The popular problem-solving methodology helped create e-commerce. Now design thinking is needed to transform it.
Does e-commerce have a genesis story? If it does, it probably goes something like this:
You woke up early on a weekend morning. You’re determined to go to the mall to do some shopping. Halfway to your destination, you encounter traffic that delays your journey by 15 minutes. After arriving at the mall, you spend 10 minutes mindlessly circling through the parking lot, which leads to finally finding a parking spot no less than one mile away from the entrance. You battle the crowds inside the mall and find your items, only to arrive home and realize they don’t fit properly or don’t look as good as they did in the store. Lather, rinse, repeat; you go back to the store to return everything you purchased.
This scenario is why e-commerce was able to disrupt the retail marketplace, changing the way nearly all retail companies do business. E-commerce provided an easy, time-saving alternative to the way we interact with the retail environment. Why go through the hassle of leaving your house and battling the crowds when you could achieve the same result with a few clicks of the mouse or browsing on an app on your phone?
But times have changed. Just as brick-and-mortar retail felt the sting of changing consumer expectations, now it’s e-commerce’s turn to slide under the microscope.
These days, we expect more than simply being able to buy what we need online. We want the e-commerce experience to be fast, seamless, enjoyable and personal.
Our new expectations mean that companies that use e-commerce need to re-engage with their consumer-base—and they need design thinking to get there.
Convenience is key in e-commerce, and retail websites need to be top-notch. Design thinking is an excellent way to figure out how to optimize website presentation and navigation. According to The News Minute, customer-centric websites create better leads-to-conversation ratios and sales numbers. The website identifies three critical trends for e-commerce related to design thinking:
Smart and personalized user experience (UX). Adopting a smart and personalized UX taps into human emotional needs, fostering a connection between company and consumer. Getting this right requires empathizing with your customers and really understanding what they’re looking for.
Content-centric design and experience. Content-centric design builds consumer trust, making the brand more uniquely relevant to every shopper. Examples include chat features, login memory features, push notifications, in-built messaging and even adjusting website colors and font sizes according to customer age.
Time-saving design elements. Time-saving design elements help the consumer stay on track and engaged. With our average online attention-span clocking in at under eight minutes, smart design-thinking approaches are crucial to keep us focused on the page.
Time-saving elements can range from context-specific features, which only show pictures or item descriptions when needed, to using easy and recognizable navigation patterns.
In our next post, we’ll look at the way design thinking is transforming another crucial aspect of the virtual retail experience: the app.
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