Room For Improvement…
A recent survey carried out by leading specialist publication, Retail Week has revealed that over 50% of consumers believe that improving online services is one of the best ways in which retailers can enhance their shopping experience. So what works best when making those improvements?
In order to meet the challenge and provide a better experience, we need to identify exactly what works best for the online shopper…
Speaking as a dedicated shopper, both on and off line (but better stick to the relevant !), I would plump for ease of usability every time when it comes to internet shopping. If your site is difficult to navigate and slow, then you’ve lost me. Easy navigation is critical. A visitor needs to work his or her way around your site with little or no effort so keep it simple. There are too many other sites out there selling a similar offering for me to linger long and most of them will be aware of my interest and be reminding me of what I’ve previously viewed, with adverts interrupting my Facebook time and popping up as I shop, so you really need to do everything in your power to keep me on side.
I don’t really want to have to think about where my next click is going to be, I just want to engage with the content. Speaking of which, the merging of content and commerce is a critical blend. Good websites get it right by providing content that is informative and engaging, appealing to the audience’s interests as they sell.
Don’t forget, you’re selling me a tangible product. I want to see it even if I can’t touch it so good photography is key. An image speaks a thousand words but if it’s a bad image that’ll make it a thousand bad words ! Sharp, clear and professional product shots are the only way to go.
Video is also a great supporting device, particularly for items like clothing where the mini catwalk show provides an extra dollop of visualisation. Nothing beats seeing a product in use - again, done well, it adds to the incentive to buy.
You should have an idea of what the majority of your visitors like so lead with the most popular products and refresh them regularly. A really good product range will ensure that your visitors aren’t disappointed and they may well even be tempted to buy more than they intended when they see the extent of what’s on offer.
I also like the reassurance of good customer service. If I know that the returns policy is good and that delivery is quick and doesn’t cost the earth – and I like this all flagged up, particularly the former – then I feel a lot happier making the purchase. Make sure you remind visitors of how good your service actually is. Don’t take it as read – if it’s not shouted about on the website, then it isn’t.
Finally, your website should be built using responsive design technology – to be digested easily, regardless of the device it is viewed on – for the optimum user experience. If I can’t view the content I want to easily and efficiently on my phone then I’m afraid you lost me at ‘hello’.