Contents 1. Introduction 2. Consumer Decision Making 3. Digital Marketing Landscape 4. Digital Marketing Tactics 5. Consumer Reactions 6. Successful Design 7. Supporting Technologies 8. Survey 9. Cosmetic Website Competition 10. E-commerce 11. Conclusions
“On the Web, usability is a necessary condition for survival. If a website is difficult to use, people leave. If the homepage fails to clearly state what a company offers and what users can do on the site, people leave. If users get lost on a website, they leave. If a website’s information is hard to read or doesn’t answer users’ key questions, they leave. Note a pattern here?” (Jakob Nielsen, Usability 101)
E-commerce websites have a single objective - to make people spend money. The question is how the role of web design impacts the consumer decision making. Many studies have identified the web design as a key factor for the development of a good interface for satisfying the consumer needs. There are many aspects which affect on great and successful web site design. Computers and the web have invaded every aspect of modern life. In many case the high street shop assistant has been replaced with the e-commerce website and every single one of them has a target to achieve. As the web becomes more competitive companies should constantly look for ways to make their websites more efficient, for example upgrading it with new applications, mobile videos or modern designs. The main task is to get an attention of the potential customer by altering their behaviour and ‘’persuade’’ them. In the last years, the dispersal of Internet as a new vend channel is budding with
enormous growth. Furthermore, in a market with a target of more than 1300 million people [source : Internet World Stats (February, 2008)] and more than 70 thousand million dot-com websites in the world [source : Domain tools, (2008, February). Domain Counts & Internet Statistics ] ,the opportunities of trading are almost unlimited. Additionally , sales through the web are up to 70 billon US$ in United States in the second half of 2007, which means an boost of 20% for the same period last year [source : Emarketer (2008, February). European B2C E-Commerce: Spotlight on the UK] The goal of this report is to identify the key factors that could determine the success of the websites, focusing on consumer decision making, to develop a test in order to know good and bad practises carries out by the relevant brands and to propose some guidelines, suggesting suitable design of the websites.
2. Consumer Decision Making
According to Business Dictionary consumer decision making is the process by which consumers identify their needs, collect information, evaluate alternatives, and make the purchase decision. These actions are determined by psychological and economical factors, and are influenced by environmental factors such as cultural, group, and social values.
Recently, a great number of authors have made efforts in order to demarcate the concept associated to a successful website. In this sense, the marketing literature has emphasized the consumers’ perspective in order to establish how an e-commerce website must be for the achievement of success. Exclusively, some authors have pointed out the main characteristics of websites’ quality from a consumer view [source : P. C. Palvia, Developing and validating an instrument for measuring userperceived web quality, Information and Management ] ,some others have stressed the consumers’ beliefs and perceptions of the value created by the websites [source : R. Keeney, The Value of Internet to the Customer, Management Science] , the importance of achieving the online customer satisfaction [ source: M. Zviran, C. Glezer and I. Avni, User satisfaction from commercial Web sites ] and the impact on his purchase intention [source: C. Ranganathan and S. Ganapathy, Key dimensions of B2C web sites, Information and Management] . Therefore, it seems reasonable to offer that, in general terms, a successful website, on the context of the electronic commerce, “is one that attracts customers, makes them feel the site is trustworthy, dependable, and reliable and generates customer satisfaction” [source : C. Liu and K. Arnett, Exploring the factors associated with Web site success in the context of electronic commerce.
3. Digital Marketing Landscape
According to ELAN (integrated marketing specialists) the internet age has provided the biggest advances in the way we interact, communicate and inform whether personally or for business, since the industrial revolution. On a global level, this media and, more generally, technology has afforded digital marketers and more importantly their clients more opportunities. In turn delivering highly targeted effective campaigns at lower cost for a much higher potential return on marketing investment. Digital marketing needs strategies that actually work. It is all about appearing in the right places, creating brand awareness and driving increased traffic to the particular website. The activity may include: -Directory submissions -Search engine submissions -Local and map submissions -Shopping search engines (free) -Search engine optimisation onsite -News and Social Media
The search engine optimisation of any website should be potently supported with a digital marketing and online advertising campaign to drive additional direct traffic to the site. There are many methods of digital and online marketing including: -Blogging -E-marketing -Online press releases -Posting to review and opinion sites -Social networking pages -Viral techniques -Banner advertising & exchange -Classifieds online -Google AdWords PPC and other options -NewsletterÂ & Non profit sponsorships -Google Base Products It is quite a task to choose which methods are suitable for the particular business (website). It will always depend on budget, marketing goals and sales targets same as resource.
