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Online Shopping Experience – Lessons Learned About Conversion

I just got a book called “Called to Action”. I just finished reading the first few chapters and it has been very helpful so far – I am sure I will write a full review on it when I am finished.

There is one section that starts to talk about the oneline shopping experience most website users have; one filled with disappointments and frustrations. Some very common website obstacles it mentions are:

* Having to use plugins
* Forcing downloads
* Figuring out drop down menus and pop up screens
* Not finding the information you are looking for
* Not obtaining a level of trust and credibility from the website

I started thinking about a online shopping experience I had personally last night and it started hitting home. I didn’t realize the process I was going through but after reading that section in this book it really opened up my mind about my own personal shopping preferences.

Phase 1 – The Value Driver & Background
This experience starts more than a year ago and requires a little background information. My wife, Mindy, was born in Korea and adopted by her parents in the U.S. when she was 6 months old. She has always wanted to go back and visit Korea to ‘find her roots’ so to say. We went there in October of 2006 for a few weeks and had a wonderful time. While we were there she was using some shampoo there that she absolutely fell in love with. I didn’t think much of it until we got back home from our trip.

Ever since that trip she always comments on how great that shampoo was; being as dumb as I am sometimes I didn’t take the time to write it down, although I thought it was called ‘Kyocera’. Being Christmas time she kept dropping hints of how great that shampoo was and how she would like to try using it again to see if it really was that great or she was just imaging things while we were having a fun vacation. I realize now that the most important thing to me is that I find the specific shampoo she used in Korea and am able to have it delivered by Christmas so I can use it as a gift for her. I recognized the sole driving force behind my search was that I find this present for my wife by Christmas; other things were not important; I was not searching for shampoo because I ran out of it, I was not searching to try a new shampoo that would help moisturize my hair, I was not trying to find shampoo cheap online to buy in bulk, etc. This driver is unique to me just as the other ones I just mentioned would be unique to others even though the same website could satisfy all of us. It is also important to keep in mind as soon as I found what I was looking for I had a credit card sitting on the desk and was very ready and even eager to make a puchase now so I could get the product in the mail and on the way.

Phase 2 – The Unfruitful Search
Last night I decide to try and find this product. I start searching for ‘Kyocera Shampoo’ which brought up nothing at all; thinking the name was wrong (it was by the way) I started searching for ‘Korean shampoo’ and ‘Korea shampoo’ hoping I could find a list of Korean made shampoos that would include the specific one I was looking for. Finally, after literally about 30 minutes of searching, I come across a site that just happened to have it in stock; however the name was different than I originally thought. The shampoo was called ‘Kerasys’ but I quickly recognized it when I saw a picture of it. I realized I knew what I was looking for (specific shampoo) but in reality I didn’t know what I was looking for (forgot the brand name). This was very frustrating and time consuming.

Phase 3 – Buying Values Can Change
Once I actually knew what I was looking for (Kerasys Shampoo) I started searching specifically for that in the search engines and started to have many more opportunities open to me immediatley. I quickly realized there were many vendors out there that carried the product and now just finding the product was not my top priority; finding one that met my needs was. I think my values changed at that instance I found the brand name from finding anyone who actually carried the product to finding someone who carried the product that could deliver by Christmas, that was trustworthy, and that had a decent price.

Phase 4 – The Online Buying Decision
I narrowed my search down to three online retailers that offered the shampoo as a product. The first was Amazon, the second a salon specialty store, and the third an ebay seller. Here is a review of each one.

Amazon – Amazon carried the product through an affiliated vendor. I have used Amazon in the past and this built a level of trust I did not have with the other websites; although I was disappointed slightly after finding out it was not actually Amazon who fulfilled the order but a 3rd party affiliated salon instead. The price was $24 for shampoo and conditioner with about $7 in shipping. It did have some text on there saying if I wanted it by Christmas I would have to order it by Dec. 15th which was only a few days away. This made me lead to believe the fastest I could get the product delivered would be just a few days before Christmas. One thing that was frustrating is I could not find out how big the bottle was, 8oz or 14oz, as it appeared there were different sizes available.

Specialty Salon Store – This website offered the product for $20 with $6 shipping. It was a 8oz. bottle. They did not have any information about shipping costs; my biggest concern was when I added the product to the shopping cart several website graphics on the page failed to load which made me lose trust in the company that they would have the ability to process my order online if they can’t even get simple graphics to work. I immediatley left after that.

Ebay Seller – There was a ebay seller with the product for $19 with $6 shipping plus they offered a free ‘treatment forumula’ bottle as well which was a ‘bonus’. The bottles were 14 oz. and the shipping time was ‘2-5 days’ which was well before Christmas. The seller also had 99% feedback on over 700 sales which built credibility and I have had previous positive experiences buying items from ebay sellers with good reputations. I ended up going with the ebay seller because they had the best price, even a ‘bonus’, shipping was fairly cheap, and they could get it to me the quickest.

Whats There to Learn About Online Buying Decisions?
Overall it was very interesting all the thoughts that were going through my head when I didn’t even realize it until I reflected back on the experience and understood why I did what I did. The winner in the end was the website that provided the information I wanted (size, price, shipping times, shipping cost, etc.), established credibility (over 700 previous positive transactions), and could get it to me on time (within 2-5 days of shipping).

Next time I shop online for something I think I am going to try to vocalize my thoughts and see if it helps me understand my own buying patterns and behaviors to help myself understand consumers in general better.

Article Provided By:
Adaptivity Pro Web Design
Salt Lake City Utah
P.O. Box 951049
South Jordan, UT
o: 801-512-2006