The whole world has been thrust into ecommerce faster than anyone anticipated, and unfortunately, most companies are nowhere near ready for it in terms of their UX. Over the last few days, I have been making notes of all the bad UX I have been encountering. Now to be fair, I am quite critical and get very annoyed quickly. I am not the average shopper. But these are some examples that I have noticed in the last three days:
Petsmart.com – I am a “Treats” member so I get free shipping on all orders over $49, but my order was $62 and it was still charging me shipping. None of the products seemed to have an exclusion that I could find. They had no live chat and an attempt to make contact through Twitter failed miserably. Turns out, all I had to do was encounter more terrible UX to fix it. I waited a day, and as they do not have persistent shopping carts, my cart was now empty. I added the very same products back and all was fine. They also fail to offer a wish list option, which I guess some may find normal as who wants to add pet products to a wish list? I will tell you who, my daughter who is buying a hamster and everything that goes with it out of her babysitting money and is “wishing” for a lot of things.
Nike.com – Nike has removed all Redskins products, which is a powerful statement. But they haven’t actually captured the moment fully. Instead, they serve up a basic “no results found” for Redskins searches, with some really bad alternative recommendations. If you are going to remove products, put up a statement and stand behind it. They actually came across as passive-aggressive since I knew why they removed them, but to an average shopper who has no idea, it could be a terrible shopping experience.
Texas Department of Transportation – Okay, this site isn’t ecommerce, but what I encountered is normal on way too many sites. I was using the contact form to report a broken light at an intersection. I filled out all the fields and used Chrome autofill for the address and such, hit submit, and it said that I needed to fill out all the required information. It was all there, but I actually had to go back through the form to enter each field and just tab through. I see this on tons of ecommerce websites, where the autofill is not accepted as valid unless you encounter the onblur event. This is deadly in a shopping cart.
Iprefer.com – I was booking a room on this boutique hotel website, and much like above where the pre-fill failed to be recognized, this site had a similar but worse issue. The credit card form had been updated but they failed to use standard form naming, meaning neither Chrome stored payments nor 1password would pre-fill the fields. I was forced to retype my credit card versus allowing Chrome to autofill. This issue is rampant out there as it is such a simple thing that is just overlooked.
Amazon.com – Amazon’s recommendation engine has always perplexed me. Today, they say others like me buy file folders and pens, even though I have never bought office supplies from them. Oddly, based on my purchases, they also recommend that I buy three different desks. A quick glance at my order history and I am perplexed, it isn’t even close. But nor are most of their recommendations – they want me to buy more speaker wire because I bought 1,000 feet once six months ago.
Tractorsupply.com – on their homepage they have “top rated” products, one of which is a “Lifetime Glider Bench”. If you click, it just executes a search for “Lifetime Glider Bench” where the bench shown on the homepage isn’t even the first product in the results. Worse still, Lifetime is a brand but they don’t have any showing at all in the results or the brand facet.
There are just so many simple things that websites don’t do well. When you’re talking about 97% of your site visitors not converting, it is paramount that you do everything possible to make the UX as smooth as possible. The little details of a shopping cart page or the naming of fields is very important. What I have noticed is that the larger the company, the worse they are at UX. I won’t pontificate on why this is. My examples were all large companies, not because I am picking on them, but because as I browsed, this is what I saw.