The Bond Between eCommerce Catalog Consistency and the Customer Experience

Posted by Taylor Haney on Tue, Nov 26, 2013

Wrapping up our November e-commerce theme with a post from Rob Gartmayer, Marketing Program Manager at Zmags. Rob discusses the importance of having consistent content and experiences across your e-commerce channels. MITX members, we are always looking for new guest bloggers, e-mail taylor [at] mitx [dot] org for more details.

Rob Gartmayer HeadshotRob Gartmayer (@robgartmayer) is an experienced digital marketer who is well versed in the current trends and best practices across a multitude of marketing channels. He is currently a Marketing Programs Manager at Zmags and is focused on website optimization, paid and organic search as well as being a key contributor to their content marketing program. He has held marketing roles at Zoom Information, Ride-Away and bGG Advertising. Rob is a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University where he received his undergraduate degree and MBA in Marketing. 

98% of people move between devices within the same day when actively looking to make an online purchase. Having inconsistencies in your eCommerce enabled catalogs could deter the user from continuing their online shopping experience, and make them think twice about going back to your site to shop. Far too many retailers have inconsistent behaviors from one channel to the next, and most of them don’t know how to fix it.

The good news is there are a few adjustments that can be make that will help create a consistent feel across multiple channels.

Create With Mobile In Mind

A users experience on the desktop version of a catalog might not necessarily be the same on mobile all the time, especially if the pages are image and text heavy. The smaller screen makes it more difficult to see and engage with calls-to-action, as well as see what the products actually look like. Having a zoom feature enabled can help, but it hinders the overall experience by having to look through the catalog in a magnified setting.

Try having 3-4 images with short text phrases per page. The user will be able to better see the product and the story can still be told with the shorter text phrases. They will also most likely make the venture all the way through the experience and thus increase the opportunity to engage with them in unique ways.

All Or Nothing

Having engaging content in your catalog that has been developed specifically for your eCommerce site should be on all variations of your site (example – desktop and mobile), not just one or the other. It’s been reported that all sales on Black Friday this year could exceed 20% directly from mobile – you wouldn’t want to potentially lose out on 20% of your business that day, would you?

Align all channels before you launch your catalog to make sure they are ready to go live at the same time. How many times have you seen something you like on a retailers website when you’re on your desktop, go to show it to a friend later that day on your mobile phone and not be able to find what you were looking for? Frustrating right? Don’t let that happen to your users – give them the opportunity to share their experience through all your channels.

Enable Add-To-Cart Features in Digital Catalog

Many retailers have embraced the idea of having digital catalogs directly on their website. However, not all are taking full advantage of incorporating the add-to-cart functionality to their catalogs. If your users are looking at products on your website and they can add an item to their cart directly from the product details page, they should be able to do the same directly from the catalog.

I’m not referring to having a link going back to the product page and adding the item there – you would be taking your user out of the experience and we don’t want to do that. I’m referring to integrating your eCommerce platform into your catalog through an API or a plug-in like Demandware or Magento. Consistency and ease of use in this case, can pay huge dividends in the long run – not just in terms of ROI but also in overall user experience.

Retailers that use product content consistently in their eCommerece enabled catalogs across all touch points and channels, can expect their users to have a better experience no matter which device they are using to digitally shop your products. Are you maximizing consistency across your touch points and channels?