What the biggest online retail stores are doing to provide stellar eCommerce experiences
Ever browsed an online store providing such a luxurious shopping experience that you think to yourself, “This is great, I wish I had done this”.
Or have you had such a mediocre experience that you ended up thinking “I can do so much better than this, people would love shopping at my store”.
So, it sounds like you want to be the next big eCommerce platform, like Amazon, the global eCommerce leader.
Like Polyvore, a fun online fashion shopping store.
Or like Lazada, southeast Asia’s biggest online retailer.
Lately I’ve been studying Lazada. Their store is well planned and structured, helping to deliver a pleasant and effortless shopping experience.
I decided to have a closer look at their store design, and analyze the little details that add up to the creation of such positive experiences.
Since they no doubt track user behaviour while on their site or app, they can optimize their store to serve an experience tailored for individual preferences – in real time as you shop, even as a first time visitor.
What’s more, Lazada designs different shopping experiences for different platforms. Acknowledging that people turn to their smartphones in new ways-to make a decision, learn something new, or get something accomplished, there are tiny interface design changes on the different platforms.
Even the app and mobile site have subtle differences that cater to the various needs of shoppers on the three platforms.
1. Offering Multiple Options
It starts with simple things like this “View More Sellers” option available only on the desktop site when browsing product listings:
On the mobile site you get the option to “View More Products Like This”:
Essentially, these serve the same purpose as the product recommendations found on most single merchant online stores, which allow users to browse the same product sold by different vendors and pick based on price, location, or vendor rating.
It’s actually one of the features we think is essential for eCommerce owners for cross-selling, and should be expected from any modern solutions provider.
It’s interesting that the desktop version even includes starting prices from the alternative vendors.
As I browse, the option let’s me know that I’m currently looking at the cheapest option, although there might be better choices to consider if price isn’t my highest priority.
2. App Promotions
Then there is the Lazada App.
To encourage people to download and shop on their app, they have app specific discounts:
Compared to the desktop version which offers a lower discount:
Mobile shopping is still catching up to eCommerce, at least in terms of attributed conversions. No doubt this sort of promotion helps mobile commerce close the gap by incentivizing in-app purchases.
If you’ve gone so far as to develop an app for people to shop on, it needs to have a defined purpose in your customer journey. Not simply “this is where people buy things while out and about”.
You will most likely face a similar situation if you plan on having a mobile app for your own eCommerce business. This should give you an idea of how you might handle it for your own venture if it comes up.
So, if through your analytics, you figure out that most of your customers only use the app for a certain purpose, let’s say just to browse, and later make purchases at their desktops, then you might look to optimize your website for purchases while making your app more convenient for people to browse on.
One simple but oft overlooked feature is the “favourite” or wish list button.
If you’ve ever spent time looked for accommodation online, you’ll agree that the ability to shortlist items for later viewing soon becomes invaluable.
Perhaps this function gets neglected because merchants don’t delve deep enough into user behavior, thus being unable to determine that such a feature is useful for certain types of shoppers.
It’s a quality of life component that most benefits repeat shoppers who spend longer time browsing before purchasing.
Favourites button on an InstanteStore merchant store
4. Retargeting Advertisements
Part of the shopping experience is retargeting advertisements. Here is what happens when you add products to cart at the website.
You’ll begin to see advertisements like these follow you around on different websites.
Using cookies to track your browsing behavior, the store knows that you have abandoned a shopping cart. They now look to complete that sale by getting the product in front of you for a short amount of time.
The fun doesn’t stop there though.
I added another product to my cart and wandered off into the internet. Immediately, the advertisements updated themselves:
Fruit juicers have now joined in the advertisements. I like that their remarketing automation accommodates real time updates as you add products to cart.
After I’ve thoroughly explored the store and indicated my interest in products by adding them to my cart:
The ads get populated with more product variety the more products you view or add to cart.
These advertisement will even reach shoppers on social media platforms. Though not as interactive as the ones on Criteo advertising platform (check it out, they are not just static images).
InstanteStore makes it simple to set up re-targeting campaigns such as this, by integrating with Retaily which automates the process, allowing merchants to convert more prospects into customers.
Lazada have understandably not published any reports on the performance of their re0targeting campaigns (I asked). Thus it’s anyone’s guess how effective the display ads are at converting dropped sales.
Also, I don’t have the details, but presumably items added to cart without being purchased get higher priority for display ads over items that were only viewed.
This is a great strategy for multi vendor sites where people shop for a wide range of products from household items to sports equipment and electronics.
5. App Tutorial Screen
When it comes to mobile apps, experience can be tricky to get right. First, you’ve got to make sure your app is bug free, is fast and hyper-responsive.
Once the technical requirements are met, you’ve got to make sure that people know what capabilities your shopping app will give them.
I was pleased with the overlay tutorial that display the first time you visit a top-level shopping page:
Lazada Home Screen Tutorial
Lazada Category Page Tutorial
Not how pinching works
Without being intrusive, I found these little tutorials able to quickly inform me about the app functions and their locations. This makes it easy for new users to navigate and shop with convenience.
We see that Lazada builds good shopping experiencse by starting with the question: “how can I make shoppers lives better?”, then taking action to do just that.
eCommerce is a fast moving industry, new trends and user behavior crop up all the time. Staying on top of it means being able to deliver optimized experiences just as swiftly.
Don’t be afraid to be first, as Sephora SVP of Digital, Mary Laughton advises:
When you discover new consumer behavior, be ready to take action on it quickly.”
As always, thanks for taking the time to read our eCommerce blog. If you’ve enjoyed this post, let us know in the comments and share it!
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