There is a wonderful story in today’s Wall Street Journal about shopping on Rodeo Drive. The writer was accompanied by a test shopper who specializes in monitoring the body language of store employees. The degree to which shoppers are welcomed, smiled upon, engaged, and treated well, are all gauged by the guest shopper. The end game on Rodeo is to make customers feel comfortable, happy with their purchase, and pleased with the value received.
Reading about this exercise made me think of Internet usability. Usability is huge today on the net, supported by legions of digital ad agency professionals whose sole responsibility is to map user navigation and deliver a successful, positive experience. If you go to sneakers.com and can’t find your favorite brand, color, and style within thirty seconds, you are likely to leave for another site. Not successful.
Usability on the net is not easy to achieve, but it should be driven by the same characteristics the best stores on Rodeo Drive use: be welcoming, attentive to the habits of all visitors, be thoughtful and caring about the users’ time, and lastly, don’t be snooty.