Jingle all the way…

6 December 2022 Martin Cheetham

As we’re entering the Yuletide season,  it makes me reflect on how Christmas shopping has evolved.  Gone are the days of last-minute sprints around packed malls, desperately trying to find that perfect gift (for most people anyway). It conjures up memories of Arnie and Sinbad battling it out all over Minneapolis trying to find the legendary Turbo Man action figure for their sons…

Online shopping has taken away that stress, but sometimes I want the experience of visiting a store, browsing the packaging, hearing Mariah Carey on repeat (ok, maybe not), and breathing in the sights and sounds of Christmas. How do you replicate those feelings online?

More often than not, the online experience doesn’t meet that of the in-person, in-store experience. Staff helping you find what you’re looking for and advising you on the benefits and features. Seeing how things work and comparing items in-hand, or even getting a demonstration to ensure you’re getting the right thing. We’re instead met with frustrating chatbots and ineffective search tools, leading to a less-than-stellar shopping experience.

We live extremely busy lives, and even though we have so much technology saving us time and making life more convenient, we seem to have even less time to get things done.

“It’s not a tumor” – Arnie (yes, I know I’m mixing meta references but it’s worth it just to make you read that in his voice)

If the online experience is lacking, then users will use it as a pricing comparison and nothing more. Digital platforms need to add value. If it’s not helping me achieve my objectives or making my life easier in some way, or it’s simply giving me a headache, then don’t expect me to buy.

Designing a great online experience comes down to exactly that one word. Design. It must be consciously created with the users’ needs in mind. Understanding what users want and need, and how to help them achieve those desires as quickly and painlessly as possible, will inevitably lead to a good experience.

If your website is simply a catalogue of products then you are lumped with every other catalogue out there, and it comes done to convenience or price. Every time.

Rather give users a compelling reason to visit your platform, and to keep visiting it. Add value to them. Value that they couldn’t get from walking into a store.