Optimum Online Spins Sticky Sales Web


Cablevision Systems Corp. reported strong results from the upgraded Web site for its Optimum Online high-speed Internet service (www.optimumonline.com), which the company projects will double the number of subscribers attracted in cyberspace.

The MSO has also gained new cable-modem customers through telemarketing and its consumer-electronics retail chain, The Wiz. Though it will continue to promote Optimum Online through those channels, Cablevision aims to move more customers to make their buys online.

"We are supporting the Web site as one of the most efficient channels of sales," Optimum Online vice president of product strategy Valerie Green said. "We'll be throwing quite a bit of weight behind the channel."

Green said the site outperforms other sales methods, because it's inexpensive and tends to attract customers less susceptible to disconnecting.

"We see a very low amount of churn through the channel," Green said. "It's very sticky."

Online sales tend to attract intelligent customers who can use the revised site to learn a great deal about the product.

"The Web is a very natural means of selling the Internet," said Cablevision director of retail Web sites Dermot McCormack.

McCormack could not share specific sales numbers that came through the site or other channels, but said online sales increased 100 percent over last year's figures.


He attributed the uptick to a simpler configuration flow, which allows a visitor to make a purchase in three simple steps. The first move is determining by ZIP code whether the Optimum Online service is available within a given neighborhood.

Cablevision conducted usability studies to determine why some consumers fill up an online shopping cart, but leave it before completing a purchase. Since the site was updated, abandonment rates have decreased dramatically, McCormack said.

Optimum Online also added customer relationship-management software that gauges how many times a given Web surfer visits the sales site without committing to a subscription.

"We can customize the information to make it easier to close the sale," McCormack said.

Cablevision uses "just about every marketing vehicle" available to promote its Optimum Online sales site, added Green, including direct mail, electronic mail, Internet pop-up and banner ads, television, radio and print.