Monday, March 15, 2010

Marketing Mishaps - We're moving our physical location, so we've STOPPED taking orders!

Marketing Mishaps - We're moving our physical location, so we've STOPPED taking orders!

Let's start by restating the obvious: One of the first rules of marketing is MAKE IT SIMPLE!

Recently, I was doing some research online for organic candles, the kind that smell nice but are environmentally friendly. Happily, my search revealed a promising site on the first page, so I promptly opened it. Imagine my surprise when I clicked the link for their catalogue, only to find a sign that looked like this:

I am not making this up. This company is in the process of relocating - good for them, especially if they're moving to a larger or more prestigious location. But they can't take orders for a week, at minimum? Are you kidding me?

To make matters worse, not only were they not taking – or, obviously, filling – orders, but they'd taken their entire catalogue offline, so no one could even look at their products, should they actually have the patience to come back after March 1st.

Aghast at this incredibly poor marketing decision, I thought, "I must e-mail them and tell them they may be losing a LOT of business!" Remember, this company came up within the first 5 hits on my search for "organic candles." Again, good SEO going to waste. Nope. Couldn't e-mail them. Nowhere on this Web site is there a "Contact" button, link, or page. Apparently, the only way to reach them is through the order-placing process ... which, as we have already determined, was on hiatus.

My Admittedly Unsolicited Suggestion

Understand the difference between taking the order and shipping the product. Rather than stop taking orders altogether, why wouldn't this company simply notify their visitors that their move would cause order fulfillment to be DELAYED by a week or two? If potential customers were too impatient, they'd go elsewhere, but at least they'd have had the opportunity to buy from THIS company. With this "no orders because we're moving" strategy, the company lost any prospective customer who might have stuck with them. They sure lost me.

But let's just say there are mitigating circumstances that really did necessitate the halting of order-fulfillment. Why on earth would they disable their entire catalogue, rather than simply taking down the order form? At the very least, they'd be giving prospective customers a chance to "window shop," perhaps holding on to them long enough to bookmark the site and maybe even come back. It seems unlikely, but it's a lot more likely than having them come back without ever having laid eyes on a single candle.

Whatever industry you're in, don't make your clients, customers, or especially your prospects jump through hoops to do business with you. MAKE IT EASY! Think about the decisions that would, could, and are likely to affect your bottom line. And never, never, never give your Web visitors a reason to move on to the next site. They've got all the motivation they need to do so on their own, without you making it inevitable. 

Have any feedback? Drop a comment below!

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