Robert Beerworth Team : Web Strategy Tags : Web Development e-commerce

Surprise and delight eCommerce users. Don't just surprise them.

Robert Beerworth Team : Web Strategy Tags : Web Development e-commerce

As a general rule, when it comes to buying online, users don’t like surprise or mystery.

They like to be in control, know exactly what they’re getting, what it will cost and when it will be delivered.

Users often need to know more than your website will tell them, such as whether you are offering the best price and whether they should buy from you in the first place.

Users need to know a lot and feel comfortable about their purchase.

In designing an eCommerce website, we should by now know that key information users will be asking for before jumping into the checkout process will include delivery costs, exchange and refund information and confirmation that the coupon code they’re clutching will work.

Which makes a recent promotion by Dell strike me as really quite odd.

Essentially, customers were emailed with a mystery coupon, offering somewhere between 10% and 50% off the purchase price of a new Dell.

Problem is, customers only found out the discount when they reached the end of the purchase process and cart process.

Which goes against the grain of what eCommerce shoppers like to experience.

Even worse, as one blog reported, he went through the whole buying process and was offered a discount of 10%.

10% after all of that work and effort.

Needless to say, he wasn’t amused and didn’t buy.

He sure got a surprise, though it wasn’t a nice surprise.

And worse, he now feels aggrieved towards Dell.

He feels slightly abused.

Interestingly, the Dell purchase process is quite a long and drawn out, presumably the strategy being that by the time people have customised and configured their machine and staggered through the process, they’ll be less likely to write off their previous time and effort, even if the discount is on the smaller side.

This is a pretty presumptive and silly strategy if it is true.

Of course, it could be just that the process purchase is long and terrible every day.

Generally speaking, the concept of ‘surprise and delight’ in an eCommerce website is a great one, though only if the user wasn’t expecting the surprise and the surprise truly delighted them: an offer or a discount they weren’t expecting.

Don’t mess with the fundamentals though.

Let your users make informed and comfortable decisions about whether or not to enter your purchase funnel.

And that means giving them the price up-front.