Guiding Through a Complex Purchase

Buying a large banner print online can be overwhelming: what if you screw up the order? has developed a clever solution. When you first visit a product page (for example what would normally look like …


… transforms to this–


And when you click Next the next tip appears:


Click Next one more time:


Click Next one last time:


What I love about this tactic is that it accomplishes 2 goals:

1: Teaches the shopper how to fill in the required info.

2: Ensures shopper sees the customer service number so they can call if they still have questions.

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Compare and Contrast

Few facts about online shoppers—

1: They are impatient and unexcited about reading your 2,000 word product description.

2: They hate making a bad purchase decision, but the alternative of comparing multiple products on multiple sites isn’t ideal either.

To solve for 1 and 2 consider adding an infographic like this on your product page—

Click for zoomed view

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Riding Coattails is Clever

Fact 1: 100 million people watched the super bowl this year.

Fact 2: The shark to the left of Katy Perry made a great impression on popular culture.

Fact 3: knows online shoppers have an attention span of 5 seconds, tops.

Fact 4: The one thing wants new site visitors to know is that they offer free shipping over $39.99, guarantee lowest prices, and have excellent customer service.

Combine Facts 1, 2, 3 and 4 and you get this—


Nearly every visitor to homepage will notice the shark graphic, and by association, the assurance message next to it.  And that’s the whole point.

Only thing I don’t like: Combining shark message with President’s Day sale message might be a mistake.

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Powerful About Us Page

About Us pages on most sites read like a forced assignment, there is no soul in them.  And then I stumbled on this About Us page on—


Thank you for checking out my Big Belly Banks.  I get up every morning and thank God for the small business that I have.  I’m proud to design and make a unique, quality product here in the USA. I feel honored every time some one thinks enough of my banks to spend their hard earned money to purchase one.  I’m proud that so many children have grown up, and continue to grow up loving their bank.  I’ve been doing this so long now that people that got one as a child are now getting them for their children.

When I began I was penniless.  Because of a serious leg injury I was not able physically to continue in the profession that I began my career in. And, I wasn’t able to do other physically demanding jobs.  I eventually lived in a Tipi that I constructed on land that my parents owned in the Adirondack mountains of NY.   I rented a small space in a construction companies building and started making puzzles of children’s names.  I was going to try and sell them to stores but a local artist told me that I should sell them at Art and Craft shows.  In August of 1987 I sold at my first Craft show.  For the next few years I sold my puzzles at the shows.

I met my wife at an Art show. I was selling puzzles and she was selling jewelry that she makes.  For me it was love at first sight. We married in 1989 and have had a great life together.  Both of us had previously been married.  I have 2 great daughters from my first marriage. My wife has a daughter  from hers. And, we have a daughter and son together.  The kids are all grown now and are starting families of their own.

 One winter in the early 90’s we were in Florida selling our crafts.   We were at a park and a goose started to chase me.  He was trying to get a sandwich out of my hand.  I thought that it was hilarious.  The higher that I raised the sandwich, the higher he would stretch his neck.  That afternoon I was sketching a cartoonish looking duck/goose with an exaggerated long neck.  I took a pencil and drew a squiggly line down it’s neck.  I thought “That would be cool.  A Duck that would eat money.”

I made a large cartoonish Duck looking coin bank for a daughters birthday.  Thinking that others might want one I spent a couple of years perfecting the design.  When I had it right I took 3 colors of Ducks and 3 colors of Dinosaurs to a large Craft show.  I sold 970 of them at that 4 day show.  I didn’t have that many so, I took prepaid orders for most of them. I have been selling them ever since.  The banks are made in the  same building that I started in.  But, now the whole building is used for bank production.

I have lived and continue to live the American dream.

John Chesnut

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No Need to Login

On many sites when you advance from cart page they require you to create an account in order to complete the transaction.  Shoppers hate this, which is why advertises message below on their cart page (red arrow screenshot)—


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Actual Size

One of the downsides of shopping online is that it’s hard to know product size dimensions.  Some retailers place a coin next to product image so we can visualize relative size, but even that approach isn’t perfect.

I was looking at a Shark Mug on and noticed this curious link (red arrow in screenshot below)—


On click this appeared on screen—


Then I just selected my screen size and was shown a new product image where mug was displayed in actual size on screen (the size I’d see if I was looking at mug in person).  Very cool.  This service is provided by a third party tool called

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Virtual Greeter uses a virtual greeter on their homepage—


On your first visit the greeter reads a standard welcome script, lists brands carried and assures lowest prices. But if you exit and return to site her message changes to, “Still browsing? Confused about different compression levels and styles? Call us toll-free at (877) 330-5900. Speak to our experienced certified fitters. I’m very confident you will get all your questions answered.”

Is the virtual greeter a good idea? Is it  too gimmicky? Would you use it on your site? Why do you like/dislike the idea of greeter video? Currently, the video on auto-plays. Would it have been more effective if video appeared in paused mode?

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