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But When Will I Get My Stuff? In Search of Straight Talk about Online Shipping Dates

“When will I get my stuff?” In our experience, that’s what top of mind for the customer perusing shipping options on your website’s Checkout.

How well does your site answer that question?

This summer, we conducted a multi-site usability study, gauging the ability of 3 leading apparel sites to meet the needs of real people attempting to find, choose, and buy online. (There’s a bit more to the methodology, of course—the full study will be published this Fall. )

Over the course of the user testing sessions, we had the chance to look at multiple approaches to presenting shipping—many times.

Here’s a snippet from a page that left most users either stumped or dissatisfied. (Click the image to enlarge.)

Google Syndication Network Conversion Statistics

Looking at it today, as a shopper (and a marketer) I’m left with 2 impressions.

  1. In this instance, the retailer is letting their catalog heritage work against them. A chart that provides estimated shipping times may make sense in a print catalog where a paper order form needs to provide info without knowing when I’ll buy or where I’ll be sending the goods. But it doesn’t make sense to repurpose this print presentation online. When online shoppers provide specifics, they expect online retailers to respond in kind. When will I get my stuff?
  2. Instead of telling me what time it is, this retailer is in telling me how they build the watch and even less interesting- why they do it that way. Do shoppers care about internal distinctions between “processing” and “on the way”. Nope. Just tell me when I’ll get my stuff. In the early days of the web, it wasn’t unusual to see a web site’s primary navigation reflect the company org chart. That’s less common today, but as consumers we still wince anytime a business tells us what they can and can’t do based on their internal systems.

The bottom line—the chart makes the customer work without ever directly answering the question. When will I get my stuff?

Online Shipping Choices Victoria

Recently, we found a refreshingly direct alternative. Here’s how the Victoria’s Secret site answers the question.

Wow, actual dates . Why can’t we all do that?

What do you think? Can you share other examples of sites that overcome the outdated maps and internal challenges to do a great job with “when will I get my stuff”?

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