This Amusing Button Gives You The Online Store You Imagined

PollCart's 'Ask Some Friends' button on the site

E-commerce shop owners could find sales and referrals in the strangest places!

Adding a PollCart button option to your e-commerce checkout flow is easy and potentially the best way to increase sales and referrals while decreasing cart abandonment and returns. PollCart’s patent-pending checkout polling platform gives consumers the confidence they need to buy on their first visit to your website.

The PollCart button says, “Ask Your Friends,” but what does it do?

When your customers click PollCart’s “Ask Your Friends” button, they are invited to enter the email addresses and mobile numbers for the friends and family that buyer trusts. PollCart’s platform then texts and emails the customer’s circle with easy opportunities to just click a link in a text message or email to vote yes or no to the purchase. Once a majority of the buyer’s contacts approve the purchase, the payment system captures the charge, and PollCart queues the order for fulfillment.

Visit xlbandcom’s Shopify store to see the button installed on a working e-commerce page.

PollCart’s platform landing page has a link to your brand, store, and product as well as an image of the product and an infographic expressing the most recent votes in the checkout poll. Participants can quickly add comments about the purchase and see what other anonymous users have added to the comments, or how they have voted.

Because the actual purchase depends on their vote, friends and family take these requests seriously. By doing a few minutes of research to cast an educated ballot, the friend or family member invests their goodwill into the buyer certainly, but also the brand and products.

The ‘Make an Organic Introduction’ Button

By asking their inner circle to vote “yes” on their item’s PollCart checkout poll, your buyer has made an organic introduction between your brand and product and their most trusted friends and family.

PollCart is currently available as a Shopify plugin for Shopify store owners, and we’re currently working to make it available to any online commerce platform. Please contact us if you believe PollCart could increase your sales and referrals while decreasing cart abandonment and returns.

Social Commerce, Twitter, and the Buy Now Button

Social Commerce, Twitter and the Buy Now Button

Twitter is discontinuing development of its Buy Now button. Is it giving up on Social Commerce?

Twitter announced its “Buy” buttons back in 2014 as it worked on developing its e-commerce strategy. In 2015, Twitter announced its partnerships with various retailers on its “Buy Now” initiative. Twitter was dipping its toes into the Social Commerce pool.

About a year later, Twitter announced that it was ending development of the buttons and disbanding its commerce team to focus on customer service and advertising. Buzzfeed suggested that Twitter’s backing away social commerce suggested that it was not the “low-hanging” fruit that they had hoped. People were buying on the mobile web, not social media.

The Context is Wrong

Another commenter suggested that Social Commerce via social media is not dead, it was just that the context is wrong, noting that Pinterest and Instagram as platforms, and Taylor Swift as a personality, generate significant commerce through “shoppable” media. Matthew Knight of Carat, writing for believes that:

“The blunt approach of making everything shoppable has passed. Now it’s time to learn from early experimentation and apply it intelligently. Slapping a Buy Now button onto every piece of media and communications is not clever – no one wants to be sold to constantly. But enabling purchase in the most meaningful and relevant moments, and making that experience as effortless as possible? Well, that’s new retail.”

The Social Commerce gurus at PollCart agree that enabling the purchase at the most relevant moment is critical. We also believe that enabling the interaction between a purchaser and their influencers at the time of purchase is what turns e-commerce into Social Commerce. This harvests all of the benefits to the retailer, the product, and the brands.

Directly Engage Family and Friends

PollCart gives retailers the tools to enable their customers to directly engage their family and friends in the online shopping process, providing a communal, interactive experience. It’s much like a shopping trip to the mall.

That is the power of Social Commerce.

Social Commerce Powerful Trends List

PollCart Thoughts on List of Powerful Social Commerce Trends: Article on Social Commerce Trends makes us wonder who has been bugging our meetings.

The PollCart Illuminati was sequestered deep in their underground bunker thinking about developments in Social Commerce (trademark pending by PollCart for your convenience).  They happened upon an article by a renounced B2B Content Marketer who identified the four most powerful social commerce trends.

A hush went over the room while they called in the black ops guys to check for bugs and listening devices.

It was like she was peering into the PollCart model for Social Commerce that drives customers to buy more and return less when they interact with their friends and family over online purchases.  That was a bit windy.  We’ll explain further.

Why Social Commerce is so Important

Shayla Price begins her examination with why Social Commerce is so important.  It is because shopping is an emotional activity.  This is true of the digital world as well as the bricks-and-mortar world.  How people feel about what they buy is an extremely important part of why they buy.

