Thanks! Danielle's Words Danielle was a mystery shopper. A 20-something, single mother, Danielle describes herself as a micro-manager and works an...
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Danielle was a mystery shopper. A 20-something, single mother, Danielle describes herself as a micro-manager and works an entry-level management job. She thinks carefully and researches her options before spending lots of money. Now read her reactions to shopping online. They are truthful, honest and something you need to internalize.

I was assigned the Land's End web site this year and I can see why it won last year's survey: there is descriptive copy, it is in plain spoken English, they even give a virtual model. Two things about this site bothered me, though. The first - it took about a minute to load up a product page. While it is great to be able to enlarge the pictures, there has got to be a way to make the upload faster. The second - copy was scattered all over the place; some of the copy was on the top of the page and if I wanted to know more about the product I had to scroll down. When I am reading about a product I do not want to look for the copy. What is worse than having to scroll down to the bottom of the page for copy is having no copy at all - just a blurb.

This was my experience on many other sites. I mean, I am on the site looking to spend my money. The very least they could do is try to convince me. Do not let the pictures speak for themselves. Pictures never really create a product justice to begin with. For example, although the Newport News web site describes a material as 'plush', they leave the picture to sell the product. And in most pictures, I can barely see the product, so how can the combination of a picture and a brief blurb of copy convince me to buy this item? It does not. I want to know: Why should I buy this?

Have you ever been to a department store like Macy's and found the perfect dress, but you were not sure whether to buy it or not? So you decide to keep looking and then if you really want it, you figure you can go and order it on their web site since it part of their new line. This happened to me. I actually found that little black dress in Macy's department store, but I wanted to see if I could get it cheaper somewhere else. I kept looking around, but then I got this assignment so I decided it was fate that I buy this dress. So I log on to macys.com and look at the categories at the top of the page, it looks easy enough - all the categories are clearly listed. So I click on 'Women'. Then it brings me to the next page, where there are more categories, also clearly listed and since I am looking for that black dress I so badly wanted, I click on the obvious category of 'Dresses'. Easy, I think to myself. After I click on Dresses, there are more categories to choose from if I wanted to narrow it down more: All Occasion, Bridesmaid, Daytime, Evening, Juniors and Sundresses. I do not really know what my dress would be under so I decide to look through all the dresses.

I never found my dress. I even searched for it by choosing a brand. So I felt grumpy because they did not have the dress online; moreover, I could not shop by brand because they did not have their own store brand available to shop by. Before I looked I wish they had a disclaimer saying that not everything in stock at the store is available on the web site or even better still; make all their common stocked merchandise available on the web site. Unfortunately Macy's web site is just as confusing as their department stores.

Another thing that really got on my nerves when I was doing my mystery shopping was having to search for policies. To view most policies, you have to scroll to the bottom of the page and find a link. I do not want to scroll to the bottom for these things. I want to see this information when I first get on a product page, maybe on the side of the page. When I finally find the link to policies, I often find the policies are so vague and legalistic.

Then, when I finally decide to buy something, the checkout process takes too long. Many of these sites have an indicator letting me know how long till my purchase is completed, but it is not always accurate. Sometimes it says there are only four steps to an easy check out, but each step winds up having three pages of data I have to fill in. I will not shop on these sites again because I feel they are being dishonest - as if I am in a horse race and my rider is sitting on top of me dangling a carrot in front of my face for three hours saying 'One more step and we will be done'.

  1. Why policies are important in online purchase?
  2. How might a clothing retailer develop its web site to better serve 'Danielle'?

Answered by Expert Tutors

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