What is wrong with the Crazy Baker website?

Via the New York Times, Mr. Hitzig, aka the Crazy Baker, made an appeal to the world to help with the question, “Why is the Crazy Baker getting such low conversion?”:

Mr. Hitzig is savvy when it comes to Web design and marketing. He has a great domain name. He utilizes social media extensively with presences on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn. His content management system gives him the power to perform a number of search-engine optimization operations, and he has worked hard to get the best possible online search placements.

But when it comes to selling online — the only metric that really matters — the site thus far has failed to deliver. “We are on our third Web site, and it is definitely the best one yet,” Mr. Hitzig said. “We are actually quite pleased with it. However, our conversion rate is dismal.”

As laid out here:

But we don’t have to take his word for it. The Crazy Baker has gotten lots of television exposure — with his brownies touted by both Martha Stewart and Rachael Ray. Those mentions drove enormous traffic to the site. But even the people sent by Martha Stewart and Rachael Ray didn’t buy. “A recurring low point,” said Mr. Hitzig, “is when we get a great mention, such as on ‘The Rachael Ray Show,’ and we got a lot of hits, but only one order. We still get hits from the Ray show, but they don’t convert.” So what’s the problem?

That then ends with this plea:

And please tell us what you think: What are the site’s best and worst features? What’s missing? What’s confusing? What would be the best way to market this site? But most important, please help us answer this question: Why aren’t more people buying the products online?

What is wrong? In my opinion, everything except the technology. The marketing person in charge (and probably the web designer) should be fired.

Mr. Hitzig should look in the mirror as well.

These are the issues:

  1. Product mix. The Crazy Baker is not crazy enough. With a name like Crazy Baker, I am expecting wildly unique products. Instead Crazy Baker sells Brownies. Perhaps very good brownies, but brownies that look exactly like brownies that I can make myself. Yawn.
  2. Presentation. Once again with a name like “Crazy” Baker, I am not expecting a generic look. Why are you calling yourself “The Crazy Baker”?? The story should be on the front page. I am expecting something a little off the wall. Mr. Hitzig should look at woot, Trader Joes, Zappos, and BlendTec (look at the “Will it blend?” videos) for inspiration. Lose the boring typeface and get a little crazy.
  3. Don’t bury the reviews. Customer reviews should not be buried. Look at Zappos’s website and notice how reviews are promoted to the front page.
  4. Newsletter. The Crazy Baker asks for an email address to send a newsletter. However,
    • no offer attached to giving an email address – I suggest a 10% discount on the first order, free shipping, something.
    • How often is the newsletter being sent?
    • Are there any specials offered in the newsletter?
    • Is there any information in the newsletter? For example, baking tips or recipes? Something that would keep a person subscribed until they are ready to buy.
  5. Use of Social Media
    • Twitter The days of people using twitter to announce bowel movements are over. Business are expected to use twitter to announce special deals, offer timely information, or offers. The CrazyBaker twitter offers no real content or compelling reason to follow.
    • Facebook. The facebook page is a little better because facebook is a chitchat forum. But it still feels light. There is no real compelling reason to buy anything. Nothing driving a purchase. Mr. Hitzig should consider offers to people who “like” the Crazy Baker’s facebook page.
  6. Videos. Mr. Hitzig should realize that he is not selling a visual product, he is selling an olfactory and gustatory product, he needs to convert this aspect of his product to a visual presentation. Specifically, he should create web videos that shows and describes how good the product tastes and smells. These videos should be authentic (i.e. not staged):
    • how he makes his product,
    • showing random people appreciating and commenting.
    • video clips from TV mentions,
    • how to select quality ingredients (i.e. the ingredients that The Crazy Baker uses)
  7. Reset expectations and ask for help. Research other food, non-competing companies selling through a web site. What conversion do they see? It could be that the conversion Mr. Hitzig is seeing is in fact quite good for his industry. He should network and ask for suggestions. Perhaps he could start with popchips
  8. No Call To Action. There should be a daily special with a “Buy now” button on the home page.
  9. A/B Testing! Just because you like the website doesn’t mean it is better. Try creating different websites (maybe only different in styling) and see which version results in better conversion.

However, overall I feel the problem is not with the technology but rather the marketing.

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