User Experience, From Search to Shoes

I talk to clients every day about the importance of user experience (UX). Because, after all, the experience that their customers have online directly correlates to conversion rate and sales revenue.

Recently, I had two VERY different experiences when buying from two similar online stores. One experience solidified my loyalty to an online brand, and the other experience left me frustrated, annoyed and vocal about it. And it all came down to user experience, from the website interface itself, shipping cost and checkout, to email notifications and delivery of my purchase.

Experience A ( The very best interface when wanting to sort by size, color, style, you name it! Free shipping both ways, so there’s no risk on my part if something doesn’t fit or if I just don’t like it. I phoned with a question about returning a winter jacket for a larger size, and the customer service rep could not have been more helpful. I actually told three people what a pleasure the experience was! I’ll definitely continue to be a customer for life.

Experience B ( A limited sorting ability forced me to spend more time navigating the site than looking at shoes and adding them to my cart. When I found what I thought was the perfect pair (okay, it was actually 3 pairs!), I went to check out — only to find that I had to pay for shipping. Very few sites make you pay for shipping anymore, so that nearly made me abandon my cart. But, the rate was only around $5 so I proceeded, but would not have if it was any higher. I paid and hoped the shoes would arrive quickly. I received a confirmation email immediately, as expected. Then, another email came through a few hours later… to let me know that the company cancelled one pair of shoes that I ordered because they had since sold out. Wait, what? I spent valuable time shopping for shoes for an upcoming business event, I ordered, I paid, and now they’ve cancelled part of my order? Why wasn’t there a low stock notice on the site? Why wasn’t I compensated for their error or the inconvenience? When the shoes arrived, I kept one pair and sent the other pair back. Even that was a pain, and I had to pay for that as well. My user experience from search to shoes was so frustrating that I’ve let others know that should be their first destination.

So, not only will I never revisit or order from Aldo Shoes again, but when the exact same experience was had by my wife, she said in response, “Where is Zappos when you need them?!” I laughed and said, “One click away”.