Digital Design & User Experience Best Practices: Happiness + Profits!

pathWe have more data than God wants anyone to have. We have more talent deployed than was ever true in history. We have more money being pumped into our ecosystem than ever before. We have our senior leadership involved like never before.

Yet the end result of all that is so far away from where it should be. We definitely stink less in most cases. But with all this data, talent, money and leadership support, we are not knocking the ball out of the park.

I mean look at Zappos. It is functional. If you know what you want, you can buy it. But does the experience have to be like you are staying at a Motel 6? (Even they have refurbished everything per their TV ads!) I'm trying to buy a $1,845 Just Cavalli dress. It is an uninspiring page. The description is.. is. The You May Also Like has a $50 Converse shoe and a Sperry Top-Sider Angelfish for $63. Even the title of the page is "Just Cavalli S04CT0255N36734". What!

Click around randomly. Look at any page. Functional, yes. Inspired? Brand love evoking? No. Would you go there to explore your next fashion choices? Absolutely positively not! Not even if someone poked you with a sharp stick. Even for shoes, think of why and when you go to Zappos (vs. other stores/brands).

Zappos has great return conditions and very good customer service. That gets it xx million customers. But if they decided not have a Motel 6 experience, rather step up to a Hilton, or God forbid the Four Seasons, could they have xxx million customers (and improve margins while they are at it)?

Motel 6 is a good hotel chain, it serves an important purpose. But if you are running a hotel and you are Motel 6, it is difficult and expensive to raise everything up to the level of a Hilton (and even more expensive to to get it to get to the Four Seasons).

But when it comes to digital, it is only a bit more expensive to to punch significantly higher than your weight. Bits and bytes are cheap. You just get a little nicer talent, you get a different design group (internal or external) and you let your mind be open to new possibilities.

That is where this blog post comes in. My hope is to present a cluster of experience, each doing something spectacularly amazing, to open your minds to new possibilities. Because you want to move your digital strategy beyond just sucking less, you can rock so much more to achieve the combination of being unique, creating delight in your customers and improving your bottom-line (profit).

And I don't mean to pick on Zappos. Try Gucci. At best someone at the company has checked of a box that they have a digital presence. Or checkout Bare Necessities. If someone can create something truly awesome with the assets at their disposal, they are it. Yet. Or visit Orbitz. How long would it take you to find 14 things to fix on any page you visit? Two minutes? Or see Gillette. Enough said. Or have you been to Huggies? They go two things in their corner: Babies and irrational parents who don't know what to do. And this is the site they deliver!

We all can do a lot better.

This post has a collection of seven experiences that I love and adore. My hope is that they'll inspire you to not settle at sucking less. My hope is you are going to take the data, talent, money and leadership support to transform your digital experience into something truly delightful.

We will look at many different examples. From bras to dresses. From B2C to B2B. From pants to jewelry. From simple and effective personalization on your owned channels (your site) to deep and profoundly impactful engagement on your rent channels (YouTube). Here are the seven winning strategies…

1. Rock joy-inducing mobile experiences. Forget mobile first, it's a mobile only world!

2. Deliver fantastic, yet simple, personalization. Don't wait for perfection.

3. Empower customer reviews that are actually helpful. Start stinking less today.

4. Design a glorious purchase experience. Take their money, please.

5. Convert like a champion! Solve for on-line, off-line, later-line, maybe-line!

6. Win with innovative, magnificent, brand experiences. See-Think-Do YouTube.

7. Create inspiring, luscious experiences. What if the first interaction with your brand is digital?

Excited to go from simply not-stinking-at-all to punching significantly above your weight? Ready to take this expansive journey to not just win at performance marketing and brand marketing? Yes!?!? Let's go…

1. Create joy-inducing mobile experiences. Forget mobile first, it's a mobile only world!

This one, this year and this month, is so, so, so gosh darn painful.

According to eMarketer in 2010 we spent 3:11 (hrs:min) on digital content consumption and 4:24 on TV in the US. In 2014 those numbers are 5:46 for digital and 4:28 on TV. A stunning increase in digital content consumption.

The major contributor to digital finally beating TV? Mobile!

In 2010 we spent 24 minutes a day on non-voice use of mobile devices. In early 2014 that number is 2 hours and 51 minutes! Our time on desktops actually went down.

We are increasingly heading into a world where the slogan to follow is not mobile first, it is mobile only!

It is pretty surprising then that so many businesses are still not serious about their mobile strategies.

For example, I type in for "trip to Hawaii" (not an esoteric destination) into Google. I click on an organic listing for Travelocity. I end up on the site below on the left. In 2014. How crazy is that? Is it possible to make it any harder for me to give you money?

mobile experiences travelocity frys electronics

Ditto if I do a Google search for "high zoom digital camera" and get an ad for Frys Electronics. Clicking on the ad takes me to the site above.

Now, I was not looking to buy on my phone. I had a few minutes, I wanted to research the inventory and go buy it at a local store. Guess what store I did not go to buy my camera? I call it the silent death from not having an acceptable mobile strategy – you don't even know you are getting killed. And you are guessing why store sales are down (and because of such a simple fix!).

B2C sites like Travelocity and Fry's have not cornered the market on this.

A search for "sales automation" shows a link for Zoho, leading me to the site below left. If the mobile phone did not have a back-button hard-coded into the hardware perhaps I would try to read the. Since I have a choice, bounce and back I go.

mobile experience zoho sales forces

You might think Salesforce is the winner here. They are not.

Yes, they meet the lowest bar for digital. They have a mobile friendly website. But for a search query stuffed with think intent, they have created a do page.

Let me rephrase that. Salesforce is the person that comes to a first date completely naked. If you are not interested in jumping into bed right away, they are happy to walk around the bar and look for someone else. They care that deeply about you. On. The. First. Date!

So. Not only should you have a great mobile experience. Make sure it is a relevant mobile experience that puts the customer first rather than yourself.

Here's an example of what awesome looks like. Warby Parker (mobile site: http://m.warbyparker.com).

Think of how hard it is to sell prescription glasses. Think of all the concerns and worries and freakouts people have. Yet, Warby Parker is challenging the giants in the space.

They do many things right, including the mobile experience. It is easy to see the glasses, try out different views with a couple swipes. You can switch colors, choose which version to add to cart with a single press of the button, read a brief well-written description and you've reached the end of the page!

mobile experience warby parker

Not only are they solving for the do audience, they also solve for the think audience. See the lovely + Home Try-On button. Quickly add five pairs to your selection and you can pick the one you really love form the comfort of your home.

It used to be silly to not have a smart phone and tablet friendly experiences of your digital existence. It is now profoundly harmful to your bottom-line. Silent death. Let the nice folks at Warby Parker inspire you to do better (and remember the Salesforce lesson above).

[If you refuse to have a true mobile-awesome experience, at least suck-less by using responsive design - like this blog. Responsive design is not the right way to go, but you will definitely suck-less.]

