Growth and Movement Toward a Goal

The Founder/CEO of a flourishing non-profit organization dedicated to educating and feeding children in rural Kenya recently asked me what I had learned about leading an organization through a re-visioning process.  My leadership experience for forty years was primarily in the realm of growth for youth ministries and churches, but the principles that worked in those contexts seem to be transferable to the profit and non-profit world as well.  Now, as Director of Customer Engagement for a social e-commerce business, I’m finding that the same principles are very applicable in this world as well.

One of the most helpful/successful tools we employed was the simple, yet profound problem-solving model known as Force Field Analysis. Developed in the 1940’s, by American social psychologist, Kurt Lewin, this tool has made significant contributions to the fields of social science, psychology, social psychology, community psychology, organizational development, process management, and change management.  It served to guide us and keep us focused through an excellent and helpful evaluation process, and facilitate prioritization of vital next steps and goals.

Green Lantern Force Field Analysis Growth Meme
Chuck wrote this article, but Rich posted it.

Lewin taught that an organization’s current status is held in balance by the convergence of two opposing sets of forces.  One set, driving forces, was comprised of the attitudes, actions, and paradigms that seemed to move the organization toward the desired goal or outcome. The other set, restraining forces, were those obstacles that inhibited forward movement, and, if left unchecked, could cause decline.

He championed the concept that organizations were not static but dynamic, continually influenced by this balance of forces working in opposite directions. In order for the organization to move toward the desired future outcome, the driving forces had to prevail over the restraining forces.

Force Field Analysis Steps

Just to give a brief overview of how we would utilize this concept in seeking to stay on track in our vision toward our desirable outcome, we would typically:

1st, Revisit and re-assert our identity as an organization, represented by the left margin, and reach an agreement on where we were currently in our journey. This present status would be represented by a vertical line somewhere to the right of where we had started, but not all the way to the right margin.

2nd, Describe the desired outcome, situation or vision. This would be a vertical line on the right margin.

3rd, Discuss what could happen to our organization if we continued in the current condition and no changes were made.

4th, Compile a list of all the positive forces driving us toward the desired outcome.

5th, List all of the negative forces holding us back from progressing toward the vision.

6th, Assess the identified positive and negative forces according to validity, flexibility, and significance.

7th, Assign each force a score on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being weakest and 10 being most powerful.

8th, Chart all of the forces, with the driving forces on the left pushing the current state toward the right, and the restraining forces on the right, pushing back against the current state. (We would also indicate the level of strength of each force from the 7th step.

9th, Decide if progress toward the goal is realistic and achievable.

10th, Discuss how progress can be impacted by decreasing the strength of restraining forces and/or bolstering the driving forces.

11th, Prioritize and plan implementation of desired actions.

Lewin would also caution

It is important to remember that Lewin would also caution that fueling the driving forces or diminishing the restraining forces could increase or decrease other forces and even generate new ones.

Forces for and against change and growth. http://sunnibrown.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/Force-Field-Analysis_Handdrawn_Cropped.png
An analysis example from Sunni Brown.

We’ll go into more details on how to incorporate the Force Field Analysis model into various vision/problem-solving situations in our next blog.  If you have questions about how to employ it, don’t hesitate to ask. We at PollCart welcome your inquiries and we’re constantly learning and growing along our own entrepreneurial journey.

If you’re a larger company, it is wise to identify a small visionary group of board members or staff to work together on the vision and strategic planning.  We found that most of the time it was far more efficient and effective to work with a representative sub-team who would present their recommendations to the larger leadership team, board, and staff than to try to accomplish strategic planning with the whole gang.

How often should I revision?

How often should a company regroup and re-vision?  Though we were constantly evaluating and strategizing, we seemed to go through a major regrouping, refocus, and re-vision every 1 to 3 years. That timing served us well and kept us moving forward with most team members enthusiastically engaged.

One piece of advice on leading successful change is to not call it change, but growth. “Change” can be kind of daunting/intimidating for some folks, but everyone knows it’s important to keep “growing.”  Stagnant stuff dies or is dead already.  If we’re alive as an organization we must grow, always being green.

It is vital that the growth sub-team do a good job of keeping the greater board or staff apprised of their progress along, and not wait until the final report.  Though not everyone wants or needs to be in on the hard work of vision and strategic planning, they do all want and need to be included, engaged, and consulted along the way.

