Here’s the 2nd article I wrote on Jame’s behalf for a Russian journalist in April 2012 (original English writeup below).
5 more tips for eCommerce web design in Russia
1. Update your website often (or at least show that new content has been added recently)
– A user assigns more credibility to websites that show they have been recently updated or reviewed.
– A simple way to test this is to show your homepage to someone and ask: can you tell if this page was updated yesterday or a year ago?
– There are a few ways you can show that your website has been updated. For example, include dates and times to news updates on your website. If your website sells products, include the date the product was added. If you have a promotion or special deal, display the date the promotion ends. If you tweet or blog, post them on your website as well.
2. Contact us
– Some organisations deliberately make their contact information difficult to find in order to reduce their call centre costs.
– In this day and age, users are going to find you one way or the other. So why hide? Also, making yourself difficult to reach irritates users, breeds a sense of distrust and contempt within them.
– The fact is, users are contacting you for a good reason. Think of it as an opportunity to deepen your relationship with your customer and to build trust in your business and product. Make it easy for customers to contact you.
3. Avoid jargon and technical words
– The use of jargon and technical words prevent users from understanding the true meaning of what is being said. Without understanding, users are less confident about proceeding with their tasks.
– This is especially true if jargon appears in the navigation of the website. That’s like trying to read road signs in a language you don’t understand.
– In some cases, jargon cannot be avoided and need to be used. In such cases, explain the jargon (e.g. using help text).
– Otherwise, use simple words that your users will understand.
4. Show users the product they are buying
– Buying a product online requires a high degree of trust and good faith. Online customers can’t touch and feel the product they’re buying, and yet they are being asked to part with their money.
– To tackle that, show users as much of the product as possible. Show them multiple pictures of the product from different angles. Share user manuals and instructions. Provide as much information about the product as you can. Create an experience where users feel as if they know everything about the product and what they will be buying.
5. Short checkout forms
– Filling out a long checkout form (before you can buy something online) is like a long queue at the checkout counter: nobody likes it and it’s a waste of time.
– Emotionally, users are left wondering why they are the ones who have to jump through hoops when they are the customer. They’re paying good money for the product; shouldn’t they be served instead?
– Only ask for the minimum amount of information you need to complete the checkout. For additional information (e.g. signup for newsletter etc), ask it after. Users are more likely to provide this information once they’ve been satisfied with your service.