2. Deliver fantastic, yet simple, personalization. Don't wait for perfection.

There is, rightly, an insane obsession with Users rather than visits and cookies. From a data perspective this is reflected in our obsession with multi-channel attribution modeling or user based visitor segmentation. From a marketing perspective we have been on a quest to figure out how to personalize the user experience on our sites. It was the early promise of the web, we have your behavior/data, we can create a unique store/newspaper/everything.

Except that you've noticed that after million of dollars and trillions of hours being spent on this, there is almost no personalization on the web. When people do talk about personalization successes, they still talk about Amazon's "items related to the ones in your cart" or Amazon's light personalization of the home page. Most sites don't even do that (or do it badly like Zappos recommending Converse All-Stars with my Just Cavalli dress).

Personalization is hard from a technology perspective. But what is even more dramatically under-estimated is how hard it is for a company to create all the assets and meta-data and all the other stuff required to do personalization.

If all that nirvana is hard, why not let the users personalize their experiences by giving you a mass of data? Anonymously?

Much, much cheaper. Much, much, much more doable.

I have two examples for you to consider emulating. The first one is my favorite, Victoria Secret's personal bra boutique .

I'm not logged into the site, I don't have an account, they have no idea who I am. But upon landing on the site rather than being overwhelmed/distracted by the world of possibilities, I simply head over the the bra boutique…

victorias secret boutique

I click on Get Started and I'm presented with a lovely screen where I can pick my bra size.

I choose 34 D. (As I'm not intimately familiar with bra specs, I'm making random choices above and below. In case you were curious.) I have an option to measure myself, or convert from international sizes. Good options.

victorias secret boutique bra size

That done I can move to the second (of five) steps. I choose how much coverage I like. The experience is nice, each choice is clearly highlighted with a brief description. I choose "like a Demi."

victorias secret boutique bra coverage

There are three more steps: Padding, Straps, Support. And Boom! I have my boutique with 202 bras chosen just for me!

victorias secret boutique bra final

The fun does not stop there. The bras are sorted by the percentage that they match with my wear, coverage (more), padding (some), straps (cross back) and support (wireless).

I can see the bra, prices, sale prices, and by clicking on the bra I can get a quick view with other details if I want. There are also some additional sorting and filtering options.

victorias secret boutique bra recommendations

It does not take a very long time to pick my colors and other options to narrow down to just 12 to choose from. I order the first three with the highest percentage in the match column. Rocking them comfortably now!

I also take some of the others and click the heart icon to save them for future consideration.

An otherwise painful or just "it does not suck a lot" experience transformed into something that delights (and makes me give VS more money).

And all of this without first opening an account (so stupid when companies make you do that first!), and without it feeling like a torture from an experience stand point. I can open my account now if I want and save by bra boutique for the future. And VS can accomplish this without the worlds most crazy-freaky predictive algorithms of Earth and alien juice from Mars.

Why can't your customers personalize your website with just six clicks? Why can't they build their own store, newspaper, library, product catalog, ad experience and so much more in six clicks?

Here's one more example to inspire you… from another one of my favorites… Rent The Runway.

They have a feature called Our Runway / Woman Like Me that allows you to go from their infinite choice to your own specific set of dresses very quickly…

rent a runway landing page

As you can see above, there is not a lot to it.

From the left nav you just choose your basic information like height, bust, usual size etc and as you choose from each drop-down the dresses you see change dynamically…

rent a runway like me selector

I pick 6', 32C, 10 and 30-39 and I get my custom store!

What is particularly fantastic about Rent The Runway is that they have an astonishingly loyal user base who sends in their pictures and now I can see women like myself! No fancy models (though if you miss them they are not too far away as you can see below).

rent a runway recommendations

It is so much easier for me not imagine how I would look in the dress I'm comparing for my special day. From a combination of my look and feel as well as the dress, I can easily choose the dress I want. I pick the one Katie's rocking…

rent a runway recommendations katie

Read her brief review (I can dive in and read more reviews and checkout other women – Asian like me – who rented the dress). From there it is but a short hop to renting it for myself…

rent a runway tbi dress

$40 for an extra-special event, and new memories.

Personalization in the case of Rent The Runway came from two magical sources. 1. The basic dress and person data. 2. The information (reviews, pictures etc) contributed for free by existing Rent The Runway users.

Both, doable. Both, will take you less time (and deliver a strategic long-term advantage).

I'm not trying to dissuade you for pursuing the fantastic software/hardware/advance artificially intelligence path that takes years to bear even small fruit. I'm simply saying that you could see that with very little data and a little bit of moxie both Victoria's Secret and Rent The Runway can deliver an amazingly personalized experience. Do that first, even if you have unlimited money and a beguiling software vendor promising you everything magically personalized without any effort from you (well except your money). You'll still win big by emulating VS and RTR.

Personalize, smartly!

3. Empower customer reviews that are actually helpful. Start stinking less today.

Rent The Runway is a bridge into this critical awesomzation of the digital experience.

Is there anything more done to death more than reviews on the web? And it is all so boring. Who wants to work on reviews or improve them?

You. You should want to. Because you'll deliver higher customer value, customer loyalty and business profit.

The "gold standard" for review spec is Amazon. Name, date, text comment.

Why not go for a bold standard and stand out from the crowd? Two examples.

First, let's look at Rent The Runway. I'm considering renting the Psychedelic Floral Dress by Nanette Lepore.

It looks nice. But what about the reviews?

The dress currently has 55 reviews. What is particularly helpful are other features included such as Usually Wears (4 and 10 below) because I can compare that to what size of this dress the person ordered. I can also get other qualitative information such as Rented For (formal affair). And of course the pictures are super helpful!

rent a runway reviews

On top of the reviews is also another lovely set of information related to Fit (small, true to size and large). I can also filter by various physical criteria to find the reviews to find just the ones I might find to be helpful.

rent a runway reviews sorting

Why aren't the reviews at Macy's or Nordstorm this awesome? Or Bare Necessities or Wal-Mart or every other website paying lip-service to customer reviews?

Perhaps your company's excuse for not innovating with reviews is that you don't sell clothing/fashion.

That's not good enough of an excuse.

Let me share with you one of my other favorite sites in this context, Williams-Sonoma. You are welcome to look at any random product, but let's look at the All-Clad d5 Stainless-Steel French Skillet.

The reviews have the common elements you see in the "gold standard" reviews like a text review and the various sort options. But when you look at the latter you get your first clues to the smartness at WS. In addition to Newest First or Ratings High to Low, you also see other lovely and helpful things like Photo Reviews First, Video Reviews First, Length Long to Short etc.

Awesome, is it not? In a world like Amazon's where every single product is four star rated, this is would be so helpful to narrow down to just the reviews you might find helpful.

williams sonoma reviews

And, it gets better.

Notice the area to the left of the review. I absolutely love Ability Level, Has Owned Product For and Uses Product!