Another thought:  be sure to have established and agreed upon core values before you launch any re-visioning.  Everyone involved needs to affirm the non-negotiables of the organization.

Vision and strategic planning are vital to the relevance and life of any organization.  A very wise man once said “without vision, the people perish.”

Enjoy the Journey!

Chuck Williams is the PollCart Engagement Director and retired pastor of Live Oak Community Church in Lubbock, Texas. His book Eternal Route 66 invites travelers to journey from Chicago to Los Angeles while introducing the Bible’s books. Chuck’s entrepreneurial spirit was inherited by his son Rich, creator of PollCart.

Meet the PollCart Founders

PollCart Social Commerce is the single most effective way to streamline marketing processes to increase productivity, efficiency and ROI.

“PollCart Social Commerce activation ranges from a Shopify plugin to custom API integration. Marketers get focused, specific customer-suggested improvements on products they offer and checkout peer-polling that helps convert uncertain customers who organically refer friends and family. Minimal upfront investment accompanies simple commissions for successful sales and referrals.”

— Rich Williams, Founder

“My business partner, Rich Williams, and I are preparing to launch a new shopping cart plug-in that we believe will be disruptive to customer engagement marketing. We’d love to share it with you and your audience. Please let us know if we can help.”

— Doug Berman, Co-Founder

We are changing our industry by making shopping social again. And with good reason. Buyers have an option to poll their friends and family as part of checkout to decide whether or not they should buy the item, and on a positive return, checkout automatically completes, the card is charged and the item shipped. PollCart disrupts the industry by adding an optional step to checkout to get purchase feedback that determines the purchase.

It’s innovative because typical mindset is to streamline checkout as much as possible, but we’re adding an additional step to purchase that would have otherwise never happened or been postponed, often indefinitely. The friends and family polled become powerful referrals, all because they legitimately participated in a friend’s purchase.

Improving the Shopify Sales Cycle, Cart Abandonment, and Grassroots Referrals

The Shopping Cycle of Cycle Shopping: Boost Sales and Increase Referrals in your Shopify E-Commerce Online Store? Improving Cart Abandonment Rate and Shortening the Sales Cycle from Window Shopping to Viral Customer Grass Roots Marketing

How do Shopify owners boost sales and increase referrals in a Shopify e-commerce online store? Here are some PollCart thoughts on improving cart abandonment rate and shortening the sales cycle from window shopping to viral customer grassroots online marketing.

Boost Sales. Give your customers the ability to ask their friends and family AFTER they check out. At PollCart Social Commerce, our bottom-line commitment is to INCREASE SALES. Sales from keeping your customers out of the e-commerce black hole, sales from referrals with a new interest in your site or sales from customers who enjoy the novelty to social commerce, we’re not picky, so join our email list to participate in the conversation.

Increase Referrals. Your customers may not want to “market” to their friends and family, but they’re glad to involve their opinions in their consumer journey.

Cart Abandonment. Potential buyers need feedback from family members about the budget, product reviews from experts, and general opinions from friends. These are three great reasons to leave your site, even with good intentions, and possibly never return.

Shortening the Sales Cycle. Everything from Initial Contact to Closing and Referral can potentially happen in one visit. Listrak averages the current abandonment rate at 77% and no one knows for sure how many of those customers will return.

Avoid the E-Commerce Black Hole. The E-Commerce Black Hole is where a customer that leaves your site goes for an hour, a week, a month or a year before they may or may not return to buy.

Viral Customer Grass Roots Marketing. PollCart uses texts and emails from your customers to their friends and family to spark interest in your product. Potential buyers can block ads and ignore spam marketing, but welcome the opportunity to participate in a friend or loved one’s online purchase.

Install PollCart for Shopify. If you own a Shopify store, the PollCart Social Commerce gives you the ability to make these improvements to your store by adding our patented “Ask Some Friends” button to checkout.

Install PollCart Social Commerce for Shopify or join PollCart’s email list today.

How do I keep my customer from entering the E-Commerce Black Hole?

Rich's last article addressed his journey with Bombas.com: People often ask if the socks we donate are the same we sell. The answer is no, we donate something special and thoughtfully designed to meet the needs of those who are homeless.

One way to prevent the E-Commerce Black Hole is to provide a medium for buyers to communicate with experts, friends, family and coworkers as part of your checkout. Making this channel available nurtures Social Commerce, user contributions to assist online buying and selling of products and services. Users who can complete checkout, pending approval from those they would otherwise leave your site to seek out, beforehand, check out the first time and never enter the E-Commerce Black Hole.

