How customers experience online environments is a fast-moving area of both
research and professional practice. It blends psychology, marketing and web
technologies in ways that can either make or lose a lot of money. What makes it
most exciting is that there are so few definitive answers to its biggest
challenges. Designing usable, informative, persuasive and hence profitable
customer experiences will eventually be found to follow proven principles. But
these principles will only emerge from insights into the customer experience -
the subject matter of cx-i!
The value of keyword search for e-commerce sites has taken a bit of a battering
over the past few months! The latest research suggests it is used as a last
resort when browsing fails, it makes customers less likely to find what they
are looking for, and even if the perfect search engine could be developed,
customers still wouldn't want to use it . But just as the nails are poised over
its coffin lid, search may just be about to stage a spectacular recovery.
E-commerce is still going through rapid and quite fundamental changes, which
makes the work of e-commerce managers an interesting challenge! How do you make
sure you've spotted all the emerging technologies, the novel design features
and the innovative mechandising ideas? How do you filter all these new ideas
and decide which ones to investigate further for possible incorporation into
your own site? This article focuses on
three issues that e-commerce managers need to consider over the forthcoming
year - AJAX, Faceted navigation and Split-testing. They all have the
potential to deliver substantial competitive advantage, they are all strategic
investments - none can be deployed as a tactical bolt-on at a moment's notice
and, unusually for innovations in e-commerce, they are all based on
well-established principles and tried-and-tested technologies.
+ 1 comment from Carlos Baez, TeletextHolidays.co.uk
A basic requirement of any e-commerce site is to enable customers to find
whatever product they're looking for, quickly and effortlessly. However,
we found at least one confusion zone within the navigation pathways of every
one of the 15 leading online retail sites we analysed. These will
certainly be damaging sales but may also be damaging the sites' entire online
The publication of the Labour party manifesto yesterday takes political
persuasion to an entirely new level of sophistication and one that might, in
the long run, transform the role of online channels in political campaigning.
In this post we illustrate and test out
the personalisation on offer. We then explore its potential in the short term
to be a highly persuasive influence on voters and in the longer term to form
the main battleground for electoral politics.
Data from a recent survey shows that customers trust the Internet to very
different extents. The extent to which customers need to be reassured on trust
issues, therefore, varies considerably but to satisfy most of the people most
of the time requires best-practice to be deployed rigorously. See
our case study of a transactional page that gets all of the basic trust
requirements wrong and, as such, provides an interesting case study in what we
should be looking out for to safeguard transactional trust.
Politicians have a lot to persuade us of and putting information online should
be ideally suited to voter persuasion. Here, we give an
overview of the ways in which the main party political sites should be being
Just how persuasive are the online party political web sites? From the
considerable amount we currently know about the art and science of online
persuasion, there are certain features that must be considered basics
requirements of a persuasive web site. We present our
analysis of how well the main political web sites meet these basic requirements.
All of the major parties are overwhelmingly negative in their campaigning. Our
analysis of 123 press releases from the web sites of the Labour, Conservative
and Liberal Democrat parties (21st March to 1st April 2005) revealed that over
50% more press releases contain something that attacks the opposing parties
than positive campaigning messages. Research from previous
elections suggests that this may depress voter turnout.
Political web sites need to get their message across to readers quickly and
effortlessly. It is well established that people scan rather than read web
content but our analysis suggests that
much of the page content on all the major party political websites is neither
written nor presented to facilitate scan reading.
All three of the major UK party political sites suffer basic usability problems
that are likely to frustrate and annoy readers. See our
analysis of how poor navigation controls make it difficult for readers to see
where they are in the site and to navigate back to where they have just been.
A lot of what is known about the sales of goods online also applies to the
sales of services online (and vice versa). The sectors can, therefore, learn a
lot from each other's best practices and examples of this will be explored here
at cx-i over the coming months. Read more
about the research that will be appearing on cx-i over the coming months.
How do managers of financial services e-commerce sites manage more intangible
apsects of the customer experience such as respect, trust and credibility?
Find out why these issues have become a lot less intangible than they were a
couple of years ago.
Online Retail 2004, 0ur benchmarking analysis of the online customer experience
showed that there's lots to be done to improve the online retail environment.
So we're starting on the research for Online
27% of Americans said that political information they got online made them
decide to vote for or against a particular candidate in the 2004 Campaign. So,
online channels could play a critical role in determining the outcome of the
2005 General Election in the UK. See the evidence
and the arguement for the importance of online politics in the UK General