In a world where people are passionate about every hotel, product, thing, I can how hone in on my type of people or people I would trust more/less. If my level in cooking is intermediate, I'll trust Rookstar's review more. The fact that she/he has had the product for 3-6 months increases my confidence, as would the fact that she/he has used the product every day.

It is not unusual for people to write product reviews even before the product is shipped. Or the day they get it. Or people slam a sophisticated camera because it does not make them coffee in 24 hours. Or a new game because their ability level is low and the game is more suited to ability level high.

Here's a great example, of my, now beloved, Breville toaster .

The toaster, when I first saw it, seemed to be too expensive and the reviews were mixed. But WS makes it easy for me to move away from the clutter and hone in on just the reviews I might find helpful.

williams sonoma reviews detail 1

While I respect drmikie, it is easy to ignore his/her review and identify more like belloftheball that have more of the elements filled out that match with my preferences.

Reviews are more painful today than they need to be. We need to adopt the "bold standard" followed by Williams-Sonoma and Rent The Runway. We need to deliver more than the look we suck as much as everyone else.

Care more. Be bold.

4. Design a glorious purchase experience. Take their money, please.

I've shared my love for Bonobos in the past. They do lots of small and big things right (along with doing the biggest thing right, sell great pants!).

Here's a tiny example of how smart the user experience is, full of delicious little bonbons everywhere.

When you hover your mouse over your waist size, it automagically shows you what length is available.

bonobos size selector

And of course it also works the other way around. Hover over the desired length, it shows the waist sizes in stock.

Awesome right?

Other companies also let you pick your waist and length and show you what's in stock. It just needs more clicks, drilldowns, and standing on one feet while balancing a coffee cup on your nose.

But the reason to mention Bonobos today is to introduce you to the world's greatest ecommerce purchase and checkout experience.

When you click start checkout you land on this beautiful sexy page.

bonobos checkout 1

No awful SECURE CERTIFIED, VERISIGN CHECK OK, NO VIRUS CERTIFIED, GROWTH HARMONES EXCLUDED, yada, yada, yada. It is 2014 after all. It is safe to assume intelligence at the other end.

No buy this and buy that. No also look at this and that. No fifty other columns of garbage.

Just a page. Waiting for you to do your thing. And if you are weak-willed, it says right up top, 3 Step Checkout. In the small chance you are having a heart-attack, you'll be comforted by the Get a real person right away. There. Feel better?

You add your email address, that's it. You move on.

If you already have an account with them things get more yummy, but let's just use the worst case scenario.

Here's step one in your checkout process. The choice for shipping is built in, press a button if you must. The default is free.

bonobos checkout one

Surely by know you can fill in your shipping address in a few seconds and click Continue.

Gaze at the simplest credit card entry page known to mankind.

bonobos checkout payment

(I want to note that Bonobos does do error checking. The above is fictional address but recognized as legit by most address checking systems. I mistakenly had NE for state, the Bonobos system prompted me with a clear indicator that the Zip was wrong. Even before I clicked continue. United Airlines people, make note of this!)

It is easy to see where on your credit card the information will be that you need. Instead of just saying "billing address is same as shipping address," they repeat my street address and ask if that is also my billing address. Nice.

Instead of typing in the four required fields, I can also choose to pay via Paypal.

bonobos checkout paypal

The whole checkout process becomes even simpler.

I click on Paypal and then Continue and I get my review page for the costs and a nice green Checkout With Paypal button.

bonobos checkout final review

I can log into my Paypal account and pay in a second. All I had to do is type in my shipping address.

Did you notice the reassuring "Free prepaid return label in the box" under the checkout button? If you were going to take five seconds to press that button, you'll press it in 0.5 seconds now!

Checkout abandonment rates routinely run in the high seventy and eighty percent. That is simply unacceptable. If people want to give you money, why not Bonobos your checkout experience and take that money quickly?

Bonobos' checkout experience does every single thing required, and nothing that is not required. Let them be your inspiration to move beyond we've met the standard of not sucking. Do more. Profits await.

Now. Where are my Blue Moon 30/34 pants?

5. Convert like a champion! Solve for on-line, off-line, later-line, maybe-line!

After looking at a great mobile experience we worked on creating simple personalizatoin that is driven by customer data. Then we did the next most optimal thing, focused on creating "bold standard" reviews. From there it is a simply hop-skip-and-jump to creating a delicous checkout experience.

We've gotten our conversion rate up. Hurray!

Time to focus on doing business however the customer wants to, rather than just want's convenient to us. Time to obsess about multi-channel outcomes.

I want to use an unusual example, Cartier. Unusual because if you look at most luxury websites they stink to high heaven. We will come back to this topic in item number seven below. For now, take my word that by not making you learn to use the internet all over again the team at Cartier is unusual and worth admiring.

If you are interested in the delightful Tank Anglaise watch, there's a simple red Add to Shopping Bag button.

cartier tank MC

Oh, and get $7,300 ready. On that note the Cartier team deserves another kiss. Most companies in their space will make you call them to visit a store or refuse to give you any option to do business online. You know because this internet thing is a fad. No Cartier though. They are happy to take your money.

So far a couple of nice things. But that is not why the Cartier site is in this post.

They are here because of everything surrounding their Add to Shopping Bag button.

cartier buying detail

There are five other choices for you to efficiently part with your money. Order by phone. Add to wishlist (in case you don't want to convert in the first visit!). Request information. And lastly, contact an ambassador.

Everything stacked up beautifully in a nice cluster. Cartier is solving for Do as well as See and Think. They are solving for online and offline. They are solving for people who need no help, people who need some – request info – and people who need a lot – ambassador.

This is rare. Yes, many websites offer some of these pieces. Only a few offer all. Even when some of these pieces are available, they are spread all over the website and hard to find.

Why?

Why not make it easy?

Why not have the macro-conversion and the micro-conversions related to making money, presented in a way that makes our customers feel like they are in control and we are happy to move at the pace they choose for themselves?

Please solve for the on-line, off-line, later-line and maybe-line. Your mom will be so proud of you.

6. Win with innovative, magnificent, brand experiences. Owned audiences await.

We've mostly focused on performance marketing, time to shift our attention to the other love of my life… brand marketing!

Let's focus primarily on the See stage with some Think thrown in with a very tiny pinch of Do. [The awesome See-Think-Do framework.]

Let's look at beauty, looking and feeling beautiful regardless of who you are.

I'm sure you know that only a small tiny handful percent of attention in the video space is being earned by big or small beauty brands. From your Chanels of the world to your Head & Shoulders to Olay to Axe. Yes these brands have YouTube channels and every once in a while they throw up a viral video and everyone oohs and aahs. They get temporary attention, there is no residual impact on the brand. Follow-on views. Subscribers. Offline sales. Online visits. Take any metric you want.

