I was recently doing some research for work when I saw an AD for a really nice pocket watch.  Now I already have a wonderful smart watch but I wanted to go browse the companies catalog and see what other products they had to offer.  So I clicked the link and was taken to their site (I’ll just call them test.com) and was greeted with a Please login Modal, or login with Facebook.  I pondered it for a moment and thought, nah, I just want to see what they have to offer.

So I looked for the little X in the top right to dismiss the modal… nothing…
I searched for a while and couldn’t find a way to get rid of the modal short of creating an account or using my Facebook account… just to see the product catalog?  I closed the site and moved along.

But their ad came up again and it got me to thinking… how many people hit that page and bail like I did?  The analytics on that would be interesting to say the least, but I wondered if they had considered how many people they are losing there.  So I wrote them an email and I got a response from “Joe”.  Now in fairness I may have ranted that they should fire their web marketing strategy firm for suggesting it was ok to force people to login before they can browse your catalog and listed off a number of well known ecommerce sites that will even allow you to add products to your cart before you login.  I likely came off like a crazed web surfer with too much time on my hands.

Your ad campaign from things like this
<image their ad on the web>
might have a higher conversion rate if something like this

<image their login modal>
did not get in the way of people browsing your site and products. You should fire the web marketing strategy company who told you it was "Ok" to force people to login and not allow them to browse to your products before they have created an account.

Joe’s response was respectful, fair, informative and completely missed the point.  Again crazed web surfer…so it may not have been as clear as I would have liked.

Hi Jeff,

Thank you for contacting us here at test.com and for the feedback! We require you become a member because our vendors do not allow us to publicly advertise our prices. This allows us to offer the lowest possible price to our members.

Please let me know if you have any questions!

ok…he got it and he missed…

Here’s the thing… in my original email I never once mentioned prices.  I was explicit when I said “people browsing your site and products”.  Now if your vendors don’t allow you to advertise their products… you need better vendors.  No really “sell my goods but don’t tell anyone you have them” is a lose lose for them and you.  How can you draw in customers if you cant advertise what you have… and what exactly was pictured in your ad if you cant advertise your wares?

Let’s take a quick look at ecommerce platforms…

This problem has been resolved many times.  Please, if you are going to spend marketing dollars to bring new clients/customers to your website, give them a reason to look around.

Not wanting to show your prices is a horrid reason to not show what products you have to offer.

Test.com is not the only group to fall into this trap, nor will they be the last.

Look, if your window display was featured on the news as being unique and wonderful, would you board up the windows and lock the door until the customer passed their ID under the door?
Would you bother passing your ID to get in and look around if you were passing by?
So why would you lock and shutter your virtual shop window after spending money to get people there?

Spend your marketing budget wisely and encourage people to look around, not turn them away; otherwise, you are wasting your money and potential customers time.