Chat features are a big hit for online shoppers

Biz report has an interesting article to support your next chat initative.  They report, “Over three-quarters of U.S. shoppers surveyed for BoldChat’s research into the effectiveness of live chat technology said the most common reason for initiating the service was when experiencing problems during check-out.  Currently, not many online shoppers are using live chat, and not many online retailers are offering it. However, it is more accepted among the younger generations who are more comfortable with communicating via SMS and online chat than voice so retailers seeking the young and technology-savvy as customers are well advised to provide live chat options.”  You can download the full chat report at Bold Chat’s web site.

the ultimate online shopping experience

Original Post 10.14.2008

Ecommerce times released the first article in a series based on the outlining the Ultimate Online Shopping Experience. This article contains a great overview of what to concentrate on with looking at the strategy and design of the overall customer experience when setting out on building a new experience for your online store.

In order to attract and retain customers, online retailers must consider the customer experience when designing or redesigning their sites, writes Julian Chu is director of client success at Demandware.

Keep in mind the different types of customers your site serves, then tailor the design to the way they shop, he advises. Before you begin making decisions about the UI design or “look-and-feel” of your site, the first step is to define your overall customer experience strategy.

1. Articulate your top brand, business and customer experience goals.
2. Define the customer experience around personas.
3. Review the shopping experience end to end.
4. Build the strategy using multiple perspectives.
5. Keep things simple.
6. Test your assumptions by observing real customers.
7. Consider analytics and tracking requirements as part of the design process. 

A couple of key statements that I took from the article: 

“Always ask of potential new site features: Is it obvious and intuitive to use? Could someone get confused and abandon the site? Is it aligned with the expectations and sophistication of our target customers? Be especially careful of projecting your own experience onto that of the “average user” — we often find clients over-estimating customers’ sophistication and building site features that end up detracting from, rather than enhancing, the shopping experience.” 

“Merely adding new features and functionality will not automatically differentiate your e-commerce business — but effectively deploying them to serve specific target customer needs is one of the key things that separates strong competitors from the weak.”  

Social eCommerce Shopping

Original Post 08.06.2008

Is this a new trend on the Web? Many think so as number of users and buzz begin to increase around these types of interactions. There are several sites out there that are combining the notion of the social Web with traditional eCommerce sites. There is a good article that I read http://www.technewsworld.com/rsstory/64059.html?welcome=1218028321 outlining a few of the sites and trends happening in this space…

http://www.kaboodle.com/

http://www.stylehive.com/

http://www.thisnext.com/