Home > The Monday Musings Column > how easy is it to buy from you?

how easy is it to buy from you?

I understand that you need to have a set of processes to enable your company to run, and some of these will be around ordering, pick, pack, despatch and customer enquiries. This is a particular area of my own expertise, but why do you inflict this stuff on the customer?


Buying on line shows up the worst of this for me. Some examples:
• Crude product search engines that give you almost the entire inventory regardless of what you ask for.
• Page links that don’t work.
• Where you view the product, select a quantity to buy, get through a convoluted checkout process and only then get told that it is out of stock.
• Convoluted checkout process.
• Contact Us links that don’t work.
• Drop down lists in the Contact Us section that never seem to cover the query type that I have.
• Comment boxes that only allow too few characters for your query

Some company web sites are great; Amazon for example, but others are dreadful. Amazon relieve me of a lot of my disposable cash because they make it easy for me to spend with them and the overall customer experience is great.

On the other hand there are at least two or three companies a month that fail to extract funds from me because I can’t be bothered to go through all the hassle. Do people at these companies ever consider the customer experience? Do they ever try to buy from themselves? Somehow I doubt it.

And it isn’t just web sites. A lot of face to face experiences are no better. Two big gripes here; firstly the assistant who has to finish talking to their colleague when you’ve obviously arrived, and are waiting, to ask a question, and those places where you can’t enjoy looking without assistant after assistant walking up and asking if you need help.


OK, so all of that is B2C, but what about B2B? Well in many cases that is no better. Web links that don’t work, “Contact Us” buttons that either give you an email address with a promise to get back to you within 2 business days(!) or a phone number to a call centre somewhere that doesn’t even seem sure if the company you’ve called exists, let alone what they do.


Some web sites are so hard to navigate you doubt that you really want to deal with the company; if the web site is so badly organised, what are their other business practices like?  For a start make sure that there is a consistent way of navigating around your site. Next, if you are going to engage with people on the web then you need to put something on there that people can play with and find things out. You also need to have something useful behind the contact details so that when someone does get in touch they get prompt responses. We’re using the web for its immediacy, so keep the ball rolling.


The next area that drives me to distraction is how hard some people make it to pay them. In this day and age a bank transfer is quick and easy, as is using a corporate purchasing card, so why are so many people still asking you to put a cheque on the post?

Generally there is room for improvement, so  come on people. Get some thinking done on how people can trade with you. Things may be tight currently, but there is some money out there to be spent so make it easy for folks to spend it with you.

  1. January 17, 2011 at 6:40 am

    I agree with what you are writing. But the fact of the mater is that many companies that decide to dabble in ecommerce end up picking the preferred shopping cart software already installed by the hosting provider or purchase a third party bolt on.

    Testing. Testing. Testing. That’s the key to solving the problem you purport. Amazon did not launch with the shopping experience you see today. It took them countless number of A/B tests to get to where you are so willing to relieve yourself of disposable income.

    I have yet to find a shopping cart bolt on that gives me this flexibility of customization and the needed stats requirements to measure how visitor experiences change based on those changes introduced after and A/B test incorporates an improvement.

    Curious if you have run across any worth recommending?

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