Users who can complete checkout with a Social Commerce option avoid the Black Hole. Their purchase is approved afterward by the ones they would otherwise have to leave your site to ask. They can buy the first time they visit your site. They will be confident that if their social or expert circle doesn’t approve the purchase, they won’t have to return the item or cancel the purchase.

Social Commerce prevents the E-Commerce Black Hole by not only preventing your customer from ending up there, but the right Social Commerce platform can provide insight into many of the questions asked in the E-Commerce Black Hole and answers to other issues previously addressed outside of your retailer range.
Social Commerce gives us the ability to respond to questions like this:

  • Who are they talking to?
  • What are they saying?
  • When will they buy?
  • Where will they buy it?
  • Why are they waiting?

Social Commerce lets us dig deeper, too, learning:

  • Who are my future customers?
  • What will future customers buy?
  • When will these referrals return?
  • Where will these references look when they have a similar need?
  • Why didn’t I embrace Social Commerce sooner?

I like that last one best. Why don’t you embrace Social Commerce?

Inside the E-Commerce Black Hole or My Abandoned Cart Buyer’s Journey with Bombas.com

This anecdote is how I describe the e-commerce black hole. Here’s what you know, a buyer with a unique IP or email address landed on your homepage after an organic Google search, navigated to a few of your product pages before landing on a particular product, actively spending two minutes browsing the page, adding the item to their cart and ultimately…

VANISHING

We knew so much. Our analytics and inbound marketing software worked as promised, the customer responded to our Call To Action, then, gone. Where did our customer go?

THE E-COMMERCE BLACK HOLE

We can identify them if they return, and we know what they’re interested in, but our information stops there. We don’t know who to associate with that email or IP address. We don’t know what they are saying or thinking about the product. We don’t know when or whether they will return. We don’t know where they will buy the product or which product they’ll buy. We don’t know why they left, good guesses maybe? And we don’t know how they will buy and if our analytics and inbound software will detect a continuance of the buyer journey or count the first contact as an unfulfilled abandoned cart and the new purchase as a short, successful journey.

Now here’s the e-commerce black hole in my personal life

I recently saw an extraordinarily moving Bombas Socks commercial recommended and liked by some my Facebook friends. I immediately embraced their call to action to provide socks for the homeless and headed straight to their website to buy my first eight-pack of Bombas socks.

That’s when I realized that Bombas socks are $12 per pair. Even with a free pair going to a homeless shelter, $6/pair is considerably more than I’ve ever spent on even the nicest pairs of socks, like Under Armor or Nike.

I became a devangelist. I took to Facebook while still in sticker shock and wrote the following:

Rich Williams was feeling skeptical. January 16 · Plano “I’m going to Walmart and donating 100 pairs of socks to Dallas Life Homeless Shelter. It will cost considerably less than six pairs of Bombas socks. Love the ad, though…”

That’s WHAT I was saying.

But I had left bombas.com and dove deep into the e-commerce black hole. Bombas had some insight into my black hole experience on account of my Facebook broadcast, but following the customer journey through the e-commerce black hole is rarely that simple. Bombas took the opportunity to reach out to me in the black hole:

Bombas “Hey Rich, give our socks a try, and if you don’t think they’re worth every penny, it’s your money back. That’s our Happiness Guarantee!” January 19 at 8:38 am

But my consumer journey wouldn’t continue for another two weeks.

A week later, I wore my Hanes socks with my Asics Onitsuka Tiger fencing shoes to work on a day I’ll never forget. Some out-of-town visitors to our office wanted to try a Mexican food restaurant a mile away from our offices, and the group was excited to walk the mile to and from the restaurant. Something about the Tigers and the Hanes combined with my sweaty feet to cause enough friction to create a baseball-sized blister on the bottom of my left foot. I complained to a co-worker the next day who commented that my socks might be to blame for my nuisance injury and my subconscious got busy.

On February 2, 2017, I ordered three pairs of Bombas socks. My consumer journey brought me back to their website where a free shipping offer encouraged me to buy three pairs instead of two, and I couldn’t wait to wear my Bombas socks with my New Balance shoes that fit a little better for the next work-related lunch adventure. Coincidently their largest socks were too tight for my size 14 feet, but I could feel a considerable difference and notice their striking design right up until my circulation slowed and my feet fell asleep.