Attention in the beauty space is earned by Zoella, Carli Bybel, Bethany Mota, Jen Chae and, I think literally, hundreds of other real people in the world who are expressing their passion for beauty for free. There are teenagers with more Subscribers than many gigantic beauty brands.

So it is not the case that there is not attention to be earned. The problem is that your, and your lovely expensive agency's agenda of videos in the spirit of "LOOK AT US OUR PRODUCTS ARE BEAUTIFUL" does not work. Neither does "LOOK AT OUR MODELS THEY ARE SO AWESOME, RUN OUT, BUY OUR STUFF!" And of course video after video that says "LOOK AT ME I'M AM PRETTY" leads to 300 views or less.

Larger companies also have a unique problem where each of their brands tries to go after attention individually and that strategy means each brand has a gigantic problem to solve. They get zero benefit from scale that should normally flow for large companies.

Recently I came across and example of a large company that has decided to think different.

The wonderful team at Unilever UK identified that attention was currently owned by vloggers and other non-paid contributors. Furthermore pimpy videos don't work. Solving for short-term virality is not a sustainable strategy. And individual brands were individually struggling to make any headway.

Their solution is pretty amazing. It solves for See, Think, Do and Care by providing inspiration, utility and unique points of engagement.

They've created a beautiful custom designed YouTube brand channel singularly focused on hair (for all their hair-care brands). It's called… All Things Hair.

YouTube All Things Hair UK

Pretty is it not? It also does a million clever things.

This post kicked off with a deep emphasis on user-driven personalization. Unilever UK is doing that well right off the bat. Once you get over how beautiful the channel is and how happy and delightful all the people seem to be, your eye with settle on the My Hair Is area. A quick click…

unilever all things hair filters

I can pick my hair color, curliness and length. As I do this the videos I see change. Relevance!

But the delights don't stop there. I can select what I want to do with my hair in the Make My Hair section.

I choose messed up. Why not? : )

unilever all things hair filters videos

And now I go from hundreds of videos to an absolutely delightful curate set of guaranteed to be helpful videos. All I have to do is press play. (I'm trying the Pixie Lott inspired look. Let me how how it looks next time you see me. :))

Rather than creating all the videos using their current stable of models and personalities, the team at Unilever is using people who already have attention on YouTube from their current body of work. They are using YouTube vloggers to create videos that deliver on the important dimensions of quality, authenticity and value. The videos are not too polished, just enough. It is extremely clear that the videos were commissioned by a Unilever brand, yet the tone, texture and content is authentic. And the 30 or so videos that I looked through were extremely valuable.

This is incredibly hard to pull of. If you work at a large company (and you don't have to be Unilever large) you can feel in your soul how freaking hard this is to do. A million barriers. A million entrenched agendas. A million reasons to keep sucking at YouTube and to keep shouting on TV. A million agencies, divisions, leaders, and more to work with.

It is unbelievable that Unilever UK managed to invest in a long-term sustainable strategy for the Unilever family of hair-care products, because it would be so much easier to just suck like everyone else in the beauty space around the world.

Back to the videos.

The videos show up in a custom window in a custom player. They are all pretty short (YouTube standard!). Sharing is built-in and prominent, see buttons under the video on the right side.

On videos where Unilever products are used, they show up in a space called the Hamper.

all things hair video detail

Because this is solving for the whole family of Unilever products, they can nicely showcase the entire portfolio of products that were used to deliver the hair look-feel-awesomeness.

The Buy Now button is small and subtle, but it is there and you can see it. You don't have to click on it. The tone set in the video also does not solve for selling, it solves for making you look and feel beautiful.

If you do click on a product, I could not resist something called radiating tropical elixir, you are taken directly to the product page where you can read the reviews, learn more, share it on various social channels or buy the product online or offline.

toni and guy

As the brand manager of one product, say TRESemmé, you can still take your current assets, relationships and people and be a part of the All Things Hair family.

Here's one of those videos by Matthew Curtis on how to get a vintage wave. In the past it might have languished by itself on a product brand channel, now it has 650k views and attention it deserves.

all things hair unilever vintage waves

Visit All Things Hair – UK. Poke around. Checkout the videos. Try the personalization / solutions finder. Listen to the tone and texture of the videos. Pay attention to the authenticity. I think you'll love what the Unilever team has done.

One of the things you might notice are the lovely points of engagement spread out in the channel.

For example, the weather. Not as relevant for us here in the US (or for you in Nairobi), but useful for their core audience.

You'll notice that the elements with 40s and 80s actually move and are not stills. I don't know how they are doing it, but they are freaky and cool both at the same time!

YouTube All Things Hair UK quizzes

And of course you'll notice the quizzes. Not the sexiest things in the world, but a delightful point of engagement with the channel.

Every number you look at for YouTube is going up and to the right. Amount of time and average person spends. The number of videos uploaded. The number of massive celebrities created on the back of YouTube. The number of people looking to YouTube as a See and Think medium. The amount of devices people are watching YouTube content. The number of subscribers on top channels. The number of successful movies/products/revolutions launched off YouTube. Pick any metric you want. Up and to the right.

Through All Things Hair the Unilever UK team shows us how to be ahead of the game and get a massive return on their investment. The primary purpose is to do more than/better than what they do with branding on all other media channels, the secondary, much smaller purpose is to enable commerce in a very quite manner.

It is very hard to do this. Even if the imagination exists, and that is a big if, the forces of entropy in companies large and small are hard to overcome.

I'll be the first to admit that you can still suck for a little while and your business will be fine. But the amount of time you have in front of you is as long as the person who will replace you in your job. And she/he will passionately hate you.

Owned audiences await you, move beyond renting. Create innovative, magnificent, brand experiences. One YouTube, and everywhere else you exist.

7. Create inspiring, luscious experiences. What if the first interaction with your brand is digital?

Since we are on brand marketing, one last quick example of a site I'm deeply fond of. Hermès.

Most luxury websites try really hard to be different. Company leaders have a desire to be the most unique experience on the internet to represent the uniqueness of the brand. Since they also have lots of money, the internal or external design team is happy to separate the company from that money and create a website that no one outside their immediate building will be able to use. Mice don't really work. If on a tablet you have not idea what to click, where to find information you actually want. They have bizarre horizontal scroll bars. And obviously the font size will be 6. Oh, oh, oh and you are right, light gray font on a light gray background. Or should I say sexy gray with subtle hues of love. Still does not work though.

I don't know what they are solving for.

As an example, I really do love Chanel. Great products. Wonderful brand. Fantastic heritage. But all of that is not enough for me to want to first learn how to use the internet in order to visit their various sites. It is 2014. Why do I need to first learn how to use the internet! They are simply trying to be too clever. [Though you can make a very strong and legitimate case for the fact that I'm too poor to be their target audience.]

It is of course entirely possible to create a stunningly unique experience that lives up to your brands heritage and glory, and does not require people to learn to use the internet first.

I give you the wonderful Hermès website.

