Nov 03, 2011 Written by 
How many times have you gone onto a website to buy something, only to find that the experience is too frustrating to continue?

In my case, too many. When will e-tailers learn? If I look at buying a flight online, I have to say that the experience is simple. I put in my details, my flight gets booked and they send a confirmation to my email account. Simple.
Turn your online shop into a pleasant shopping experience

When I buy something from Victoria Secret in the US, I have the same result. StrawberryNet - even better. They give you an experience plus a FREE gift - every time. Then their is www.bookdepository.com - love it. There is nothing better than receiving gifts in the mail.

Now, one would think that big brands would have the online shopping experience down-pat. Wrong. Think again. The best retailers online tend to be one's that started from nothing and now are SOMETHING.

Today, I went online as I am travelling to the US in a couple of weeks, staying with a friend of mine. I always like to give a gift to anyone that hosts me in their homes, but given that I am going over to the US with ski gear, my bag is limited for space. So, I thought I would hop online and buy a beautiful scarf from Louis Vuitton for my host. I looked through each and every scarf to find the perfect one that will look great on my friend. I then went through the process of making a purchase. After 5 goes, 3 calls to 'live chat' with no answer, I gave up. Then I went into their Australian site and realised that they don't even have an option to make a purchase - unless there is something I am missing on my screen.

Eventually, I ascertained that I needed to have a US credit card to make the purchase. How ridiculous. I am buying a gift and sending it to someone in the US - so why would they make it impossible for an Australian to make the purchase. I am completely frustrated and I have to say, it has affected my brand experience. There are many other big brands with beautiful scarves to choose from and I for one, will not be returning to Louis Vuitton to make the purchase.

What online retailers should consider:

1. Common sense: If you block other countries from making purchases from your website - say it in advance. Don't let them waste valuable time finding out only after they have made the selection and put in their credit card details.
2. Make it simple: If it isn't going to work for whatever reason, say so. Don't have no message on the screen. At no stage did the Louis Vuitton online store tell me why I could not make a purchase. I had to look up online forums.
3. Don't lure a buyer and then give them no option to buy.
4. A bad online experience can kill your brand - no matter how big you are.
5. Allow people who are purchasing in the country in which the website is hosted to make purchases for people who live there, even though they may not themselves live there.

From one very frustrated online consumer.
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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.

1 comment

  • vibu
    vibu
    03/11/11

    The website should have specified that online purchases are just for within the US and that the purchase cannot be made from overseas.

    I don't know what a US credit card is, probably one that was issued in the US. But a credit card can be a VISA, MASTERCARD or an AMEX and you should be able to use it from anywhere in the world.

    The online site is only restricting their own business and this may have financial implications for them in the long term. A lot of online stores offer customers around the world their goods & services and charge the postage fee accordingly.

    Offering your goods & services globally also allows the business not to just rely on one market.

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