Lulu Lens – What Can We Do To Improve the Checkout Process?

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For obvious reasons, we want the checkout process on Lulu to be as easy-to-use as possible, and we want to improve the experience for you and your readers. For example, one of the common questions we hear is that readers would like to be able to purchase books from us without signing up for an account. The problem is that if we don’t have contact information for you, then we cannot let you when an order has shipped or send you a record of the transaction. Reporting any issues with your order becomes harder as well.

That said, there may be ideas for how to make the process easier or even solutions for these issues that we haven’t thought of yet.

Which is why we want to know what you think.

What can we do to improve the checkout process?

27 thoughts on “Lulu Lens – What Can We Do To Improve the Checkout Process?”

  1. Why not offer the ability for customers to follow one of two paths – create an account (and describe the inherent benefits) or complete the order without the account and require an email address along with the customer’s shipping information. This provides you the means to pass shipping confirmations and transaction records for a single purchase.
    I think the solution is pretty clear, and it’s one that many online shops have adopted. I recognize the business and marketing needs that drive the desire to force everyone into an account, but that can also be bad for a bookseller’s business because it creates a cognitive barrier to an impulse buy. If I’m just a casual buyer who has a passing interest in a particular book, I have to pause and say, “Is this $10 book worth having yet another online account on a site I’m just wandering through?”
    I’d be interested to know what Lulu’s conversion rates are. How many visitors put a book in their cart, go to check-out, and bail before purchasing when they’re presented with the account requirement?

  2. Tonya Moore-Johnson

    Check to see if your customers are having any problems with the process of uploading their books to you.

  3. As you stated in the introduction, having customers who are unfamiliar with Lulu and who may be hesitant to enter their personal information and sign up for a site that they are unfamiliar with to buy a book, is the number one area that needs to be changed, in my opinion.
    I think there are other ways in which a customer can just go directly to a series of screens throughout check out, that would allow the customer to purchase the material, with out the feeling that they have to sign up and be a part of Lulu. Paypal is an example of a site that gives you the option of signing up for an account or just entering your credit card information. By entering your credit card info, with address, email and phone number, you gather the same amount of information and it’s considered, placing an order, rather than signing up for a website. The credit card information, along with email information, should be sufficient enough to automatically send tracking numbers and shipping information to the customer. It’s just a matter of formatting your system for that set up. I buy online all the time and most companies use this type of format, with out making the customer feel pressured into signing up for a website community, in order to buy a book.
    So, I think it’s something that your IT team can figure out or look at other sites that do otherwise.

  4. The “signing up for an account” problem is a perception thing. If you get the email address, you have access for notification. I have sold thousands of books on Lulu.com but I had to set up my own website for the MAJORITY who did not want to have to sign up for an account from Lulu. But I have an email for everyone of my customers. It is the perception of AN ACCOUNT with Lulu that is the barrier, not getting an email address.
    Improving check out for members: Let us lock in the PayPal selection for method of payment. What a pain having to reset it every single purchase.
    Have an address override function for the delivery address. Many experiences with having a customer upset because the address they use for themselves every day does not match your address-database and stops the check-out process.
    I would love to see these changes made. The PayPal lock-in thing is a convenience issue, but the other two issues cost me sales.
    best wishes,
    Denis

  5. Another improvement, for heavy sellers, provide a search function for stored shipping addresses, or alphabetize them. It is time-consuming looking through the entire list for customers’ addresses that have made it through Lulu’s address-checking database.
    Thanks for listening.
    best wishes,
    Denis

  6. alas! i now have two lulu accounts, neither of which i can access, because my username/password combinations are never recognized. i asked my password be sent, in case i had forgotten it, but no, what i was using was what you had stored. i have reset everything to the lowest security values, &tc., all with no avail.
    i was hoping to publish a few books with lulu, but now i’m having serious second thoughts.
    pax et caritas,
    dale

  7. Jessica,
    Can you give me an example of what you mean by “one click upsells”?
    Chris,
    That’s an interesting solution, and one I will definitely make sure our product managers take a look at.
    Tonya,
    Do you mean in general, or are you having trouble uploading right now?
    Sir Paco and Denis,
    Great suggestions and I will make sure the product managers take a look at them.
    Jim,
    I just searched on the site under your name and the title of the book and it came up fine for me. Are you still having trouble?
    Dale,
    Are you receiving any kind of error message when you try to log in?

