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Keep it personal

A personal shopping experience ties in with a blog post we wrote a couple of weeks ago about knowing your customers. If you know your customers then you are already half way to a personable shopping experience. That is, if you have used that knowledge to your advantage. The other half comes from little tweaks and features that make the customer feel as if they’re shopping on the highstreet – that is to say, to feel as if you can just ask for help whenever you want and you can “feel” the product before you buy it.

First impressions

You want your customers to be as comfortable on your shop as they would be in a high street shop. If possible, even more so, as you want them to be reassured by their surroundings, to make them purchase for you. That’s where keeping it personal becomes important and the design plays a big part in this. If your site looks like it has just been thrown together in five minutes, people are unlikely to stay for very long.

First impressions become incredibly important at that point. Your home page needs to be clear and clean. A good, easy to understand structure is key. If customers can find their way around your shop they will feel comfortable. If you back that up with high quality images and graphics, a good logo and good use of the templates/design you’re on to a winner.

Product images from all angles are key. They have to be clear and show exactly what the product you are selling looks like. If you can, back the images up with some video footage of the item. Seeing the product in action is a great way to convince a customer to purchase from you.

Another important consideration is a good description of the item. It’s important to remember that you aren’t just describing the product, you are selling it; so your description has to be convincing. Sure, you need to describe the product, but it’s important not to be bland. This obviously depends on the product you are selling. Serious items need a serious description, but if you have a product that would work well with a light hearted fun description, it’s something you should take advantage of.

The perfect site

I was shopping online for a watch last night. It’s something I wouldn’t normally do online as I like to have an assistant talk to me and answer any questions I might have. I was on a few websites and the lack of assistance started to irk me somewhat. It started with bad and grainy images and ended with nobody being there to answer my questions. Even more disappointingly, the descriptions often weren’t good enough for me to make up my mind.

That was until I found a website that did everything I was looking for. They had great images from all sorts of angles. Customers had sent in images of them wearing them, so I could get a decent idea of what it looked like on and the descriptions were exceptional. Most importantly however, there was a live chat function. It popped up when I first came to the website and I felt the reassurance that if I had a question I could have it answered.

Their descriptions were great, very funny and very informative, but there were still questions I wanted answering and that is where live chat became incredibly useful.

They were very unusual watches, made from wood, so I had a lot of questions concerning water resistance, wear and tear, and so on. The option of being able to talk somebody via live chat and having all my questions answered in a personable manner, with some great advice on what to wear the watch with and how to treat it to extend its lifetime, was for me, the deciding factor for the purchase of the watch.

The final push I needed was given by the customer reviews on the site, that finally convinced me that I would not regret my purchase if I made it today.

What makes a great online shop

For a personal shopping experience we need to combine all these things into one online shop. Great images, great design, personal product descriptions that draw the customer in, a live chat function that can answer any question that the customer might have, convincing customer reviews and anything else that you can think of that might add a personal touch to your website. Sometimes a very personal ‘About Us’ page can let the customer relate to you and your business and that could be crucial when it comes to securing the sale.


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