4. Digital Marketing Landscape
Internet marketing strategy is based on few most important elements which are: Situation analysis ( determine online customers behaviour, searching direct competitors and intermediaries that can be used to promote the service ) Objective or goal-setting ( setting goals for the types of outcomes are needed to be achieved to engage visitors with the product/s ) Internet marketing strategy ( identifying your target audiences and what to offer them online through the add features of brand online, making sure that the online channel integrates with other channels ) Tactics Actions ( planning campaigns and the inhouse and agency to support it; bringing in new resource, restructuring and revising the processes )
[ source : www.davechaffey.com ]
5. Consumer Reactions
According to Alistair Gray a consultant at the user experience consultancy in Webcredible (London) there are several methods available that attempt to measure peoples reactions to a site. None are entirely reliable, but all will give you a clear idea of how participants really find your site: Mood after use - A survey can be used to measure the mood of the contestant after using the site. This is more consistent if the change in mood is calculated (i.e. measure the participants mood before and after use). You know your site’s defeat the right spots if the usual mood takes a jump after use. However, there’s a weakness in this method - how can you be sure any change in mood is related to your site, and not to something the applicant was thinking about? In order to certify your results are reliable you need to do many more tests than economically viable. Facial expressions - As people use sites, they express themselves. They smile, they frown, they look confused. Purely define which moods you’re looking for (ensure both positive and negative are covered)
and keep a tally as people use the site. The more positive expressions (or at least lack of negative expressions) the better. The problem with this method is the risk of missing or misinterpreting people’s facial expressions. Estimated time of use - A easy method to assess how engaged a participant was after using a site is to ask them to report the length of time they felt they used your site for, and compare this to how long they actually used it for. If participants overestimate the time they aren’t enjoying themselves, and if participants underestimate the time they are. This method is reliant upon participants being unaware of the time throughout using the site, and may be exaggerated by what they are asked to do - someone asked to do something tedious may misjudge the time taken no matter how good the site is.
SEQAM - A method particularly popular in the car design industry is called SEQAM (Sensory Quality Assessment Method). Participants are not shown the design as a whole. They are shown a series of alternative design parts and asked their opinions of each. Using this method means the participant cannot see the whole design, and testing needs a large number of these alternative parts. Perceived target market – This way of findings requires participants to define the target market of the site. This will give you great insight into how participants perceive your site. Participants may struggle to frame what they see and feel into a “target market”. You will need to define areas (age, interests, etc) for participants to fill out that will guide them through the process. Opposing scale questionnaires - This way requires participants to fill in scale questionnaires between 2 extremes of feelings, e.g. “How would you rate your experience with the site? Give 1 for
pleasant, 5 for unpleasant”. This method requires heavy use of statistical analysis to ensure the results are reliable - but restricted conclusions can be pinched from the results without this. This method often works best when 2 or more sites are compared, as participants give much more varied scores. Direct feedback - Simply ask participants how they found the site after using it. This method is surprisingly undependable; people adjust what they say according to how they think you want them to answer. There have been times when a participant is plainly incapable to do anything on a site, yet somehow resolute it was worthy of a 9/10!
6. Successful Design
“For me being online is everything. It’s my hi-fi, it’s my source of income, it’s my supermarket, it’s my telephone. It’s my way in.” - Lynn Holdsworth, screen reader user, Web Developer and Programmer. (source: RNIB ). According to Effective Web Design (July 2007) user-centred design (UCD) is an established, proven approach to design or range of products. It has been embraced by web design and usability agencies as a sound approach to delivering customercentric websites that deliver value for a business. It should be a key business requirement to appoint an agency which has a sound UCD process and the right skill set and experience to execute it. Key topics needed for an effective web design: -Accessibility -User-centred design and usability -Internet marketing planning and -improvement process -Information architecture and findability -Search engine optimisation (SEO) -Web standards -Persuasion to deliver business results -Web analytics -Legal requirements
There are the different types of site, from blogs to complex transactional e-commerce sites and campaign sites from simple landing pages to rich, Flashbased brand experiences. But all sites share certain features if they are to be successful. They must engage their audiences with relevant content and interactive experiences. Must be easy to use, accessible through different devices and to users with visual impairment or other disabilities including motor control, learning difficulties and deaf users; They must ultimately deliver returns on the time and money their owners have invested in them. In a nutshell, they must deliver a compelling experience for their visitors. It is the challenge of balancing all of these factors which are constantly evolving due to changes in technologies, creative design styles and competition. ( Effective Web Design July 2007 )
How does usability come into this? Research has found that usability has a strong effect on people’s judgements after using the object. But during the early stages of communication with an object or system, aesthetics is clearly the key persuade. Moreover, this “halo effect” doesn’t hold for long, if you wait 15 minutes to be served in a plush restaurant your opinion of the restaurant goes down, no matter how good the service afterwards. Usability becomes an important factor after a limited interaction with a product. A study found pleasure (closely related to aesthetics) and ergonomics (closely related to usability) both had a strong influence on the appeal of a product, but at incompatible levels at differing times. Appeal was strongly influenced by just aesthetics before use. But after use, both usability and aesthetics had an almost equal influence.
