Retailers on the ’Net face many challenges – from staying on trend with emerging technologies to providing a consistently user-friendly environment for customers.
But while there are numerous best practices and tactics that merchants can implement in order to optimize their sites for a better user experience, sometimes the best way to improve a site is to take into consideration the insights and opinions from other industry professionals. This is why Website Magazine recently asked a handful of Web professionals, who have experience managing and maintaining e-commerce sites, which features their customers like the most. Unsurprisingly, the answers they provided us covered a variety of topics:
Mike Feiman, PoolDawg.com – We work with SLI Systems to provide our shoppers with a superior site search experience. Recently we added "rich auto complete" to our search tool which not only suggests search terms as they type words in, but also products with prices and pictures - which has led to higher satisfaction and conversion rates for customers using our search tool.
Sam Bispham, Discountfiresupplies.co.uk – One the most appreciated features on our website has to be the save-order function that we offer our customers. A lot of our customers buy a number of components from us in order to create their desired fire system and our save-order function gives them the option to create a quote, either to pass on to their clients or to give them the opportunity to check prices elsewhere, and then easily return to make their purchase from our website a later date. Prices are held for 30 days and our system even emails customers to remind them they have a saved order before it expires. Many of our customers have expressed how much time this saves them and how easy it is to use.
Brian Coughlin, OpticsPlanet.com – We get a lot of feedback on our images, and we've found very often that customers like real-life photos, even if they're not as high quality as our regular product images. I recently wrote a post for our main blog GearExpert.com, and received comments from readers preferring the photos I took of a pair of sunglasses with my phone to the pics on the site.
Elaine Simon, deBebians.com – Our customers use live chat a lot and certain people seem to feel more comfortable chatting online versus picking up a phone and calling. Also, sometimes they are in situations where it's OK for them to chat online but not convenient for a phone conversation. What is interesting too is that we've even seen customers chat from their iPhones, as our live-chat terminal allows us to see the platform the customer is using.
Amir Learner, Doversaddlery.com – Our live-chat feature really seems to be something that customers enjoy. We sell pretty specific horse tack and riding gear so our customers like the fact that they have someone there to help with their online shopping experience. We receive comments almost daily on our Facebook page complimenting members of our live-chat team.
Brian Coughlin, OpticsPlanet.com – We embed our exclusive YouTube videos on many product pages to help not only show the products, but we also include tips to make the products easier to use. These tips come from our product specialists, who give info that you don't always come across but comes from their years of experience.
Elaine Simon, deBebians.com – This past year, we've begun to implement product videos, and that has helped us close sales and generate traffic from YouTube.
Brian Coughlin, OpticsPlanet.com – We have thousands and thousands of reviews that our customers spend a fair amount of time leaving each and every day. We do offer an incentive, 10 percent off, for reviewing a purchase, so that certainly plays a role in generating interest in reviews, but we also have Facebook comments on our pages that have proven popular for both voicing opinions on products/brands, as well as for asking questions. We employ product and industry specialists that answer technical questions and our customer service team responds to questions about orders and processes.
Mike Feiman, PoolDawg.com – Recently we added the BuySafe program, which provides an additional layer of security and 30-day price protection for our customers. We receive several emails every day from customers thanking us for providing this program.
Brian Coughlin, OpticsPlanet.com – We put a lot of time and energy into being more than a retailer, and part of our approach to giving more is through our How-To Guides, which help customers make smart buying decisions, but also helps them use their gear once they've bought them. What's the difference between thermal imaging and night vision? Which works better for what activity? We answer these sorts of questions for a number of our products and we're always adding more.