Technology As A Bridge, Not A Barrier To Sales

It’s easy to get caught up in technology for technology’s sake.

A programmer creates a cool tool in isolation and launches it to the bewilderment of users, a credit card machine requires unnecessary steps to process a transaction, an electronics security device is ten times more cumbersome than it’s worth in security.  These are all barriers that frustrate the heck out of customers.

I recently had a positive experience with a technology gizmo while shoe shopping.  The shoe store attendant offered to measure my feet using a digital foot analysis tool.  All I had to do was take off my shoes and step into the machine.

Aetrex foot analysis device

Once in the device, a wall-mounted screen displayed an outline of my foot, it’s arch area, and pressure points.  This allows the attendant to get the correct shoe size, suggest better fitting shoe options, and later try to sell me on custom inserts.

Aetrex Analysis Screen

I ended up trying on several pairs of shoes but didn’t find the right fit.  But I loved how the store used a piece of technology to get me closer to a sale.

  1. The first “step” was to get me to take off my shoes, which is always key in the shoe sales process.  This is getting me to “first base.”
  2. The attendant used the analysis data to recommend well-fitting shoes.
  3. Because the analysis screen was mounted on the wall, mall shoppers could see what was going on.  The bright and colorful screen could help bring in the curious.
  4. The next time I go shoe shopping, I’ll visit that store because I know they’ll get me closer to finding well-fitting shoes.

So if you notice that customers suddenly started abandoning online shopping carts, sending few Web inquiries, or are buying few products from your stores, make sure you didn’t introduce a cool new technology feature that is getting in the way of a sale.  The best advice is to track the introduction of new technologies in your sales process and measure their effectiveness.

Do you know of a technology device or system that made a noticeable difference in your purchasing decision?  Please share.