Boosting Sales Among Hit-and-Run Web Shoppers

In the Internet age, the challenge for many companies has been building relationships with customers they can’t see or touch – who may visit the company online for only a few fleeting seconds – and getting those customers not only to buy once but to return again and again. Carrier Corp., the world’s largest manufacturer of air conditioning, heating and refrigeration equipment for commercial, residential and transportation applications, found a unique way to get to know its Web visitors and rapidly offer those visitors the products they are most likely to buy.

How? The company teamed with WebMiner, a data-mining application service provider (ASP), to help it identify and pitch targeted offers to its online visitors. Now when potential customers log on to the Carrier site, they are prompted to enter their zip code in exchange for a shipping discount. The zip code guarantees a visitor’s privacy, but more importantly it tells the system enough about the customer to enable Carrier to instantly offer the kind of air conditioner that customer is most likely to buy. For instance, visitors with a zip code from affluent suburban neighborhoods are offered units with remote controls. Zip codes with a high concentration of apartment buildings will generate an offer of a window unit. The offer can be made in banner ads, pop-up windows or dynamic Web pages.

Positive results came quickly. Shortly after signing on with the WebMiner ASP, Carrier saw revenues per visitor increase from $1.47 to $37.42 during a one-month period. During that same month, the service resulted in a visitor-to-sales conversion increase of 2673 percent. In fact, “once the initial installation was complete, it took us less than one hour to close a sale from one of the customized offers generated,” says Paul Berman, manager of global B2C and e-business intelligence for Carrier. “Carrier is now capable of making the right offer to the right visitor in less than 20 milliseconds. Since the average online shopper stays on a home page for only a few seconds, this is a critical capability.”