Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Most Returned Products Work Fine, Study Says

Accenture, the global consulting firm just completed a study.... Over 95% of all returned products work fine... The take away from the article should be a wake up call to anyone - Whether you're a product manager , marketing pro , regardless of what type of product your selling.

So why are a whopping 95% of products being returned? USABILITY ... or as I referred in an earlier post using the known term KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid). Companies should have an executive on board, their CGO (Chief Grandma Officer), because if Grandma can't use it you flunked on UI 101.

It never ceases to amaze me that this continues on day after day. From my toaster whose designer does not understand that toast needs to eject at least enough for one to grasp it. To Bluetooth's implementation which makes it virtually impossible to connect a Bluetooth enabled device without having a degree. Have you tried setting up a home network?!!

Now I am cognizant of he fact that this study refers to consumer electronics, but if you're marketing a Web 2.0 or consumer software product like I do KISS needs to be your rule number #1 as well.

Want an easy example of this in the software space? Look at recently deadpooled Meetro; Meetro had a cool product, but the software needed to be downloaded and installed (I believe to a cell phone). According to a postmortem comment by one of its founders

"In the end, though, the drop off that happened once people had to download and install Meetro was HUGE and didn’t help us at all. If I recall, it was something in the 80 to 90% range. It crushed adoption rates."

Now granted there could be other factors why Meetro had a 95% drop off rate (One important one I will reference in a latter post is Trust) the point is that software is no different then hardware (95% return rate = 95% "Walk away from your shopping cart" = 95% "abandon their download", etc. etc.

1) Keep It Simple !!! Can not stress this enough

2) Functionality over Features ...(just because you think it would make a cool feature, do not cram it down the throats of your existing users) if a feature is arcane, consider putting access to it via an "Options" panel.

3) Tell them (your users) what you are going to tell them, tell them what you just told them (Introduction, Lesson, Summary) - This can be via UI, user manual, FAQ, Blog, etc (NOTE - People do not read - so this is a fallback)

4) Make sure they know your reputation (Trust) - Truste,Verisign, Better Business Burue, Webbuzz...

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