Tag Archives: customer journey

Advantages of e-commerce: a sentimental post

I love e-commerce

When Christmas madness comes is the moment I remember more how much and why I love e-commerce.

At Christmas you also usually get more sentimental / emotional, so this is a strictly non-scientific post about why, sometimes, digital wins over physical, in my world.

In macro-terms, and presuming that the e-commerce experience is smooth (that is: no walls between me and the item I want to buy), shopping online is much easier than shopping in real life, and here are the main 3 reasons why I love e-commerce:

1) Order vs Chaos: How many times I entered a huge shop crowded of people and items and had the impression of a chaotic mess of dresses randomly hanging on the shop’s walls after a bomb had exploded? I mean, especially before/after Christmas, when crazy people become crazier and throw things on the floor. How many times have I wished to have a filter, right there at my fingertips, where I could select “dresses” “green” (yes! my favourite colour is finally colour of the year!) “L”. But no, no filters in physical shops. There’s not even a Category page where you can easily land and have that orientation that you need for a good journey (in this case, the journey).

2) Noise: by noise I mean: anything that can distract me or annoy me during my shopping experience. How many times have I wished that people could be just “hidden” as annoying pop ups? Screaming teenagers, screaming babies, screaming mums. There’s no such thing online. Online, it is quiet. It’s oh so quiet! Also, to make it more uncomfortable, 100% of physical shops decide to pump music I hate in my ears. Why? Why? Why? I just wanted to buy a pair of jeans and now I’m in a sort of techno-pop party. There is no such public place where they play Pink Floyd. (Actually yes, it happened to me once at Bologna airport. A pretty weird experience, but pleasant overall). Online, if the shop was built in 1994 and never updated, there might me an introductory music. But you can just click and turn it off.

3) Time: as many of you know, I live in Ireland. Dublin, more specifically. Since my first day here I asked myself: “how are they gonna do with the economy?”. Basically shops open every day at 10 and close at 6. The late ones at 6.30. People work from 9 to 6. Therefore  workers (people with an income!) cannot shop during the week. The only moment when they can shop is the weekend. Which is also the moment when all the others can shop. And here comes the mess. How cool is to do your shopping from your sofa at 11 pm and have the groceries delivered the following day?

Pointless to say, I guess, but I bought all my presents online. Even my super amazing number 1 christmas comfort food: Panettone Margherita. Which I bought here: http://shoponline.bistefani.it/


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What makes your customers leave?

My dear readers, I can’t write much because of a temporary problem involving my right hand and a tendon, therefore I’ll just share with you an amazing Infographic powered by Kissmetrics!


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The e-commerce Drama

The e-commerce drama







Did you study literature at school or university?

I did, and I loved it, but that was in my previous non-geek life.

Have you ever heard of the dramatic structure? That sequence of events that compose a play or a drama, a comedy or a tragedy.

The dear old Aristotle, for instance, viewed the plot structure as divided into three parts: protasis, epitasis and catastrophe. Horace, instead, stated in his Ars Poetica that each dramatic play should have a 5-act structure.

For reasons of convenience, we will use Gustav Freytag’s study of the 5-act dramatic structure:  Die Technik des Dramas. Freytag stated that a drama is divided into five parts, or acts, which some refer to as a dramatic arc: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and dénouement, (resolution ou catastrophe).

Yes, but how is this related to the online customer journey?

Well, this is the fun part!

1) EXPOSITION: background information needed to properly understand the story –> HOME PAGE: here is who we are, this is what we sell, here is the context in which we act, this is our identity.

2) RISING ACTION: you have a target but some conflicts arise –> CATEGORY PAGE: you want to find a v-neck warm and cosy black coat. You filter the coats macro category by inserting your preferences: it has to be a size 12, it has to be black, and it has to be long. Gosh, no results. You broaden your search criteria: ok, I’ll be ok if it’s a size 12 and black, but not long. You think about it and …

3) CLIMAX:  the turning point, for the better or the worse, in the protagonist’s affairs –> ADD TO CART: yes, you thought about it, you sent the product page’s link to your friend on Skype and she agrees that this is the right coat for you. Good choice! The product page details say this is the last item left: you feel blessed by the God of the World Wide Web and have doubts no more! You do THE action, you click on the add to cart button.

