Usability Matters

Author: Tim Berney
Posted: Aug 13, 2010

Topics: Web Development

Last night I bought a new ski coat online.  I’d been thinking about it for awhile and finally decided to pull the trigger before prices go backup due to demand. I typed in some key words to describe what I was looking for and ended up at a website I’d never heard of backcountry.comThe site was awesome.  I ended up on the page with the very coat I wanted so I didn’t have to search at all.  Next to the photo it told me exactly how many they had left in my size and even how many of those were in stock.


Before I buy something online I like to know how easy it will be to return it if it doesn’t fit, I don’t like it, etc. I easily found information about their incredible return policy and decided I would use their chat feature just to make sure there weren’t any caveats since my item was on sale. Even the chat feature was perfect. The opening message listed other URLs where I might find some other cools stuff(likely affiliated with back country in some way.)  Me: “Can I return this item if I don’t like it?”  Taylor M: “Absolutely.”  Me: “How much is it to return?” Taylor M: “$6.95 with our label, but you can ship on your own too if you want.”  It even offered an email or print option at the top of the window so I was able to keep a record of the conversation.  

As I filled out info about me for the purchase, the site also created a user account for me. Loved this!  Too often, websites either require you to develop a login before purchasing or they make the process so tedious that you regretfully don’t create a login and later have no access to info about your purchase.  The sight even assigned me a random password that I could change to something memorable if I wanted to. And just like that, I had been converted from a prospect to a sale.

Within minutes I received two emails from them. One saying “Get stoked most packages ship within 24 hours” The next “Your Gear is on its way.”I loved the personal touch on their email. I know the emails weren’t handwritten for me, but the fact that it didn’t just say “you order was received” and “your order was shipped” made me feel excited, like I’m waiting on a gift from a friend.

Kudos to for developing an intuitive site and for knowing your customer.  As long as my coat shows up you can count on a repeat purchases from me.  I’m certain it will.

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