Online shopping should make your life easier, not harder. There’s a reason people shop online, and those reasons do not include confusion, frustration, or the need to throw your computer at the wall.
It took me a while to embrace online shopping. As all women know, there’s a certain love-hate relationship that we all have with the dressing room. On the hate side, there’s bad lighting, unflattering angles and dressing-room acrobatics to consider. But on the love side, there’s nothing like trying something on to see if it’s a must-have or is better left on the hanger. Forever.
Over the last few years, retailers have really upped their game. And there are a handful of sites that figured out the magic UX formula to keep this lady happily spending without ever stepping foot in a dressing room. (Okay, maybe not EVER. But I’m definitely spending less time in there than I used to.)
Less is more
Simplicity is key when I’m shopping online. There’s something exhausting about opening a website and having a million things going on at once. I prefer clean lines, striking product imagery (few in far between), and a clearly defined navigation bar when making a purchase online. Having an overly crowded website tends to make me feel overwhelmed with choices, which then leads to either the purchase being delayed or gives me a reason to look elsewhere. I, like many others I’m sure, prefer my online shopping experience to be as quick and painless as possible.
Standing out from the crowd
E-commerce is a whole other ball game. Its UX allows you to really stand out from other retailers and make the customer have a seamless experience they may not have received in stores. One of my favorite clothing retailers, Free People, has done something extremely beneficial for their customers by connecting people through their clothing. They have created their own online photo gallery that feature thousands of women showcasing their own individual “Free People Style”. I love this for many reasons, but my favorite part is getting to see women who may have similar body types as me wearing the same clothing I couldn’t decide whether or not to purchase. Aside from that, Free People allows you to create an “FP me” profile in which you can upload your own pictures to become a stylist (how cool) or you can search by name for your favorite Free People Stylists. It’s important to have something that sets you apart from everyone else, and Free People did a great job with incorporating an added feature that keeps people actively coming back to their site.
Looks can be deceiving
Most people would agree that choosing the correct size when shopping online is one of the biggest pain points. Nothing is worse than anxiously waiting days for your new clothes to arrive, only to find out that the dress you just ordered is a littttttle too snug.
Some websites will even tell you what size the product model is wearing. This can be helpful if you want to see how the clothes hang on a body as opposed to a hanger. Just be aware that most times, these clothes have been pinned back to fit the model to a tee.
Recently, I came across True Fit, a company that asks users to complete a three-step profile in which they select brands and sizes that fit their shape best (i.e. is your stomach flat, average, round, are you short, average, tall…etc.). It then combines this information along with your shopping behavior on a site to figure out what is likely to fit best in accordance with the information you provided. For those of us wanting to stay out of the dressing rooms, this is our answer!
Another great way to get a feel for how clothing might fit is by watching “Catwalk” videos. The models walk around in the clothing, giving you a better feel for how the fabric moves…or doesn’t move.
With 360 images, video PDPs, and personalized sizing, you really just can’t go wrong.
Checkout VS abandon cart
The way to my heart with any checkout process is:
- Being able to check out quickly (No lengthy registration process please.)
- Knowing how many steps are in the checkout process, and which one I’m at
- Payment should always be the last step, never first
As digital folds itself deeper into the fabric of our lives, it’s become much easier to purchase exactly what you need through the click of a button. What are some things that have made your online shopping experience better? Let us know in the comments below.