Category Archives: eTail Insights

April 15th, 2009

When’s the last time you asked a stupid question? (eTail Insights #7)

As you all know, I consult in real life. And you know the first step, and therefore the first thing people pay me to do? Mostly, it’s to tell someone else in the organization that the sky is blue. It’s a great gig.

Here’s the deal. In most companies, people are confused. Especially the top brass. Why? Because they go to a zillion meetings, and during each meeting either one thing is decided or someone is assigned to figure out how to decide something. Which means every day, every honcho is both making decisions and getting decisions thrust upon them. Lots and lots and lots of decisions. Read More


April 8th, 2009

Call your mother. And your customer support center. (eTail Insights #5)

Clearly you don’t call your mother enough. But have you ever called or emailed your customer support center? I bet the answer is no.

Think about this: you’ve actually gotten someone to convert at your site, fabulous-store.com. They bought something. They gave you their credit card and they are happily waiting for their purchase. Many of them get it and love it. Hooray!

But what about the customers whose purchase comes with a free white elephant gift: an interaction with your customer support system? For example, let’s imagine Sarah is worried that her order from your fabulous-store.com isn’t going to arrive by Christmas. She emails your reps. What happens? Read More


April 5th, 2009

The magical sentence. (eTail Insights #4)

“If we don’t make people like [fill in the blank] ridiculously happy, we’ve failed.”

Yup, that’s it. That one sentence. If you can fill in the blank with a very specific reference to a very specific type of person, you have a shot at ecommerce success.

Why is this such a cool sentence? Because it sneakily turns the notion of prioritization of key customers on its head. If you’re lucky enough to work at a company that already has a modicum of customer focus, you’re probably used to a different sentence, which goes something like:'[this kind of customer] is more important than [this other kind of customer].’ Execs are asked to fill in those blanks, and that’s really, really hard. And scary. Why? Because it implies that you are devaluing a whole set of ‘other kinds of customers’ (the ones you are not going to focus on). Read More