Less Popular Social Commerce Technologies (That Should Be Used More Often)

Product reviews. Rate this product. You Might Also Like. Previews and search inside. Whether you are an online shopper or an online retailer, you are probably familiar with these eCommerce technologies. They have been valuable innovations for today’s online stores, allowing them to provide their customers with an engaging and comprehensive shopping experience.

There are several of these technologies out there. You’ll be able to learn all about them on an upcoming white paper that Guidance is currently working on. But in the meantime, take a look at these less popular Web 2.0 and social commerce technologies that deserve more recognition, and hopefully, more use:

  • Item size comparison – Not all of us have gifted spatial brains that can easily picture what 2.37”x 5.75” x 1.83” looks like in actual size. But we all know how big (or small) a deck of cards or a pack of standard-size sticky notes is. When size or portability matters, a feature like item size comparison will help online shoppers make a better decision, one that’ll take them faster to the checkout page and make them less likely to return the product after purchase.
  • Roll-over zoom – Most zoom-in technologies require the page to reload multiple times to let the user get a closed-in look at a specific section of the item’s picture. That can be quite frustrating for online shoppers and will delay them from putting the item on their online shopping carts. Using AJAX technology, roll-over zoom allows the user to quickly see product details by rolling over the picture with their mouse, without having to move to a new page.
  • Lifestyle merchandising zone – Some products (mostly home and garden items) are better shown in a real-life scenario than by themselves over a white background. Lifestyle merchandising zones are areas on key pages of a retail site where customers can click or roll-over to find out more information about an item, using Web 2.0 technologies like hotspotting and telescoping. The item is shown on an interactive image along with related products, all under a lifestyle scenario (sometimes referred as “hero shots”).
  • Purchase trends – If you’ve found yourself wondering which of two similarly-named products is the one you’re looking for, you’ll know why purchase trends are important. They can help you make a better decision by telling you which of the two items is the most popular or has been purchased more often. iTunes, Apple’s online music store, lets users see how often a song has been downloaded by displaying the “popularity” column. Amazon.com offers a similar feature to tell shoppers what other customers ultimately bought after viewing an item.
  • Return counter – Online and catalog merchants typically spend $6 to $10 processing each returned product, in addition to the lost sales revenue. Retailers that offer multiple alternatives of the same product or category would benefit from displaying a return counter for each of their products, letting customers know how often that product has been returned in relation to the number of times it has been purchased. Online retailer Shoeline.com claims to have lowered returns and raised their conversion rates since adding a “Return-o-meter™” to their website.
  • Recommend this product – Product reviews and ratings can sometimes be ambiguous. For some online shoppers, a 3-star rating could mean “didn’t exceed my expectations, but it’s o.k.”, while others may take it as “this is a bad product and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone”. Displaying the percentage of Yes vs. No answers to a straight-forward question like “Do you recommend this product?” will make it that much easier for online shoppers to feel comfortable adding the item to their cart or looking for an alternative within your online store.

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