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#3.03: The “Getting Paid Issue” Issue

1> Make It Easy: eHobbies, Topica, and PayPal
2> Make It Automatic: Drugstore.com’s “Your List”
3> Make It Embarrassing: Soldier.net
4> Hungry? Get A Cake-Jet Printer

1> Make It Easy: eHobbies, Topica, and PayPal

When you get an email offer from eHobbies, it includes a link that lets you purchase the product right from the email, without ever visiting their Web site. How do they do it? A new partnership between Topica, an email publishing service, and PayPal, the peer-to-peer payment company, allows merchants to offer one-click ordering in any email campaign. With a few clicks, emailers using Topica can add a “Buy Now With PayPal” button. When readers click on the link, PayPal takes the payment, sends the customer information to the marketers, and confirms the transaction. It only takes about 15 minutes for the merchant to configure, and it only takes two minutes for the consumer to make a purchase.

THE LESSON: All online merchants worry about losing customers on the way to completing the checkout process. Eliminate as many steps as you can and you’ll increase the close rate.

2> Make It Automatic: Drugstore.com’s “Your List”

In the real world, we run into the drug store, grab the same stuff we always buy, and we’re out in 15 minutes. Drugstore.com has replicated the same experience with their “Your List” function. It tracks what you’ve bought and lists it all on a single shopping list. With a few clicks you can replace your deodorant, shampoo, and a dozen other boring items. They’ll also email you the list on a regular basis, with the ability to order right from the email. You can refill your medicine cabinet without ever visiting the site — and without ever visiting a competitor.

THE LESSON: Everyone is too busy. If your product needs regular replenishment, allow your customers to automatically buy more from you with the minimum amount of hassle.

Learn more

3> Make It Embarrassing: Soldier.net

ISP Soldier.net has figured out a simple system to keep the payments coming in on time. They embarrass the deadbeats. Most ISPs turn off the accounts of delinquent customers. On Soldier.net, anyone who sends an email to a delinquent account gets autoreply that says, “Your message is being held pending delivery to this unpaid account. Please notify the recipient that after they pay the subscription fee your message will be delivered.” We suspect that the peer pressure does the trick. The only downside is the risk that those non-paying customers will be so angry that they never come back.

THE LESSON: We all know that the Internet is a giant community. Sometimes a little community pressure gets the job done.

4> Hungry? Get A Cake-Jet Printer

Put your pretty face on a chocolate cake. Ever wonder how bakeries print photos right on the frosting of a cake? With very tasty technology from PhotoFrost that lets you print edible photos that really are the icing on your cake.

Check it out:
http://www.computercakes.com/photofrost.htm

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