A litmus test for e-commerce sites
In my Observer column today, I propose a test for determining whether a company aspiring to do business online understands the Web: Can you find out what a product or service costs in three clicks or less? The astonishing thing is not that many sites fall at this elementary hurdle, but that so many are reluctant to cite prices at all. Instead they invite you to dispatch an email query to email@example.com.
What this implies is that they are afraid that potential consumers will be able to compare them with their competitors. Such a strategy may wash in the real world but it bombs in cyberspace, where customers are accustomed to performing effortless price comparisons. It’s a mistake Jeff Bezos never made – which is why he’s taking over the world.