If a shopper has a bad experience on a retail website, the online merchant may never see that shopper again, just as a store would not regain a disappointed shopper. This parallels the in-store shopping experience in another way, too. The disappointed online shopper may tell family and friends of the less than satisfactory experience.
The importance of a top notch web experience cannot be stressed enough, and retailers that hone a good online shopping experience can use it to stand out from the crowd, according to Bruce D. Temkin, VP and principal analyst of customer experience at Forrester Research Inc. "Our research on retailers shows they say the customer experience is very important, and they want it to differentiate themselves from competitors and other companies," Temkin said. "But our consumer research shows that shoppers don't think retailers are doing a very good job."
To gauge the quality of online customer experiences, Forrester Research analysts recently reviewed 1,200 websites, including eCommerce sites. Just three percent passed the firm's usability test.
"The number one failure, believe it or not, is text legibility," Temkin said. "In this day and age, companies are investing hundreds of thousands of dollars, even millions, in their sites, yet display content in a way in which people can't read it."
"Another failure near the top of the list is inefficient task flows," he added. "Some eRetailers, for example, have checkout processes that put you through too many steps. The processes simply are not efficient."
Yet Temkin said these web merchants can easily improve their online customer experience. "Over the last few years we've seen that sites have gotten much more sophisticated and handle more complex technologies. Yet, we still find rookie mistakes," he added. "Text legibility is a rookie mistake. But it doesn't take a lot to figure out how best to display text."
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