Sales Lost to Great Design

Posted on 14. May, 2009 by in Education

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What if you just spent thousands on a shinny new website and you noticed sales have dropped but not just by 1% or 2%, what if sales dropped by a whopping 15% and you don’t know why, what would you check first?

Well oddly this happened; however not as dramatic to a merchant I work with. I seen sales drop by 8% based on previous months this year. Sales just dropped but tracking was working. The new site they put up looked great, I could easily see how it could help conversions but still the stats (and money I was making) showed sales had dropped. So I fired off an email and it fell on deaf ears, couldn’t call the merchant as not one I had contact details for and wasn’t on one of the UK networks so couldn’t get on the Bat phone to someone I know.

I was left thinking, either I am getting ripped off or the economic downturn has really taken its toll and I thought, oh well good converter for me dropped and left it at that. However when I was talking with Graeme who works with me at Paid On Results I just happened to say a few things that triggered a response from him, “bet the site doesn’t work in IE6” and my response was, “who uses that these days”.. Well it turns out 15.4% do, according to w3school.com. I was shocked to find that it is the 3rd most used browser in the market.

Browser Statistics for April 2009

Firefox 47.1%
IE7 23.2%
IE6 15.4%
Chrome 4.9%
IE8 3.5%
Safari 3.0%
Opera 2.2%

See full stats at http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp

So why is this a big deal? Well the site in question (not linking to it as I am one of the few promoting this niche and can do without the competition) went super 2.0 on it’s design in fact the style sheets have so much new code with no backward compatibility that the fancy buy now buttons (a transparent PNG) can’t be seen on the page correctly, in fact the page is a mess in IE6.

I never noticed this because like most folk who are online full time, I have the latest version of IE, Firefox and Opera installed (will get Chrome soon) and when I check websites I do it on these 3, thinking great it works for everyone! Graeme on the other hand has to run machines that have all the most used and up to date browsers on and that includes IE6 so can test tracking, content units etc.

So while everyone should always strive for great web design, think about your audience and check it works for them because you could be losing out on customers and have no idea its happening. And no telling your customers to upgrade browsers to buy from you, that won’t work 😉

5 Responses to “Sales Lost to Great Design”

  1. Marc Gear

    14. May, 2009

    This is a great post, its really important to make sure that your site works in the browsers your visitors are using. Don’t just take w3cschools word for it though – you should check which browser versions your visitors are by using your own analytics. Internet wide statistics wont tell you if 20% of your visitors are still using IE 5.5 on a Mac (god forbid)

  2. UB

    03. Jun, 2009

    I have used something called “IE Tester” < Google it + it’s free. It’s a browser that displays web pages on all versions of internet explorer. Good to check that your website actually displays correctly. We had a similar problem a while ago, out website button’s weren’t displaying!!

  3. Lisa Bailey

    25. Jun, 2009

    I had a client this morning who’s website has needed tweaking for IE8 and in chatting I told him that a lot of people still use IE6. He was like “why? I get automatic upgrades from Microsoft”. Yes, but soooo many people in the world get scared of doing anything online, and so “upgrade”?! No thank you very much!

    How much longer will we have to support IE6 for?! That’s 3 Microsoft browsers to support now!

  4. Paul

    29. Jul, 2009

    Been burnt by this a couple of times before – the ie6 page failed to load for one of my web sites – a dialog box popped up and the page didn’t display.

    God only knows how much Microsoft have cost web design agencies in building their useless IE6 browser – what a headache it must be.

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  1. Jesse Owen - 18 May 2009

    […] Check out this great article from Clarke Duncan – Sales Lost to Great Design, which explains why checking your website works in IE 6 is so […]