What constitutes usability best practice for e-commerce? In fact, what makes something/anything 'best practice'?
I’m the first one to say that I regularly refer to ‘usability best practice’ and best practice is certainly a phrase used often enough by Econsultancy. I thought it would be worth starting a discussion on what you think when they hear this term, and what you feel justifies having the label ‘best practice’.
Or perhaps you feel it should just be banished from our industry!
If you knew which customers were making decisions right at the store shelf, or
on a showroom floor, would you talk to them differently than someone
doing research from home?
Of course. Increasingly marketers are reaching shoppers through mobile devices as they make retail choices in stores. There's a huge opportunity for digital marketing to come "inside the store" to provide realtime air support to help win sales.
Improving your site search and navigation can have a dramatic impact on
sales. Not being able to find the product you want is one of the top -
and sometimes overlooked - barriers to conversion.
In this article I've
attempted to summarise what I see as the most important steps to
improving the customer experience. While some require specific
technology, many of these ideas can be implemented on any website.
China is a difficult market to currently crack for international businesses, but a shift appears to be happening, driven largely by e-commerce.
In association with Toluna, Econsultancy has carried out a survey of online consumer behaviour in the region to try to understand this further.
Many retailers have published their Christmas results recently and on first glance it shows that many retailers did extremely well over the period online, compared to Christmas 2009.
It's only when you look at these figures relative to overall trading figures for each business that the true picture comes to light and all is, perhaps, not as it seems.
Aurora fashion is best known for its high street brands, including Karen Millen, Oasis and Warehouse, with several hundred stores across the UK.
Aurora's group IT director John Bovill was recently named as one of retail's top 70 movers and shakers by Retail Insider, and the group also received Retail Week's IT team of the year award in June.
I spoke to him about the challenges faced by retailers moving into the multichannel space and the impact of mobile and online technology as a supply and demand chain facilitator, as well as the way Aurora has been working with BT Expedite to develop an innovative integrated store system.
Iʼm reminded of a definition of e-commerce I read years ago when I first considered getting into the business. It goes like this:
"The concept of e-commerce is all about using the internet to do business better and faster. It is about giving customers controlled access to your computer systems and letting people serve themselves. It is about committing your company to a serious online effort and integrating your Web site with the heart of your business. If you do that, you will see results!"*
I remember thinking that the ʻserious online effortʼ sounded important, and quite simple.
Nordstrom has added a new tool to its well-regarded customer service efforts: a seamless connection between the company's online and offline inventory. According to The New York Times:
"The change works this way: Say that a shopper was looking at a blue
Marc Jacobs handbag at Nordstrom.com. She could see where it was
available at nearby stores, and reserve it for pickup the same day."
It may seem like a no-brainer to allow customers to purchase any item sold by a single retailer. But the unusual thing about this story is that many traditional retailers aren't already doing it.
Recovery. Confidence. Spending. These are terms that will that will be welcomed by retailers
across the world as the global economy inches away from recession. They
now be looking to capitalise on the more optimistic outlook and report
We are clearly not out of the woods yet, so all such
such as search, need to be justified with accurate measurement. However,
date there has been a fundamental flaw in the way that it is measured
prove to be a major stumbling block.
It is hard for any marketer to
ignore the hype that surrounds social media. Facebook, Twitter, performance
display and ad exchanges are bringing opportunities for retailers to generate
demand within these massive new channels.
Facebook is probably the most
accessible and it’s understandable that retailers are getting excited about its
possibilities. We’re looking at a site with more than 400m active users,
all of whom can be individually targeted and engaged through Facebook Ads.