What’s the total cost of purchase?

Having read a favourable review of Martin Lindstrom’s new book Small Data, I was keen to get my hands on a copy. Naturally enough, I clicked on the Amazon link on Martin’s website.

2016-03-23 14_53_58-Small Data - Martin Lindstrom - Bestselling Author.png

As usual, Amazon’s price was unbeatable… until you consider the shipping cost. Sorry Amazon, I’m not going to pay $65 to have a $14 book shipped from the US.

Instinctively, I turned to Google to see what our local suppliers could offer. The decision came down to two local suppliers: Booktopia and The Nile.

If you’re wondering, the Book Depository did not have the book in stock and Angus & Robertson (are they still going?) quoted a delivery time of 2-4 weeks – wow! And Wordery – who? Might need to work on your brand awareness Wordery.

Not sure if it’s because I’m just thrifty, or whether I fell into the trap of selecting the first result from the left, but either way my cursor fell on Booktopia’s ad.

So I went shopping…

Published 8th March and 23% off RRP – must be my lucky day! No mention of shipping costs. Must be free, I presume?

With no time to waste, I clicked on the Buy Now button, to then be served a time-wasting popup suggesting what appears to be quite unrelated titles. But still no mention of shipping costs.

Moving onto the cart. Aha… shipping $6.95, with a reminder that I’ve just saved $7.49 off RRP.

Well Booktopia, you may think so. And technically, you may well be right. But from where I’m sitting, you’ve just clawed back all but 54c of that saving, and I’m feeling like you’ve just tried to pull one over on me. So I’m gone… off to see what the Nile can offer.

From just one single click on the ad, I can see that I’ll be charged $34.61 INCLUSIVE of shipping and I can expect it to arrive in 4-10 days from the US!

That’s all I needed to know, so I’m sold. I’m happy to pay an extra $2.16 to The Nile, just for being clear, upfront and not wasting my time.

Having looked again at Booktopia, sure I can see that they clearly promote their flat rate of $6.95  in their header in a nice, big orange circle. That’s fine. All credit for doing so. But it does not change two important points:

  1. As someone clicking directly from an ad, I was looking at product-specific details. When I landed on the page, I immediately scrolled down to view the details, therefore totally missed the big orange circle in the header.
  2. Like most consumers, I’m only interested in the total cost of purchase – hence the reason I didn’t buy from Amazon in the first place. So if you want to tell me how much I have saved, include the shipping cost.

So the lesson here for all e-commerce merchants ought to be pretty simple:

  1. Understand in detail how different customers behave and think, particularly casual shoppers clicking through from ads, who might not be familiar with your policies
  2. Be crystal clear with the information. Make sure ALL the relevant information is visible around product details.

If you want to understand your customers, don’t try to second-guess them. Just walk a mile in their shoes.


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