Practical Ecommerce

The Shopping Experience: Newegg

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.

Video: Newegg’s Flawless Customer Experience

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.

Rush Processing

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.

Follow Through

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.

Summing Up

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.

Armando Roggio

Armando Roggio

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  1. cbhjones August 31, 2009 Reply

    Great insight! Have you performed this same exercize for Best Buy’s website?

  2. GJH August 31, 2009 Reply

    You shop on a different planet than I do. I find their site very unintuitive. Few of the tools you mention are obvious to me. Products are displayed in completely random order. Take monitors for example, not arranged by price point or size. The opening summary points for each item are acronym gobbeldy gook and inconsistent. There is no "compare" function. There are a bunch of little unexplained icons next to each piece.

    Actually, one needs a training video and exposition like yours to figure out how to shop this site. Oh, and unless you have a very fast connection, it loads very slowly.

    I could not disagree with you more, and I gave up on these guys awhile ago as major time-wasters. I don’t get it.

    George

  3. Armando Roggio August 31, 2009 Reply

    @GJH Love your comment. Still disagree. But love your comment.

  4. Michael J. Kaye September 1, 2009 Reply

    I personally love NewEgg. I buy all computer related items from them and usually have it in my hand within 3 days.

  5. altwire September 1, 2009 Reply

    As we are doing a website redesign I love reading web site reviews. I am also in the need for some memory so I thought I’d give Newegg a try.

    At their home page from their top menu I selected Computer Hardware, Memory.

    On the next page I selected Desktop Memory.

    Next Page I selected "Configurator". From the Configurator, I selected my Computer Brand, Product Line and Model.

    I haven’t even had to scroll down on any page so far. Top menu, left column menu only to the Configurator.

    On the next page I scrolled down and bit and found and selected the option "2G (2x1GB)"

    I sorted the products by lowest first. The item rankings do not include rebates so I did have to scroll down a bit to find the lowest price including a rebate. I added the item to cart and checked out.

    I found nothing difficult about the process for the item I was looking for. I can’t imagine how it could have been more intuitive.

    I was curious about George’s critique so I went back to the home page and selected Monitors. Newegg shows their "Today’s Featured Monitors Deals" as they do every major category page I saw. I can see where that page might cause confusion. "Today’s Featured Monitors Deals" does not exactly jump out at you so one might think they are looking at all Newegg’s monitors and no way to sort them. It’s not until you select a sub category like "LCD Monitors", that a wealth of sub categories, details and sort options appear.

    The home page is clean with not much more than links and pictures. I find it very easy to use but I do wonder about the SEO of a site like this.

  6. Bryan Smith March 11, 2011 Reply

    I have been searching for a shopping cart with similar capabilities… some are close, but seems like an opening for one of the software companies to try and replicate their shopping experience.

    Any one have a suggestion as to a licensed cart that offers the depth that Newegg has?

    thanks.

  7. dk April 18, 2011 Reply

    I think Newegg is second only to Amazon in their ability to make checkout simple, and intuitive.

    Are they still planning their IPO? Does anyone know? I would totally try to get in on that.

    dk