Once in a while, the international press picks up a story that tickles the funny bone...!

On September 26th, Reuters released such a story: 3-Year-Old Buys Pink Convertible on Internet.
The brief account states that a British three-year-old named Jack Neal had managed to purchase, and briefly "own," a Nissan Figaro pink convertible. The desirable car was Pepto Bismol pink–so you can all see what the appeal would be to a toddler.
Jack's mother, Rachel, told the BBC in an interview that she had left her eBay password in her computer. Her son had apparently found it and used the "buy it now" option to complete his transaction. Jack bought the car from a dealership near Worcestershire, England for 9,000 pounds, or approximately $17,000 U.S. dollars.
Rachel Neal: "Jack's a whiz on the PC and just pressed all the right buttons."
Fortunately for Jack's mother, the Worcestershire dealer who was selling the used car, was amused by the child's antics and agreed to re-list the car. While the child is too young to understand the consequences of using eBay, I'm sure his mother has given him a lecture and will be very careful to give him access to the popular auction site in future! Hopefully, Jack hasn't discovered eSnipe yet!
Now we all know that kids, even very young ones, are pretty tech-savvy today. However, it must also be said that eBay is very user-friendly. If it's easy enough for a toddler to use (maybe too easy!), that says plenty. No wonder eBay is such a powerful Internet-based brand.
Businesses should constantly be in the process of constantly reviewing their own Internet sites and improving them if and when necessary. As marketers, we should all be asking ourselves:
How user-friendly is my e-commerce site?
If I were a customer, and came to this site for the first time, how would I rate that experience?
Is the site easy to navigate, or is it confusing? Is it easy to buy on the site, that is, does the site invite the customer to purchase?
Does the site offer the right kind of information so that I'm satisfied my questions about the products or services are sufficiently answered?
If the customer emails additional questions, are these promptly answered? Or, does it take many hours, or even days for my customer service personnel to respond? Even worse: do customer emails go unanswered?
Is my site cluttered with unnecessary jargon? Or does the site make promises or claims we can't deliver on?
Does my site differentiate my product or service offerings as quite distinct from my competitors'?
Do I solicit information from customers on the site by asking them to rate their user experiences, and inviting them to offer comments and suggestions via email. When customers take the time to do this, it can offer meaningful insights.
If we do offer step #8, do we have a customer service person send a short, personal "thank you" note–rather than a canned response? A little human to human, personal contact goes far. Especially these days.
How do I reach out to my best customers and show them a bit of unexpected appreciation to show my gratitude for their business?

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image of Ted Mininni

Ted Mininni is president and creative director of Design Force, a leading brand-design consultancy.

LinkedIn: Ted Mininni