Retail, in the eyes of the everyday customer

new ideas and thoughts about the online retail world

Generating the First Sale

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Eco-Fill® Deluxe 2.0

Here are details for paper system (product on the right):

1: It’s more expensive over the long run ($4.99/month versus one-time fee of $14.99)

2: More steps involved in using paper system.

3: The flow of coffee is slower with paper system so I have to wait longer for 1 cup of coffee.

4: Earth-unfriendly.

My mother-in-law raves about Eco-Fill® Deluxe 2.0 (product on the left) and is always reminding us to switch from earth-unfriendly option to the paperless system.  But it took us a whole year to give it a shot.  Habit is a hard thing to break.

This is the same resistance you have to overcome on your site.  You may have a far superior product to what the shopper currently has but just listing 5 features is not going to be enough to overcome the bigger urge to do nothing.  You have to work harder.  But the rewards are amazing on the other side.

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June 6, 2016 at 5:38 am

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eCommerce Speed = Win

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The amazing thing about our super-connected world is that smart eCommerce entrepreneurs can capitalize on a high popularity but short-lived trend.  Brick and mortar retailers don’t stand a chance.

The hit show Game of Thrones has generated a really popular meme around the character Hodor.  This buzz can’t last more than 15 days, but, for those 15 days the buzz will be intense.

This is why a clever entrepreneur can add a sticker to a door stop and sell it on Etsy for $30:


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May 31, 2016 at 5:32 am

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Bad Ad

leave a comment » has this prominent (and likely expensive) ad on


The ad did a good job enticing me to want to click.  So I did.  I was then shown this landing page:


The landing page doesn’t say one thing about keychains.  But what’s worse is that the user is completely stuck; you can’t get rid of the app download top bar notification, or close the email signup popup.  I understand all exit routes have been blocked because wants a signup, but, come on.  If nothing else at least present a link to your About Us page so I can understand the benefits of giving up my email address.

Written by betterretail

May 23, 2016 at 5:45 am

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Super Cool Order Confirmation Email

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Order confirmation emails are boring.  And the reason is simple: order confirmation emails are generated after the customer has given up their credit card info.  So why bother making it cool or interesting?  That’s what the retailer is thinking, anyway.

But that isn’t how thinks.  Here is their order confirmation email:

Thanks for your order with CD Baby!


Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow. A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing. Our world-renowned packing specialist lit a local artisan candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy. We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved “Bon Voyage!” to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day.

We hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. In commemoration, we have placed your picture on our wall as “Customer of the Year.” We’re all exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!


We miss you already. We’ll be right here at patiently awaiting your return.

Was the product you received defective or damaged? Check out our Return Policy.

All your friends at CD Baby
Sell your music on CD Baby and in stores worldwide

Lesson: Show your personality every chance you get.

Written by betterretail

May 16, 2016 at 5:28 am

Cinco de Mayo Discount

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Last Thursday (May 5th) was Cinco de Mayo.  In your estimation which of these 2 coupon codes got more usage?

Option 1:


Option 2 (ignore my terrible image editing skills):


Written by betterretail

May 9, 2016 at 5:34 am

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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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