[ source : http://atomiq.org ]
How aesthetics influences us ? Firstly, there’s been a lot of research indicating that aesthetics affects perceptions of a product and its usability. When asked to judge the usability and aesthetics scores of a series of ATM screens, 1 study found peoples’ supposed usability scores were more strongly related to the seeming aesthetics scores than the screens’ actual usability. Supplementary studies were able to reproduce these results across cultures. The results involve people aren’t able to distinguish usable and less usable objects, believing the aesthetically pleasing ones to be most usable. But why does this interference occur? It’s believed the main reason for this effect on peoples’ judgements is what’s known as a “halo effect”. Additionally, this is where the aesthetic aspect of the design frankly influences the awareness of other aspects. For example the perception that a well fit suit or stylish dress makes the wearer seem smarter.
“It is important to recognise that every information system, be it a book or an intranet, has an information architecture. `Well developed’ is the key here, as most sites don’t have a planned information architecture at all. They are analogous to buildings that weren’t architected in advance. Design decisions reflect the personal biases of designers, the space doesn’t scale over time, technologies drive the design and not the other way around.” ( Rosenfeld and Morville 2002 )
7. Supporting Technologies
What Website Technologies Does the Website Need? According to Accrete Web Solutions (2005) once the target audience is determined next step is to develop assess the website technologies available and which are suitable for it. The type of website and the targeted audience chosen will determine the website technologies required. E-commerce websites have to consider website technologies such as shopping carts, secure servers, customer payments and shipping issues. Website Communication Technologies It includes auto responders, email, email forwarding, mailing lists, guestbooks, forums, bulletin boards, chatrooms and/or blogs. Advanced Website Technologies Advanced website technologies may be at an additional cost. The type of database, web programming type and whether Front Page extensions are used can all affect the cost of website hosting.
Website Graphics If the website is going to use a lot of images then a large amount of webspace will be required. Images use a lot of bandwidth so having the technology to reduce/optimize images does come into play. If using Flash or some other media requiring special software the question is the target audience going to already have the software installed on their machine? Will there be different versions of the media for the different types of software? These extra website technologies require more website hosting space and bandwidth.
â€˜The effectiveness of website design in consumer decision makingâ€™ survey was designed to analyse what exactly people think about online purchases and which aspects of the website appeal to them the most. 23 people took their time to fill the survey out ( 10 female and 13 men ). They had to answer 10 pretty straight forward questions. Most of them were between 17 and 25 years old. More than 95% have ever used internet to do online shopping. The most popular purchases were : clothes, electronics, shoes, books/dvds and cosmetics. Participants are visiting online stores on a regular basis and they find shopping online easier than conventional shopping. The most visited websites are Amazon, eBay and Boots. Easy access and clear and easy navigation are the most appealing aspects when shopping online. Just after is design/layout and reputation of the particular store. They are also interested in the shopping basket and store locator. The majority of customers that were surveyed spend less than 30 pounds per month on online shopping.
9. Cosmetic Website Competion
‘’ I just want The Body Shop to be the best, most breathlessly exciting company – and one that changes the way business is carried out. That is my vision.” (Anita Roddick. Human Rights Activist. Founder of The Body Shop.)
E-commerce and home shopping The company operates a transactional website carrying its full range, and the site also features general beauty advice and details of its social awareness campaigns. Delivery is free on all orders valued at over £15. As noted earlier e-commerce sales are not published. The Body Shop promotes aggressively online. For example, its key Christmas promotion for 2009 was a free £12.20 gift when £25 or more is spent in a single online transaction.
The group’s popular party plan operation, Body Shop at Home, offers home-based consultants 25% commission on all goods sold to party attendees. New consultants have to invest £40 in a starter kit and host four parties over a four-week period. Number of active consultants and sales generated are no longer provided by the company. (Mintel 2010) Online retail sales were around £17.8 billion in the UK in 2009, 6.6% of all retail sales. The market has grown by 150% since 2005, 25% per annum. (Mintel, February 2010) Consumer satisfaction with the service provided by online retailers is very high.
As well as being the most visited Health and Beauty retail website in the UK in 2007*, May 2008 saw Boots.com voted the ‘Best Beauty Website’ by the Sunday Times.
Boots’ transactional website, Boots.com, offers products from Boots UK Limited.UK standard delivery (within four working days) is £2.90 (free for orders above £45), nextday delivery is £4.50 and returns free within 28 days.Boots also offers customers the free option of ordering online and collecting from a store selected by the customer within five working days.Boots.com has a wide range of brands from own-label and mass market to premium brands. Mintel’s consumer research indicates that Boots’ appeal is biased to more affluent socio-economic groups across all ages. Beauty shoppers tend to be younger and toiletries shoppers are older. Its online visitors are slightly older than average.