This is the gorgeous page that shows up while the site loads. A custom beautiful animation!

hermes site loading page

The site, in a very subtle and not-in-you-face manner, pays homage to the brand's orange color preference. [I love orange. Flavor. Color. Land. People. Everything!]

See what I mean, you can show this is something special and uniquely you?

When the site loads you are presented with a cluster of what seems like an infinite number of tiles. Even shrunk down to this tiny size, you can make out what they are and what information they might provide (and as this is the French version of the site, it would help a little to know French though that is not mandatory).

hermes webiste

The navigation aid is the little grid you see on the top right.

Move your mouse to the right element and the tiles more as well. Left, or right or center or top left or right or… well, wherever you want to explore. You also have a small + and – underneath to allow you to zoom in and out. Takes you less than two seconds to understand how to use the site.

hermes navigator

Click on the tile itself and it zooms up to a large size (the image below is shrunk down). You can now consume the content. Video. Audio. Helpful hints. Stories. And more.

hermes metamorphosis

There are tiles that display text. Perhaps the only element that could be executed better, and even they are pretty readable (I bet even in the reduced size you see below!).

hermes bracelet

Did you notice the orange? Is it too subtle? : )

Sharing it built into each element, bottom right brings up the social icons you need.

Hermès is famous for many things, but perhaps their scarves most of all.

I love this tile that times how long it takes you to tie a scarf, or anything else really. A very creatively produced element. The belts move and change. The whole thing is so well done.

And that's what's awesome about the Hermès digital experience. A million small things done well with love and creativity to bring you closer to the brand.

scarf tie timer

Did I say the scarves are awesome?

I might betray my design sensibilities, but the Hiroshi Sugimoto collection is a favorite of mine. [Gentlemen and ladies, start your wishlists for me!]

hermes hiroshi sugimoto scarf

It is easy to switch scarfs, see larger images, browse other galleries.

And when I'm ready to buy, the Hermès ecommerce website awaits ready to delight and deliver an amazing experience while taking my money.

hermes silks carfs

Once I pick the scarf I want, I can easily J'achete it!

hermes silks carfs buy

Oh and did you think they are only solving for softer outcomes like enhanced brand equity and harder things like ecommerce? No!

They've read this blog. [I presume!] They do macro and micro-conversions .

Here's their email sign up form…

hermes email signup

Did I already say it is possible to deliver an amazing unique brand experience while not requiring people to learn how to use the internet all over again simply because you are trying so hard?

I think I did.

One last thing that touched me the first time I visited the Hermès site last year.

I tried to look for the nearest real-world store. The experience to find it is pleasant.

What was delightful was the sketch that I got next to the address. It was so lovely . (Did you notice the hint of orange? :)) I was really impressed that they created a special sketch for their store locator.

hermes store locator

Then I went to look for a store in San Francisco . And much to my surprise, I got a different sketch!

And then I tried other cities. Different sketches!!

And then I went on a journey around the world to look at all the sketches. They were all beautiful, unique and heart-warming.

You can tell me you are special. Or you can show me how special you are. By caring deeply about things small and big. By going way above the call of duty. By setting your smartest people free to express their creativity. By creating a perfect match of what made you amazing in the real world and creating a perfect digital manifestation of that exact thing.

Everything above is amazing. But the most remarkable thing about Hermès is that their digital existence around the world looks the same, works the same way. Try to change the country. And their ecommerce stores also look feel the same around the world. Truly worth admiring because of the people, process, egos and platforms involved.

All of us can be Hermès. You just have to want to badly enough.

In their unique way, each of our stories today is a walking-talking example of going well beyond the call of duty and not settling at we don't suck any more. Each an example of being truly customer-centric, while solving for greater business profitability.

They inspire me to think different, and I hope they inspire you as well.

As always, it is your turn now.

Is there a mobile experience you are impressed with? Why? Who has impressed you with deeper personalization of your experience, beyond the obvious? Do you have another example of customer reviews to add to Rent The Runway and Williams Sonoma? What did you think of the Bonobos checkout experience? Is there someone simpler/awesomer? Does your ecommerce experience provide all the options like Cartier, that beautifully? Would All Things Hair work for your company's YouTube strategy? Who else do you love? Did you adore Hermès as much as I do? Is your heart with someone else how has managed this astonishing balance between unique and functional?

Please share your stories, critique, examples, best practices and everything else via comments below.

Thank you.

Comments

  1. 1

    Wow, this is an absolutely wonderful post.

    Thanks so much for all these examples.

    • 2
      PrasQ says:

      Whoaa Avinash! :D

      That's some PhD stuff man! seriously! This one's goes to my all time classics!!

      Cheers!

  2. 3
    Greg says:

    Hello Avinash,

    Another powerful article.

    Can you do a See-Think-Do post with examples of sites that do good and bad jobs incorporating those elements?

    • 4

      Greg: Thanks for the suggestion.

      If you keep the See-Think-Do framework at the back of your mind, you can easily see where the examples in this post fit in. Additionally if you visit some of the sites, you'll see where the gaps are.

      Mobile for example is really good at See and Think (really not good at Do). Warby Parker does some Think and a lot of Do well on mobile.

      Victoria's Secret is perhaps the overall grand champion on this list for doing See-Think-Do-Care really, really well. They execute multiple elements in each bucket.

      Cartier comes a close second. Rent The Runway does some Think, a lot of Do well. Williams Sonoma, surprisingly, is primarily focused on Do (they have magnificent Think and See possibilities).

      Bonobos is mostly Do.

      ATH by Unilever UK is big/huge/amazing at See and Think, and they have just the right amount of Do (on YouTube you don't want to aggressively pimp, does not work).

      Hermes does enough See, lots of Think, and of course Do.

      There you go. Framework applied! :)

      -Avinash.

  3. 5
    yisrael says:

    Avinash,

    Awesome post as usual. One question for you.

    Two of the sites you mentioned you love, bonobos and renttherunway, both have popups to sign up for newsletter when you come to their site for the first time.

    My thoughts were "I have never been to your site why would I be ready to sign up for a newsletter. You are just annoying me with popups when I am excited to explore your site".

    What do you think about this practice?

    Thanks

    • 6

      Yisreal: It is a little rushed. I wish they would try and ask us to jump into bed with them on the third date rather then on the first date (and as soon as they say hello!).

      In both cases the business is too centered on acquiring new customers constantly, hence I suspect there is a business incentive to make that trade-off between good taste and business needs. That is ok, we all make tiny compromises.

      If you want to propose on the first date, I'd recently shared a fabulous example of how to do it in a way that both works for the business and delivers a smile! Checkout the Betabrand example for email signup.

      -Avinash.

  4. 7

    Fascinating stuff.

    Would love to see what you could to do to inform digital design with even more data from which to draw.

    Great read!

  5. 8

    Excellent as ever.

