After studying the habits of its site visitors, E*Trade decided it needed a better way of capturing potential new clients. E*Trade discovered that "over 50% of the people coming to the site to open an online account were abandoning somewhere in the process," notes Aaron Baldwin, director of product development, at Output Technology Solutions. He adds, "We know that the majority of that activity takes place at work, therefore connections can be lost. Someone could be asked for a piece of information that they don' t have right there, or they may be asked for data that is too personal," he adds. E*Trade needed a way to capture those people to lift its conversion ratio.
As a result, E*Trade looked to Output to design a product, which it calls Rapid NetSale, says Frank Gutierrez, E*Trade senior product manager. The product captures information that has been inputed on the Web by potential clients. It then converts the data into an application form and e-mails the form to one of Output's 11 distribution sites around the country. Next, the vendor prints the application and mails it to the address entered on the site. From the time that the person visited E*Trade's Web site to the time that the client receives the application and a welcome kit in the mail, only 1.8 days has elapsed. Baldwin says, the application is accompanied by a letter saying something to the effect of, "You came to our site, and for whatever reason in the process you abandoned. Here's the information you've given us. If you wouldn't mind completing the information and sending a check, we will activate this account for you."
"The longer the time went by on the mailing, the likelihood of them becoming account holders decreased," Gutierrez adds. He nor Baldwin would release the change in the new account rate since the inception of the product in December. They would only say it has improved. Output adds that another major online brokers is close to signing for the same technology, but Baldwin would not name it.