Human Computer Interaction Week 11 E-Commerce Site Design
Lecture aims After this lecture you should: • Understand the importance of customer experience. • Know the essential components in an e-commerce storefront. • Understand good practice in storefront design. • Have seen some store examples and identified good and bad practice.
Before you start designing… You have: • a business plan likely to succeed • defined the purpose of your site • made a project plan • thought about content / features / functionality
What is a customer? • Your most important resource • Have specific requirements / wants • Not dependent on you • Not an interruption • Not somebody we are doing a favour for • Different from each other • Not you!
Customer or User? • A customer is a user, but more… • They have the element of CHOICE • Usability is important… • Sees, touches, feels, interacts with…. • Remove frustration • But customers are also interested in: • Business goals, merchandising, messaging, features, flow of core processes • You need to influence, motivate and encourage
Customer centric practice “If you're trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language in which they think.” -David Ogilvy
Customers care most about • Security • Navigation • Selection • price Customer experience How do I find “____”? What features does “____” have? How do I order? How do I pay? How/when do I get “____”? How do I return things? How do I claim on the warrantee? Can I speak to somebody? Is this site safe? What will you do with my details?
Bad customer experience • 62%* of Internet shoppers have given up at least once while looking for products. • 42%* on one or more instances have fled the Web for more traditional channels to make their purchases. • $3 billion* in lost sales annually. Is this acceptable? Imagine if this occurred elsewhere; 62% of people leave a supermarket because they cannot find the item on the shelf easily… * Zona Research’s Online Shopping Report, 1999
Bad customer experience… Error 404 - page not found Is this acceptable? Imagine if this happened to 42% of shopping trolleys at a supermarket…
Bad customer experience… “source: Close Encounters with E-Commerce”, Industry Standard
Impact of bad customer experience • Lower conversion rate. • Customers may abandon your site completely; customers have choice; plenty of competitors out there. • When customers have a bad experience on a website, they tell an average of 10 people.* * Forrester Research, inc
Impact of good customer experience • Increased conversion rate $$$ • Viral Marketing; customers recommend your site to others e.g. epinions.com • Increased customer loyalty • Strong equity in your brand
Impact of increased conversion rate 2,000,000 visits/month, average sale = $25 Conversion % Revenue/month 0.01 $500,000 0.015 $750,000 0.02 $1,000,000 0.05 $2,500,000 customer experience – conversion rate – bottom line $
Improving customer experience • Make customer experience central • Shift strategy to: • Achieving simplicity • Solving customer problems • Improving conversion rate • Ensure customers find it easy to find and buy what they want from your site • Monitor the Customer Experience Gap • Make funds available to improve CEG
Customer Experience Gap Website Customer Simplicity Service Accomplish a goal Complexity Technology Compelling features Customer Experience Gap: The difference between what customers want and what they get
Rules for good customer experience • Keep it simple: • Do not clutter with features, use clear and concise wording. • Provide a good “feel” • Do not waste customers time • Provide an appropriate search mechanism • Good navigation, should be intuitive
E-commerce storefront components • Basic functions: • A catalogue display • Shopping cart • Transaction processing
Shopping Cart • Online forms were first used for online shopping. • Shopping carts are dynamic, interactive and efficient. • Often implemented by the website programmer, but sometimes an “off-the-shelf” product. • SalesCart is one company that makes this type of shopping cart software. • Shopping carts are an ideal place for product placement
Customer interaction with store Search catalogue Add products to cart Browse products Enter details Proceed through checkout purchase
Catalogue • A static catalog is a simple list written in HTML that appears on a Web page or series of Web pages. • A dynamic catalog stores the information about items in a database. • This technology is implemented on the server side. • Besides a catalog, many sites provide a search engine that allows customers to enter descriptions to quickly find an item.
Shopping Cart Product placement Item title Product placement
Implementing a shopping cart • Can be implemented using server side technology or client side technology • The Web is a stateless system unable to remember anything from one transmission or session to another. • It must distinguish one shopper from another. • One way to uniquely identify users and to store information about their choices is to create and store cookies.
Transaction processing • Transaction processing occurs when the shopper proceeds to the virtual checkout counter. • Transaction processing is the trickiest part of the electronic sale. • Security issues, failed transactions etc… • Payment processing involves the website communicating externally (e.g. to a payment service provider)
Home page • Consider the message that the site is conveying • Does it match your branding? • Does it move customers towards a purchase? • Do not hide your shop front • Needs to convey what a person can do
Customer registration • Do not intimidate your customers! • Bad policy to enforce registration • Do not take information of customers that you do not need. • Provide a valid incentive for them to register • e.g. save time on return visit • Promotion / discounts
Merchandising • Display and promote your products • Use space wisely: Homepage is expensive real estate. • Encourage impulse buying • Product placement • Featured products
Navigation • If customers get lost or bored they will leave your site Considerations: • Where am I? • Where can I go? • What can I do here? • How do I get to where I want to go? • Have I been here before? • How can I get back to where I was? • Where is the checkout?
Labelling • Use consistent and explicit page labels for all pages in the site. (House Style) • Do not make customers work to match product names with images • Use appropriate labelling e.g. • Use context to help explain size • Allow customers to compare similar products
Search • Understand the shoppers perspective • Taylor searches to a person or situation • People shop differently • Provide several (suitable) ways to find a product(e.g. text search, category, search by genre, search by age, search by availability etc…)
Shopping cart • Allow customers to navigate to it, from wherever they are • Make it easy to add, remove, update items • Show total charge, and all other charges: delivery, tax etc… • Do not let customers add items that are out of stock • Allow customers to review their items • Make the checkout button prominent • Use contents to focus product placement
Checkout and fulfilment • Checkout must be quick and easy – frustrated customers will abandon carts • Provide information about: • Order number • Delivery • Returns policy • Tracking (if available) • Customer service • Fulfilment is the last but crucial part
Adding value • Useful extra features • store locator • instructions and advice / how-to guides • wish lists / bookmarks • single click buy • selection wizard’s • customer reviews
Conclusions • A customer is more complicated than a user • Failing to address the complete customer experience has a dramatic impact on the bottom line ($$$) • Successful e-commerce sites make customer experience a high priority and constantly monitor customer experience.
References • Improving customer experience case studies:http://www.creativegood.com/ • Links to articles discussing user experience:http://www.goodexperience.com/ • Electronic Commerce, Gary P. Schneider ch.9