Small Etailer Packs Big Usability Features
I love it when the "little guy" does something that I haven’t even seen on some of the larger sites I cite as examples here on the Get Elastic Ecommerce Blog. I recently bought a few items from C28, a Christian-lifestyle-clothing shop in California and noticed they were doing a couple of cool things I'd never seen before.
Even when scoping out sites for personal purchases, my usability consultant’s hat is always on. (It’s like those people who take film studies and can never watch a movie the same.) So I was really impressed by this virtual unknown offering features like "Email Me if My Size is Re-stocked" and "Email Me Before This Item Sells Out." I even went to the search engine to see if I could find another site with this features (after trying a variety of word combinations) and so far haven't found any. If you've seen another store doing something similar, please comment.
"Email Me if My Size is Re-stocked" is great customer service, and "Email Me Before This Item Sells Out" is handy for shoppers who may find the regular prices a bit too steep (seems they're going after the teen market) but who would "bookmark" items in their Wishlist (they've got one). Perhaps the decision to add this feature to the site was in response to customer feedback in the product comments area. Comments like "I love it! Too bad it's so expensive." This way, the customer can sleep on it for a while, and before the item sells out if they really want it they may consider paying full price. Or, months later when the item goes on sale, you can send an email reminder to your customer that you still have that cool hoodie available, now a bit more affordable.
There are few other features on C28's product pages I'd like to point out:
Shopping Cart and Wishlist Options
So you don’t have to use your shopping cart as your wishlist/bookmarking tool.
Number of Items in Cart and Running Total
Social Media Integration
Scroll to the bottom and you will find social bookmarking links to Facebook, Flickr and Squidoo (not long ago they had Digg, Reddit, Del.icio.us, and Furl which are not really appropriate social media outlets for ecommerce marketing.) I’d suggest they’d add a couple social wishlisting sites too like Kaboodle, StyleHive and ThisNext.
The site could take the next step by incorporating text messaging deals and promos like Moosejaw Mountaineering.
Although the theming (look and feel) of the site is not my favorite. The edgy all-caps font may be target-market appropriate but is not the most reader friendly, neither is the tiny type in some sections (at least the average teen has pretty good eyesight). Overall I think many online retailers can use C28 as a model for good ecommerce functionality.
I just received an email last week from C28 titled "How Can We Improve C28.com for Non US Customers?" That's a great question. Next post I'll give some tips that any ecommerce store can apply to improve usability for international customers.
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