16 June 2010 12:27pm
I am currently working in the development of an e-commerce site and one of the client's requirements involve users having to enter their postcode before entering the home page, in order that all prices are displayed including the delivery charges depending on the postcode entered. I was wondering if adding this functionality could have a negative effect on customers conversion and what would be the best practice in this case?
Owner of an e-commerce website at Brake Lines Ltd.
16 June 2010 19:35pm
I think an important thing to ask is what type of e-commerce website your client has.
If it's a retail/shopping company, then I would suggest that there could be issues in asking for any personal details up front, even if the customer is not giving away 'too much' personal information at that stage.
I've seen it work well for takeaway/food companies, eg. Pizza Hut. As the majority of users will be looking to order and they understand that they need their postcode for delivery purposes up front.
My suggestion would be to use 'GeoIP' techonology, which means the browser recognises the users country from their IP address, I think this would suit customers as it would work in the background and also not put them off by entering personal details so early into their website experience.
While GeoIP isn't ever going to be 100% accurate, you can still get a 97-98% success rate and I think the remaining 2-3% would be nothing compared to the lost conversions by asking for personal details up front.
If your client is 100% unmaneuverable then all I could suggest is making sure that you have a very noticeable and clear statement that explains why you're requesting their postcode.
It's also well worth mentioning that I would strongly recommend a split test on delivery cost built into the price and delivery cost seperate. Some users are aware that there could be 'hidden extras' built into the price if everything's included. They could think that they might get a better deal elsewhere by purchasing with a better delivery rate.
Hope this helps!
Instructor at Seattle Central Community College
17 June 2010 00:22am
I completely agree with Steve. Running an A/B or multivariate test is going to be the best way to have data to show your client the proper course of action. This issue could also be addressed as "shipping and handling" unless the charges are so egregious that they couldn't possibly accounted for that is a nice catch all line item in billing.
Non-executive director at Glasshouse Consulting
22 June 2010 11:29am
Using 'GeoIP' technology could assist in narrowing down the users geographic location. However, it is not ideal to simply allow technology to dictate an element as critical as location, especially if it has a cost implication on the final purchase price of the product. My suggestion would be to use GeoIP technology coupled with a clear attempt to establish the users postal address as part of the purchasing journey. This can be done through a clear communication to the users about why the information on their postalcode is important, thereby putting them at ease and hence more willing to share this information upfront.
Director at Ideal Interface
22 June 2010 12:58pm
I would also suggest that putting a page or other obstacle that requires user input before the homepage could affect SEO.
Also, most postcode suppliers charge on a per-lookup basis. So you will end up having to pay a small amount for every new visitor.
If you have to do this (and I would personally push-back strongly) why not just ask them their region/area - perhaps also using a clickable image map -and remember this for each subsequent visit?
Digital Marketing/Online Marketing Specialist at Ecommerce Freelancer
24 June 2010 10:50am
I agree with Hayden Sutherland. Entering a postcode will cost your business which means the best option is create but regions.
Also if your goal is to collect postcodes then you'd be better off with Drupal. Drupal has thousands of modules created by the community for the community. There are drupal modules that offers exactly what you mentioned.
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