eCommerce : Unique User Experiences that sell Products

eCommerce is quite rapidly dominating our retail experience.  Getting eCommerce right, isn’t as simple as selling products online - it's about getting the right user experience and flow of that experience from beginning to end in order to really dominate.
 
In a study of over 15 different eCommerce sites from different industries, big differences were found in how brands create the most natural user experience and flow -  giving users a reason to stay, shop, and come back for more.
 
The Entry...                                                                               
Nothing interrupts user experience more than having to select a store location before being able to browse through the product catalogue. Smart retailers now are auto determining user location, providing a seamless transition from home page to the rest of of the shopping experience.
 
Refining Location…
In cases where user location may be hard to determine, stores like Home Hardware (homehardware.ca) are able to select the best guess, but with the option to choose another location if one better suits.
 
Canadian Tire (canadiantire.ca) takes this a step further at the product level by allowing you to see what other locations are near you, in case they have inventory that your store does not, without changing your preferred store.
 
Locations with Different Pricing…
M&M Meats (mmfoodmarket.com) seems to have small variations in pricing per location, but still chooses not to force a location selection before seeing the goods. In their unique approach, full product browsing is experienced, but simply without pricing. It’s as simple as choosing your store at the product level to then reveal the price.
 
To Ship or Pick-up?
Retailers with many locations are now giving the option to have orders shipped directly to the user or have the user pick-up their orders at a location of their choice. This is perfect for last minute shopping where waiting for a delivery isn’t an option, or shipping fees are too high. At Mark’s website (marks.com) you can add your products to your cart, or “Find In Store”. After adding your postal code, you can find stock in ALL nearby locations, conveniently organized by distance.
 
In the case where your size or colour selection isn’t at a location nearby, you can also have those items sent to your nearest location. Mark’s does this for free, though it may take a business day or two before they are ready for pick-up.
 
FREE Shipping
As eCommerce becomes more and more competitive, retailers are realizing that free shipping is one of the ways to distinguish themselves. Setting a minimum order amount helps absorb the shipping costs for the retailer,  but those that offer free shipping regardless of the order win big points with users.
 
Timely Incentives
There are some things you wish you knew before checking out - like free shipping on orders over $50. Had you known, you would have added more to your cart during your browsing experience instead of frantically searching for another item after you’re ready for check-out. Fashion retailer Roots (roots.com) tells you immediately upon arriving what their incentives are, helping user avoid dreaded checkout disruption.
 
Reviews, on the Spot
Reviews have become an essential factor for users in making their buying selections, and a must have for certain industries. Electronics retailer Best Buy provides user reviews at the product level.
 
Moderated reviews with feedback from the retailer add an extra layer of trust through answered questions and assurances, showing any potential issues can easily be resolved.
 
Email Lists with Flare…
Making users feel special is another great way of enhancing their eCommerce experience. Shoe store Aldo (aldoshoes.com) separates users from the crowd by incentivizing them to sign up for their “A-List” and get 15% Off. Of course, it’s a simple email list, but most would rather sign up to an “A-List” than a regular “email list”. Mark’s (marks.com) surpasses the expectation of the same old email list by asking users to join their “Community” and get 10% Off.
 
Adding that little Extra…
We all understand what the online shopping “cart” is, but for some stores the visual cue of a cart doesn’t actually make sense. Shoe store Aldo again adds finesse by allowing  users to “Add to Bag” instead. It’s a small difference, but gives one the personal feel of shopping in one of their stores, exceeding the expected online experience.
 
No Hassle Return Policy
One barrier to buying is having the inconvenience of returning a product. Knowing up-front that returning a product is as easy as dropping it off at any store makes a big difference. Home and garden supply Home Depot (homedepot.ca) allows dropping off at any of their locations, with a full refund.  
 
A reason to return…
Mark’s again shines through this extra bonus -  if you leave the site without making a purchase, you’ll receive a pop-up giving you a “10% Off coupon” which you can use on your next visit. Of course, they hope you’ll re-enter the website and use that coupon now, but if not, you’ll certainly keep it in mind for next time.
 
In Conclusion
It’s these details that separate eCommerce retailers, and the users that choose to shop with them. Users long for meaningful experiences online, and intuitively pick-up on brands that present themselves and their products well, and brands that inhibit the natural flow of good of what should and can be an amazing online eCommerce experience.
 
Free eCommerce Webinar
If you are looking for more real-life experience in marketing, and running an eCommerce website, World Marketing Collective is running a free eCommerce webinar on Tuesday, February 12 at 1pm ET. We are going to be hearing from the Digital Store Lead for Microsoft Canada as well as 3 marketing agencies and their experiences with their eCommerce clients.  We’d love to have you join us. Please take a moment to sign up here

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