User Experience Design in a manner of speaking considered a holistic experience extending far beyond a website’s User Interface. Many attempt to capture its surreal existence and many ideologues have been drawn and found as such is the nature of the beast. I see E-commerce rendition and User Experience Design about creating a passionate love affair between a customer and a business enterprise.
We are wary of every other business enterprise just popping up on the internet with little background or little known history behind its inception very much like an advance from a stranger who wants to wine and dine us.
Hesitatingly, we just might nod with approval to an unsolicited advance and give it a shot if it meets our subjective criteria (a positive feeling or something that meets the eye wondering if there is something more than what simply meets the eye i.e. substance).
If you have ever met a pick-up artist, he’ll claim to woo any woman he’s asked to court and the same goes for a User Experience Designer who’ll claim no less for any potential user/visitor but that is not the reality of things. Therefore, considering the selective approach most individuals follow, not everyone will find your website’s first impression to their taste or liking and that’s not your user but there will be those who would relate or associate positively with it and that’s your target and potential match.
Reluctantly, as we choose to have a coffee with the stranger /browse e-commerce website, we are not willing to be lead into a trap. Curious as we may be, at the first instance, we are rather suspicious and guarded against a sale proposition much like a first date scenario.
Anything that will follow would happen only incrementally. A diligent approach to dating/shopping revolves around going forward one-step at a time.
For most modern men/women, settling for mediocrity is not an option. They are not looking to get by but want everything from excitement, fun to passion and romance for a fulfilling engagement and in the same light User Experience greatly attaches itself to business differentiation and substance. You as a person are appreciated for your modesty, elegance and sensitivity just as a website is appreciated for its simplicity, ease of navigability and access to its offerings and the offerings itself.
They need to know if you communicate well, understand them and cater to their needs. They need to know if the prospect is trustworthy and whether the fun interaction will lead to a meaningful relationship or not. Same way, an e-commerce website needs to offer relevant content, products/services and make available meaningful experience. Furthermore, if the website comes across as reliable and trustworthy, it would have laid the foundation for a fruitful and lasting engagement.
The engagement is not a one shot affair; it is about continuous interaction and constant makeovers to keep the excitement alive and keep up the fun. Same way, an e-commerce portal needs to update its inventory, stock fresh material/goods/services that will allow the engagement to prosper.
The engagement is an extremely demanding proposition. It can be easily lost if it loses relevance/perspective for the user/ love prospect. It needs to be captivating enough for the love prospect/ website user and feel real. The love prospect/user must be able to explore and receive a quality experience, which makes a love affair a possibility.
The Love Affair
This is where the ball gets rolling and the lifetime value of a customer brings value and tends to recuperate the cost of customer acquisition. As such, falling in love requires more than engagement, it needs add-ons to the connection that has been forged so far with the customer just like a relationship has expectations of commitment, loyalty, caring and growth. Building a relationship and keeping it is no small task, the user needs to feel appreciated for customer loyalty (a good example is Amazon; it truly makes the user feel wanted, desired and cherished). The customer needs to feel special every day just like a lover never tires of appreciating his/her love interest and would do everything in his power to making them feel loved and cared for. Offering a personalized shopping experience goes a long in making things easier and likable for a consumer but it’s not always enough unless supported by quality support (no questions asked returns, positive communication, respect and love in the shape of goodies that come with an apology and without expectation; gestures of the ultimate service experience like Zappos, etc.).
Therefore create a loving, caring and growing user experience and don’t just simply sit there watching your customers drop in and drop out like it never mattered. If you achieve the state of love affair, your customer will reciprocate your love with the same spirit and fill you in with their rave reviews, recommendations and regular buy-ins.
Your business would have no other option but to grow in both money and love.
By Maneet Puri