I recently read that the pay-site, Angie’s List, will be offering a storefront option for vendors and I wondered how well this would work. Would consumers that pay a monthly fee for community reviews actually pay to transact with vendors? Couldn’t this be viewed as compromising Angie’s List impartiality by making vendors storefront part of the experience? I’m sure a lot of folks have asked similar questions when hearing this, but on further reflection, this is an experiment worthy of the risk.
What sets Angie’s List apart from other review and rating sites is that an end-user must pay for access to read or write a review. This limits spam reviews and makes the information more valuable. In turn, this saves the end-user time and in many cases, this is the limiting factor of undertaking an online search. There’s only so much time that a busy person can spend surfing for reviews before a decision has to be made. And consumers are willing to pay to save themselves money and time.
Quality of Experience (QoE) is something that is getting a lot of attention and I think there are three critical factors (that I call the three Q’s) in determining the overall quality of a user experience:
- Quality of Product: Rather obvious — how good is the product (or service) you are offering to the community
- Quality of Customer Interaction: How effective and efficient are customer touch-points? This includes email, phone, social media, storefront, in-store, etc.
- Quality of Information: How reliable is the information on your site? How reliable and appropriate is user submitted content?
There’s not a lot that a new eCommerce experience can do for the quality of a product, however, it can work wonders for improving quality of customer interaction by setting the appropriate tone and truly reflecting a brand experience from the very first time a potential customer arrives at your online store. Was it easy for the customer to find what they were looking for? Was it streamlined experience from browse to buy? Was there follow-up in some manner regarding order and shipping status? Was there useful information from other customers available on the site to help the customer arrive at a decision?
It’s not enough to stand up a new storefront anymore. Companies have to think more about what their brand experience should be and how that is translated that into an online experience. Making sure that you and your team have focused on each of the three Q’s will help deliver a unique brand experience in an online environment. But that’s just the first step. Ongoing management of social media, user comments, reviews, product related content and much more become the focus after a platform is in place that can support the desired experience.
And if more proof that the overall Quality of Experience is needed, look again to Angie’s List. Their users are willing to pay for it.