Getting a customer to return to your retail website and make a purchase is sort of a science. It’s all about evoking a positive user experience (UX). What UX really boils down to is the virtual experience of great customer service and product/store display & design. We’ve seen a wealth of new and innovative e-commerce tools and features over the years, and the folks at UX Booth have put together a list of some awesome ones when it comes to exceptional user experiences.
Our attention spans are rapidly dwindling, which is why online videos are so important these days. Videos can bring a product to life better than static images, without letting the user get bored with too much textual information. Take a look at the statistics below from Invodo, and you’ll see why so many e-commerce sites need online videos to stay competitive:
- Visitors who view product videos are 85% more likely to buy than visitors who do not. (Internet Retailer, April 2010)
- Shoppers who view video at Onlineshoes.com convert at a 45% higher rate than other shoppers, and the site has seen a 359% year-over-year increase in video views. Product pages with video have higher conversion rates than product pages without video. (Internet Retailer, February 2010)
- Forbes Insight found that 59% of senior executives prefer to watch video instead of reading text, if both are available on the same page. 80% of executives are watching more online video today than they were a year ago. (Forbes Insight, December 2010)
- 33% of online retailers plan to add video to their sites in 2010, making it a higher priority than any other advanced feature. (eMarketer, March 2010)
- Zappos product video
Price Drop Alerts
Price has always been the key in determining a purchase decision. No longer do consumers need to drive from store to store to search for the best deal. They still price shop, but do it all online, hopping from site to site. Because of this, having a Price Drop Alert feature is great for users who want to be notified when a product goes on sale. In addition, in order to use this feature, the user must give up their e-mail address, which is a great way for the company to collect leads. It’s win-win!
- Newegg’s price drop alert.
Customer-Created Product Photos
Images of pretty models and stock photos don’t necessarily help a buyer to decide if a certain product is right for them. It can cause some hesitation when shopping online, because it’s hard to imagine what it will look like on her body or in her home.
To help sidestep that hesitation, some retailers let customers post their own images of products they have purchased. Of course, there’s always a risk when you give customers “control” of your brand. A distasteful photo could break the sale. But retailers like Petco, Northern Tool, and Zales feel that the risk is outweighed by the persuasive power of real people who bought the item and liked it so much that they wanted to share it with the world. Petco, for one, knows that cute pet pictures are hard to resist.
- Customer-uploaded photo from Petco.com
Let’s say that a wife is viewing a bedroom set online and wants to know what her husband thinks, but he’s currently in another city. Co-shopping is a feature that lets people in different locations view and chat about a product in real time. It can even let them navigate to other products together, like screen sharing.
- Screen sharing tool from Dell.com
Virtual Dressing Room
At the moment, there aren’t many websites that could be found with a “virtual dressing room” feature. But, it’s such a cool idea, we decided to keep it in this list. Tobi, an online fashion boutique had experimented with it a couple years ago, but unfortunately today their blog says, “UPDATE: The Tobi Virtual Dressing Room experiment was discontinued and cannot be accessed.”
- Tobi/Fashionista’s virtual dressing room
I did find a similar feature on MeeMee.me, where a user would type in their measurements and see how styles would look on their individual body types. The measurements are supposed to create a unique Avatar, but I’m not sure if it’s working quite yet.
Recent advances in augmented reality apps are starting to improve, however. Wouldn’t it be great to see if a certain pair of shoes will match your outfit, or if a couch would work well in your living room?
The key to great user experiences is to fully understand how your customers shop for your products, and what your competitors are offering in terms of tools and features. To read about more cool features, click HERE.