Why I Shop for Shoes Online

OK, so anyone who has met me knows that I am just a little addicted to online shoe shopping. While I freely admit to my obsession, I also maintain that I am working while I shop, because those beautiful Blahniks have much to teach us about user experience. Here’s my rationale…

10 years ago, I would never have said that the apparel and shoe industry would be a leading force in online sales. I mean, give me a break. A girl needs the full experience when buying clothes or shoes. She needs to touch them, try them on, see them from all angles, and then carry them proudly home. To be as successful as they are today, shoe and clothing retailers had to deliver a user experience that would overcome these barriers to online purchasing. Here’s what they did:

1. Free Shipping Both Ways – The customer is offered no-risk online shopping. Buy them, ship them free, try them on, if you don’t like them, ship them back free. No questions asked.

2. Visual Experience – most clothing and shoe retailers offer multiple views of the same product so you can see it from all angles, much as you would in a dressing room. Many also show the product in use so that shoppers can see the size of a purse or length of a skirt without having to translate dimensions.

See Bluefly.com…

And eBags.com…

3. Advanced filters – users have the ability to shop for what they want, the way they want to shop. By brand, size, color, style etc. and can easily turn filters on and off to change their results.

See Bluefly.com…

Or Shoes.com…

So if perchance you find me gazing lovingly at a pair of Stuart Weitzmans on my screen, know that I am researching best practices in user experience, not shopping for yet another pair!

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