Rob Frankel - Branding Expert

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How About A Quickie?

Birds do it. Bees do it. Software manuals for PC's do it. So why the heck don't more web sites?

I'm referring, of course, to that exercise in speedy gratification, the quickie. Ever wonder why it takes so long for so many web sites to get on down to taking the order? It sure has me confused.

After all, here we are, sitting with the medium that offers us the fastest interaction known to man and 99% of the time, I have to click through two, four or who knows how many pages just to buy what I want RIGHT NOW.

I don't know about you, but when I lean in REAL close to my monitor, I can actually hear frantically frustrated users out there, screaming through the web, "I'm a mouse-clicker, dammit! I waded through your search engines! I typed in my keywords! And this is what I get? MORE PAGES TO CLICK THROUGH?!"

Ugly. Ugly and sad, isn't it?

It got me wondering. If the web is really the answer to our rapidly deteriorating, get-your-burger-piping-hot-in-thirty-seconds-or-it's-free social culture, what's taking so long on the web? In other words, why can't we just order on the home page and be done with it?

I started hunting around -- essentially throwing darts at the cyberspacial dart board -- just to see how many sites out there are offering an instant purchase option. I found surprisingly few. The strange part is that almost every person who builds web sites should know better, because every one of them has to use some kind of software. Actually, he's using three or four types, if you count an operating system, internet dial-up, FTP program and -- what the hell -- a graphics program or two.

Every single one of those programs comes with at least two types of documentation: a software manual and a quick start guide. The quick start is the guide that everyone reads, the manual is the guide that nobody reads. Just ask anyone who's ever run the tech-support desk. The reason why everyone reads the quick start guide is that nobody wants to waste the time reading about stuff they don't need right now.

So if software-savvy people are hip to the quick-start paradigm, why haven't more of them ported it commercial web sites?

Let me put it another way: everyone knows that web buyers are very high sales prospects. While I don't know the exact percentage, you can bet next week's Microsoft royalties that if they've clawed their way to your site, they're pretty much in a buying mood. Why would you put anything but a "Click Here To Buy" in front of them?

These are not people who need to be sold. They don't need fancy explanations about where or why or how your stuff is better than anyone else's. It sort of reminds me of when I was a single lad, prancing about and sowing my oats. I'd spend so much time explaining why my date should jump into bed with me that she eventually would -- just to fall asleep.

So I suggest that everyone who has anything to sell always include a quick purchase option on their site. You can always leave the fancy-shmancy stuff in there for the fence-sitters that might need romancing. But for those who come to party, for Pete's sake, hand them a bottle opener and get out of the way.

They've come for instant gratification. And trust me, they'll respect you for it in the morning. After all, most of them pay extra for overnight shipping.

Rob Frankel

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