Jim Forbes: Internet Commerce: Sephora.No, HP, Yes!

My Weblog: Internet Commerce: Sephora.No, HP, Yes!

“Internet commerce has to be drop dead simple and build a consumer’s confidence. There are two computer purchasing sites that I do business with and which come close to replicating the Amazon.com’s gold standard. In addition to HP’s commerce site, I also like Lenovo. And Lenovo comes close to establishing a sense of community. If i have a problem with a ThinkPad notebook one of the first places i go is to Lenovo.com. The site queries my computer, determines what model i have and establishes its configuration. Logic trees take over from there and pretty soon I’ve found the answer to my question, or more importantly, a solution to my problem.”

Jim makes some good points about getting in-and-out out of a shopping experience in as little time as possible. Usability comes to a sharp point when applied to the transactional web. Where a media site is all about delay and diversion — related links, click here, please don’t go away — a commerce site is all about masking complexity (ship to multiple addresses, remember my account details, find-it-and-buy-it) and getting people in and out of the store as soon as possible. When a consumer has a negative experience, like Jim did at Sephora trying to get a gift certificate, to when they have a positive, like one gets from Amazon’s One-Click, the chances of a repeat transaction are highly predictable.

I  had two commerce experiences yesterday — one was with NewEgg as I purchased a new 60 gb 7200 rpm Hitachi drive to revive a dead Fujitsu P2040, the other was at Fujitsu when I tried to get the OEM information on the dead Toshiba drive. Fujitsu failed. NewEgg ruled. Now, Fujitsu was able to find my machine based on the serial number, but had no level of detail about the components. I had to google out to a third-party “enthusiast” site for P2040 owners, look at the discussion threads, find the part I wanted, then hit NewEgg. Fujitsu lost all opportunity of selling me an upgraded drive — I suppose it’s understandable given the complexity of any PC manufacturers catalogue and the impossibility of keeping sunsetted machine information active for any period of time.

I want to hit a site and be recognized as a customer, to be asked how my machine is doing, how that book was I ordered, and then be offered suggestions on how to improve it.