Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Consumer Experience Online - How to Make it Successful

I’m about to purchase what I think is a perfect pair of sunglasses online. I hesitate, unsure if I can trust they’ll look good on me, or if they don’t, that I’ll easily be able to return them. 

We’ve all been there, ordering merchandise online wondering if we’re making the right purchase. But what makes the experience five-star or one-star worthy? Can I, as a consumer, trust a company to take my money and deliver the product that I’ll be satisfied with, without actually touching it or speaking to a human? That is the eternal online shopping question. Even when I’m able to choose the product easily and add it to my shopping cart without fail, there is so much more to having a positive experience. 

Where is good help when you need it? If I have an issue or a question about what I want to buy, somehow it needs to be answered. Whether it be a thorough FAQ page, a live person available to text chat, videos, or a forum, the answer should be there. 

Back to my sunglasses. So, what would help me feel confident that I’m making the right decision about the sunglasses I want to purchase? A few things. If the technology allows, I’d love to virtually see what I look like with the sunglasses on, make sure they fit the shape of my face. Beyond that, it’d be nice if there were comments or photos from others that made the same purchase and had either a good or bad experience themselves. Because, let’s face it, word of mouth is one of the most powerful methods to drive the success or failure of a business. 

I close my eyes and with a press of a button, I jump. I ordered my sunglasses. The checkout experience was easy, no one tried to upsell me a Ferrari to go with my glasses, my credit card processed quickly, and I was able to do it all as a guest. What will put me in a happy place is if the company holds my hand until delivery: send me an email to say they’ve received my order; tell me when it ships with a tracking number; and when that wonderful box arrives, thank me for my order because I could have gone to a number of other vendors for the same pair. 

Now, heaven forbid something is wrong with my order, the consumer experience still needs to be sprinkled with warm fuzzies. I want it to be easy to return my unwanted merchandise for free, and receive a full refund. Perhaps an email or text asking how things could go better next time will continue me on a positive path.  After all, if the merchandise return goes as well as my ordering experience, then I’ll come back again, and tell my family and friends to do the same.