The Purchase Experiment: How to Romance Your Customers

Thursday, March 24, 2016 Listrak 0 Comments

By Layla Thomas, Listrak’s Marketing Research Intern. This is the first in a series on Layla’s post purchase research study.

Here on the Listrak Insights blog, we love to strategize ways to reel in customer. We could talk about subject lines, great design, or copywriting tips for days—no problem.

If you think about it, that makes us almost like professional wingmen.

Because, as the bachelors and bachelorettes out there can attest to, “Do you have a Band-Aid? I scraped my knee falling for you,” can only get you so far, we take you beyond the first impressions and ensure you’re the retail-version of Prince Charming.

With retail relationships, things move fast. After a modal or Refer a Friend gets you those “digits,” your courtship has already reached a pivotal moment. In our case, that’s the purchase.

No pressure.

So the question remains: How do romance your customers and keep them coming back for more?

To find out, I looked to my good friend, Excel.

Over the past few weeks, Listrak has embarked on an experimental purchasing study to see how top mall brands entice, complete, and follow up purchases on their online platforms. We’re looking at everything from modals to the return process and it’s been filled with surprises.

This is the first of a three-part series where I’ll break down some of the best and worst moments of the study as a means of holding you over until the final research publication. As a follower of Listrak Insights, I know you value the relationships you hold with your customers. With that in mind-- trust me-- you won’t want to miss that report.


Part 1: The Purchase Experiment: When Relying on Carrier Pigeon Would Be a Better UX


We’ve all had those moments.

You’re on a long walk down the hall juggling a pile of papers you knew you should’ve spread out over two trips. Suddenly, you hear your phone buzz.

It’s a text message.

You’re not a demanding person—you don’t want much. All you’d like to do is shoot a quick response—no wild text bombs, just a solid 30 characters. You fumble around, grab your phone, and then realize: Your thumb can’t reach the other half of the phone’s keyboard.

My point? Sometimes, technology fails us.

Technology can be incredibly enabling but, with small misalignments, provides unnecessary friction strong enough to stop thumb-challenged texters, and online customers, in their tracks.

As part of, “The Purchase Experiment,” I’ve been doing some professional shopping. (I know, my job rocks.) During this process, I’ve been both delighted and aghast by the websites I’ve seen.

So, for the sake of schadenfreude, I’ve collected an assortment of the most appalling website fails I ran into with my professional shopping spree. Enjoy!


1. The Case of the Hidden Cart


In this homepage, a simple error wrecked the visage of the entire site. You only get one chance at a first impression. If you want to be trusted with things as tightly-held as credit card information, you better make sure your façade is flawless – no matter what device shoppers are using. This website rendered perfectly on a desktop but the responsive design didn’t render properly on a mobile device.






2. Don’t Mind Me…I’ll Just Wait…On Your Competitor’s Site


We can all remember the day of dial-up internet but nostalgia for that little “loading tune” doesn’t leave us ready to go back. While shopping this retailer, I had enough time while waiting for the first page to load to complete almost half a purchase on another website. While I’m sure this isn’t a consistent problem, it does bring to our attention a factor important for all retailers to keep in mind. These days, no one’s patient. Online? Even less so. How are your load times looking? Here you can see the site before it loaded and after.





3. How Old Are You? Wait, How Old Are You? No Really, How Old Are You?


We know the value of collecting information about your customers, but the method does matter. When I was ready to make a purchase on this retailer, before I could fill in any valuable information, I was stopped by a safeguard asking for my birthday. When I accidentally clicked the wrong year, I got locked with a warning that I wasn’t the suitable age. Following that, I was forced to go back to the hompage, click on the cart and begin the checkout process all over again. I appreciate them trying to stop the honest 10 year olds out roaming the internet from making purchases on mom’s credit card, but maybe there could be a smoother way to get these details.

In my following posts, I’ll break down some of the best and worst moments of the study as a means of holding you over until the final research publication. As a follower of Listrak Insights, I know you value the relationships you hold with your customers. With that in mind-- trust me-- you won’t want to miss that report.

Just too eager to see some data? I understand completely. Check out Listrak’s other research reports here.

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