John Dowdell has experienced the spreading bad service of a big shop when doing his Mac shopping at CompUSA. He writes that he so far has visited the store twice – in total spending 1 hour and 15 minutes to get the wrong RAM for his iBook.
These kind of shopping experiences are becoming all to common. And at shops like CompUSA (In Norway, simular shops could be Elkøp, Lefdal, Spaceworld and a bounch of other big chains). The problem is high demand, not enough people to help the customers, and low knowledge of the products they are selling.
While there is still hard to pick the good from the bad online, I still think that those kind of shopping experiences are pushing the sales of products on the net. People are starting to find that its easier doing the reserach yourself
and shop for what you have found you need – on the net. All we need to do is make sure the shopping experience is userfriendly to start taking BIG chunks out of the sales of shops like CompUSA.
I am doing some research myself these days on how to make sure the shopping experience of online shops gets better. First I would like to give some tips, and then later on I will follow up with links to sites I think does it right and sites that I think does it terribly wrong. (Unfortuantly there are more sites showing how not to do it).
One way to accomplish better usability is to start using tools like Flash, to make the interfaces more interactive. The lack of repsonse to your selections has been a big usability problem of forms and static HTML pages for a long time. Another way is to avoid wasting your customers time. Let them get to what they want as fast as possible, avoid using splash screens, and try to avoid the user having to do more than three clicks to get to what they want. Registration is another example of wasting a customers time. One of the main gripes about web-shopping I hear from people is that they have to register to be able to shop. If you want to store customer information, make it optional and include it in the shipping process of the store.
Thats a few suggestions and tips. Now lets shop online – with retailers that show they apperciate their customers :-)