Technology has played an important role in the development of online shopping. Broadband connections have probably been the most influential, speeding up the browsing and buying process, and enabling much more interaction between the buyer and the seller. Safer shopping is taken for granted these days, and encryption technology is at the heart of this. Giving out sensitive details such as personal bank account details are much more secure than they were a decade ago. This has certainly helped online stores to sell more products, and for shoppers to trust who they buy from.
Faster internet connections have also allowed web based stores to provide detailed descriptions of their goods in the form of pictures and video. It is much easier to sell something when the buyer has a clear idea of what they are buying. The big retailers now pack their sites with as many pictures as they can fit onto each page. Most also offer zoom in and out features, or rotation features so you can see different angles of each product. The web pages still load very quickly, so the user experience is not compromised in any way. Retail sites such as the argos catalogue use this tactic to great effect, proving that attention to detail does pay off over time.
Other uses of technology to enhance the customer experience can be found with one click buying services. Reducing the amount of clicks required to actually buy something is a sure fire way to speed things up. Customers want things in a hurry when online, and aimless clicking to get to the checkout or buying page is not the ideal solution. Littlewoods Direct have focused on click reduction, as have Amazon, and their recent success is proof that efficiency is the way forward for retail stores. The investment is considerable for the business, but the rewards are worth it, you only have to look at the rapid growth of Amazon to realise this.
All these different types of technology are all designed to create a better buying environment for customers who visit the millions of web based stores. Site usability is another key factor. A great looking site is useless if people cannot find things. Simple and well organised navigation is required to funnel visitors to the product pages, and then onto the buying phase. Get this wrong and any business will fail. Most of these companies use analytics to track every visitor, so they know exactly what works and what doesn’t. Changes can be made to poor performing pages in real time, so the technology is also helping businesses become better at what they do. The end result is that the customer benefits from a better site that caters to their needs, and can quickly find the right product at the right price.