About a year ago, one of my clients removed their online catalogue and shopping cart, implementing a paper catalog. Why? Because it was easier for their prospects to work with, and most of the prospects preferred to call and confirm their order configuration before they placed it. Sales increased.
A similar story is told here … Radiator.com has removed its shopping cart. Online conversions before were 1-2% through the shopping cart. Their click to call conversion rates are of the order of 35-40%. From the article:
After determining that more shoppers become buyers when speaking with a representative than when doing business completely through the internet, Radiator.com sought out a means of getting visitors to their website on the phone. “When we speak with a customer we can really determine their needs and make certain that we get them the part that best fits those needs,” says John Thys, Director of Sales and Marketing at Radiator.com “Additionally, when we actually talk to the customers we are able to offer better service, and a more pleasant and personal buying experience.” > Read the full article for information on the enabling technology.
What isn’t shared is whether overall sales for Radiator.com increased. Perhaps website visitors were already phoning to complete orders. I expect however there would have been some increase in sales, because whenever a friction in a transaction is reduced or a barrier removed, conversion will increase.
We don’t know if personas (see article on ClickInsight.ca) created before the shopping cart was added to the Radiator.com website. Personas might have been able to save the trouble of implementing a cart and associated back end infrastructure, if this insight into customer behaviour was known before the cart and checkout were built.