So what am I now? A dissatisfied user who will probably return the product which is also a brand evangelist for a company I have either loved or hated since I saw the first video. The socks don’t fit me, but they’ll probably fit you, and I get the appeal. They also donate a pair to a homeless shelter for each pair bought. I’m assuming Bombas will accommodate my wife and preschooler.

So do you clearly understand how I feel about Bombas? Probably not. No one ever said what you see when you have insight into the customer’s buying journey through the e-commerce black hole would be clear.

My satisfied purchase came from Under Armour on Amazon.com nine days later once I realized the Bombas weren’t going to work. They had considerably more cotton and reliably come sized to fit large feet.

So let’s break down my buying journey with Bombas so far including my two weeks in the e-commerce black hole.

WHO …is the buyer?

Some pertinent facts about me:

  • I’m a sucker for good marketing
  • I like the Tom’s Shoes’ buy one give one concept
  • I feel strongly about clothing (and feeding/housing) the homeless
  • I like tattoos (see video)
  • I am an entrepreneur
  • I’ve bought socks in the premium athletic range before, not just Walmart or Hanes
  • I like feeling like someone is reading my Facebook comments
  • I’m funny and like to reward brands I like.
  • I’m listening to Sleigh Bells and Lana Del Rey while I write this.

WHAT …was I saying?

Bombas caught me talking smack about their prices. I tagged them for fun but was not expecting a reply. When they saw the comments on my post, they also noticed my friends agreeing that though my friends had visited bombas.com, they too felt like the socks were too expensive.

WHEN …would I buy?

About 16 days would pass between my first rendezvous with Bombas and my paid checkout of $33.60. The jury is still out on whether or not I will return the socks.

A major factor in my purchase was my ill-fated walk to the Mexican restaurant that I’m pretty certain had nothing to do with Bombas.com. Bombas had done an excellent job of educating me about their superiority to traditional blister-enhancing socks before I suffered the worst blister I had ever experienced.

WHERE …will I buy the product?

“Where” is a major unknown. Though I eventually bought three pairs from Bombas.com for $33.60, I later experienced a satisfied purchase from Amazon of 6 pairs for $15. I also like the XL socks available at Walmart (not Target) and frequent Destination XL Big and Tall Men’s Clothing.

WHY …did I not buy the first time?

In other words, why did I leave the lot? Bombas had me where they wanted me; I had “ugly cried” over their homeless Facebook video and gone straight to their site. They even had socks they claimed would fit my large feet.

BUT

One pair cost as much as six pairs of the competition. I felt so strongly about this BUT that I took to Facebook to make jokes at Bombas’ expense. I haven’t felt so strongly about a BUT since Anna Nicole’s GUESS Jeans campaign.

HOW …will I buy?

I need my laptop with my credit card autofill software and $35 available to make this purchase. I prefer not to enter a credit card on my iPhone, and the purchase date coincides with a payday occurring between discovery and purchase.

Who experiences the e-commerce black hole?

Retailers experience the e-commerce black hole when a prospective customer arrives at their site and spends time with a product, possibly placing the item in a cart or obtaining pricing, then disappears, often without identifying information. The customer may be comparing prices, soliciting feedback, disinterested or low on budget or simply waiting.

Who are your customers asking?

Customers ask co-buyers such as spouses, roommates or coworkers about budget accessibility. Customers ask their friends and family with experience or knowledge of the product.

Customers seek out acquaintances or even strangers who have expertise on the product. Young customers may require permission, as could a boss/worker relationship. Feedback comes in the form of:

Support: Financial, Agreement, Social

  • “Can we afford this right now?”
  • “Is this something we would all use?”
  • “Would you go out in public with me if I had these pants on?”

Permission: Parent, Boss

  • “Mom, can I buy this Arcade Fire t-shirt?”
  • “Boss, does this laptop meet corporate security requirements?”

Advice: Expertise, Experience, Opinion

  • “As a lighting designer, which light bulb would you use?”
  • “Did you like that weed eater you bought at the home improvement store?”
  • “Do you think the black guitar would look better on stage than the red one?”

Who benefits from understanding the e-commerce black hole?

A retailer who knows their customer’s experience in the e-commerce black hole can market more efficiently, price for the opportunity, advertise to a more appropriate target and understand which customers not to focus energy and resources. Retailers can predict their sales cycle more accurately and budget, stock, and market accordingly. Tools that provide insight into the e-commerce black hole give retailers an edge when many unknowns become known or at least more familiar.