    "Forget mobile first, it's a mobile only world!" says it all. Great takeaways to think about

  6. 9
    Taylor Hinton says:

    Avinash,

    Great post. One question, you said that responsive design is not the way to go. Do you feel that responsive design cannot match a completely separate mobile experience?

    Personally, I want the desktop experience to be as simple and easy as the mobile experience. Seamless. When things drastically change from one medium to the other I get a feeling somebody is hiding something from me or I'm using the wrong device.

    • 10

      Tylor: First, let me agree with you that desktop experiences should be as simple and as easy as possible.

      In my experience in working with companies across the world I've learned that people use mobile platforms primary for See and Think, while the component of desktop users that are there for Do is much bigger. This means that we don't just need a responsive version of our desktop site (like I've done for this blog) that does all the things the normal desktop site does, rather we need a mobile website that solves for See and Think first and Do later. [More on the See, Think, Do framework.]

      So it is the customer task (/purpose) that drives the experience to being deeply relevant.

      Avinash.
      PS: Please checkout my thoughts on the difference between experiences for mobile apps and mobile sites.

  7. 11
    Jigna says:

    Great post!

    Just shared the VS example with our agency.

    Can't wait to make finding mutual funds on our future asset management website as easy to use.

  8. 12
    Oscar Ochoa says:

    Great long post!

    I felt that I wanted to stop reading sometimes but couldn't stop, nice job.

    Question for you related to check out process: I work for a company that offer services instead of products but yet still there is a shopping process. We want our customers to feel that they are getting benefits more than products while doing the shopping cart experience.

    What are your recommendations in order to get a "Friendly" and more "I like this services" experience in the check out process?

    Thanks!

    • 13

      Oscar: Without more detail around your business it is very difficult to provide specific advice you might find to be of value. But here are a couple of broad recommendations…

      One of my primary recommendations for friendliness is to meet user expectations for your services business. For example, do you have a Task Completion Rate survey on your site that helps you understand why people come and what they expect of you. If you do, you can imagine people would find you to be quite friendly. : )

      The other recommendation, I'm sure you are doing this already, is to allow the person to transact with you the way they feel most comfortable. Even for a B2B and even for a services business. See for example what Cartier is doing with all the offline and online options.

      And other such things.

      Avinash.

  9. 14
    Juli Burroughs says:

    Avinash:

    I love your post today, as per usual.

    However, I currently find myself in a B2B world which is less focused on acquisition and more focused on providing a web-based tool for our customers to interact with in various ways.

    KPIs are more along the lines of account management, are users able to accomplish their goals, can they create the report they need, do they renew their subscription, how do they interact with the product online?

    Where would you suggest I go to see examples of great user experiences that are not shopping-cart based?

    I would love to hear your insight.

    • 15

      Juli: I have to admit that for me there is no difference at the core when I'm trying to create amazing customer experiences. Understand the audience. Understand thyself (ok, business goals!). Surprise people by solving their needs (and our goals) in the simplest manner – bonus for delivering delight.

      In that sense, we can find inspiration from Bonobos for your B2B account management experience. We can use Victoria's Secret for report creation. We can use Unilever's ATH to be inspired with fantastic innovative ways to interact with our product online. So on, and so forth.

      For pure B2B examples, I think our friends at IBM are doing a great job with http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet . While there is nothing sexy about it, I think TI does a great job at getting us to what we need very efficiently http://www.ti.com/ . One more great example: http://www.transitchek.com/

      Thanks!

      Avinash.

  10. 16
    dezea says:

    I find that the Hermes site is a bad example of great UI. Their shop site is ok, but the flash version is really bad and I couldn't figure out what's it about and how could I navigate through it. Plus, they don't have a mobile version for that if you try to access it via android phone the server gives an error message… I mean, that's worse than not having a mobile friendly site.

    • 17
      Andy says:

      I understand your points.

      But I think you are missing the overarching goal of this article. Don't be afraid to do better. Don't settle for the status quo.

      Your examples show some failures of this attitude. It is a philosophical question but what is more impressive. A bold failure or incremental small success.

      Why are we all so scared? Constantly Amazon is thrown up as the be all to end all of ecommerce. Really!? In real time it is basically the Model T of ecommerce on its way to being the Ford of the 70s and 80s.

      I think Avinash just wants us to be excited a little about the possibilities! Amazon is great at what they do. But they are also locked in. Which creates a lot of opportunity for the rest of us.

    • 18

      Andy: A million thanks for being more prompt in replying to Dezea. And you are absolutely right about the spirit of this post. Thank you again.

      Dezea: I'm glad you found the post to be of value. You are totally right that they could make the mobile version better.

      I'm browsing their website right now on a Samsung Galaxy Tab and it is working well, but they are leaving lots of real estate less than productively useful.

      But, as Andy alluded to, we can all learn from the best out there and be inspired to go experiment with how to make our own existences better. Everyone has blind spots, but of this exercise I'm ignoring those. :)

      Thanks!

      Avinash.

  11. 19
    fede says:

    Maybe because of Google Algorithm changes (that changes as the wind) we don't have to think to SEO friendly design optimization any more but User Optimization, that google try to show as the same…

    • 20

      Fede: It is sad if people are making design decisions primarily due to SEO considerations. Google/Bing/Yandex and all search engines have aggressively said that you should solve for the user first and then search engines.

      In my experience there is an overlap between what works for both because both want simplicity. But if there is a conflict between the two, I choose the users because if I solve for SEO and win and the user comes to my site and leaves right away, what did I win? : )

      Avinash.

  12. 21
    Pernille says:

    I agree with Dezea regarding several usability issues with the Hermes site. If you have to explain where the navigation is, the usability has failed.

    I agree on making websites that are inspiring and beautiful, but not at the expense of the usability.

  13. 22
    Adam Powell says:

    After 2 separate recommendations, I recently registered a couple domains with Namecheap(dot)com; I was impressed. Simple, functional, useful. They use an unorthodox color palette but totally pull it off and feel modern at the same time.

    Most sites in that industry are visually repulsive with matching business practices.

    I was so surprised by their transparent pricing and no-pressure easy-to-use website that after finishing checkout, when they invited me to "share" them on social media, I did!

    If reviewing sites that deliver a delightful user experience, I'd say they merit inclusion.

    • 23

      Adam: I used to have my domains at Namecheap. Agree on the good experience.

      Last year a dear friend recommended http://www.name.com and I've been impressed with them and use them now. Great experience, especially once you are logged in and trying to accomplish various tasks.

      Thanks!

      Avinash.

  14. 24
    Allan Grohe says:

    Avinash—

    An excellent post, although from your intro (and like Juli above) I thought you were going to delve a bit more into B2B non-retail scenarios as well. Perhaps a follow-up post is in order? :D

    In our environment (B2B network hardware/software), our key design challenges center around providing product information and converting potential customers into qualified leads, as well as supporting existing customers. How do you see B2B companies being able to leverage some of your excellent B2C advice above?:

    – Should B2B sites consider building shopping carts for product information based on customer-desired specs, and offer localized contacts lists and to set follow-up calls/appointments/demos, rather than simply providing "How to Buy" or "Contact Me" forms?

