Engaging your customers Article 4: Providing tools that can support your customers to make a purchase decision

As discussed in the three previous articles of this series, one of the main challenges in the online world of eCommerce is that of maintaining your visitors’ attention. To retain visitors’ attention we must ensure that they are able to find all the required information to make a purchase decision directly on our website. However the traditional product description and information sections might not be enough for certain product types. Consequently to improve our online customer experience we might need to provide custom tools that might help our customer to make a purchase decision.

Keep in mind that if visitors use services from other websites they might get distracted and we might lose their valuable attention.

For example an industrial floor manufacturer sells paints, coatings and repairs and maintenance products in the UK, US, France, Germany and Spain. Since their customers live in different countries they might use different units of measures. For this reason they decided to provide their clients with an easy to use ‘Unit Converter’ directly on the product detail pages of their website. By providing this tool on their site they are helping their customers to come up with a purchase decision and therefore providing a superior customer experience. Moreover they are eliminating the risk for their customer to search for a Unit converter on another site and therefore reduce the distractions that may be present on such websites.

Another tool that I really found useful on clothing / apparel sites such as GAP and Land’s End sites is the size guide. It is also really useful especially if you are exporting your products internationally where different size measurements exist.

zenni-optical-ecommerce-blogYou must provide tools that can be easily used by your customer segments and that are related to your products. For example Zenni Optical sell eyeglasses and lenses on their e-commerce site.  Due to the nature of their products customers might be reluctant to purchase such a product online and prefer to try the eyeglasses on in an actual physical store. To help their online customers to make a purchase decision they have introduced the Zenni frame fit tool on their site that allows their customers to upload their own pictures, specify the PD and other prescription details and try on each and every frame using this cool tool.

One can also upload his own pictures from social media sites such as Facebook! Another feature that this Site has is the compare feature that allows you to visualize yourself wearing each and every one of your preferred eyeglasses.

ASOS clothing store also provides a cool feature that allows its community members to build outfits using Asos’s products.


“Create my own outfit” feature on Asos.com

Members of the ASOS community are then able to post their own outfits on their profile and other members will vote for your outfits.

ASOS holds competitions and give vouchers for those members whose outfits are most liked. For example the member in the above image is able to contribute to the community by creating her own outfits with products that might be purchased by herself and other members of the Asos community.

Certain widgets are readily available and really easy to integrate with your own eCommerce sites. For example Cuband, use Magento’s downloadable products feature to sell records directly from their site. Customers purchasing such a product might prefer to listen to a sample of a song prior to purchasing  it. To support their customers to make a purchase decision Cuband integrated Yahoo’s media player to their site, this means that customers are now able to listen to a sample of the track prior to purchasing.


I suggest that you try to envisage your customer’s purchase process and identify their concerns and barriers to making an online purchase. Then try to come up with ideas  that can help your customers to make a purchase decision or that can improve their online experience.
The next step is to share and discuss these ideas with your development or design partners. They might suggest improvements to your initial propositions and will be able to develop and integrate these user friendly features in your own website.