What are your customers saying?

Customers have developed an opinion about your product based on their first online impression, and though they have not purchased, they could already be evangelists or “devangelists” for your brand. The evangelists would have already bought your product if it wasn’t for _____* and devangelists think your product is too expensive, poorly designed and useless. Winning over a devangelist is harsh, but allowing an evangelist to capture a buying opportunity before they enter the e-commerce black hole might be possible given the right tools.

*If only we knew that 🙂

When will the customer buy?

Understanding what marketers call the Effective Frequency or “the number of times a person must be exposed to an advertising message before a response is made and before the exposure is considered wasteful” also means understanding the “Rule of Seven” and its associated duration.

“I do not know who created the concept, but “The Rule of Seven” was widely popularized by Dr. Jeffrey Lant.”

“A good starting point is the ‘Rule of Seven,’ formulated by the marketing expert Dr. Jeffrey Lant. It states that to penetrate the buyer’s consciousness and make significant penetration in a given market, you have to contact those people a minimum of seven times within an 18-month period.” 

I must have seen/heard Bombas.com twenty times during my two weeks of Bombas denial.

When will the customer return?

How can we affect the buyer’s return time? One could argue that the ideal time between first contact and paid purchase is none, buying the item immediately.

How can we encourage the user to buy immediately without scammy pricing gimmicks or ransomware threats?

One recent experience I had with a custom watch band company DaLuca Straps sent me some friendly emails offering to help me complete checkout after I had abandoned a cart where I had added a few bands to compare prices.

Would making it easier to compare prices decrease abandoned shopping cart rates? Does it matter?

Where will the customer buy the product?

I also add “Has the customer bought this already from somewhere else?” to this question. Will the customer buy the same product or a different product from another retailer? Will the user log on to your website with a different email address from a different IP address and order the product later? You may never know. Can you track that type of behavior?

Pardot claims to be able to track anonymous users on different devices and starts at $1125/mo. for up to five users with SalesforceIQ.

Where is the customer looking?

Walmart has cookies. Walmart has aisles of chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and Oreos. Not the kind of cookies we need, and if the buyer sees your Stainless-Steel Casio Men’s Atomic-Solar G-Shock Watch on your website for $95.92 but goes into Walmart and buys one with cash from the jewelry counter along with some Oreos.

So without “a small piece of data sent from a website and stored on the user’s computer by the user’s web browser while the user is browsing,” we may have lost the buyer’s journey forever, never knowing why.

How can we prevent the (else) WHERE?

  • Don’t let the customer leave the lot
  • Be a price leader compared with brick and mortar
  • Offer quick shipping and get the product in the mail fast
  • Provide superior customer service before and after the sale
  • Educate the customer further and better than a brick and mortar employee can
  • Track the buyers ATM and credit card spending, GPS location and sleep habits
  • Offer both kinds of cookies on your website

Where is the customer looking for advice, expertise, and information?

  • Can you provide more trusted reviews than consumer reports?
  • Can you accumulate more quality reviews than Amazon?
  • Are you the buyer’s brother?
  • Are you the cable guy installing digital at the neighbor’s house?
  • Are you the buyer’s boss’s “guy” in your industry?
  • Are you Richard Karn from TV’s Home Improvement?

No? But what can you do? Get BUILT.

Remember Both, URLs, Information, Links, Time.

  • Appeal to BOTH your customers and those whom your customers seek feedback from, like by providing a simple explanation for your customer and then the technical specifications for his brother that works at Radio Shack.
  • Make your URLs direct and shareable for feedback.
  • Provide honest, accurate INFORMATION.
  • LINK to unbiased external reviews.
  • Treat the buyer’s TIME as if it were yours.

Why is the customer hesitating?

Our CRM HubSpot addresses some of these in their article, “8 Reasons for Shopping Cart Abandonment.”

Can control: Price, Fit, Variety, Trust, Stock

  • Price would include the inability to afford.
  • Fit could be a t-shirt, an auto part or a laptop bag.
  • Variety could be a lack of color or customization options.
  • Trust could mean your website looks insecure on account of spelling or too little information.
  • Customer privacy concerns? Guest checkout.
  • “Stock” would be if you are simply out of the particular product the user wants.
  • Tender, accept different forms of payment, not Tinder.
  • Medium, mobile, responsive, other technical.

