Men’s clothing retailer Paul Fredrick has been running a special discount, offering $50 shirts for $20. I ripped out the discount code (they ran ads in Inc, Fast Company and I’m sure other places) and carried it with me for several days. This past Friday I finally sat down and went online to purchase a few shirts.
The experience I went through in purchasing the shirts is something all e-tailers can learn about selling online.
The one difficulty I had in purchasing shirts from Paul Fredrick was that the web site was VERY slow. I’m sure it’s not slow all the time, but they probably had a glitch for the several hours I spent shopping. When I would click on a link to look at a shirt it would often take several minutes to load the profile of the particular shirt.
Lesson learned: When building a web suite, and serving lots of customers, make sure that the experience is as fast as possible. When shopping in a traditional store, how do you feel standing in line for 30 minutes? 60 minutes? You don’t like it – do you? Online, when customers have to wait minutes before seeing the result of a click, it’s like a LONG time on line at the store.
What was very good about PaulFredrick.com was that when I called them (on the telephone) to complain about the slow site, the phone was answered quickly, courteously and professionally.
The second lesson learned, which PaulFredrick.com did so well, is to allow buyers to drill down to specific selections, especially when there are many details and options to pick from. For example, I could refine my search for shirts by color, size, collar and a variety of other options. This made the purchasing process much faster and easier.
If you want to increase customer loyalty and ensure you get customers coming back again and again ensure your web site is as smooth and pleasant to shop from as it can be. Small things, like being able to see up close how the fabric looks on a shirt really do matter. Maybe you don’t sell shirts, but you sell something else, customers can’t see or touch the product in person so give them as much bells and whistles to get a “virtual up close and personal” look at the product as possible.
Another neat thing I liked about PaulFredrick.com was that even if I was not on their web site for hours, my shopping cart stayed intact. On many other sites, the shopping cart would be erased, forcing the user to start over again.
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