An Open Letter to Online Retailers from a Certified Obsessive Online Shopaholic
Here’s to my fellow-online shoppers who deserve better.
Dear Online Retailers,
I am addressing this letter to both the oldies and the newbies of the online shopping biz. I’ve been using some of your services for quite a long time (no need to go into details) but yes, I’ve been here longer than even some of you. So I believe I’m in the position to point out some things that will not only help us consumers, but also you, the big guys. Here are some points I (and the rest of the shopaholics) would like you guys to direct your attention to:
First things first, a lot of us are on-the-go and are hooked to our mobiles (who isn’t?). We like to make purchasing transactions over our phones, so why not adopt a mobile responsive web design for your website? It will really make things easier for us plus, you won’t lose your customers who don’t have the time to use their computers anymore.
Social Media Integration
Speaking of being always on-the-go and on-mobile, we are almost always online, hanging out at social networking sites (okay so we’re not that busy). Why not advertise your online business via SNS? That helps get our attention, though avoid the constant nagging and ad-bombardment, that’s just annoying. Why not integrate social media in your website as well? It’s quicker to advertise your shop when the like/share/tweet etc. options are available.
Note: Nothing is more sacred than word-of-mouth advertising, especially from “friends”.
One thing that really turns us off is outdated websites. No one wants to have dealings with a seemingly dead or inconsistent brand/shop. We really appreciate your attentiveness when it comes to our queries, even if we’re just browsing. We’d like to be taken cared of just like when we shop at malls. And once you’ve lured us in, don’t let go.
Note: An excellent service makes all the difference. If you’re good to us, we’ll gladly return the favor.
Set your policies straight so we, consumers, won’t have to spend so much time composing letters, asking what should’ve already been stated on your website. We like websites that are easy to navigate: fewer headaches → more productive browsing → higher chance of purchase.
Categories excite us! It gives us a quick list of your available products and gives us the freedom to check only those we like to see. When displaying your products, be as straightforward as possible regarding measurements, size, colors, etc. (better if you can show these visually) so we won’t have to ask anymore. Also, a one long page showcasing several products is better than spreading it across several pages. Loading takes time and many of us don’t have the luxury of time or gift of patience – it’s the internet’s fault, really.
Note: Have a section for customer feedback/testimonials. Not only does it give your shop credibility, but also gives insights to some of our questions.
Your overall website tells us something about your brand and whether you are serious about this because believe me, we are. Give your brand some personality, even if it means putting neon streaks and leopard prints. Just make sure it goes with what your brand represents. Also, appealing images attract us so put some effort in it. It also increases the possibility of it being shared on Pinterest (see Social Media).
Note: As much as we enjoy looking at your newest collection, we also like to browse through your older ones (hello, vintage) – with ease. Please have a “search” button. We. need. it.
A shopping cart is our best friend. This makes our entire online shopping experience a whole lot easier ‘cause we won’t have to deal with customer service anymore. This also allows us to keep track of our items and how much we’ve already potentially spent.
Note: One thing we really hate are dirty-scheming cheats. Please indicate ALL costs, including shipping/delivery costs, in your website so we can gauge how much we’re really paying.
With all the scamming that’s going on, you can’t really blame us if we’re skeptic about your online shop, especially regarding financial matters. Simply put, we (especially first-time buyers) prefer bank over credit card transactions.
Note: Only offer banks and payment getaways trusted by most in that area. Don’t shortchange them and yourself. (And yes, the HTTPS:// format matters.)
Accuracy is very much crucial to us. We don’t have any tangible evidence of your product other than what you let us see. Post (all available) measurements according to the country you’re catering to for our better gauging.
We’re huge suckers for sales, contests, giveaways, and what-have-you’s. Spice things up through cool contests and gimmicks to get us going. This will also inform you of your customer reception and loyalty. Speaking of which, we like our loyalty rewarded once in awhile because it shows that you care for us. Having loyal customer discounts will do big for us and for you as this will strengthen your customer loyalty base and attract new ones. While you’re at it, tie-ups with other online retailers are a major plus for us. Online shoppers will love you for it.
It gives us a variety to choose from and you also gain new customers along the way.
Honesty – from product displays to transactions – is still the best policy. This will show your integrity and that you’re trustworthy. Continue to deliver excellent services – backed by quality products, of course – and word will soon spread. Remember, take care of us and we’ll take care of you.
Certified Obsessive Online Shopaholic