Insights into the online customer experience from Mike Baxter


How customers experience online environments is a fast-moving area of both research and professional practice. It blends psychology, marketing and web technologies in ways that can either make or lose a lot of money. What makes it most exciting is that there are so few definitive answers to its biggest challenges. Designing usable, informative, persuasive and hence profitable customer experiences will eventually be found to follow proven principles. But these principles will only emerge from insights into the customer experience - the subject matter of cx-i!

most recent

22nd June 2005 | the redemption of search

The value of keyword search for e-commerce sites has taken a bit of a battering over the past few months! The latest research suggests it is used as a last resort when browsing fails, it makes customers less likely to find what they are looking for, and even if the perfect search engine could be developed, customers still wouldn't want to use it . But just as the nails are poised over its coffin lid, search may just be about to stage a spectacular recovery.

17th May 2005 | on the horizon for e-commerce

E-commerce is still going through rapid and quite fundamental changes, which makes the work of e-commerce managers an interesting challenge! How do you make sure you've spotted all the emerging technologies, the novel design features and the innovative mechandising ideas? How do you filter all these new ideas and decide which ones to investigate further for possible incorporation into your own site? This article focuses on three issues that e-commerce managers need to consider over the forthcoming year - AJAX, Faceted navigation and Split-testing. They all have the potential to deliver substantial competitive advantage, they are all strategic investments - none can be deployed as a tactical bolt-on at a moment's notice and, unusually for innovations in e-commerce, they are all based on well-established principles and tried-and-tested technologies.
+ 1 comment from Carlos Baez,

22nd April 2005 | confusion zones in the navigation of online retail sites

A basic requirement of any e-commerce site is to enable customers to find whatever product they're looking for, quickly and effortlessly. However, we found at least one confusion zone within the navigation pathways of every one of the 15 leading online retail sites we analysed. These will certainly be damaging sales but may also be damaging the sites' entire online brand image.

14th April 2005 | personalised persuasion - the start of a new era in online politics?

The publication of the Labour party manifesto yesterday takes political persuasion to an entirely new level of sophistication and one that might, in the long run, transform the role of online channels in political campaigning. In this post we illustrate and test out the personalisation on offer. We then explore its potential in the short term to be a highly persuasive influence on voters and in the longer term to form the main battleground for electoral politics.

12th April 2005 | transactional trust: getting it all wrong

Data from a recent survey shows that customers trust the Internet to very different extents. The extent to which customers need to be reassured on trust issues, therefore, varies considerably but to satisfy most of the people most of the time requires best-practice to be deployed rigorously. See our case study of a transactional page that gets all of the basic trust requirements wrong and, as such, provides an interesting case study in what we should be looking out for to safeguard transactional trust.

11th April 2005 | powers of persuasion - overview

Politicians have a lot to persuade us of and putting information online should be ideally suited to voter persuasion. Here, we give an overview of the ways in which the main party political sites should be being persuasive.

11th April 2005 | powers of persuasion: making a convincing case

Just how persuasive are the online party political web sites? From the considerable amount we currently know about the art and science of online persuasion, there are certain features that must be considered basics requirements of a persuasive web site. We present our analysis of how well the main political web sites meet these basic requirements.

8th April 2005 | the evidence on negative campaigning

All of the major parties are overwhelmingly negative in their campaigning. Our analysis of 123 press releases from the web sites of the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties (21st March to 1st April 2005) revealed that over 50% more press releases contain something that attacks the opposing parties than positive campaigning messages. Research from previous elections suggests that this may depress voter turnout.

6th April 2005 | getting the message across

Political web sites need to get their message across to readers quickly and effortlessly. It is well established that people scan rather than read web content but our analysis suggests that much of the page content on all the major party political websites is neither written nor presented to facilitate scan reading.

5th April 2005 | online politics: usability issues

All three of the major UK party political sites suffer basic usability problems that are likely to frustrate and annoy readers. See our analysis of how poor navigation controls make it difficult for readers to see where they are in the site and to navigate back to where they have just been.

2nd April 2005 | online financial services - introduction

A lot of what is known about the sales of goods online also applies to the sales of services online (and vice versa). The sectors can, therefore, learn a lot from each other's best practices and examples of this will be explored here at cx-i over the coming months. Read more about the research that will be appearing on cx-i over the coming months.

2nd April 2005 | touching the intangibles I

How do managers of financial services e-commerce sites manage more intangible apsects of the customer experience such as respect, trust and credibility? Find out why these issues have become a lot less intangible than they were a couple of years ago.

2nd April 2005 | what's new for Online Retail 2005?

Online Retail 2004, 0ur benchmarking analysis of the online customer experience showed that there's lots to be done to improve the online retail environment. So we're starting on the research for Online Retail 2005.

31st March 2005 | the political importance of online channels

27% of Americans said that political information they got online made them decide to vote for or against a particular candidate in the 2004 Campaign. So, online channels could play a critical role in determining the outcome of the 2005 General Election in the UK. See the evidence and the arguement for the importance of online politics in the UK General Election.