never signup to the club in the first place.

The CFO of this club is interested in selling $150/month memberships, which is understandable.  But I believe they would be better off thinking about club asset utilization.  If I were CFO I would focus on ideas to get my racquetball courts up to 90% utilization.  For example, right now non-members can’t enter the club.  I would change this in 2 ways:

A: Allowing non-members who only want to play racquetball to book a court (that isn’t being used by a member) for $5/hour.  This way members always get first dibs but if they don’t use the court non-members get access.  Once utilization goal has been met we can always reexamine the policy.

B: Having a signup sheet so people who don’t have a partner can find one.  Because if you don’t solve the partner problem A: is pointless.

What’s likely going to happen is that a good percentage non-members who signup for just racquetball will look around and notice other facilities (pools, running tracks, tennis courts, saunas, yoga classes, basketball courts, weight rooms, etc.) and come to the realization that membership fees are worth it.

So, by solving the utilization problem the club will also solve the membership problem.

I know I’m grossly oversimplifying but I hope you get the point.

So, start using this thinking to your online store too.  For example, improving the sales of your top selling item by 7% is an important goal but what’s even more important is to get 10% more people who don’t see that top seller product page to see it.

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May 2, 2016 at 6:07 am

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Teaser Capture

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Here is a lead capture form on–


Let me tell you why it’s amazing.  Notice the blank YOUR BUSINESS QUALIFIES FOR: and NUMBER OF AVAILABLE LENDERS: section.  They’ve been left blank intentionally.  Potential borrowers will want to start filling the form just to see how much they qualify for.  It’s an itch that must be scratched.

Written by betterretail

April 25, 2016 at 5:10 am

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It’s really important to show the world your personality.  Even your quirky side.  Here is the error message shows when you reach a page that doesn’t exist:

Page not available. But Justin is

Hat tip to Kiki Moon.

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April 18, 2016 at 5:15 am

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Lord & Taylor About Us Page

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Lord & Taylor is a giant retail brand with 100s of stores across the US.  They spend millions on advertising.  This is their About Us page:


Come on Lord & Taylor, you can do a better job telling your story.

Link to live page:

Written by betterretail

April 11, 2016 at 5:39 am

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The First 2 Seconds

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If you have an asset that is spectacular but is only seen by 10% of site visitors then you’re the one at fault (because you are failing to use your asset).

For Owlet their core asset is a 3:40 minute video that starts off with 3 mothers describing how Owlet saved their baby’s life.  But Owlet doesn’t bury this video under “How Owlet works” page.  No, when you land on their site the video appears as a popup and autoplays:


That’s right, they are breaking a carinal rule of video plays: always show video in pause mode and let the user decide if they want to see it.  But the marketing team at Owlet aren’t fools; they know once parents watch video they are way more likely to buy so they’re breaking a made up rule for better conversion rates.

This post has 2 lessons for marketers:

1: Don’t ever let your trump card remain hidden.

2: (Marketing) rules are meant to be broken.

Written by betterretail

April 4, 2016 at 6:40 am

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Is It a Good Idea to Send a Followup Email?

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Question: I want to send my mailing list a special discount that will run just 5 days. If I send discount notification email on day 1 and “last day” email on 5th day what kind of sales lift could I get with “last day” email ?

Answer: 2.3x

Written by betterretail

March 28, 2016 at 5:10 am

Signup Counter

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When you go to they tell you how many people signed up for the product in the last 7 days–


Written by betterretail

March 21, 2016 at 6:19 am

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