If you are retailing products or services, the chances are you are using a website as well as other means to reach your customers, Assuming that a potential customer has landed onto your website, how do you ensure that they make a commitment, i.e. some form of purchase from you.
The concept discussed here is of reducing friction and increasing kinetic energy from the customers point. The customer may find it difficult to use your website in various ways, example, they may not be able to find the information they need or the website may be to slow. This is called friction whereby the customer is getting frustrated on your website and will eventually leave your site without committing. You can never design your website to eliminate friction for all customers, but your aim should be to minimise friction for the maximum number of potential customers.
Kinetic energy on the other hand gives the customer the desire to overcome any friction they are facing on your site. Essentially what we mean by this is that the customer has to be so impressed by your product or service so that they are willing to fight through any problems encountered on your site to make a commitment.
To give a real world example, if you go to a shop, and you cannot find the item you want (even though you know the shop stocks the item), you try to find a sales assistant. It takes you ages to find a sales assistant who is not very friendly. You eventually find the item in the shop but you will have to queue for 20 minutes at the till, because the day is Saturday, there are a lot of people buying and there is only one till open. You may not buy or if you do buy you may not come back. To much hard work (friction). Let's try another shop.
Alternatively people will queue all night to hit the Harrods Christmas sales. Certainly hard work (friction) but the deals to be had are worth the hard work giving the customer the kinetic energy needed to overcome the friction.
So how do you reduce friction and increase kinetic energy on your website?
Simple, make the website easy to use. If you are selling products, think what the customer will find useful. Ease of use in finding the product, easily available information about the product, like product description, price, options and delivery times etc. Make the website clear and to the point. By introducing too much information not directly related to the product, the customer may not make it to the product or past the product or may miss the key points.
Do not disjoint the information, i.e. keep the product and all relevant information closely tied together. Think about how the customer is used to shopping in the real shop world. You don't go to Tesco's, find a product on a shelf and then have to go to another shelf to get the prices.
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