User Experience Revolution
From carts to laptops
We all remember an instance in our childhood where we shopped with our parents or relatives at the grocery store, wheels of the shopping cart rustling on the ground, and running around the store grabbing snacks that we wanted off the shelves. These memories seem so distant, and these instances seem much less prevalent today.
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The age of the shopping carts is slowing down, and this is apparent as companies like Blue Apron sell edible products on their websites and can ship it straight to their customers’ doorsteps. This is extremely convenient and it can even eliminate the need for even having to step out of the house to not starve. With this option, why even bother leaving the house to go to the store when you can get the same things from the comforts of pajamas? Because of this, less and less people are stepping foot into physical stores.
Similar to this, there are some companies that even try to steer clear of in-store sales completely. Companies such as Bonobos and Life 8 have physical stores for people to see the products, but buying products is done completely online. For them, there is no such thing as in-store purchases.
From the emergence and growing accessibility of cell phones and the internet, human behavior is changing. (For more information on this topic, visit here) Just like before, the company that made their customers feel the best was the one that came out on top. So, how does this quite work when everything is digitized and companies operate from behind their companies?
Well, the answer is simple, it’s from user experience!
There was a time before cell phones?
Yes, there was. This just seemed like so long ago and everyone has gotten so accustomed to using electronics in our everyday lives that most of us can’t even imagine life without it.
In the olden days, one in-depth trip to the supermarket was usually a big event during the week, something that could possibly involve the entire family. One such trip like this can take hours to complete, and the haul was usually much bigger than someone can possibly carry with one hand. Carrying grocery bags into the house was another big struggle as it takes another half an hour after this to organize all the items.
Since everyone went to stores to do their shopping, crazy holidays like “Black Friday” emerged where companies launched massive deals on the day after Thanksgiving. This prompts everyone to leave their houses to shop as products are only so cheap for one day. In America, it seems like “Black Friday” has even more buzz than Thanksgiving does since some stores even open on Thanksgiving Day to shoppers. People of all ages go for a day of retail therapy and for many companies, this is one huge day of revenue for them.
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This so-called holiday was the perfect opportunity for retailers to earn a lot of money in one day while also offering consumers the chance to assemble their holiday shopping list quickly and affordably.
Everything changed when the internet was created, and with the increasing accessibility of it, the old way of doing things is changing. The old way will not be eliminated, but the habits and behaviors of how people do things will be different.
How have trends changed?
Nowadays, everything can be delivered. There could be days at a time when one wouldn’t even need to leave home to have all of his or her necessities sent straight to them. It is such a convenience and there are many people in all age groups that have already picked up on this.
From an article on TechCrunch, 79% of Americans now shop online. More than ever do people make their purchases online rather than in stores. From another statistic, it is said that 30% of the global ecommerce sales will be via smartphones by the year 2018, this doesn’t even include all the purchases that are made from tablets or computers yet. It is astonishing how much those little devices are shaping society.
Below is a survey done by the Pew Research Center that talks about shoppers’ preferences on either buying online or buying in physical stores.
Image 3: Shopping preferences between physical stores and online from source
According to these graphs, shoppers who bought weekly were more likely to be more reliant on online shopping than its counterparts. This may seem like common sense but this is a trend that has changed from a few decades ago when the internet wasn’t even something that everyone sees as a necessity today. As people became more and more comfortable with shopping online, their preferences obviously changed as well. Even people who are less frequent online shoppers, 18% of them say that they would prefer to buy online. Shopping online is becoming more and more friendly, and so more people are willing to try it and adopt an online shopping behavior.
There is a common misperception that younger people are the ones that are more willing to buy online since the younger generation has had more exposure to the technologies that allow for online shopping. However, this is wrong, which shows that the internet has more influence than people had previously thought.
Below is another survey done by the Pew Research Center that is also on online shopping.
