It's a new year and I've moved from IBM Software Services for WebSphere Commerce to the WebSphere Commerce Product Management team.
And with that move, I'm going to be more conscientious about my blog as "The Frustrated Shopper". I love to shop, which doesn't mean I buy expensive things, but that I love the thrill of the search and finding new things. But as a "power shopper", I am very much frustrated with some e-retailing sites and I will share those frustrations in my blog with the hope that other retailers can learn from these experiences and improve their online shopping experiences.
My first topic this year is "The Path to Purchase". i.e. Once you click "Checkout", most web sites don't want to distract you from completing the checkout process. Often times, I want to double check that I've got the right item in the cart, but I'm unable to click on the item to go back to the Product Details page. Or I might want to see if the item is available in another size or colour. Or I might want to perform a product comparison, or look at the related ratings and reviews, or videos. But a lot of sites, don't provide any links other than forwards or backwards in the checkout process. I understand that retailers want to put the "blinders" on you and focus your attention on checking out, but it's frustrating from a shopper point of view, when you want to make sure you have the item you want before checking out.
Here's an example of the Amazon Shopping Cart, which provides links back to product details, recently viewed items, Today's Deals, Wish Lists, etc.
Now, here's what your page looks like when you're in the checkout flow. No links for product details, recently viewed items, recommendations, etc.
Frustrated Shopper Suggestion - How about providing a link to the product details that pops up a window so that the shopper doesn't actually leave the checkout page? Or if pop-ups are a no-no, how about a Web 2.0/Ajax load and reveal on the checkout page. Allowing the shopper to be 100% confident about his proposed purchase should help encourage more sales, no?
That's all for now. Gotta go shopping!