I received a beautiful email from Best Buy Reward Zone today. The well-designed email had crisp imagery with solid offers. One offer that caught my eye was a 16Gb SD Card for $24.99.
I clicked the link and was asked to sign in. I tried to sign in and subsequently it failed. I tested 2 browsers, tried my account number and my email address… and couldn't even do a password retrieval. I complained on Twitter and @Coral_BestBuy tried helping me out. She explained that I was actually logging into Best Buy – not Reward Zone, requiring me to register on Best Buy even though I already have a Reward Zone account.
So I registered. At a point in the registration process, I was required to enter my Reward Zone number – I guess to link the two accounts. Once I submitted that, the page simply refreshed with the number highlighted. No error message. I couldn't advance or get back to the actual offer. I gave up.
Most people would have given up long before I did, but I wanted to see just how difficult it was. The real problem here is that the email team is probably getting some terrible campaign results right now… even though the problem lies with the web site. Requiring someone to go through so many steps is sure to frustrate any consumer.
Every extra step in the process is going to drop your conversions by 50%. I'm making that number up, but I'm sure the real percentage is even worse. You must provide your consumer with simple, discreet paths to conversion to maximize campaign results. Requiring registration, registration in 2 systems, confusing the user…. all of it leads to shopping cart abandonment.
When is the last time you registered on your own site for a demo, a download, or even tested making a purchase? I try to do it every time and invariably find terrible errors. In fact, when I launched the opt-in email, I had a subscribe link on my site that was pointing to the wrong page! Ouch!