Monday, February 23, 2009

 

Amazon.com: User experience delivering value

While shopping on Amazon the other day, I noticed a subtle yet still noticeable hint that I had bought the very same article already in October 2007.


At first glance, the notice would appear to drive customers away from buying; however Amazon.com has a long-standing reputation for innovation in online commerce and good customer service (although I have been less satisfied with their handling of e-mail correspondence lately) so this didn't come as a complete surprise.

Good user experience design is all about delivering value to the customer, and to the business too:
  • The customer may have bought the product earlier and order another copy as a present, which was actually the case for me.
  • Some products, such as blank CDs/DVDs, lend themselves to repetitive orders. Knowing that this is the same product ordered before is reassuring to the customer, which means more business with fewer clicks.
  • In the unlikely case that a customer accidentally orders the same product twice, chances are that she would return the product for a refund, incurring shipping and handling cost for the business; therefore not shipping the product in the first place is not only the most customer friendly, but also the most cost effective solution.
On a related note, Amazon.com has also been innovative in offering pay-as-you-go Web infrastructure, and IBM recently announced plans to deliver software through their Amazon Web Services platform.

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