The related products feature on most e-commerce sites is useless. Why is this?
I heard in the news that Walmart recently paid $3 billion for an e-commerce website start-up named JET.com to help them combat Amazon.com.
I’d never heard of this site as they don’t do much promotion in New Zealand, but it looks like most generic e-commerce sites look, pretty much selling everything you can think of.
Thanks to a recent burglary, I’m in the market for a new watch, so decided to give it try.
These guys have a pretty good range, so I typed “mens watches” into their search box and browsed through the first two pages, spotting one I liked the look of.
It looked like this.
All black case with a black leather strap, and very stealthy.
So imagine my surprise when I scrolled down the page and saw this underneath the features and specifications info about my watch.
I might also like? Right, so, out of their vast catalogue of men’s watches I pick an all-black, leather-strap model and they think I might like to see a silver watch with a blue face, a bi-tone with a metal strap, an all-gold model, and an all-stainless watch. And they’re all chronographs. How useless is this?
I know for fact they have other similar-looking watches to the one I picked in their catalogue, so why aren’t they showing me some other variations of my choice here? This is what a shop assistant in a store would do.
This is not just a failure of web design, it’s a failure to use the simple technology of having things in a database. You see, I know they have categorised their stock in various ways because they provide this ridiculous filtering system at the top of the page for me to “narrow down the search”.
The hilarious thing is that if you use that filter to say, only show square-face watches, when you select a model to look at the site still shows the same bunch of dumb “You might also like” watches below it. And most of them have round faces!
If a shop assistant did this to me in a shop, I’d walk out. I now have no confidence jet.com gives a damn about me as a customer. They’re just using a shot-gun approach to selling and hoping for the best. Good luck with this Walmart, because you aren’t going to compete very well with Amazon.
It’s no wonder e-commerce sites like this have very poor conversion rates, sometimes as low as 1-2%. No retail store could survive on those odds.
There must be a better way, and there is. Guided selling technology replicates the process a real shop assistant would go through to narrow down the choices to show me something I actually might want to buy. This isn’t rocket science, but clearly many e-commerce stores are happy to exist on such poor returns. It doesn’t have to be that way.