Characteristics of a Great Online Shopping Experience
Even though your kids may not think so, shopping from home has been around for decades – long before the dawn of the personal computing age. In fact, the first mail order catalog was released by the Montgomery Ward department store way back in 1872. That was the only shop-at-home method for Americans for the next century until television advertisements began imploring people to write or call (toll-free!) for their products.
Then the shop-at-home business underwent a sea online shopping in pakistan change with the invention of the Internet and e-commerce websites. These developments finally allowed consumers to quickly and easily order merchandise using their computers in the comfort of their homes. E-commerce sites in all product niches began popping up almost overnight; and today, a significant percentage of all shopping is done over the Web.
Now that there are countless e-commerce websites in cyberspace, they have to focus on getting customers to their individual sites rather than simply relying on an easy-to-use shopping method. This means that online shopping sites will have to distinguish themselves from the pack in order to attract business. So how are they going to do that?
Variety. Most virtual shoppers don’t know exactly what they’re looking for when they go online. Therefore, the websites which offer a wide variety of product choices, features, and price points will generally be the initial portals that buyers visit. This allows shoppers to browse through different options and pick the one that is best suited for them.
Searchability. What good is an online superstore if you can’t find anything in it? That’s why a good e-commerce site allows the user to search its inventory by product type, brand, item number, and other keywords. As easy as online shopping is, consumers don’t want to waste time scrolling through unwanted merchandise just to get to the item they want.
Photos. If a site doesn’t have a picture of what it is offering to the customer, he or she may be better off driving to a brick-and-mortar store where they can actually see what they’re buying. That’s why it’s vital that a website have at least one photo (and preferably more) of the item so buyers can get a visual image of what they’re spending their money on.
Information. Often, online shoppers need more facts about a potential purchase than just how much it will cost. Information pertaining to size, weight, color, materials, components, and compatibility are key factors in almost every buying decision. An e-commerce site which doesn’t provide those answers won’t stay in business for very long.
Comparability. If virtual shoppers have to flip back and forth between web pages to compare similar items, they may decide to abandon the site altogether. Unless the site has a feature that allows users to compare products side by side and view the pros and cons of each one simultaneously. After all, that’s how most customers make buying decisions in a traditional store.
Reviews. Many customers want feedback about a product to augment the data provided by the e-commerce site. Successful online shopping sites display reviews of their merchandise written both by professional publications and by previous buyers. Since lots of Americans want a second opinion before they part with their hard-earned money.
Discounts. Let’s face it: if shop-at-home products are priced higher than those found on retail shelves, lots of buyers will turn off their computers and drive to the store to get them. A smart e-commerce site will hold online “sales,” provide discounts for bulk purchases, and even offer reduced or free shipping on its merchandise in order to prevent customers from bolting to a local merchant.
Shopping assistance. They are always times when a consumer will have a question about a particular item for sale. At a regular store, shoppers can ask a clerk or sales associate. Websites who truly care about customer service will provide a shopping assistant via web chat who is always available to answer questions about specific products.
Simple checkout process. Online shoppers don’t want to be confused when it comes time to pay for their items. A shopping cart/bag system, a clear-cut payment process, and the ability to make a purchase without signing up for an account are paramount for e-commerce sites who want to survive in cyberspace for any length of time.
Convenience and security. Yes, today’s online shoppers want to have their cake and eat it too. They not only want to be assured that all of their personal data and credit card information is secure from hackers and cyber thieves. Online shoppers also desire the convenience of storing this sensitive data in the e-commerce site’s database so they don’t have to reenter it every time they wish to make a purchase on the site in the future.