BBVA API Market
As we have mentioned on other occasions, usability is an extremely important factor that has a direct impact on the shopping experience at an online store. Therefore, not only we have to keep this in mind when creating a website or mobile application, but also when planning to open an online store.
The usability of a website is defined by the clarity and elegance with which the interaction of the user, in this case with an online store, is designed. However, usability is also measured through the study of the relationship between the navigation system, the functionalities and the content offered by the site.
Thus, usability benefits both the end user and the creator of the website, since the latter may see reduced the number of incidents and the requests of assistance by customers. This is something that, in the end, has an impact on the number of users using the website.
For instance, the simple act of putting the button "buy" on an online store means that you are playing with the usability of the page. If this button is not visible and the buying process is not fast, at the end there will be fewer purchases and less users will visit your site. Amazon knows this very well and, therefore, has an option to “order in 1-click”, which is a very effective solution.
Amazon.com, the best example
One of the best examples of online shopping experience is without a doubt Amazon.com. Since its launch, back in the 1990s, Amazon has sought to be the most customer-centric online store in the world. In fact, along with eBay and Google, it’s been one of the pioneers in generating business intelligence online, being able to grow and dominate the market thanks to sophisticated analysis that have allowed the company to understand the preferences and behaviors of its users.
– Personalization and recommendation systems
Thanks to this strategy, customers can view the latest offers of products they have been searching online. In addition, the e-store strives to offer its customers numerous personalization features and services, such as wish lists, gift cards, detailed product descriptions, etc.
As we see Amazon's strategic thinking is not limited to being just another sales channel. It goes beyond, always thinking about how to sell more and better. In order to do this, it plays with the relationship between the ability to recommend and segment customers based on their buying behaviors, along with an interface that, even without having a great design, has managed to optimize the necessary interactions to buy online in the most effective way.
– Easiness to search products
Its system to find specific products and categories through a search bar on the homepage is also worth mentioning. In the option to search by category, for example, you can click on “See More Stores” to select the specific product category that you are looking for. Each category has its own customized options to search and explore, located on the top navigation bar or on the left search box.
– Help page
Help sections in online stores are also vital to improve the shopping experience, as in these sections customers can see all the information about products available and the best ways to find them, the legal conditions, security policies, processing and payment options, etc. In this case, Amazon.com and the next store we review here, El Corte Inglés, have made available to their clients extensive help sections.
El Corte Inglés, a radical change
We already know that Amazon was born as an online store, but its knowledge managing thousands of items and the user shopping experience is quite notable, and that's why we wanted to highlight this case. Now we turn our focus to a store that began as a small tailor shop in 1890 and that today is a leading company with a solid growth and department stores all around Spain, and two in Portugal. The expansion plan of El Corte Inglés has been linked in particular to the diversification of other business lines. Adapting to the new needs of customers has been a big challenge, as well as its move into the online world.
The change in the website of El Corte Inglés has been very positive in recent years, especially in terms of design, which is now cleaner, and in terms of usability, one of the most important features in e-commerce, as we’ve mentioned before.
– Product description
If you access the e-store, the first thing you notice are the marketing campaigns in the homepage, which are not too intrusive and still allow to fully display the menu in the upper left corner to access the different product categories. It also features a search engine located on the top bar which will display the items available based on your input. Once the item has been found, you can get more information by clicking on its name or image and access a detailed data sheet with the characteristics of the product, discounts available, accessories, etc. This is something which the store has improved, as now it also integrates suggestions of related products and links to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Myspace and Google+. What is missing is an option to comment and read what other clients say, which is important because customers are increasingly using the internet to compare products.
– Security and trust for clients
The handling process of orders, as well as in Amazon, is very simple, which is quite positive. You just have to add the product to the cart by clicking the button “Add to basket”. Once you have finished selecting products, the order will be processed by pressing the button on the lower right hand. After placing the order, all transactions are done over a secure connection with a user code and password. This is a very important aspect, as online stores must be well identified with trusted certificates and payment gateways to facilitate purchases. In this sense, El Corte Inglés took a giant step when signing an agreement with Paypal, which means a significant improvement in safety for clients, who can now pay their orders without having to share their bank account data.
On the other hand, when placing an order at Amazon.com clients see a “captcha screen”, where they are required to enter a series of letters and numbers that appear in an image. This is done in order to ensure that this process is done by humans, and not by automated malware programs.
– Final delivery
Finally, a satisfactory shopping experience online is not complete if the product is not delivered properly. In the case of Amazon.com, the expected delivery times are met, with the added bonus of offering online tracking of the order’s status. The store also offers next day delivery options.
In the case of El Corte Inglés, previously, an order could easily take two weeks to be delivered, but this service has been somehow streamlined. The reason is that the e-store uses now three levels of stocks: the online shop itself, the stock of the warehouses and the stock of the brick and mortar stores. This allows them to ship orders in less time. The option of being able to collect the orders in person at the department stores has also been a major advantage for the user.
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