Remember the memory game from childhood? I went to market and bought a pig; a donkey; a packet of crisps; some cheese and so on. Educational psychologists may tell you that children can remember up to seven things quite well, beyond that each extra thing becomes harder to cope with. Rather like pints of lager. Now try playing the online version, as I did recently. I went online and bought a laptop computer; a club penguin subscription; a David Beckham Academy course for one of the boys, a quantity of books from Amazon and a Harry Potter audiobook from Woolworths, no less, (which took forever to arrive). Looking back on the varying experiences, which was hot, and which was not?
The David Beckham Academy site is well intentioned and possibly the output of web strategy (you can only book online). It is tricky and flashy though, in equal measure. The DBA is a great thing, by the way, as Lewis and thousands of others can testify. The man himself turns up occasionally, testament to commitment to coaching the young. The site experience, however, is frustrating and a bit confusing. I wish he’d turn up there with a goal oriented QA test plan in his hand.
John Lewis takes the biscuit. Straightforward, unpunishing, clear and I bought a new mattress immediately. I guess I knew what I wanted, they had what I wanted, which helps in a browser world, and I felt never knowingly undersold.
As online retail grows significantly (80% year on year according to IMRG comparable to 3% overall growth in retail) we must all pay more attention to the way in which retail experience is presented. There will always be conflict between the customers need to browse and the retailers desire to sell sell sell. The mood of the store needs to be right. This is where good web analytics combined with good design practice can make the difference in improving site experience.