Have you ever watched a baby trying to navigate their first real footsteps across the room? The are so excited to do what mommy and daddy do as well as the whole impact of the new environment/new territory that they never take those first steps immediately. Instead the forward momentum of their body and and excitement of mommy sitting 5 feet away saying “come here, come on you can do it” propels them in an awkward almost slow motion gallop forward. Yes they traveled 4 feet, but they barely took one uneasy step. The rest of the movement was flying forward and falling on the tile floor with a loud SLAP. Then there is the other Mom who stands over jr holding his little hands helping him take his first few steps in a nice leisurely yet secure pace. Jr will walk first, probably be less of a klutz in life and more secure about his ability to do things. It all starts with that first simple step. You cannot run jr until you have mastered walking.
Personally I have never been a huge Internet shopper, or any kind of shopper for that fact. When I go shopping, I generally know where I am going, what I am getting and I try get in and out, no muss, no fuss. Don’t bother me with surveys at the mall, or lines wrapped around the building. If you have the entire tribe with you, stay to the right so us impatient shoppers can pass easily on the left. The same goes for shopping on the net. If I go online to play games, then the bells and whistles, 2 minute flash intro, excessive talk about the sites abilities or accomplishments are all fine and to be expected. If I am going shopping online I want to know just a couple of simple things,
- How much is it?
- What I am expecting?
- Does it have enough information to clearly explain what it is used for?
- Is it easy to order(less than 5 clicks)? Do they accept easy forms of payment?
- Are they confident enough in their products quality to make return policies easy to find?
- Most important to me ….can I get all of that without waiting for a useless 2 minutes flash intro, have to search 3 times to find the product because its hidden and hard to find, search through my payment methods to find one that is compatible with theirs and get a live chat option that is only live less than 20% of the time?
Times have changes, the company names have changed, but companies large and small are still making these simple yet gigantic errors is User Experience
- Loud, slow, heavy flash intros.
- Navigational categories that obviously follow the manufacturers structure but not the real world, making finding things very difficult.
- Search functionality that takes you to dead pages or does not return simple clear, concise results.
- Link buttons to accounts, policies, customer service and my personal favorite…. the super duper top secret company phone number are hidden 3 pages back behind 2 planters and a box.
- The inability to organize listings to indicate multiple variations and/or sizes
- Avoidance of customer feedback and testimonials out of fear of making an error and admitting to it.
- Customer Service policies, return policies being more of a riddle than a clear statement and not being surfaced in the right places when the questions arise such as during order processing.
- Value added offers such as free shipping or coupons being a closely held secret that only the selected “chosen” have access to.
- Failure at the kindergarten classic, “show and tell”, looks great but with no description or specifications, or great pictures with no explanation of what all the very visible buttons and settings are for.
- The overuse of icons and symbols which assumes we all know what the rss square means or what perky little icons indicate.
When I go into my favorite sushi bar with my kids, which incidentally I return to maybe 4 times a year, they recognize us before we are seated and start my kids favorite beverages and the edamame before even saying hello. Then when they do say hello, they have the kids drinks in hand, ask me if I’d like my favorite beer and ask if I would like to start off with a few different kinds of rolls while we consider other options. Think about it for a minute, I walked into a restaurant, was recognized, served beverages and the starter food and how much decision making/thinking did I have to do?? I answered yes twice and that is it. That is what superior customer service should be. They are blatantly saying I know my product, I know my customer and I am comfortable enough with my brand to make suggestions that the majority of people agree with. This is how the shopping experience should flow on the net. Big brother already tracks our purchases, browsing preferences and history using cookies. At some point the system will also be able to put in front of you your favorite colors and preferences based on past choices. We will never get to that point however until we can walk first and complete the sale without the hassle and inconveniences of business misconception.
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