    – How do B2B sites manage the UX for strongly different audiences using your advice, when B2C sites seem to have a more narrow/easily managed audience? For example, many CxOs will dig around on B2B sites in Think mode, but they're not really Do-ers when it comes to knowing the intricacies of high tech networking products. What they See may also not be what we want them to Think about, too. Contrast that with network operations engineers and planners, who are the folks making Do/buy decisions: what interests them is significantly different from the CxO archetypes/personas.

    – Lastly, many B2B business models are not based around "buy it now" transactions—purchase cycles can and do span months or even a year or more. How should B2B sites transform your advice above to engage potential new customers who are researching an RFP that they'll launch in the middle of 2015, and not make a product selection decision from until the end of 2016?

    Thanks as always for your insights, advice, and support!

    Allan.

    • 25
      Angela says:

      I second all of Allan's questions.

      We have a B2B site with different audiences – some come to the site for more information about our services, others are using our service and need support documents and tips for good use, and still others are simply utilizing our free whitepapers. The buying cycle is very long, often two years, with a long process of calling, emails, webinars, pilots, etc.

      We struggle with directing such varied audiences to the correct portion of the site (and at the correct time, depending on where they are in the buying cycle) and making sure they can easily find what they need. Even encouraging them to use the search has been problematic, as everyone uses different vocab so we can't guarantee the correct item will come up.

    • 26

      Alan: Please accept my sincerest apologies for the delay in replying to your kind comment. Family vacations intruded on work. :)

      I'll certainly consider a all B2B post, but please see my reply to Juli, has some context that you might find to be relevant (including some favorite examples).

      Let me share some quick answers to your questions as well….

      See the Cartier examples for having more than How To Buy or Contact Me forms. They have online, chat, email, contact an ambassador (high value), and make an appointment offline. All options that could work for B2B.

      I would ever so slightly dispute that audiences for B2C are narrow/easily managed, they are actually much more messy, much more diverse and my more short-term focused (not usually B2B problems). I think IBM does a great job of dealing with the problem you pose. And for CxO types, they are not going to read white-papers. We have to earn their attention and keep it. Sometimes this is offline events/connections, other times it is giving them something of value they can get and digest quickly (why not copy Harvard Business Review on that?).

      Time definitely plays an important role. I don't believe that digital has to carry the whole weight throughout the process. We have to have a nonline strategy. Exactly what it is will different from business to business but creating unique consumer personas is helpful, getting them the information they need at each stage (unselfishly if possible) establishes a great relationship and we combine online and offline for a holistic solution.

      Thanks so much for the great questions and thoughts!

      Avinash.

  15. 27
    SK says:

    Hey Avinash,

    Just curious, but who are these writers that may be contributing to your site?

    This particular one seems to be written by an Asian woman (as mentioned in the text), and it would be really nice to know who is behind the curtain of Occam's Razor!

  16. 29
    Dave Rekuc says:

    Great post Avinash, especially #1.

    If you get a link from Marriott and open it on a mobile device, it REDIRECTS TO THE HOME PAGE. My face turns red and steam pours out of my ears like a cartoon tea kettle every time I try to use their mobile site. Especially for a site in the travel industry, it's unbelievably frustrating.

    Another great example for #3 is ModCloth. They really do a phenomenal job of empowering reviews and creating a social shopping experience. I love this concept and I'm in the middle of working on something like this for a client.

    Thanks for the thoughts, love the eCommerce influence in this article :)

  17. 30

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post, Avinash.

    Even more so when I saw the 'All Things Hair' YouTube channel featured in your list (number 6). The project was conceived and created by Razorfish in London (where I work) and it has been a great pleasure for the whole team here to read your review. We are lucky to work with visionary clients like Unilever.

    Best wishes from London!

    Joslyn

  18. 31
    Shuki Mann says:

    An awesome, inspiring post Avinash!

    I really loved the example of Salesforce. At first glance I was sure you mentioned them for a positively reason but you absolutely right that they do not aim to the Think stage.

    The All Things Hair example is also very inspiring.

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge Avinash!

  19. 32
    Adam Powell says:

    I have never worked with a Zappos (or Intuit or Victoria's Secret).

    I'm sorry for asking but how do you (any readers) deal with short-term/trackable vs. long-term and non-trackable?

    To clarify: as others pointed out, some of these sites use email opt-in forms that intrusively pop-up whenever you visit the site; that is an immediate turn off for me but what if it doubles your email opt-in rate (it likely does)?

    There are lots of things we can do that are (short-term) conversion focused but might actually hurt the long-term brand equity by coming across as spammy or desperate.

    How do you measure, quantify, justify, or explain decisions that seem to be more user-friendly but that probably diminish short-term conversions?

    • 33

      Adam: Please accept my sincerest apologies for the delay in replying to your kind comment. Family vacations intruded on work. :)

      You should consider working for Zappos or Intuit or Victoria's Secret. I promise you, no matter what your career path, that you'll learn a lot! I used to work at Intuit, changed my life. :)

      I would disagree that either of these companies are trying to only solve for the short-term/trackable vs. long-term and (I'll change this a bit) hard-to-track.

      If that is all they solve for, they'll keep renting customers rather than owning them. In all three cases even a quick analysis would showcase that all of them win if you come back and do business with them again, and again, and again, and again. In the case of both Intuit and VS, a vast majority of purchases are still offline (and that is hard-to-track). Ditto for Cartier, Hermes, Bonobos, Unilever (imagine having the job of tracking impact of ATH from YouTube, #omg!) and others in this post.

      This gives me a great bridge to agree with you… companies that solve for the short and the long-term will survive and thrive, those that compromise the long-term obligations will die.

      There are many, many ways to measure, quantify, justify long-term decisions….

      At Intuit (there's the name again! :)), we measured impact of our A/B tests on short-term conversions (that is what the testing platform measured) along with impact of version A, B, C on customer satisfaction. There's the balance.

      For email pop-ups, I just give it time and measure that cohort differently from other customers. How many are opting in? Over six months what is their repeat purchase rate vs. existing customers? What is the impact on bounce rates from the scammy GIVE ME YOUR EMAIL IN EXCHANGE FOR 5% OFF YOUR ORDER thing? And other such things.

      At a recent company we tracked the impact on Likelihood to Recommend over time as we made changes to the site. Over nine months the impact was clear (and positive) regardless of the impact on conversion (also worked out well!).

      In summary… you have to balance for both (as you said), you have to go beyond the obvious to measure the impact on both, and you have to have a management team that will give you the time and patience you need to prove solving for both.

      Avinash.

  20. 34
    Tim says:

    With mobile marketing getting bigger by the nanosecond it's surprising how some sites are still mobile un-friendly. It's imperative to have a mobile ready website these days.

