• Jacobs Communications

We just had the best online shopping experience (and it wasn't on Amazon)

For online shopping, it's no longer just about ease, but creating and connecting with users by inspiring and helping them. By understanding what customers want from their online journey, we can personalize customer experiences. We often hear retailers scream "We are focusing on personalization", but what that usually means is they dump money into a pretty ad or in-store signage with a few different models or a few different flavors. Features that were once impressive are now seen as brilliant basics. As consumers, we are becoming more demanding and it adds extra pressure to retailers to continually evolve and improve digital customer experience.

But how do you combine functional and engaging content to create a great digital customer experience? If you haven't heard of Asos.com yet in the United States, get ready to. Asos.com is a global online fashion and beauty retailer, offering womenswear, menswear, footwear, accessories, jewelry and beauty products. It sells over 80,000 branded and owned brand products online and through mobile experiences. Asos has websites targeting the UK, Australia, USA, France, Germany, Spain, Russia, Italy and China. It also ships to over 140 countries from fulfilment centers in the UK, US, Europe and China.

Take note retailers because prominently on the site shoppers are inspired by many articles that are both helpful and inspiring. While many retailers bombard their sites with images upon images of product from the start or flashy ad campaigns, they're not creating an experience that solves real problems for real shoppers. The examples below hit a wide range of fashion problems and solutions for a wide range of shoppers.

These stories are diverse, helpful, and make the reader want to buy. They are truly using human-centered design to create an online shopping experience that mirrors what happens in daily life - the struggle to find style for the skinny guy, how to model your clothes after your favorite celebrity, or different ways to wear a staple item. After the shopper reads the story, finds useful tips, and is inspired, it's easy to click and shop the story.

Here's how Asos wow'd us with the shopping experience - by creating confidence in the purchase. Creating confidence is the macrotrend that provides omnichannel shoppers with the tools and advice to help them discover new products and choose the option best suited to their lifestyles and needs. According to the report "Retailers and the Ghost Economy: The Haunting of Returns" from June 2015, businesses lose $8.4 billion each year because of online purchases returned due to wrong sizing. Asos removes the friction point of reluctant buyers due to sizing issues. Brands vary in sizes and each body is unique. Here's where they nail it - when shopping for your item, shoppers are able to take an assessment to see which is right for them based on height, weight, and how you like to wear your clothes.

Not only does the sizing tool ask the basics, it asks deeper questions such as which brands do you usually wear, how old you are - size with age, weight can shift around the body, and other body specifics. What's amazing is that at the end of the tool, the site suggests the sizing for you not based upon what the brand thinks, but rather what other shoppers just like you purchased and how often they did (or didn't return it).

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