Why must we jump through so many hoops in our online experiences for the same deals in-store? All too often websites do not highlight incomplete offers or apply promotions to orders for which we qualify.
When people go into a store, there are promotions everywhere you look. on stickers, shelves, products themselves. Special items are showcased on the edges of aisles. Reds, black, yellows dance their way into our line of sight. Yet online retail experiences make the same offers difficult to obtain.
This problem needs to be addressed. So, here are some of the worst offenders and a few brands doing it well.
Let’s begin where our users usually begin, at the top of the page. This is often where you usually find marketing banners.
But do users actually start at the very top of the page? No! People do not read websites top to bottom. They skim. And when they are focused on their task, they seek out elements relevant to the task and ignore everything else. So, putting an advert at the top of the page is too far away from where users are looking.
Let’s take a look at the Lands’ End site. The pale blue streak across the page is the promotional banner. In usability research (with a similar client), users often went through the checkout process, without once noticing the banner. It was only after being prompted, did users look at the banner.
But this was too late. Participants had already purchased their order! Users were left with a sour experience when noticing promotions they qualified for, after they had purchased.
“I missed that [banner] I paid £3.95, that’s a bit disappointing”
Bring promotional codes into the user’s line of sight. Place the promotions alongside items, instead of advertising things at the edges of the screen. Users are more likely to see offers in their line of sight. Just as long as the promo section doesn’t look too much like an advert.
The Body Shop has a promotional code on the first slide of their carousel, inside an image. The code is then shown again at checkout, in another image, with the Promotion Code field underneath. Hiding the offer inside numerous images force users to manually type the offer. This may not seem like the end of the earth, but this poses a much bigger issue for those uncomfortable with typing or can’t access the images.
This issue is worse when you have more than 2 items in your basket, as each item pushes down the Promotion Code field. So, a user has to scroll up and down the page when they need to enter the code.
Bring the in-store experience to your website, by automatically adding offers at checkout. If a user has purchased 2 items and there’s a 3 for 2 offer, tell them. If they qualify for free delivery because their order is worth more than the amount, say so. Equally, when users just don’t quite qualify for the offer, make this clear. If someone has spent £25 and is £5 away from free delivery, highlight this.
Domino’s pizza has a great experience, which does exactly this. The website gives you the best deal, based on what’s in your basket.
Domino’s have realised that people spend time looking for the best deal. Users will only last so long trying voucher codes from websites, which don’t work for a limited time. Most users then leave, feeling like there’s a code and they just haven’t found it. And no one wants to pay for something when they feel like someone else is getting the same thing, cheaper.
Unmarked offers at checkout
When we go into a store and we don’t pick up a complete offer, most of the time a cashier will tell us. “They’re on offer 3-for-2, and you only have 2. Do you want to go grab another?” We don’t have to earn our in-store promotions.
There’s a huge disconnect between online and in-store.
Our participant faced the same issue when testing a client’s website. It wasn’t until they had purchased their items, that they noticed they had qualified for free delivery.
At no point throughout the checkout journey did the website add the offers the user qualified for. Instead it was expected that the user had seen the promo code in the banner at the top of the page and remembered to type the code into the promo text field.
"You’re only bitten once. It should come up that you get free shipping, you shouldn’t have to find a code” - Usability participant
I don’t have to quote a code from a poster in a store to receive an offer. So, why is it the case on websites? Users often don’t notice the codes nor do they remember to enter them when they’re busy checking out.
“Why didn’t I get that anyway? Why have I got to quote the code?” - Usability participant
Users want a good bargain. Who doesn’t love a bargain? So, tell users when they almost qualify for a promotion. Let them know that they get free delivery for their order if they spend £5 more, for example. This is an honest experience. Users will feel that you have their interests at heart.
Supermarket websites tend to do this quite well, like Tesco and Asda. And thank God. Could you imagine going through your monthly shop, remember each offer you’ve selected and then double check to see if you’ve redeemed each offer? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
What Asda does is clearly highlights the complete and incomplete offers under relevant items. Additionally, you see a running total of savings in your order summary. All this amounts to a great experience! The website feels like it’s working in your favour and not hiding savings or offers you qualify for. There’s no jumping through hoops for offers.
There’s a lot left to be desired when it comes to our retail experiences; online and offline. Websites make us jump through so many hoops, left right and centre for offers they promote and that we qualify for. Consumers have so much choice when it comes to retail. So, we should be aiming to build as much trust as possible with our customers, while they’re still choosing us.
Let’s build an honest experience, starting with promotions. Highlight incomplete offers. Provide offers outside of images. Automatically add promotions users would receive in-store.
Previous post: 5 Mini Exercises to Explain UX
Next post: Killing Compassion in Sensitive User Interviews