The website had done everything right.
I was looking for a pair of water shoes my 80-something mother in law needed for a water walking class she's just started. She has serious balance issues and needs the support the shoes give. She is unable to tie shoes and the geriatric care manager we hired on her behalf recommended a slip on style. So here I was, three hours car journey from my mother in law, doing an online search at home.
The site, which specializes in everything related to swimming and water exercise, had good information, well organized. There was a selection of water shoes, easily found and well laid out, and one style looked promising. It was slip on, the comments were positive, and there was information telling me how to figure out the size to order.
I wanted to ask some questions, and I noticed they had a chat feature. I clicked on it, was told there would be a wait of 11 seconds, and before I knew it, "Alexandra" was asking how she could help me. I had several questions. "Alexandra" answered quickly and efficiently. I thanked her, and praised the chat.
I emailed a link to the geriatric care manager, she thought they would be suitable, and so I went back online to order the shoes.
That's when the site lost the sale.
What did they do wrong?
They would not let me order without setting up an account. I would have had to choose a user name and password. I looked around a little, and there was no way around it.
I don't know if it is "just me". But I am so overwhelmed with passwords (yes, I know there is software for this), for work, for home, for a couple of online retailers I use frequently. I'm tired of it. I was mentally tired, in addition. I had done a lot of long distance caregiving stuff that day, and I just wanted to get online, put in the order, and relax. I didn't want to have to think up a new password and write it down.
I took the easy way out. I didn't want to waste any time. I wanted a painless ordering experience.
I went to Amazon.com, saw the same shoes there, and ordered them. The price was slightly more, but Amazon also offered free return.
I have a Prime account with Amazon and this was eligible for Prime shipping. I even have my mother in law listed as an alternate shipping address, and - Amazon kept their promise; I ordered the shoes Saturday night and my mother in law got the shoes today. (And yes, they fit.)
So I'd like to ask my readers, some of whom are online businesspeople: why would a merchant website require a new customer set up an account? I note many merchants give the option, but let you order as "guest".
Am I the only person who would not give a merchant a sale because of this? Or do others feel the same way as I do? Not having to set up an account is important to me. Maybe it is to others.
Are YOU losing sales because of this?