Can’t control

  • Window shopping
  • Information gathering for someone else
  • Competitor sale, special pricing, different than everyday price competition
  • 5pm? Battery dead? Red light, green? Dropped phone in the toilet?
  • However fast your shipping is, the buyer needs it sooner.

Why do retailers need insight to the e-commerce black hole?

If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you.

How can I know my customer better?

Last week, my team read that the best way to know who your ideal customer is to look at your current customers.

Before we had any customers.

Bad advice? No, just not timely before you have one single customer.

Here are some things I’ve done to get to know my customers before I had any:

  • I went to a meetup and spent three hours shaking hands with potential customers who use a particular software platform we work integrated.
  • I paid for a booth at a guitar show to show off a guitar sheet music app.
  • I called ten failed customer journey participants and offered them $50 each to tell me why they didn’t buy through a series of questions.
  • I’m writing an article about the E-Commerce Black Hole for customers unfamiliar with the concept.

I also recommend inbound marketing software and analytics packages if you have the time, resources and knowledge to make meaningful interpretations of their data.

How can I keep my customer from “leaving the car lot?”

I’m going to look online now for the actual source of the concept for used car salespeople. Hold, please.

Ok, see, “Salesmen Have Ways to Mess With Your Head” for the car keys trick in WiseBread’s Life Hack, “17 Things Car Salesmen Don’t Want You to Know.”

So, take their keys.

Or do the math.

Customers in the e-commerce black hole are meeting particular needs and lining up ducks that for some reason have to be in a row before they return and purchase your item.

If you can help them line up those ducks during their first visit, might they never leave? What if their ducks were in such a row, they felt comfortable buying on the first contact. What do those ducks look like?

Does your customer even have to enter the E-Commerce Black Hole?

Filthy Rich Williams lives in Dallas, has a four-year-old, watches comedy and rocks shows, and likes socks, Shark Tank and Lana Del Rey.

Why disrupt a simple streamlined checkout?

Why disrupt the streamlined, simplified checkout?

A lot of internet business models suggest finding ways to charge other people for something they can already do for free. PollCart’s value add is in its integration with checkout.

We love to talk about checkout. Get email updates to continue the conversation about  maximizing checkout, increasing sales and solving other common e-commerce dilemmas.

Why involve yourself in checkout?

When your friend or family member polls you on the decision to buy a Google Home voice-activated speaker powered by the Google Assistant, your opinion matters. This purchase rests on your ability to research the brand and product and literally vote on whether or not the sale goes through. You aren’t participating in a meaningless opinion poll, and that’s why you care enough to find out more about Google Home and [gasp] maybe even buy one too!

Why not just send a successful poll recipient a link to buy the item?

Investors and advisors to PollCart have advised us to find ways to charge individuals to text their friends and get their thoughts on something. That’s already free. We charge retailers a reasonable commission so that the impulse buyer can buy NOW and not abandon their cart in favor of free opinion gathering tools already abundant and free.

In a Shopify article about cart abandonment, Shopify recently quoted the Baymard Institute, a web research company in the UK, saying, “67.45% of online shopping carts are abandoned.” PollCart buyers visit and buy during their first visit, and their friends seriously research and consider your product, too.

Because the purchase that wouldn’t have happened otherwise depends on their feedback.

PollCart isn’t bullsmart marketing. It’s not a gimmick. It’s a real connection to the buying process and an invitation to participate coming directly from someone you know and care about. Not spam. Not inconsequential. Legit.

Shopify owners can install our app today with a free 30-day trial. My phone number is 469-387-6294 and I would love to help you install it. We’re e-commerce experts by the way.

That’s why PollCart is integrated into checkout. We call it Checkout 3.0, and you should, too.

Question: Does PollCart add “friction” to the e-commerce checkout process?

We were recently approached by a pioneer of the one-page checkout with the criticism that PollCart adds “friction” to the buying process. Citing numerous studies, the entrepreneur introduced us to the Checkout Conversion Index (CCI) as popularized by bluesnap.com stating that “36% of sales conversion can be lost due to online checkout friction.” So I’d like to present three types of online checkouts:

  • Checkout with minimal friction.
  • Checkout with some friction.
  • Checkout that never begins.

Take a guess at which of these three has the least friction. I would propose a checkout that never begins has the least friction. I would further propose that removing the payment process of your checkout might also considerably improve “friction.” In fact, removing the buyer’s ability to put something in their cart and pay for it would eliminate checkout friction altogether.

