I’m not a true salesperson, I’m a marketer. But my marketing background has provided me this basic tenet: Make the purchasing experience as easy and painless as possible for the consumer. Why do some gigantic corporations not remember this?
With the release of the “next generation” of videogame console systems, the three big companies (Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo) all agree that the online market is a vital area to success. All three companies have pledged to develop online support for gaming. This includes an online marketplace which players can buy games and add-ons for games.
As a result, Microsoft and Nintendo have developed their own point system to be used as money. As an example Nintendo’s point system, called Wii Points, has an exchange rate of 100 to 1. In other words, 100 Wii Points is equal to one dollar. A typical downloadable game will cost anywhere between 500 to 1,000 Wii Points. That’s five to ten dollars. The process of converting the points into dollars is a superfluous step and can become confusing especially when you get into multiple purchases.
Why use a point system? Is it branding gone awry? Perhaps the companies feel the need to brand everything about their service. Or do the companies intentionally want to confuse their users into purchasing more products? I hope not. The only thing a point system does is add an extra, confusing step to the purchasing process. That’s a big mistake.
My advice to these companies is this: Take a hint from Apple’s iTunes. Apples doesn’t use some lame-brain point system to try to brand its service. They use good ol’ American dollars and in doing so avoid any confusing conversions. Sony, who has been generating bad press lately, understands this concept and has decided to avoid using a point system for their online marketplace. To bad their advertising strategy makes no sense…
Make purchasing as simple as possible and customers will want to buy from you. Complicate it and it will make them not want to buy. It’s as simple as that.