Online shopping and end user experience: no time for painpoints (even when searching for 50 Shades of Grey)

Recently, I was determined to find “Fifty Shades of Grey” – the book that is engrossing readers everywhere.  Having resisted the e-book phenomenon, I was anxious to get my hands on the real book – but my casual attempts to find one in my normal weekend errands proved futile.

Every shelf was empty.  Desperation started to set in.

So I turned to my recently installed native mobile application for one of my favorite stores.  Instead of running from store to store, I was able to plug in the item I was looking for and use their “find it in-store” function to direct me to a location (on my commute) that had the long-awaited prize!

The native mobile application was faster than doing a classic web search – and since it integrated the GPS function from my phone, I was able to determine real-time stock level changes across my changing locations – from when I was leaving my office to my house – seamlessly, quickly, and without a fuss.  A store that had the book in-stock when I was in the elevator leaving was out of stock by the time I was approaching it in my car.  Luckily, the application showed me where new stock had landed.

Frustration averted. Prize in hand!

That being said, if that native mobile app had performed poorly, I would have used one of their competitor apps to keep searching.  Like most consumers, I don’t give second chances easily to sites or apps that fail me: it’s all about end user experience.  Unlike the “Fifty Shades of Grey” theme, I stopped going to a news outlet that I loved because they were downright painful.  Slow page load times, 3rd party ads forcing page refreshes, and hiccups with streaming content finally forced me to say “No More”.

The need for “e-traffic” (my personal term for any site/app that serves up information/commerce) companies to proactive monitor, manage, and diagnose real user problems is not a luxury.  In a Computerworld article from late last year, Forrester analyst Andrew McInnes stated “Big companies have finally embraced the link between customer experience, loyalty, and long-term financial success.” A strong customer strategy is built around the interactions an organization has with its customers – so make each impression with the customer count.