This week’s micro-ISV volunteer for my Weekly Site Review post is Robin Kohli, founder of Tucson, Arizona-based E-junkie.

E-junkie is a micro-ISV and provides a service to micro-ISVs who want to streamline their ecommerce processing and followup. Specifically, E-junkie sells a shopping cart service that works with a variety of payment processors (PayPal, Google, ClickBank, Authorize.net) without delving into each processor’s API and with a variety of useful features like storage and delivery of electronic products, registration code delivery at the time of purchase, automatic follow up email, shipping/postage/sales tax/VAT calculation, affiliate program discounts and more.

That’s quite a monthful, isn’t it? J We’ll get to that in a moment, but here’s how E-junkie scored out (1 is great, 5 means it really, really needs work):

What

Score

First Actionable Task

USP

5

Write one and boil your features down to one understandable message.

Benefits/Features

2

Sidebar of main features works, but main text does not.

Visuals

5

Kill the Logo! Existing process graphic is confusing – strongly in need of a screencast.

Testimonials

3

Rewrite home page to use the great testimonials you have and do some sort of expandable client gallery.

Credibility Markers

4

Get some third party markers going, add a 30-day money back guarantee and a privacy policy.

Tech Support

4

One giant FAQ/instructions list does not cut it.

Blog

5

Either kill Community or give it the attention it needs.

Overall Average:

4.3

This site needs a lot of work to be worthy of what looks like a really cool product.

USP

(The USP – Unique Selling Proposition – is the most important part of your site. It’s your first foot forward, you first impression and the basis for all else on your micro-ISV product’s site rolled into one.)

E-junkie lack of a clear, concise, understandable USP is in my opinion the biggest thing working against it. Here’s what a prospective customer sees when they arrive at E-junkie for the first time:


What’s the USP? “We help you sell online” doesn’t cut it. Someone else saying “since we started to use it, our sales have increased” makes no sense yet – it? What is it?

The USP sets up the story, gives the prospective customer an anchor of understanding what all these features, boxes and stuff mean. For example,

“E-junkie’s advanced ecommerce cart makes it easy for micro and small businesses to start selling in minutes. Unlike other ecommerce cart services, E-junkie doesn’t take your customers away from your web site, doesn’t require a programmer, doesn’t restrict you to one payment vendor and doesn’t run out of features you might need.”

The above is still a bit wordy, but it makes clear what the cart service does, who will get the most out of it and why it’s better – for those micro and small businesses who want to sell now. Orientate. Relate. Differentiate.

The lack of a USP is bad, but there’s something even worse. The eyes in presumably the E-junkie logo. They stare at you. Then they blink. Then they go back to staring at you. Then they blink. I kid you not. They are decidedly creepy after a while – a short while. To say they detract from the marketing message is a gross understatement.

Benefits/Features

This is a mixed bag. On one hand we have this as the main feature:

We provide you shopping cart and buy now buttons to let you sell downloads and tangible goods on your website, eBay, MySpace, Google Base, Yahoo stores and other websites using PayPal, Google Checkout, Authorize.Net, 2CheckOut and ClickBank.”

Try saying that sentence. Take a biiig breath. Fourteen nouns and a missing article do not make a feature.

On the other hand, there’s Lower your cart abandonment rate with our lightweight, pop-up free, installation free shopping cart that works in your site. Ah, that’s more like it. A benefit – fewer cart abandonment (losing sales, bad thing) – backed up by the features that give plausibility to the benefit: lightweight, popup free, installation free, works in my site. That’s a reasonable argument to advance – it’s not proven yet, but it’s going in the right direction.

My advice is leave the text of the sidebar of benefits alone (although separate it from the podcast box with some sort of headline like “What E-junkie does for you”) and replace the main text with simple a simple to understand narrative. It should connect to and further explain the (missing) USP, restate the big benefits and cover the other benefits of working with E-Junkie like a one charge with no hidden fees.

Visuals

The longer I was on E-junkie’s site, the creepier those staring/blinking eyes became. Logos are worse should be visually pleasant things to look at – and they should not look back at you!

You know what got my attention about this ecommerce cart? The cart demo when I finally found it. Here’s what you see when you add an item in the demo:



Cool. The cart pops up, but you are still on the site and you can pick which company you want to pay for. This I get. A screencast/video of someone buying something at an E-junkie-enabled store versus buying something without the E-junkie cart would powerfully sell this service. In fact, when I went to one of the two actual stores shown on the demo page that I could really see how E-junkie (despite the name) might be a good thing to go with.

Testimonials

E-junkie has a very nice page of happy customers and excellent testimonials – buried on its own page, with the blurb from Damon Williams, PayPal Developer Program overused on each and every page. I count 21 excellent testimonials – they were more informative than the main copy – that are at the bottom of this page. This is like flushing gold down the toilet.

I strongly suggest you get these testimonials to the home page where they belong. Not all 21 at once – either 3 or 4 with a more button, or some sort of gallery. And while you’re doing a gallery, some sort of expando gallery of your clients or self changing display would be good too.

