Most every online consumer has experienced negative feelings before: frustration, confusion, even anger. When a customer is at a website and ready to purchase, the online retailer wants to be sure they’re happy until the last click. The last thing they need to be faced with is a technical or navigation issue that would make them want to click away.
Many successful online stores that have been on the web for a while do a few specific things well. It doesn’t matter if they have the brightest, glitziest sites, or if the home page greets them with music and singing. These things alone do not make customers buy from online stores. More often than not, these things actually deter potential customers.
Online retail stores often conduct questionnaires using online survey software to see what the customer’s preferences are or to analyze their buying habits. This helps them to make their web stores more appealing and provide products that the customer wants. Creating the satisfied customer experience can come from a few tried and true methods discovered by successful online stores. They include:
1. Ease of Navigation
The website should make it easy for the user to find what they’re looking for without a lot of distractions. Minimize clutter, get rid of the extra drop-down menus, and just make things straightforward. Limit the number of categories by including subcategories under the main ones.
2. Minimal Design
The retail websites that greet the user with loud music and eclectic colors are sure to get a click-away before the user even peruses the products. Keep things simple and easy on the eye. Customers want to get quickly to what they want to purchase, without a lot of hype and production.
3. Easy Checkout
Asking customers to navigate four to five screens deep just to pay for their wares will only frustrate them. Successful online stores make the checkout pleasant and easy by keeping the steps simple, but also by capturing the essential information in a succinct fashion.
4. Product Showcase and Promotion
What makes a repeat customer? Product promotions and sales, of course! By keeping sales products or featured products in a prominent place on the site, customers look forward to shopping. Product showcases can also entice customers to buy a product that they weren’t intending to buy, but were impressed by when they saw it.
5. Accurate Product Descriptions
Customers can’t touch or hear the products on the retail website. Therefore, it’s important to be as descriptive and accurate as possible so they feel comfortable making their purchase. Successful sites take the extra steps to provide high definition images and accurate product descriptions. Accurate descriptions also limit the number of returns and dissatisfied customers.
With so many online stores competing for the consumer’s attention, it’s critical that retail sites make the buying experience a breeze. They should create sites that are not only user-friendly, but that also make the users want to visit again and again, knowing that they will have a satisfactory, pleasant, and non-stressful website visit.
Cathy Pierce is a business professional turned stay-at-home mom. She loves her kids, good TV and the Web. Follow her on Twitter @mrscathypierce.