I just read a really insightful piece by Paul Bryan on 10 Absentee UX Features on Top e-Commerce Sites. His agency, Usography, has conducted a Retailer UX audit, looking at the 100 top retail websites. The audit highlighted some key user experience (UX) features for brands to consider. From the 10 features that Bryan listed in his article, I particularly liked following UX features and looked for interesting examples to serve as good illustrations:
- Product videos – A case can be made for video as a good way of bringing a product to life, think clothes, shoes or cars. Good examples are Zappos and Mercedes Benz
- Combination of online and offline – Personally I’m all for the convenience of online shopping (and not having to go to a store). However, buy online-pick up in-store functionality offered by the likes of Tesco is rapidly gaining popularity
- Price drop alerts – Amazon is a good example of a site that lets customers know when the price of a product they’ve indicated an interest in has dropped. It’s an incentive for customers to return the site and to buy the product.
- Customer product tagging – I think Bryan has a point when he states Letting customers create their own tags for products keeps the taxonomy fresh and relevant. However, call me a cynic, but I’m still not convinced most consumers would go through the effort of for example tagging a pair of red socks at Urban Outfitters.
- Co-shopping – This is a feature that lets customers in different locations view the same product and have a chat about it in a sidebar. Good examples are shopwithyourfriends.com and Dell.
- Virtual try-on – When talking about engaging customers, enabling them to virtually try on a product is a compelling feature. There are good examples in sites that let users try on glasses or see what they look like in clothes of their choosing.
Main learning point: even though eCommerce has been around for a while now there is a good number of exciting new UX features for retailers to implement. The research conducted by Usography shows that particularly social media oriented features such as customer tagging and co-shopping are on the rise and could help eCommerce sites to engage effectively with their target audience.
Related links for further learning: