Danny Goodisman is an old friend from Seattle Washington. Danny has a great passion for the web. With a Masters in Education and a BS in Biology, he used to be a science teacher in the Seattle School district, but decided to pursue a career in web programming. After several years of programming during the Internet boom, he was laid off and looking for work for almost two years. Danny was very creative in finding part time, at one point had seven part time and lecturing jobs. Danny lectured on HTML and Java at local community colleges and Universities, while also doing part time contract work with a few advertising and Interactive agencies in Seattle. He also found time to go back to school to get certified as a paralegal. Needless to say, I was very happy to learn last year that Danny had been hired as the webmaster for CarToys.com, a large west coast based online and retailer of car accessories. Danny tells me sales are doing well and he is really enjoying the challenges of the job.
John: How have web applications influenced the way in which marketing is used on the Internet?
Danny: The Internet has got people pickier about what they buy because they don't have to buy anything near their house. Now there are thousands of web sites available, all with slightly different prices and products. People are going to buy the product that exactly fits their needs.
A website marketer should have as many descriptions and as many products on their site. You should also pick those products that are very popular. The retail battle on the web is for price as the competition on the web is very vicious. Companies compete today on list price, warranty, shipping costs, covering extra products, and throwing in an extra carry case for free. Another incentive for customers is if your e-commerce site covers shipping. If you throw in free shipping, customers will then not get a big surprise over the addition of the shipping charge, and marketers will reduce charge backs.
John: What technologies do you see appearing on the horizon, on the Internet and in general?
Danny: I think there are many additional technologies that allow websites to become more interactive, where visitors will have a richer experience on the web are in our future.
Broadband has actually been abused, long flash intros may be cool for the first time, but by the second and third visits people lose interest and do not come back. Customers will like those sites that they can command, where the speed of the page is king. If client plug-ins can optimize the process for visitors we will see more of them.
John: What are the biggest challenges in building a successful ecommerce web site?
Danny: Attracting customers to the web site is the biggest challenge facing e-commerce marketers. Convincing customers your site is where they should want to buy online. This means your offer is very significant, and making the site experience very good for customers is one of the biggest challenges. Lastly, you have to learn how to convert visitors to customers.
John: How do you think you can attract customers?
Danny: To attract customers you have to have a good offer. My company’s web site, www.cartoys.com, gets a certain amount of traffic from advertising with traditional media; radio and television. Our advertising has our name brand and URL on it. We also strive to make sure we turn up on search engines by focusing are search efforts on keywords related to a particular product.
John: How do you think you can convert a visitor to a customer on the Internet?
Danny: To make sure more online conversions happen, an e-commerce site has to be what visitors expect. There are an increasing percentage of Internet visitors who have existing expectations of what a site should do and not do. The site should not demand very much of the customer. To make the online shopping experience easier for the customer, the customer should not have to do very much.
John: Are there any other challenges?
Danny: My company CarToys is an online reseller of accessories for cars; we get our products directly from manufacturers. CarToys asks their vendors for product specification content, we then put that product description content on the website. The challenge occurs when you get more content and images in a format that slows the page down. Having a page that is slow is contrary to customers’ expectations. While you have to have as much content as possible to describe a product, you really have to make sure your pages are really fast.
John: Thanks very much for answering my questions today, I enjoyed our interview.