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Lisa Min
Lisa Min

Akendi Alumnus

Couch Commerce

It’s December and if you haven’t already started your holiday shopping, you may be dreading the inevitable crowds and line-ups at your local shopping centre. It’s hard to believe that just a short 20 years ago, facing the crowds would have likely been the only option (with the exception of maybe the shopping network on TV). Today we have the luxury and convenience of shopping from couches in the comfort of our own homes – in other words, couch commerce.

I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t always been keen on doing my shopping online. I’ve always preferred the ‘bricks and mortar’ experience - it was important for me to know exactly what I was buying, to interact with other people, and ask questions.

User Experiences that are not Available when Shopping in Person

Information Architecture & Search

Entering a store, especially during the holiday season, can be an overwhelming disorganized mess.   One of the greatest advantages of shopping online is having an information architecture that supports a users search for the perfect gift. Products are categorized, organized, and easily searched for online which can make couch shopping a more streamlined experience.

Ease of Comparison

Shopping from your couch allows users to shop in more than one store at the same time, which gives the user the ability to compare products and prices with just a click. This would otherwise be a difficult task to do, as in-person shoppers would need to remember product details, travel from store to store and locate similar merchandise in order to compare.

The Power of Reviews

When purchasing an item in a bricks and mortar store, the decision to buy is based one individuals’ perception of how satisfied they will be with the product. Shopping online from the couch provides users with even more information about the product they are buying: other customer reviews. These can significantly influence a users decision to buy and can also help retailers identify poor products to pull ‘off shelves’ and great products to push.

Designing a fantastic online shopping experience is important to engage users and prevent them from clicking away to another shop. Be sure to design an intentional experience by understanding your users needs and understand that the context of use has changed fundamentally from bricks and mortar shopping experiences. Couch commerce is still a relatively ‘new’ paradigm and there is still a lot to be learned.

One final note – I would anticipate a number of shifts in the couch commerce world as the devices we use to complete these transactions continue to evolve. Keep this in mind as you brainstorm ways to creating a unique and usable online storefront. As an interaction designer, user researcher, and an expert shopper I’m excited to see what the future holds.

Happy holiday shopping - a friendly note for those of you who may be online shopping whilst reading this post, the last day to ship for guaranteed Christmas delivery will vary by shop.

Lisa Min
Lisa Min

Akendi Alumnus

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