  8. When the buyer chooses a book, CD or item to purchase and clicks on the BUY button; Lulu.com could market [with a short video] the benefits of joining Lulu.com and then give the buyer the option to join Lulu.com at checkout; if the buyer doesn’t want to join, at least get their name, address, phone, and email when they checkout and purchase the item. That way Lulu.com can continue to send valuable coupons to the customers and encourage repeat business to Lulu.com. Lulu.com could offer a discount card with a membership number; and when the customer has spent a certain amount of money on purchases; the buyer can be given a special discount on their next purchase.

  9. 1) Multiple copies of ebooks!!! I wanted to buy copies of an ebook for myself and a few friends but could only pay for one. Sure, I can illegally send them the file, but I want to support the author. At the very least, there should be a “gift” option — so that you can buy an ebook and have Lulu email it to the recipient, or send them a link in email to download it.
    2) Being able to purchase something without having to create an account would be nice.
    3) A value-add to the account creation process might be to do something like Baen does with their online e-library: put, say, $20 into your account, which you can then use to purchase things

  10. innumerable other net stores find it very easy to accomodate buyers without forcing them to become members of a service they dont want. Until this is fixed I cannot vend through the storefront, it is costing me too much in ill will plus lost sales. So far it has proved damaging to me and I feel i was misled on the nature of the service you claimed to be offering me; it was embarrassing when it was first brought to my attention, since the customer felt I was to blame, so that made me feel both defensive and pretty stupid not to have known ahead of time the trap I was setting for my customers.. feels rotten

  11. I think it may be better if the buyer did not have to become a member. Or the word member not be used. I believe this turns some people away. I am mailing a book, this very week, to a lady who did not want to become a member. If the customer could just go through the purchasing by placing all of their contact information at the very end. You know, while checking out, I think this would make them feel more as they do when they purchase from other companies. Thank you.

  12. Lanette,
    Those are some really interesting ideas!
    starlady42,
    Great suggestions!
    Maureen,
    Can you give me some examples of sites you’ve seen that offer check-out without registration? I would love to take a look at a large variety and see what some different solutions are so we can look at all of the possibilities available.
    Marilyn,
    Good point. Do you think most people would be willing to provide an email address and be comfortable with creating an order history (as opposed to becoming a member)?

  13. Hi Nick, I feel the need to “become a member” is annoying to those who only wish to shop and may have no desire or clue as to why they need to become members. I suggest separating the process to BUY and BECOME A MEMBER, with the BUY being as simple as possible. Secondly, I sell books out of my own inventory (sourced from you)and would like those buyers to leave testimonials, but I feel very uncomfortable asking them to first “become a member” – a seemingly unnecessary step, before they can leave a testimonial. We both lose potential future sales in this regard. Peter

  14. Yes, make the buying process as simple as it can be.
    Becoming a member for creators is fine, but a buyer just wants to get a book.
    Postage should be shown as soon as possible – cheapest option by default.
    And postage should be kept to a minimum. Current rates are good but there have been some eye-watering rates in the past. I’m thinking of UK orders here, but I understand other countries have suffered too.
    If the checkout process is right then Lulu can be made unbeatable.

  15. Nick,
    Yes I believe most people would be comfortable giving their e-mail address. I do this often without even thinking. I feel while one is checking out, after a purchase, they may feel this is a common thing. I think telling someone they have to become a member makes them believe they are being tricked or something. Some may believe they are joining something like a book club. You know, one like they used to do mailings on all of the time. A person buys a book, but then next month they must buy another one, etc. I don’t know all the reasons, but the few customers I have did not want to join. Thanks

  16. It would be really nice if it was possible to offer some of my customer discount codes. I (and I assume many other creators) would be interested in attracting more customers through offering discounts for our products only to use on lulu. Of course, the creator would lose the revenue, not lulu.
    Also, streamline checkout. Collect name and email during the order sheet, not beforehand. That way customers are more likely to complete the transaction as they don’t feel like they are “signing up” for something.
    Thanks!

  17. Ruth Bredbenner

    Buyers would like to see something inside of book before they purchase.
    Can you make this possible ?

    1. Hi Ruth,
      Lulu is built with preview capabilities for any work, but it is up to the author of the content to enable that preview.

  18. I just aborted a Lulu checkout because it insisted on my giving it a telephone number. Could have generated a random one, I guess, but why on earth is that mandatory, no other bookseller I deal with insists on my providing a telephone number.

    1. Hi Danny – Your feedback goes a long way with us. We’re in the process of rolling out registration-less checkout, which should alleviate this pain point. Thanks for taking the time to give us your feedback.

  19. so, i want a book from this website, but i have to create yet another internet account that will have my information, and for what? to buy one book. ONE book. after i buy it, If i do, i’m probably never going to buy another book. there should be a second option for buyers who don’t want an account. i mean, you’ll have their contact info anyway, so, why not?

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