    Excellent article, thank you.

  21. 35
    don says:

    It would be nice to give kudos to the actual author of the post. You could tell from the 1st couple of paragraphs that it was not Avinash's style.

    This is a tremendously thought provoking post.

    I was prompted to submit this comment by the questions at the end, particularly the ones about reviews.

    I have not looked at their site in quite some time but the guys at Moosejaw were pioneers in the 'make reviews more usable' category. Their site had several useful filters on the reviews back in 2009 when I first met them. They were also leading edge with respect to integrating online/off-line user experience in their brick and mortar stores. It makes sense, for example, in some categories to have filters for reviewers based on level of expertise or skill or usage pattern.

    In the art supplies business i was in, we had student, enthusiast and professional as options for reviewers to self categorize themselves. In golf or skiing, your skill level can have a big impact on your choice of equipment, e.g. so black diamond bump skiier vs black diamond tree skier means something.

    • 36

      Don: It is great that you found the post to be of value!

      And more good news, I'm indeed the author of the post. I'm sorry you felt from the first couple paragraphs that it was not my style. I would love to know what you saw there.

      Agree with you on Moosejaw, some cool stuff there.

      Avinash.

  22. 37

    Thanks for this!

    I find that most websites exist because companies are told they need one and they create situations where their business lives and dies by the latest search engine algorithm.

    To me, a successful website wants every visitor to enjoy the experience of being on their site, because it enjoys the experience of being a web site. I don't think the latter is on anyone's site requirements or red doodle on their white board.

    • 38

      Kim: I'm thrilled you found the post to be of value!

      It is indeed heartbreaking that so many put so much emphasis, and money, on solving for search engines with SEO, or other such areas.

      The incredible part is that if you visit a conference focused on PPC or SEO, the representatives from search engines always emphasize that site owners should solve for site users first. :)

      Traffic is important. But it is what that traffic experiences that is critical. Else, you lose.

      Avinash.

  23. 39
    shealia says:

    I love Victoria's Secret, it is so beautiful.

  24. 40
    Toni says:

    Everything on this site is gold in it's own right but I really loved this post. Why? Because it's all so simple. It's amusing to see how uncomplicated it can be to do it right when most of us still fail.

    Excellent examples, like for instance the credit card payment for Bonobos or the online / offline combo at Cartier. Which of none is complicated at all – it's simplicity in it's most beautiful form.

    Thanks again for yet another insightful post that hopefully will help me help my company look at things in a slightly different light and do what we've always set out to do – put the customer and the customers needs in focus.

  25. 41
    Josh Light says:

    Avinash,

    Thanks for another fantastic article. Your bra example was hilarious.

    This post was a breath of fresh air. It's nice to see ways to utilize "big data" outside of gathering massive amounts of information, applying machine learning, and spending months/years building an algorithm.

    Do you think mobile optimized website is enough for a digital business, or should investment in a mobile app be top priority?

    Josh

    • 42

      Josh: I do not believe a mobile optimized site (a desktop site simplified to run on mobile platforms) is sufficient. I believe we should create mobile purpose optimized sites. This is because the reason people visit our sites on mobile phones is often extremely different from when they use desktop platforms.

      One simple example, people use desktop platforms for Do while mobile is primarily for See and Think. (www.bit.ly/seethinkdo)

      To your other question…

      Mobile apps are very focused on a small handful of things, they are typically used by people who engage with your brand quite frequently (why else would they go through the pain of downloading something), and hence tend to be your existing customers.

      Mobile sites tend to solve for many different outcomes because we don't really know who is there. So these tend to be used by customers and prospects of all types.

      One example to understand this is to go to united.com and download and see what's in the United app.

      So, the answer to your question is an And and not an Or. You need both. As to which you should do first depends on your current business strategy.

      In my humble experience because of the opportunity the site comes first and then the app. But this is far from a universally right answer.

      Avinash.

      • 43
        Josh Light says:

        Avinash,

        Do and see make complete sense. You have a way with words my friend.

        Thanks for your additional input. It was extremely helpful.

        Josh

  26. 44
    Steffen says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for an amazing post!

    I'm new at this site but I can not wait to dive further into your content – this feels like a gold mine :)

  27. 46

    Avinash, this is some sterling work here.

    Really loved the examples you shown, most especially Victoria's Secret. It offers a perfect example of creating a website with your customers in mind, and the simple flow and filters used on it makes the shopping experience easy.

  28. 47
    astonish says:

    Can you blog something around the mid-funnel.

  29. 48
    Sofia Rhodes says:

    Awesome article.

    Some of the examples are really hilarious, mainly that bra example.

    Thanks for sharing this excellent article.

  30. 49
    Louis Blythe says:

    Fantastic Article!

    Some many actionable insights.

    Shared more then once! Keep this gold coming!

  31. 50

    Just great. This post is inspiring and so handy.

    Right now I'm studying a Mobile UX and A/B Testing course as part of my Master SEO Expert, so this was such a treasure.

    Thanks a lot.

  32. 51
    Juan Luis says:

    Hi,

    I'm a new reader about your blog and I'm learning a lot!

    I see that in the examples of shops you show us, a lot don't show the "Buy" button but the "add to wishlist " button on the home page.

    I have some micro conversion elements in my Homepage, but a lot of "Buy" buttons too. Do you recommend to eliminate them, to increase the see -think experience?

    Thanks

    • 52

      Juan: I'm sorry without doing a deep dive into your site and understanding your users it is hard to give you specific advice.

      But, you want your home page to have a balance between giving your customers what they want (you can learn using a simple Task Completion Rate survey) and what you want (their money!). Hence it is important to have a balance between the two.

      Don't overwhelm them with BUY NOW, BUY NOW, :). Give them a bit of what they want, place your commerce buttons strategically.

      Avinash.

  33. 53
    Luke Langer says:

    Very Helpful best practices.

    I will discuss your work with my design team it has really inspired me. Thank you

  34. 54
    Jamichael Mitchell says:

    Thanks for the useful information! Very in-depth and to well-written.

    I have a good feeling that my next post will be on user experience. Thanks for the inspiration!

  35. 55

    I love the way you write. I also appreciate the examples you share.

    Those websites should be thanking you for helping them fix what's wrong with their sites. Man! Some of them are bad! User experience experts will be the billionaires of tomorrow. Ha!

    Great post Avinash!

    Jullian

  36. 56
    Elina David says:

    Very informative blog Avinash.

    Keep up the good work.

  37. 57
    Jeffrey Tay says:

    Great! This could enlighten those that are still thinking of building sites or pages for their business.

    True enough the experience of customers over your site greatly impacts their decision as they are going to patronize your service/product or not.

  38. 58
    Maciej Fita says:

    I think user experience is crucial to any success, mobile or desktop you need to lead your website traffic down the path of least resistance.

    All the traffic in the world won't help if you don't have the right conversion points in place.

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