A study by Jakob Nielsen has shown that many etailers are failing to realise the potential of wishlists and gift vouchers.

The report, called E-commerce User Experience: Wishlists, Gift Certificates, and Gift Giving in E-Commerce, found that, despite highlighting usability issues, certificates and wishlists are excellent ways to attract visitors to a site.

Nielsen observed 35 users as they shopped and performed tasks at a range of sites offering wishlists and gift vouchers, and came to the following conclusions…

Usability problems

  • Gift certificates and wishlists are excellent as they introduce new visitors to your site, but this can present problems if your site’s usability isn’t up to scratch. A customer using a gift voucher or wishlist may never have visited the site before, so making the site easy to use and navigate is key. For example, some users were unable to find the particular wishlist they were looking for.

Email issues

  • As gift vouchers and notification of wishlists are distributed via email, getting emails right is a must. In the survey, 30% of the email notification of gift vouchers and wishlists were deleted, while a further 20% were not trusted to be what they claimed. 
  • With internet users’ inboxes inundated with spam, and other unwanted emails, they are increasingly likely to ignore or delete email. It is therefore vital that companies add ‘trust markers’ to emails – i.e. subject lines, the sender address, and the part of the mail which will appear as a preview.

Need for improved user experience

  • Nielsen recommends design changes to e-commerce sites to improve usability for customers using wishlists and gift vouchers. With the opportunity of introducing new customers to your brand and attracting additional revenue, these changes should pay off through increased ROI.

Further info:

Online Retail User Experience Benchmarks 2006