This is why PollCart is so effective for online merchants.  In the offline world, a group of people can see, feel, touch and discuss a product before purchasing.  In the online world, someone can create a wishlist, send a link or discuss an item on Facebook.  However, it is a cumbersome process with little interaction and several steps away from actual commerce.

“As online relationships become more personal and shoppers can connect more directly with brands, there’s a big opportunity for smart branding to play a big part in how customers feel about a brand. Whether purchasing physical or digital products, marketers need to realize that shopping is a highly emotional endeavor.”

An Emotional Connection to the Purchase

PollCart lets a consumer create a poll and puts the buying decision into the hands of friends and family who vote.  There is now an emotional connection to the purchase tied to the social interaction of the poll.  The abandoned shopping cart has itself been abandoned.  Returned products are less likely.

That is the power of Social Commerce.

Ms. Price’s article goes into more detail, and we will touch on additional points in a future blog post.  Stay tuned.  You know you want to.

PollCart Invents Plug-in That Helps With Online Shopping Decisions

From the “Inside Naveen Jindal School of Management” Newsletter: JSOM Alumnus Invents Plug-in That Helps With Online Shopping Decisions by Jimmie Markham, July 31, 2016

Online shoppers have such a dizzying array of product choices available to them with just a tap of a screen or click of a mouse that the risk of making an uninformed, impulsive or even financially unsound purchasing decision is greater now than ever before. JSOM alumnus Rich Williams, MBA ’10, has invented a new technology called PollCart that helps solve this by turning online shopping into an opportunity to solicit input from loved ones as well as a fun social experience.

Rich Williams, Photo by Hal Samples

“The target audience for PollCart’s functionality is anybody who is in a relationship and wants to maintain accountability in their purchasing decisions,” Williams said. “Any consumer that needs permission to make a purchase thinks they could get in financial or relational trouble by doing so, or simply would like to solicit feedback from and interact with social peers prior to making a purchase would benefit from using our product.”

Consumers aren’t the only ones trying to avoid the pitfalls of technological convenience. Online retailers have created a dilemma for themselves, too. Technology that makes online shopping convenient also enables consumers to easily abandon their shopping carts. Recent reports estimate that $4 trillion worth of online shopping cart merchandise is being abandoned every year.
Williams’ invention solves problems for both consumers and retailers by providing an option within e-commerce platforms for consumers to create approval polls that solicit purchasing advice or even determine whether the online purchase will be made.

The shopper creates a poll as part of the checkout process. After the buyer’s card is validated, the poll is distributed to one or more of the shopper’s trusted contacts. The people being polled have 24 hours to approve or reject a purchase—in part or in whole. Threshold approval levels can differ, depending on whether the shopper is soliciting advice or permission—or simply wants to start a conversation. Once the predetermined threshold for consensus or approval is reached, the online store charges the card, processes the order and ships the item automatically.

If, the result of the shopper’s polling group is unfavorable, then the order is canceled (or pending cancellation, if the buyer prefers to make the ultimate decision) after which PollCart recommends alternate products that are more likely to be approved by the shopper’s circle of trust. The key point is that the critical shopping feedback loop is maintained but no longer has to be solicited in real time. The transaction has already been processed and is simply awaiting social consensus.

The buyer visits the site only once, thus maintaining the convenience of the original shopping experience while adding buffers of accountability and social opinion gathering—along with the benefit of a virtual social shopping experience.

The retailer gains several competitive advantages—first, the cart abandonment problem could be significantly reduced. Second, marketing intelligence is increased dramatically by learning not only what buyers prefer, but what their circle of trust prefers (via the yes/no votes and anonymized comments from those polled). Third, consumer confidence is increased because shoppers perceive the retailer as being “in their corner” by offering a layer of security against bad-impulse shopping decisions. Finally, the problem of rampant returns is reduced because input from the buyer’s circle of trust reduces or even curtails dissatisfaction, buyer’s remorse and conflict associated with the purchasing decision.

PollCart earns a commission based on a percentage of the polled shopping cart total as well as on recommending alternate products if the polling results in a declined purchase.

Williams stated that the idea for his product comes from both a lifetime of participating in e-commerce and his educational path, which has focused both on psychology and marketing.

The PollCart team is currently creating a demonstration environment for the patent-pending technology and business process using the popular Shopify platform. The first version of the plug-in will be available to Shopify e-commerce platform users. Subsequent versions will be available to any e-commerce platform via custom API integration or conceptual license for in-house integration.

—Jimmie Markham

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.
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 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

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…


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?


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 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 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, 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 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 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.


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 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.