We are progressing well with developing our multichannel strategy, to ensure our customers can access the fantastic Boots range that we are famous for in the most convenient way for them. We have strengthened our cust omer offering through the launch of our exclusive online Beauty Boutique, featuring our customers’ favourite cult beauty brands, such as Bliss, Caudalie, This Works, MOP and Burt’s Bees. Visit the Boots Beauty Boutique (This link will open in a new window). * www.boots.com (This link will open in a new window) achieved the No.1 ranking in the hitwise online performance awards ‘shopping and classifieds - health and beauty’ category, as visited by UK internet users in 2007.
e-commerce and home shopping Its transitional website, Boots.com, offers a wide range of health and beauty products including premium beauty brands such as Estée Lauder, Clinique, Chanel and Clarins. Delivery is free on orders over £45. No details of sales generated from its website are published. The site underwent a major upgrade in 2008/09 in order to effect closer integration of online and stores through the introduction of an “order online and collect in-store” service. This was launched in 1,300 stores in 2008/09 and was extended to nearly 2,000 stores in the first half of 2009/10. The service is proving especially useful to customers of small Boots stores who can now access a wider range yet have it delivered where it is most convenient, either home or to store. Boots, in October 2010, launched Boots. com/treatstreet, an online portal to open up the Advantage Card to other
retailers, including ASOS, eBay, Dixons, HMV, Halfords, Lakeland, Mothercare, New Look, and Pets at Home. Through this card, customers can collect loyalty points, which can be spent only at Boots. This followed the company’s strategy to form partnerships with other retailers to increase its brand reach. In October 2009, the company strengthened its online presence with the launch of BootsWebMD, a health and information portal operated in association with WebMD, the leading US provider of online healthcare services. The portal provides users with comprehensive and objective health information. The website was relaunched in 2008 to more closely integrate online and stores, with the introduction of an “order online and collect in-store” service. This was extended to nearly 2,000 stores by September 2009.
According to Mintel , Zuneta launched in 2008, is an online beauty boutique offering finest goods and personalised, expert advice. It has also developed an interactive clinic providing tailor-made beauty guidance to locate the products best suited for a customer’s skin and hair type. Moreover, the Zuneta website also enables blogging, invention reviews by customers, and has an online publication to cover more trends and new launches.
Online presence/services Zuneta offers advice and suggestions at Zuneta Clinic, where a customer can create a ‘Skintype Profile’. This can be saved so the details can be used any time the customer visits the site to find products suitable for their hair/skin type. The UK standard delivery charge (within four working days) is £3.95 and is free for orders above £50. Next-day delivery is charged £5.00. Returns are free within 20 days. [source: Mintel 2010].
Strenghts and weaknesses of E-commerce : ďżź Online has to sell itself on convenience, though it has been able to add price competitiveness to that as well. But a high quality of service is essential for an online business to succeed and that underpins the appeal of companies such as Amazon and Ocado. Online has a big advantage over mail order in immediacy. A catalogue is printed months before it goes current, but online its offer can be changed and updated in real time. Online is still much more difficult to browse than a catalogue, but the two work very well together and that is the route that most mail order companies are trying to go. The ability online to say that a product is in stock and when it can be delivered is a huge advantage. With a high street store. Customers can research online or in-store and they can then order in either as well. So in some respects online should be seen as a service to customers â€“ a way of making it as easy as possible to buy the brand.
[ Source: Mintel 2010 ]
Online has also led on price and this is a key aspect of the proposition for many, but not all, online retailers. Amazon has proved that it is possible to be price competitive and highly profitable, but it has the advantage of being first in the field and to some extent almost the generic online retailer. The problem for all e-commerce is that there is no passing trade. Any online retailer will require large marketing expenditure to persuade people to visit its site. It remains to be seen to what extent that marketing spend will offset the operational savings on stores and staff of a high street retailer.
In the 21st century technology improves very fast. Online customers are looking for easy and quick access to the website. It is important to find the best way to meet their needs as soon as possible. People are willing to use the internet to make their life easier and even more comfortable. Website design plays a very important role in the consumer decision making seeing as most of the potential customers pay a lot of attention to how the particular website looks like and works. According to research easy navigated and clear websites are more likely to be visited by potential customers which means more profits for the company. Nowadays digital marketing sector grows very fast. Online shops are improving their services and designs which is the key to big success.
http://www.elancm.co.uk/articlesfrom-elan-cm/marketing-a-marketingimplementation/navigating-the-digitaland-online-marketing-landscape.html http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20030825. html http://marilynfenndesign.com/faqs/ technical-aspects-of-web-design/
Report by Sandra Frankowska(20823428) and Natalia Wisniewska(20924604)