Shopping online is meant to be easy

By Lance O'Grady

The continued shift to online shopping is dramatic, and yet there are so many extra hurdles in the way for online shopping that can never happen offline. When was the last time someone asked for your password before you could buy the groceries?

E-commerce brands need to take a critical look at their online shopping experience, and ask if there are any unnecessary hurdles in the process that they could remove to make things easier for their customers.

The answer will be almost always be yes.

Typically when you ask someone why they prefer to shop online, they say ‘it’s easy’ or ‘convenient’, but when I sit down and consider the experience I often get, I question whether that’s true.

In a retail store, there are very few obstacles for me to navigate to actually make a purchase.

Once I’ve got to the shop and I’ve found something I like (which assuming the store has a good layout should be pretty easy), I just need to walk over to the counter, pay, and leave with the item. Easy.

Now think about your last online shopping experience. Not so easy, I bet.

In that same scenario online, I have to find the product (which depending on the category structure, page layout, search functionality, product imagery, descriptions and site speed could be quite challenging), get into the cart, try and remember my password, or create a new account, provide all sorts of details, type in my credit card information, wait for an email confirmation to ensure the order has been placed, then wait a few days to get the thing I’ve just paid for.

I understand there are always going to be more hurdles online than offline, but brands should be consciously looking to minimise those hurdles as much as possible to ensure they are offering the convenient experience their customers expect.

One of the phrases we hear all the time is ‘my e-commerce store isn’t turning over nearly as much as my retail stores’, but if you’re throwing too many hurdles in the way of your customers, would you expect them to shop online on your site?

Always keep the in-store shopping alternative in mind when designing your online store – your customers are always making a direct comparison, so you should too.

Consider changing your daunting checkout to a simple one-page checkout.

Add the ability for customers to save their credit card information (securely of course).

Work with a new courier company to offer a faster, better service so the gap between your customers paying and receiving the products is shorter.

There are literally hundreds of little tweaks any brand could make to live up to their customers’ expectations that online shopping is easier.

Don’t let your online experience let you down.


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