Our approach to e-commerce

Learning to drive is like queuing up for Stealth at Thorpe Park, it’s both exciting and terrifying. On a crisp, fresh morning, sat in my instructors car for the first time, he said this to me:

You’ll never be the fastest, you’ll never be the sharpest, but you can be the smoothest. That’s what I’ll teach you.

And he’s right. Nobody can be the fastest or the sharpest driver on our roads. Being smooth, however, emits confidence and allows others around you to feel safe and secure knowing that you can go to Sainsbury's and back without being a threat to the public. Our approach to e-commerce is the same. We focus on building trust between the brand and their audience. How to make the customer feel confident, safe and secure when browsing and buying through an online platform, possibly for the first time.

Together with our clients, we work through these themes.

Know your audience

Your audience is a fickle bunch who’s behaviour has never been normal, so it’s important to empathise with people and gain valuable insights from the beginning. For most of us, a positive experience is finding the right item, having enough information to make an informed decision, and getting a clean run through the checkout.

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Matt Lee, Head of Strategy and Experience here at Yoyo, has written an in-depth article about the importance of knowing your audience and the methods we use to extract that golden goodness.

Do one thing. Do it well. 

Brands often try to be too many things online. The trap is believing you can be good at everything, when really you need to ensure your MVP is the best it can be. 

Build your e-commerce platform really, really well, and worry about the rest later.  

Be open  

Into skincare? Then you’re aware of Glossier, a maverick in the beauty industry with an estimated valuation of $1.2bn! Serious unicorn levels.

Among many things they’ve got right, engaging with their customers is key. They gather valuable suggestions and take them straight to their lab where multiple best-selling products get produced, all made by the customer.

Don’t guess what your customers want, ask them.

The butter

We’re going to write an article dedicated to usability best practices and heuristic rules. For this, I’ve pulled out a few of our favourites. 

Speak English

Drop the industry twang. Lean on your brand personality, blend it with easy to understand terms, and communicate online the same way you would in-store. Shock-horror it’s a person at the other end of the experience, who knew?

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First, be sure that a filtering system is needed. Unless it’s baked into the experience as an essential part of the customer journey, they just get in the way. If it is needed, consider how users will interact with it. Dynamic sorting or user-command? Sliders or text input? Salted or unsalted?

Decluttered checkout

This is the most important stage of the journey. Enticing people to place items into the basket is relatively easy. Getting them through the checkout is bloody difficult, so control the narrative. Reduce distractions, remove lazy additional item suggestions in the hope of up-selling, and hold their hand with a well-crafted, frictionless checkout experience. 

Payment options

A dark horse in the usability essentials list is the different platforms and currencies people can use to pay for items online. PayPal, Apple Pay, Klarna, Bitcoin, Solids. This will be critically important if you have plans to expand your reach globally. 

On toast

Your audience are savvy people who gain confidence from positive experiences built around them. Focus less on new customers and more on your existing ones. Get to know them and surprise yourself with the ideas only collaboration can generate. 

Your audience will find you.

Be ready

Wondering if I passed the driving test first time? The answer is no. On the day of the test I arrived without the relevant paperwork, which technically goes down as a fail. The instructor was livid. A blemish against his perfect record. It just goes to show that for all the hours of hard work, meticulous planning and dedication, human error happens.

If you're keen to chat to an agency about designing, building or even optimising your e-commerce site, get in touch with one of our team.

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Know your audience

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