Free Shipping Russian Roulette

Free shipping is a big deal; something that shoppers love and retailers hate.  What if we could limit the number of free shipping items and make shopping exciting? A site visitor is browsing your inventory and while on a product page gets a message that says “We give out 5 free shipping coupons every single day and you’ve been randomly selected for free shipping with this item.”  Two things happened here, one the customer got a powerful incentive to buy and two, the site experience suddenly became more memorable, increasing chances that this customer would remember your store url.  Do you think this is a good idea? Or are we changing customer behavior and incentivizing them to not buy until they’ve been randomly selected?

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Would You Consider This A Design Flaw?

I was on the Wish List page on and noticed a search box.  Being a curious monkey I entered ‘h’: wish list search wish list search

I was surprised to see this list pop up.  The screenshot below is a partial screenshot of the results page: search results search results

It has the customers full name and address.  Would you consider this a design flaw?

If you want to check this out on the live site click here.

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Fine Tuning The Wrong Channel

Back in the day radios had two dials, one which moved quickly between channels and another which was used to fine tune a channel.

For years I have been hearing about the magic of testing and how retailers like are seeing improvements in conversion rates by simply changing Buy Now to Add to Cart.  These amazing stories emphasize the power of the fine tune dial.  There has been so much buzz about testing that retail CEO’s who’ve picked up the gossip in magazines and conferences believe that by simply changing their site’s head banner from blue to orange will somehow make more people convert.  Look, I am a huge fan of testing, testing is critically important but sometimes you have to look at the main dial before fiddling with the fine tune.

As a small retailer you have to resist the temptation of playing with the fine tune dial till you’ve crisply articulated your unique value proposition and defined core strategy.

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One of the cheapest ways to try out new alternatives is to present both to customers and then just observe how they use them. Case in point:

AirTran is offering the option to use a pull down and a calender interface. Now, if only they looked at their logs to see that 90% of people dont use the pull down.

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