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Author: Paul Rouke
Paul started PRWD - a specialist Conversion Optimisation agency - over 10 years ago, after spending seven years working in usability and customer experience at the UK's largest home shopping business, Shop Direct Group.
Paul is regarded as one of the UK’s leading experts on conversion optimisation, regularly writing and contributing to a number of digital marketing publications including Econsultancy, as well as keynoting at a range of conferences worldwide.
His passion for delivering significant growth improvements for businesses means he still maintains a hands-on role in delivering client projects with recent clients including Moss Bros, Games Workshop, Lovehoney, Schuh, Harveys, Moneysupermarket & MBS.
With the continued growth of online shopping, and with new pureplay
retailers entering the market looking for new opportunities, I would
expect that the biggest players would be leading the way in terms of
With the upcoming Online Fashion 100 event in London that I'll be
attending, I have taken a look at some of the biggest players in the
fashion industry, both pureplay retailers and high street retailers.
was particularly interested to look at key areas of their online
customer experience to find out:
1) how well some of these brands are
are delivering intelligent and meaningful cross-sell and up-sells to
drive higher average order values, and...
2) which retailers are potentially
losing sales due to a lack of focus on the full customer experience,
right through to the end of the checkout process.
If ever a retailer could get away with having exceptional cross-selling
and up-selling functionality, yet provide a new visitor checkout
process and web forms that break many usability rules, Amazon is certainly one of them. On the other hand one of Amazon's competitors, The Book
Depository, certainly appears to focus more on providing better
usability throughout the buying journey, especially for new customers.
Following the recent e-commerce training course I delivered for
Econsultancy, the usability benchmarking that is part of the course
threw up some really interesting market insights. Although many
retailers are featured in the course, providing examples of good and
bad e-tail usability and best practice, I purposely refrained from
Now with our economy firmly in a recession, most retailers no longer have the types of budgets available to replatform. Instead, 2009 will be a year for improving their existing platforms, trying to increase conversion rates, average order values and returning visitor numbers.
So with this primary drive to improve performance, are retailers doing all that they can? Are retailers following best practice to help more visitors complete the buying process, and are retailers removing usability barriers to ensure that in such competitive times visitors aren’t encouraged to find reasons why they shouldn’t complete their purchase?
Usability as a criteria for judging internal software solutions is not only overlooked but often undervalued when compared to one of its big sisters, so called ‘cost reducing features’.
With the penetration of enterprise software throughout businesses all over the world, will we as end users ever experience user friendly internal software, to the levels to which we are accustomed with the latest ‘user centered’ web applications?