The importance of providing “Where to buy” info on your website

02Jul10

A few weeks ago, I wanted to find a local provider of a certain service. So I went to the company’s website, navigated to the appropriate page, and was disappointed to learn that they expect you to fill out a form just to get a list of local vendors.

Since I had no interest in filling out all sorts of info to use what was basically a store locator, I sent them an email asking for the nearest provider. Days went by with no response. Next, I called them and asked for the info. They took down my name and phone number, but I never heard back. Eventually, I found what I was looking for without their help, but the whole experience was quite frustrating.

Let’s generalize this a bit, and examine what can go wrong when a potential customer asks where to buy your product or service, and you force them to submit their request via phone, email or a web form and then wait for a delayed response:

– Some customers won’t bother to contact you at all

– The request might get lost, or your staff will forget to reply

– The lack of an immediate response may cause the customer to lose interest and seek out alternatives

Of course, it’s really easy to avoid these problems. Just create a “Where to buy” page on your website that tells people exactly how and where to purchase the product — whether it’s from you or a channel partner. If you work with a network of local resellers or distributors, a searchable list or map interface is nice — but even a basic list showing each vendor with their city and state is better than nothing. And whatever you do, be sure to design the interface so that customers can get the desired info in an immediate, self-service fashion. By taking away the obstacles and delays, you’ll make it a whole lot easier for motivated prospects to become satisfied customers.



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