Drug testing

Why Ecommerce is Not Ready for My Daughter or Me

As the mother of a teenage clothing fanatic I'm often at my local mall. It occurred to me that the shopping experience for my daughter is attractive to her not because she wants to spend my money, but because the experience of buying itself is so rich to the senses.

For example, when we enter her favorite stores the first thing that hits me is the music. If it's her kind of music, we're in the right place for her. If the signs near the front of the store have sale prices and notices about markdowns, we're in the right place for me. Immediately there are two user needs met. Mother's and daughter's.

Next, for me, is how products are displayed. I look for orderliness and logical groupings such as jeans in one place, the teeny tiny things she calls shirts in another place, "hoodies" in every possible color in another section. I also look for clean dressing rooms and clues as to how many items she can load up on before she meets their limit. Meanwhile, she's looking at colors, sizes, textures, and styles. She glides along in her beat up sneakers touching the items as she passes by. Her hands drift along piles of sweaters as if walking through a field of daisies. A certain texture will stop her dead in her tracks and I'll get that "Mom, look!" expression from her.

It strikes me that some of the stores she insists we stop into don't offer much for me to do or look at. The d?cor is dark, black, and limited to a few racks mixed with hanging things on the walls separated by posters of half naked teenagers standing next to cars they can't possibly afford to buy. Clothing prices are hidden inside sleeves. Sale signs are taboo. But the music is hip, the salespersons are scary-looking and the smell of leather mixed with hair gel is making my wallet itch. Their website, I bet, has but one click-path designed for teens and their parents must be blindfolded so as not to read the content before handing over their credit card.

Finally in a store where I feel welcome, my daughter is admiring the merchandise and starting to find what she likes in her size. I'm avoiding the mirrors and marveling at the sales personnel with their size 3 bodies, smudged eyeliner and 35 bracelets on each wrist. For my daughter, who looks just like them, this is confirmation she's in the right store. I, on the other hand, will stop holding in my stomach when we get back out to the parking lot, or when we grab our latt?s in Starbucks on the first floor.

While other mothers and myself are holding piles of clothes in our arms, or running back and forth to get something in different sizes, my mind drifts to all the ecommerce websites I find in search engines, but don't purchase from. For starters, most of them think I'm going to read 35 links in their navigation, plus their ads, before deciding which is the right path to follow. Some of them will tell me about one sale, but if I want to know more, I have to figure out where they stuck that stuff. There's nothing I can physically touch and the images are usually tiny. Sure, I can click to enlarge but how many times have I done that only to find a bigger view of the same boring, unattractive picture?

Most shopping carts don't give me shipping dates or availability information as I make my selections. (Just recently I ordered something, only to hear from the merchant via email that their software wasn't working and the color and size wasn't recorded, so they had to contact me for that information.)

We assume ecommerce have functional websites. We assume incorrectly. We assume they built them for many types of customers, but again, we've assumed wrong. We assume that the top 20 sites in search engine results are the best of the best based on our search keywords. That, I'm afraid, is the saddest shock of all. Top rank doesn't equal the best online experience once you click into that website.

That part of usability wasn't tested for you by the search engine or directory. That's not their job.

My daughter looks good in everything. So did I when I was a teenager. If I still had that body I could order from any lingerie site on the Internet and feel quite sure I'd look as fantastic and sexy as their starving models do. But, I never buy sexy lingerie on the Internet because quite frankly, they're not selling it to me. One look at their models, their poses, their ages and their airbrushed faces tells me their target market is men who dream of making their women look like that too, if they just buy that lacey thing for them.

Fortunately I have a levelheaded daughter who loves to hunt for bargains. The last time we shopped at the Mall together was because I wanted to get her a gift for making the Distinguished Honor Roll that marking period in school. She found something at her favorite teen store for under $20. We splurged at Starbucks on our favorite chocolate coffee fixes, which was the logical choice after doing so well at the clothing store.

Online, after a sale, I'd be alone staring at my monitor at a "Thank you screen" and likely not directed to go anywhere interesting next. This is another common ecommerce practice; dumping the customer off after the last screen of a shopping cart. Instead, they should try suggesting a related site (via paid sponsored link?) or a reminder to bookmark the site for later shopping or better yet, how about a quick "Did you find what you were looking for?" survey. One quick question, one button click is all it takes to say "We hoped you like your shopping experience but if not, please tell us how to make it better."

This is what the cute pierced nose sales clerk said to us when I handed her the $20 for my daughter's new shirt. I gratefully accepted the receipt from the nail polished hand attached to the 18 year old face with a pimple on the forehead, multi-colored hair and glittered eye shadow. You just can't get mimic that kind of user experience on the Internet yet.

Usability Consultant, Kimberly Krause Berg, is the owner of http://www.UsabilityEffect.com, http://www.Cre8pc.com & http://www.Cre8asiteForums.com. Her background in organic search engine optimization, combined with web site usability consulting, offers unique insight into web site development.

Copyright 2004

limousine chicago service
In The News:

Shopping Online: What You Should Know

For some people, shopping online is as normal as driving... Read More

Dont give up on your business!

Summer must be when many work at home Mom start... Read More

Start doing online business using B2B Portals in Six Steps

I registered with a B2B site but what's next?This is... Read More

Online Customer Service - The Cornerstone of a Successful Online Business

Online customer service is still one of the most frequently... Read More

Building eCommerce Websites That Work - Part 1

You want to succeed at eCommerce? Welcome to a very... Read More

The Rise of Multinational Virtual Corporations

The virtual corporation is the emerging organisational form, which best... Read More

Google Catalogs - Old Gashioned Mail Order Meets High Tech Search

In addition to Google's Froogle shopping service (still in beta),... Read More

The Five Most Commonly Encountered, Off-putting E-commerce Errors

While getting less public handwringing than during holiday season, the... Read More

Paypal Primer

To conduct business on the Internet, whether informal, one-time only... Read More

7 Must Have Scripts to Look for When Shopping for E-commerce Hosting

When shopping for e-commerce hosting there are a lot of... Read More

Overcoming Frustration with Technology

For whatever reason, when we get a new boost in... Read More

Using Drop Shipping for E-commerce

Thanks to the ubiquity of the internet, online virtual businesses... Read More

Increasing E-Commerce Website Sales: A Guide for the Online Newbie

Because of this encouraging surge in activity, many individuals are... Read More

Doing Business Online ? Private B2B Exchanges

Business processes are the building blocks of an enterprise. If... Read More

The Art of Being Human

This isn't the first time I have written about the... Read More

The House Of Print.Com

Publishing has always been a difficult business to promote successfully,... Read More

6 Steps to Attracting Black Customers Online

by Jamila White, "The E-Commerce Diva"In the rush to keep... Read More

Two Pillars of a Successful Web Site

For a web site to get close to fulfilling its... Read More

Succeed With Your Own Home Based Business

An internet business is by far the best way to... Read More

The Lowdown On ECommerce: Making All The Pieces Fit Together

The Lowdown on EcommerceEcommerce is truly the most confusing aspect... Read More

Content Ever be Profitable?

THE CURRENT WORRIES1. Content SuppliersThe Ethos of Free ContentContent Suppliers... Read More

How to Start a Business on the Internet

So you want to start a business? Good for you.... Read More

Dont Get Ripped Off Getting A Merchant Account

Far too many people get ripped off when setting up... Read More

Implications Of E-Commerce For Tax Legislation

As e-commerce develops ambiguities in the current tax code in... Read More

Do Your Online Brokerage Business With Zero Down

If you have little or no capital but you want... Read More

led lights energy efficient bulbs fixtures Pete's produce ..