Tag Archives: e-commerce Blog

Making a Website Intuitive

People don’t want to think, they want to buy! Making a website intuitive makes it a delight to use, which creates a great experience and increases the likelihood of conversion.

In an intuitively designed webpage, the constituent elements are built and organized in such a way that the user can access information, navigate and transact naturally and effortlessly. Intuitive design is inconspicuous, but not necessarily unremarkable.

In an effort to make sites aesthetically pleasing, designers often sacrifice usability. This is a crime, considering that if the user does not find a clear value proposition within the first 10 seconds, they are very likely going to bail out. The site needs to make its purpose obvious through its design.

This article provides some ideas about how you can make your website more intuitive, design better calls to action, and delight visitors by making it easy for them to find what they want and complete a transaction.

Read full article: http://bit.ly/2k4tcYT

The Religion of Tech

This is an article that takes us briefly outside the matrix of modern technology. As cool, useful and exciting as today’s tech can be, the ideology behind it is, in this author’s view, founded on a body of beliefs that users readily accept, but that serve creators and purveyors far more than the consumers who pay for products they don’t truly own, and give away personal information over which they no longer have control.

The greatest of the United States’ homegrown religions – greater than Jehovah’s Witnesses, greater than the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, greater even than Scientology – is the religion of technology … By spreading a utopian view of technology, a view that defines progress as essentially technological, they’ve encouraged people to switch off their critical faculties and give Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and financiers free rein in remaking culture to fit their commercial interests.

For many, especially younger consumers, notions of privacy and surveillance are not of concern at all. For others, this is the dawn of the ‘Big Brother’ society, which gives unprecedented power to elites in government and commerce. If the latter is the case, how then can a society founded on principles of individual freedom and liberty be led down such a path so easily?

John Kenneth Galbraith coined the term ‘innocent fraud’. He used it to describe a lie or a half-truth that, because it suits the needs or views of those in power, is presented as fact. After much repetition, the fiction becomes common wisdom. ‘It is innocent because most who employ it are without conscious guilt,’ Galbraith wrote in 1999. ‘It is fraud because it is quietly in the service of special interest.’ The idea of the computer network as an engine of liberation is an innocent fraud.

It might be a good time to take our eyes off of our screens for a moment to consider how far technology has come so quickly, and where it might be headed. As we become more dependent on our devices and connections, and as the entities that provide and manage them become more consolidated and enriched, is unquestioning faith still justified?

Read full article: http://bit.ly/2cdWNN4

Understanding Users

When it comes down to it, we’re all users. No, not the manipulators who want to steal someone’s time, money or ideas. Rather, the everyday people who use technology. Those of us that create solutions from tech often take users for granted or consider them with disdain when we see the ‘mistakes’ they make while ‘using’ our latest product. But we all know what it’s like to be left adrift by technology that hasn’t been well thought out, or whose developers have made assumptions about us that are ill-founded at best. This article sheds light on tech from the users’ end, which can serve as a guide when we’re designing something that has the goal of having someone do business with us online. The quick take-aways? Make it easy, put yourself in their place, and never call your customers ‘dumb.’

Read full article: http://bit.ly/1ORqWOQ

Twitter IPO: Why Social Is the New Low-Fat

Everyone in the tech world wants to come up with the ‘secret sauce,’ the ‘killer app’ — the one ingredient that makes their product or service irresistible and essential. With Twitter’s successful IPO everyone should recognize by now that that ingredient is social media.

It reminds me of several years ago when fat-free foods were the rage. Reducing fat in our diets was believed to be a key factor for longevity and robust health, and this is probably true. But what was amazing was how quickly food producers began touting their low-fat products, or creating low-fat versions of products that normally are ‘full fat,’ including low-fat donuts, ice cream and pizza. It wasn’t long before almost every edible product we could buy had a low-fat label on it. And if that was all that was necessary to ensure good health it would have been a great thing.

With social media we’re seeing the explosion of something on the Internet that’s been arising since its beginning, and that’s the power of mass interactivity. Because communication on the Internet is two-way, brands can target ads, gather data, follow users from site-to-site, create profiles of their activity online (if not specifically identify them), all towards the end of getting advertising messages in front of them. But what’s different today is that interactivity is bypassing the brands altogether. Consumers are now talking to each other via social media about brands, products, services and prices before making buying decisions.

People on social channels are ‘curating,’ (gathering things of interest to post online), and ‘recommending,’ (sharing things they like with others online). These two activities are what makes social so important. Depending on whose statistics you read, anywhere from 80 to 95% of consumers prefer a recommendation from someone they know over a search engine result or an advertisement for a product when deciding to buy something. In fact, the very notion of a ‘brand’ is changing. It’s no longer what you say about yourself that matters, but what others are saying about you.

So, what does this have to do with low-fat? Soon, most websites will need to find ways to incorporate social tools for their users. This means not just providing ‘share’ links out to social media websites, but tools that allow customers to connect with each other within a site. Imagine users being able to curate items into a ‘set,’ and then sharing their sets with others to solicit opinions and comments. Or tagging, naming and saving sets, which others can then search for, add to their accounts and edit. Social tools like this could be implemented for everything from clothing and household items, like on Polyvore, to color palettes and swatches like on Adobe Kuler to content on news, movie and TV sites. Customers will be able to learn from and be inspired by other customers. In fact, consumers will begin demanding these tools, just like they did with low-fat foods.

Businesses need to get involved with social media now, if they haven’t already, and start gaining experience. The Twitter IPO, if nothing else, will open the door for investment in sites that offer ‘social commerce’ solutions that attract customers. With close to 2 billion people already using social media we’re way past the learning curve. And consumers will only continue to tune out advertising. The only caveat is that you won’t get away with selling potato chips that merely reduce a portion from 300 calories to 280 and calling it ‘low-fat.’ You’ll need to provide quality tools that give customers the ability to learn from others, enlighten others, and obtain useful recommendations that lead to sales. Consumers are ready for that kind of buying experience. Which is why social commerce is the prescription today for future business health and longevity.

iPad Takes Significant Lead as e-Commerce Shifts to Mobile

A study by RichRelevance illustrates the power of Apple’s tablet platform in the area of e-commerce (m-commerce?). The iPad has put a charge in the shift from desktop to mobile when it comes to buying things online, accounting for “68% of all mobile shoppers.” The larger screen undoubtedly helps consumers view full webpages better than on smartphones, making them more comfortable navigating shopping sites. iPads may also make shopping online a more casual experience since purchases can be made from the couch or kitchen table. Also, people may be finding shopping on-the-go on smartphones challenging from a time perspective. True m-commerce implies “buying while flying,” which apart from technologies like Near Field Communications that allow instant purchases, may currently be an unrealistic expectation considering that shoppers like to research and compare when buying online.

Whatever the case, there’s no denying the iPad’s power when it comes to the all important act of spending.

The report, the 2012 Q1 Shopping Insights Mobile Study, finds a steady rise in mobile share of revenue from 1.9% in April 2011 to 4.6% in March 2012, with the iPad driving nearly all shopping, browsing and purchasing in this emerging channel.

According to March 2012 data, iPad users spent significantly more time and money on retail sites than other mobile users, account for 68% of all mobile shoppers, and show the strongest conversion rates (1.5% for iPad vs. 0.57% for other mobile devices).

Read full article: http://bit.ly/HQxXH3