Buying a software application requires X amount of trust, where X equals the number of dollars, euros or pounds you want from me. Wanting to be involved in the process of how I get paid requires a lot more trust. E-junkie needs to first use the testimonials it has better, then go get more (customer videos, audios would work well).

Credibility Markers

The PayPal badge on the home page and the quote (once) are nice, but I’d like to see a Better Business Bureau badge there, or some other third party business endorsement, such as a VeriSign Secured badge. The more, the better. For the same reason, E-junkie needs a phone number, physical address and a link to its privacy policy (which I could not find) on every page.

Tech Support

E-junkie seems to have its heart in the right place, although sentences like this: “please e-mail us at info@e-junkie.com or contact us here and we will help you out.” need some polishing. The big letdown is the help page – its one really long page (19 pagedowns~!) with lots of complicated-looking instructions. This information needs to be restructured so that if you are looking for an answer to a question you will not be overwhelmed by all the other answers to all the other questions available.

If you dig, really dig, you’ll find a forum – either this forum should get the attention it deserves or be put out of its misery.

Blog

There’s something that might be meant as a blog on the Community Tab:


A blog is a web page with categories, an RSS Feed and posts in reverse chronological order, right? Wrong. There is someone home at a blog, this “Community” blog has the lights on, but no one is minding the house. Too strong? Well, check out the bottom of this post and explain why an ecommerce site would want this post on it. And lose the Google ads while you are at it – they make no sense whatsoever on a company-sponsored blog.

Communities are a good, good thing. But they need leadership, attention and above all else moderation.

Overall

Overall, I think E-junkie has a sellable product that people – including micro-ISVs – would benefit by. Certainly, their client list and testimonials are very impressive. But they need to get their USP together, use their testimonials better and clean up some very dusty corners of their site if they want a micro-ISV site worthy of their product.

As a first doable set of steps, see the First Actionable Tasks at the top of this post.

+++

The Weekly Site Review is a regular feature of MyMicroISV.com. Please add your comments, rebuttals and opinions! If you’d like to volunteer your micro-ISV’s web site for a free public review, please email bobw@safarisoftware.com. Micro-ISV’s only need apply!

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8 Comments

  1. Weekly Site Review Review
    Why not make the scores normal. 5/5 good – 1/5 bad. Instead of your current upside down scoring system.
    Perhaps you are keen golfer? 🙂

  2. Great review as usual. For this specific site/product I would also consider changing the name. Junkie sure isn’t a positive word in my part of the world…

  3. bobw Reply

    Colin – I guess I was thinking how much effort a site needed – a lot to a little. Will give it some thought.
    Brian – I wasn’t thrilled with the name, but I’d felt I had beat up Robin enough for one day!

  4. Hey Bob, Thanks for reviewing it thoroughly. I am really thankful that you reviewing each and every detail and this is something which will definitely help us a lot.
    Apart from the logo, I agree with you on pretty much every aspect and some of it is already on the To-Do. So, now I know for sure we are on the right track and I guess by the end of this year, we will be where I am imagine we should be. I guess at that time it will be great to be reviewed again as it will be a nice comparison (like “then” and “now”).
    As for the name and logo, when we started, we were only limited to musicians and graphic artists and they loved the name and loved the logo and that’s why we went with it. Even now, when we have clients selling pretty much everything, we still get email from people telling that they love the logo! We rarely get a client who does not like the “mean” logo or “junkie”. However, since we do not force our branding on their sites, it’s not something which they consider as an issue.
    I personally like the logo as I think it stays with you (well, in your case it will be bad since it creeps you out .. ) .. and to be honest we are not a conventional stuffy e-commerce company with a bulky system ( i hope you know the kind i am talking about..). We like to play around, have fun .. and I guess the logo just makes it clear in an uncanny kind of way. That’s what we are and that’s the kind of clients we are going for.
    I mean, if PayPal can showcase our logo on their solutions page and it’s the _only_ logo on PayPal France’s digital delivery solution page, I really don’t think even the biggest of our clients will have an issue with it.

  5. >>>Why not make the scores normal. 5/5 good – 1/5 bad. Instead of your current upside down scoring system.
    Let me second this. I thought it was a rave review at first!

  6. I pretty much agree with your major points – the USP, trappings of ultra-security, and the on-line help – but think you gave the small criticisms too much weight. Yeah, the logo is funky, but it doesn’t have to show on my site. It fact, if I understand this correctly, e-junkie is pretty much invisible to my customers.
    My uncertainty is because I’m actually in the process of deciding on a vender of this type of service. I have a connection with one of the bigger players, but it’s too much hassle to set up and use, and pricier. If e-junkie is as easy and clean as my current understanding, it will be the replacement.
    One thing I like: I had a question and sent an email at around 2 AM the other day. A useful and clear answer was in my box at 2:30. That sort of response is a factor you didn’t note.

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