A great example of how a website can get it right and then get it wrong

Since I am a busy person and am not much of a shopper (more the type of buyer that walks into a store to buy what he came for and then walks out), shopping on the web is a great option for me. During the holidays I, like so many people, relish every opportunity to not have to fight the store crowd to purchase gifts.

My estimation is that more than 75% of the time I shop online. I have fairly high confidence that my credit card info will not be stolen (it used to be higher), and that the right goods will be shipped to me in a reasonable amount of time if I’ve not specified a special delivery.

So when I noticed that I was running low on after shave/cologne and realized that I had no time to go to the store I decided to try shopping for it online. It seems to me that very few men would go out of their way go to the store specifically to buy men’s cologne as it is the kind of thing you pick up when you are at the mall or department store shopping for other things and you remember to buy some so you won’t have to make a special trip.

Since I am an Amazon Prime member I checked it out there first. The annual membership to Amazon Prime offers ‘free shipping’ which is actually not free since you pay $79 a year for the membership. I checked out the offerings for men’s cologne on Amazon and they had a fair amount but it was not all that well organized and a bit clunky.

I then decided to try Perfumania.com (Sephora.com was next on my list). The Perfumania.com site was well organized and easy to navigate. They were having a June special which was clearly marked on the home page. Sephora.com also looked intuitive and easy to use but there were no specials listed on the home page. I bet you can guess where I decided to shop.

The prices on Perfumania.com were lower than Amazon.com – not substantially but lower. And free shipping was offered for orders over $60. Yes I was having some second thoughts about my Amazon Prime membership. A free gift was offered as well as samples and they were having a buy one get one for half price special also (something they term BOGO which is not the greatest name I thought as its only one letter away from BOZO).

Off I went placing my order by choosing the cologne I wanted. And then I hit the wall. The site was interminably slow and when I tried to load 2 items into my shopping cart the sands of internet time just kept on spilling. When I hit refresh it took me back a page and I had to enter in all my information a second, (and then third) time! And while I did not want to pay half price for another item of the same sort,( I did like the option however), the instructions were that I would be able to do it at time of order. But I never saw the option once I FINALLY got into the shopping cart.

At last I was able to make my purchase and check out. Yet the experience which had the potential to be a very good one was undermined because of the slow and frustrating performance of the site interface.
It’s something to keep in mind – you can get everything right, but then if you drive the customer crazy by making the navigation or site process difficult you will have more than lost what you gained.

Do you have any good stories to share that illustrate what I am writing about?

About markkolier

Futurist, entrepreneur, left lane driver
This entry was posted in Customer Experiences, Marketing stuff and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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