Image 4: Online shopping popularity amongst age groups from source
From the graph, it seems that buying things online is extremely popular across every age group. The convenience that comes with ordering products from the internet and having it shipped right to your house is something that everyone is already taking advantage of. The myth that millennials are the only ones that are able to put technology into use is also busted. 90% of US adults ages 18-29 have bought things online while 87% of adults ages 30-49 and 72% of adults ages 50-64 have purchased items online. The internet has crept in everyone’s lives very subtly and has even reared its head as “holidays” like Cyber Monday emerged to meet this trend. The internet has become something that we all deeply depend on nowadays.
Obviously this shift didn’t happen overnight. Luring people to shop online is one topic of discussion, but how do enterprises keep their customers online and not lose them to competitors?
The effect of user experience on online shopping.
How each company composes themselves online to present to their customers is essential to determining which company triumphs in the e-commerce war. This is evident because “people that are fully connected and satisfied with a brand is a whole 70% more valuable in terms of spending and frequency of visits than their emotionally unconnected counterparts.” So, whoever can make their customers feel the best will edge out their opponents and win in the e-commerce war.
An example of how companies have catered to customers is Amazon’s 1-Click ordering function. Often when people purchase things online, they have to go through the process of entering their shipping information, billing information, and payment information every single time. This is a constant struggle for people that want to purchase their items as fast as if they were in a physical store. This function lets Amazon save all of the user’s information and allows for customers to purchase whatever they want with just the click of 1 button. It’s simple and efficient. They have created for themselves a good reputation which is probably the reason why 55% of product searches that are done online begin at Amazon.
Across all cultures, there are different expressions that have a variety of different meanings; however, emotions are cross-culture and persistent throughout every culture. Happiness is a trait that is displayed the same from everyone. On the same note, a good user experience that makes people happy will have the same effect on people all around the world.
Although this may be true, there are different ways to create happiness in people from different cultures. For example, C-Trip, a travel service provider, has created different formats for their English webpage and their Chinese webpage. Because C-Trip understands that people from different places prefer different things, they have catered their websites to people of different cultures to create the best user experience for them.
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Making the purchasing process easier for consumers makes them more likely to purchase things from you. Only by understanding your users can you improve to meet the needs of customers. If only there was a way to understand the behaviors of users to better accommodate for all types of customers’ needs.
The creation of the internet has without a doubt changed the behaviors of everyone who has access to it. Utilizing this technology and using it to your advantage can without a doubt help companies succeed over their opponents.
By understanding your users and realizing how to satisfy the consumers’ needs, you can fully take advantage of a young technology. There are still many frontiers to be conquered to reach the full capability of the internet, but only by keeping up with the trends is staying ahead of the pack even possible.
Interested in learning more about user experience or how to get started? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org for a jump start into your company’s future!
- 1. Sarah Perez, 79 percent of Americans now shop online, but it’s cost more than convenience that sways them, Tech Crunch, https://techcrunch.com/2016/12/19/79-percent-of-americans-now-shop-online-but-its-cost-more-than-convenience-that-sways-them/, 19 December 2016. (Last Visited: 18 July 2017)
- 2. Michael Lazar, Click. Buy. Done. These ‘M Commerce’ Statistics Show That Smartphone Shopping is Viral, Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-lazar/click-buy-done-these-m-co_b_11657372.html, 23 August 2016. (Last Visited: 17 July 2017)
- 3. Pew Research Center, Online shopping popular across age groups, although Americans under 50 especially likely to buy using cellphones, Pew Internet, http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/12/19/online-shopping-and-e-commerce/pi_2016-12-19_online-shopping_1-02/, 15 December 2016. (Last Visited 17 July 2017)
- 4. Graham Charlton, 55% of online product searches begin on Amazon: stats, Click Z, https://www.clickz.com/55-of-online-product-searches-begin-on-amazon-stats/106326/, 27 September 2016. (Last Visited 18 July 2017)
Aldrich Huang, CEO of UXTesting Chih-Cheng Wu, Marketing of UXTesting