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eCommerce website plugin

We are looking for advice and beta testers for our new app.

4:50 pm on May 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Hi, I'm a student from the University of Waterloo currently on co-op. As my on-boarding challenge, my Co Co-Op Max and I were told to create a web app that could make $20 in four weeks (with the provision of no family / friend handouts, etc.). Over the past two weeks we’ve come up with a system that applies game dynamics to visitor retention, and would really love some feedback (if you have a few minutes...).

We came by ukbusinessforums because we figured there would be people who knew what they’re talking about when it comes to ecommerce and selling stuff online. Right now we’re trying to figure out if what we’ve built is something that people would actually use (after all, life’s a little too short to solve problems no one cares about). So here’s what we do:

We're basically applying game dynamics to increase visitor retention (people staying on the site) and customer acquisition (people buying stuff) on ecommerce based websites. We allow website owners to create 'scavenger hunts' through their site by assigning points to 'objectives' (pages to visit), with the reward being a discount coupon for meeting all the objectives. Once the website owner defines all the objectives, they just download a plugin to their site - this creates a toolbar along the bottom of the webpage with all the info. The point is to give visitors a reason to stay, and to familiarize them with areas of the site / products that the website owner wants to bring their attention to.

So what do you think? Better than sliced bread? Has potential? Waste of time?
5:35 pm on May 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I kind of like the concept. If you have a proof of concept please share and I'll give feedback on it.
5:44 pm on May 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I like the idea and am interested to hear how it's working out. But please don't post a link.
6:00 pm on May 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

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We currently are looking for a few people to beta test the product. At the moment we have a website for management interface as well as the interface that would be added to their website. We have a demo account if you would like to see the management interface website.
6:00 pm on May 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

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people are very busy, i understand the game "honey" here, but wonder if it would at all be sticky.

what if your thing-a-ma-jig worked with many types of carts, but instead of appealing to the "game" mentality, it applied to the "save" mentality... so there'd be some settings the merchant could enter, that would result in your dealybob saying things like...

add $17.64 more to qualify for free shipping code
add $8.22 more to qualify for over $100 discount code

and make a enticing "reveal" doo-hickey so the gamer in them wants to see the code... like on price is right when the doors open to reveal the deal...

have your AOV-helper track stats so the merchant can see aov, conversion rate, effect on margin, etc, so they can configure more and more tailored strategies for individual shoppers and deals set to bump their aov / margin / profit thru up sells and cross sells.

(ps - i avoided the word "toolbar", many toolbars are 3rd party software "helpers" that force affiliate cookies and otherwise collect personal info and generally do bad doodoo. since your doohickey isn't a third party browser software / plugin, but a site feature, i suggest you make it clear to your clients that you are not a "toolbar" at all.)
6:28 pm on May 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

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OldNavy used to have a coupon hunt every Thursday at a specific time with coupons of various amounts up to $100 for the first to find them. Don't know if they still do it, but it was a mad rush to find the coupons and could easily tank a server. After it was over people that didn't find coupons just seemed to go away instead of staying to shop, which is why I think it was discontinued.
9:03 pm on June 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@RhinoFish - Ya, a co-worker mentioned the surprise factor as well. Adding more mystery to the whole experience. It's something that we are going to try and implement soon. We were consider instead of a toolbar that it would be more of a status bar at the bottom, and you 'reveal' the next objective. That sort of thing. In terms of the tracking, that is a bit more work, and we are looking towards integrating with that. Initially we want to get a product that is tested and works based off the coupon idea, but to add tracking with some interface is for sure a good idea for development.

Thanks for the advice on the term 'toolbar'.

@incrediBill - I had not heard of the OldNavy thing, but it seems very similar. The leaving of the site seems that it could be a problem, though they were probably not going to buy anything in the first place unless they got the coupon. So maybe making it easier to follow along would be a solution? would take away from the challenge though.... It's an interesting balance that needs to be found.