4) FALLING ACTION (or ANTI-CLIMAX): it might contain a moment of final suspense, during which the final outcome is in doubt. –> CHECKOUT: umpf, you have to create an account. Umpf, there are so many fields to fill in, but yes, it’s so worth it that you do it fast. Umpf, credit card number. Where is the credit card? Will it be safe? Gosh, it’s 300£, is it a wise expense? At the end of the day the sales will start just in a couple of months. Do I really need this? Oh, whatever, it’s been a hard week, I worked hard, I deserve this coat. I need it. It’s so cold outside …

5) DÉNOUEMENT (RESOLUTION): The issues are resolved, creating for the character a sense of catharsis, all the tensions are released. –> DELIVERY: Oh my God this coat is amazing. It is amazing!  The delivery was super fast, and the fabric is so soft and it fits me perfectly! I’m so happy I spent only 300£ for it. My friends are going to love it, I can’t wait to wear it 🙂

6) DÉNOUEMENT (CATASTROPHE): The bitter end. The story ends with the death of the character, a sense of injustice and unfairness affects everything. –> FAULTY/WRONG ITEM:  Oh my God this coat is amazing. It is amazing. The delivery was super fast, and the fabric is so soft and it fits me perfectly! Wait … what is this? Is this a hole? Is this a hole? Jaysus, (the character is Irish) this is a big, huge, irreparable hole! Right under the arm’s seam! Noooo this is so unfair! I spent £300 for this … I even removed the label and washed it. They are never going to refund it … I am never ever shopping online again!


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Domino’s Real Time Breadcrumb: when Pizza and eCommerce excellence fall in love

It’s been a long time since I first fell in love with Domino’s Pizza Online Shopping Experience.

I remember the first time I landed in that shop: the huge variety of products available, the customized pizza experience, the extremely fun and smart communication style.

Everything was there: design, usability, marketing, customer experience.

And how was I shocked when, in less than 3 minutes and without having to register (yes guys, there’s this thing called fast registration which gives a nice kick to the conversion rate) I had bought my first pizza online.

Please beware that this is not a paid post or something like that: it is really all about passion for customer experience and innovation.

Well, here’s the story. Most online users abandon online shops after an average than 2 minutes. In only 3 minutes I left that online shop with a pizza in my pocket.

This means that the customer journey was essential, functional, smooth and efficient.

They have one of the most amazing and functional thank you page in the history of thank you pages!

Take a look at this:

It’s clean, it’s easy, it’s His Majesty The Breadcrumb.

Generally breadcrumbs are used to show the path in the checkout process, so that consumers understand where they are and how long it’s going to take to finalize the order. This breadcrumb, however, is used on the thank you page. Its function is: now that you placed your order, let us show you what happens next, step by step.

It doesn’t only show you the path, it actually adds temporal context and reduces the distance between the online customer and the product (which is what every online shopping experience should do: I mean, that’s the real eCommerce challenge!)

In fact, in most online shopping experiences there is a lack of time between the order finalization and the reception of the goods. This moment is delicate, and accurate communication is key (usually brands fill in that period with automatic emails with order status updates: we will see who’s the best in one of the following posts).

Anyway, what amazed me most (and yes, amazed is the right term) of this customer journey was the “after experience”.

This dynamic breadcrumb shows you at which step your pizza is: each box lights up as soon as the product is on his way, in real time. And you wouldn’t believe that, as soon as the Delivery box lighted up, my doorbell rang.

Isn’t it a kind of magic?

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We must learn to walk before we can run!


So, this is just a short Sunday post to say what I have always thought and never said out loud.

If you run your own ecommerce, or work for an outsourcing ecommerce provider and you’re always struggling to understand how to improve your online shop’s customer experience with fancy new functions … well, this is the post for you.

As a mature online shopper I am always very critical and focussed on the details of the online shops I choose to use. I have seen sooooo many cool online shops with fancy new features delivering very poor service that I just want to say it once, hoping that this will be of some help to you people.

Now, BEFORE all the strategic thinking and R&D that you can make on your online shop, have you ever tried tracking the Customer Journey of your shop (being very careful on identifying macro and micro steps) and testing each of its steps to make sure that the shopping experience is as smooth as possible?

Many people don’t do this. In “retail” words, it’s just like equipping your physical store with iPads but keep rude and unprofessional shopping assistants, or a broken till, and so on.

So, guys, before thinking to add into your shop these fancy augmented reality virtual fitting rooms, why don’t you check:

1) The Home Page

2) The Category Page

3) The Product Page

4) The Checkout (in all its steps)

5) The thank you page

6) The Warehouse Stock (is it working properly? do you have many out of stocks?)

7) The Delivery Time

8) The Customers’ Feedbacks on the different steps of the journey(I’m sure you ask for these feedbacks once the order is delivered, don’t you?)

9) The Product

10) Your Customer Care

Have you ever done this?

If not, give it a try, and then let me know.

Yours faithfully,

eCommerce rockstar

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Attila Ovari

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