Newegg, the second largest ecommerce retailer in the U.S., provided a flawless shopping experience that made it easy to understand why the company has become one of the most trusted and respected electronics retailers, bar none.
Newegg set an excellent example of how online retailers can streamline customer experience, boost conversion, and make happy customers; and many smaller retailers could benefit from emulating Newegg’s success.
So, why am I seemingly pattering on about how great Newegg is? Each month, Practical eCommerce sends me shopping. I make a purchase from a real online merchant, such as Newegg, and then report back to you about my shopping experience. The goal is to provide you with a customer’s perspective of the featured merchant in particular and online retailing practices in general. In the end, this feature, “The Shopping Experience,” should give you insights that you can use to improve your business.
Customer Flow; Many Options
When I arrived at Newegg to purchase a laptop computer, I was quickly impressed with the site layout and navigation. From the beginning, I felt like I knew what to do and what was being asked of me.
The Newegg home page offered me at least seven ways to enter the store’s flow, if you will, and begin shopping. These included:
- Search – A prominently displayed search bar sits at the top left of the page just under the logo, allowing me to begin shopping by simply searching.
- Navigation bar – The layered navigation in the header included easy-to-understand labels, allowing me to enter the site’s shopping flow in a click or two.
- Special offers – A colorful rotating banner offered specials, including a deal of the day.
- Merchandising – Three merchandising boxes worked together to offer popular items, sale items, and an extreme discount.
- Browse by category – Although it was almost identical to the content from the navigation bar, I could also browse by category.
All of these options provided me with information about the site and opportunities to begin my shopping experience. I liked being asked and offered several things on the home page, and I felt confident as I chose one of the paths to follow.
The lesson here for smaller merchants is to provide several clear paths to products directly from the home page.
Layered and Faceted Navigation; Comparisons Boost Conversion
Once I had chosen a path, and arrived at the “Laptops, Notebooks” landing page, I was presented with significant, useable, and actionable product information, as well as several means of filtering results.
In particular, the excellent layered and faceted navigation at the left of the page allowed me to select my price range, CPU type, and even manufacturer. For example if I didn’t like the China-made Lenovo brand, I could select something else. The choices helped me to quickly narrow the field of available options. (Newegg has more than 40,000 products, so narrowing is very helpful.)
After the first round of filtering, I was presented with a list of several laptops. Next to each list item was a checkbox. After checking the boxes next to several laptops, I was able to compare them head-to-head. This extensive comparison made it easy to select the very laptop that was right for me. And the process made me feel very secure about my purchase. I was not just selecting my laptop because of a pretty picture; I was comparing it with other laptops spec-by-spec to find the just-right blend of value and performance for my needs.
Overall, this was the best part of the shopping experience. By providing me with great, filterable navigation and the option to compare items, Newegg put me in charge of my own shopping destiny, and, I think, encouraged me to buy by increasing my participation in the selection process.
The lesson for smaller retailers is to include faceted navigation, comparisons, and other tools that let your customers’ take a confidence-building role in the shopping experience.
As an ecommerce merchant, I dislike free shipping, since not every product has the fat margins to subsidize UPS. But Newegg handled shipping in an impressive way by offering me free shipping, but then also up-selling “rush processing.” This processing fee did not offset UPS’s rates, but at least Newegg recouped something. And, as a customer, I gladly took this up-sell, pleased that my order would be given some priority.
Newegg’s site had provided me with a great shopping experience so far. Now they had to follow through. In this case, that means providing me with order confirmation emails, shipping emails, and timely delivery of my product.
Newegg did fine on all accounts. In fact, they even double-packaged my laptop to ensure that it survived UPS’s conveyer belts and human loaders.
Newegg provided a flawless and fun customer experience that made parting with almost $500 feel good. Other merchants would be wise to emulate Newegg’s clear customer flow options and excellent, faceted navigation and product comparisons.