Posts from the ‘navigation, ecommerce’ Category
August 4, 2014
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? If you add functionality to your site, you have to know what the customer expectation will be- and deliver on it. Getting it ALMOST right is the same as getting it wrong.
Here’s an example: one day, I was shopping on one of my favorite flash-sale sites- amazing brands and products at unusually great deals. What’s not to love? But there are so many items, and I have limited time and patience. That’s why I was so glad to see a refine-by-size feature that allows me to sort by just the product that would work for me- good! That’s a best practice, especially for a sale in which quantities are limited.
The rub? When the refine-by-size feature doesn’t deliver real-time information, it’s worse than having no refinements at all- because you’ve set my expectations for a personalized result, but then let me down on the delivery. Advice? Turn the refinements off until you can get it right. It’s not a value-add if it’s only right sometimes (like a faulty clock: it’s right at LEAST twice a day…).
I realize there are reasons these things happen- someone made a business decision based on a technical limitation or a tradeoff on site speed vs. accuracy…there are always drivers for things like this. But the bottom line is the customer experience you deliver. If you make a promise (showing a refinement by size)- then you have to deliver on it well or there’s no point. A bad experience actually detracts from the perception of your brand (they don’t deliver!). Customers will bail on your site a lot faster when frustrated with the functionality.
This is just one tiny example of the many decisions brands make every day that impact customer experience. Make sure you understand the impact when you make the business decision. If it’s not worth doing right- it may not be worth doing at all.
June 14, 2014
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s not always the case.
If you want customers to interact with your site, you have to make it really easy. Really, really easy. If you make me sign-in or register to write a review, save to my wish list, or respond to a poll- I get it- you need to make sure I have a stake in what I’m putting on your site, that I’m not anonymous, and may therefore think a little more carefully about what I say or do. So I’ll do it. But do your part: remember where I was, and take me back.
A good experience: I click ‘submit a review’. The site asks me to sign-in or register. I do it. After I sign-in, the site takes me to the next logical page in the path I was trying to take to begin with: the ‘submit a review’ form for the item I was looking at.
A bad experience: leaving me on the My Account page after I sign-in. Why am I here?
This isn’t one of those things that will give you an instant bump in conversion- but it IS one of the things that will enable your customer to easily connect with you, potentially stay on the site a little longer, and feel better about it, too.
The quickest way to lose a customer’s interest is to make it a chore to get involved. If I’m trying to interact with you, and you leave me on your “My Account” page after I sign in, am I going to go back and navigate to that product again? Maybe. Or maybe not. I would have to be pretty motivated. I can’t see wanting to submit my review that badly.
People don’t necessarily notice when you have a seamless site experience. But they notice when you don’t.
October 29, 2012
Think old-school office supplies are on the way out? Paperless offices, Evernote, iPads, laptops, iPhones- there are so many ways to plug in and make your to-do’s a scheduled reminder list, your notes an archivable, searchable library on Evernote, or a quick email after a meeting. But the truth is, there are die-hard note-takers out here. There are paper lovers and pen collectors. There are those of us who are on a never-ending quest for the perfect pen, the perfect notebook- the proverbial blank page that invites and inspires and satisfies as you check off your to-do list, like no program, application or device can.
This is where Poppin comes in.
Of course, we need our technology, and we love that too. This is different. This is love at first sight.
Poppin’s tagline is “work happy”, and everything about the website reflects it. The copy is light-hearted and friendly- The people you can call for help are called “work stylists” who can set you up with a desk to love. On the Help page, the stylists are described this way:
“Each Poppin Work Stylist has been carefully chosen because they like to smile, have exquisite taste and looooove talking to people.”
The website itself is entertaining, fun and has a great design sensibility- you can shop visually by color as a secondary navigation bar at the top of the site. The copy is believable and genuine, with a sense of humor. They “pinky-promise to take any Poppin product back that does not make you work happy.”
The branding is superb, end-to-end. The package arrives with writing on the outside, and air-bubbles on the inside printed with funny quotes. You actually want to save the air bubbles- they’re that cute. And a week or two after my package arrived, I got a hand-written thank you note on a Poppin card, mentioning my specific items.
All in all, it’s a complete delight. It’s not to say we won’t keep using Evernote and iPads and laptops. But it doesn’t hurt to have a desk that makes you smile everyday. Check it out at Poppin.com.
October 26, 2011
When I think about the websites I enjoy shopping, they all have one thing in common: simplicity. And by that, I do not mean a paucity of options, detail or content. I mean a well-curated, carefully edited navigation, content that is clearly organized and merchandised, links that are clear about where they are going, and steps that simply make intuitive sense. These are the kind of sites that are a pleasure to shop- whether you are a power-shopper, like me, or a less experienced shopper who’s not yet quite comfortable shopping online.
For newer websites, it’s about understanding what constitutes a good experience and building it that way.
For those that have been around for a while, it’s about evaluating the site from a holistic perspective, to clearly see the disconnects, redundancy or sub-optimal organization that can result from incremental changes over time: the implementation of new pages, new categories, and new additions to navigation; the older pages with out-of-date content, broken links and functionality; copy or design that seems antiquated. Yeah. It can get messy.
It’s hard. But you’ll always be behind if you don’t deal with it. Keeping it simple requires vigilance and devotion. A constant watch guard on the shopper’s experience. So how do you do it without loads of time and resources?
- Shop your own website all the time.
- Do it now. Repeat every week.
- Don’t just look at what’s new.
- Start from the beginning and follow the path all the way through checkout.
- You’ll be surprised at the things you notice- keep a list.
- Get everyone in the company in on it.
- See what your customer sees: try Usertesting.com for a quick read.
- Start fixing things, one thing at a time.
Don’t have the time? It’s all about priorities. This won’t necessarily make the top of your list. That’s okay. Just think of it as maintenance- like putting oil in your car. If you don’t do it, the car will stop running well. By refining the shopping experience now, you are making a choice that will lead towards better conversion, a happier customer, and a strong foundation on which to do more of the fun and remarkable things that add buzz-factor to your brand. But you need the car to keep running. You don’t have to stop everything else to do it. Do yourself, and your customers a favor. Just get it started.