PollCart focuses on the checkout that never begins.

Buyers who choose the PollCart option at checkout experience friction in the form of adding their Google contacts, emails and phone numbers for our purchase polls. Those polled also have the opportunity to enter your friction-filled checkout process in the form of a referral. Then they can checkout with some or minimal friction, but regardless, they begin your checkout process with odds of around 13 in 20 of completion (bluesnap.com, 2016). For those of you still smitten with bluesnap’s numbers, 64 is considerably more than zero.

100% of buyers who never enter the checkout process are not converted into sales.

Buyers must enter your checkout to experience checkout friction and become part of bluesnap’s statistic. So if your goal is to reduce checkout friction from a 36% loss rate to around a 10% loss rate, I propose you let PollCart focus on the checkout that never begins. You don’t have to hire a UX expert for that. Just PollCart. And by the way, we are UX experts. Shopify owners can install PollCart with a free 30-day trial and easy installation in the Shopify App Store.

Trademarked Social Commerce Slogan Gains Traction

PollCart Thoughts on Social Commerce

PollCart Trademarked Slogan Gains Traction

A long, long time ago, in a cubicle far, far away, the international band of technologists, business experts and people of mystery known as the PollCart team got together.  They were considering how the PollCart system connected customers to friends during an online transaction.  This was more than a simple survey.  This was recreating the experience of shopping with your friends, even if you are actually alone in your room.

In other words, this was Social Commerce.

We love to talk about Social Commerce and would love for you to join our email list.

A subcommittee of PollCart’s Office of the Deputy Subcommittee of Shopping Arts and Sciences burst into action.  Doing what startups do.  They trademarked “Social Commerce.”  Exhausted, the subcommittee then took a nap.

Months later, the team noticed that the phrase was used in an article on Fortune.com.  The article concerned Buzzfeed’s commerce efforts and how:

“BuzzFeed is chasing the holy grail of “social commerce,” an area that has eluded social platforms like Facebook for years and killed many other startups tackling the category along the way. F-commerce, so to speak, failed because people weren’t ready to shop on Facebook. Retailers have found integration with social platforms to be frustrating as well.”

We knew we were onto something.  After all, it was on Fortune.com.  Buzzfeed is chasing it down as well.

Buzzfeed has created a “Product Lab” to experiment until they find a form of commerce that works.

PollCart’s innovative shopping cart plug-in, perhaps?

“The big prize is, it feels like social commerce is going to be big two years from now, and lets figure out how to be ready.”

We agree.  However, we feel that Social Commerce is here now.  Even as consumer purchases move from bricks-and-mortar to online, people still interact.  Disagree?  Check out the amount and scope of product reviews on retailer sites.

PollCart provides customers a way to directly engage their family and friends in the online shopping process.  In the way it augments the online shopping process, PollCart provides a communal, interactive experience, much like a shopping trip to the mall.

For retailers, PollCart employs Social Commerce to turn your customers into your marketers.  With PollCart, customer acquisition is done by actual customers.  That is the power of Social Commerce.

PollCart—The Holy Grail of Social Commerce—specializes in customer acquisition and online shopping.
PollCart—The Holy Grail of Social Commerce—specializes in customer acquisition and online shopping.

Buzzfeed, PollCart has your Definition of Social Commerce

Social commerce sites like ours that offer e-commerce and shopify social media integration are paying close attention this Thanksgiving and Christmas to holiday online shopping polls where our culture’s tendency to shop with friends at the mall is slowly evolving into a desire to shop with friends online.

We’re announcing soon that our Shopify social media marketing app, PollCart: Social Commerce—where buyers login and use a friend poll at checkout to ask the question, “Should I buy this?”—will be released from Shopify beta into the mainstream Shopify social media app store where we’ll have link integration with Shopify’s newsletters and spotlights.

As a pioneer social commerce company in a fairly new social commerce industry, we’re seeing the definition of social commerce sites change, but our product, which will soon be making its way via API into private shopping cart suite installs for Drupal and lightspeed among others will become the best way to shop with friends. And you’ll be buying the newest Lego Polly Prissy Pants with friends online.

Shopify users, download our app today, and if you use another platform that could connect to our API, please send me a quick note. Check out this article to review what BuzzFeed is saying about Social Commerce. PollCart won’t increase your sales and referrals, your customers will.