Ever since I found out I was in a knocked-up way, I’ve been doing a lot of shopping and browsing online, mostly at Target. (You get into the Twilite Moon/Land of Nod/Baby Oliver realm, you need to be in another tax bracket.) Target has most of the stuff I need, I can shop online and there’s a store in pretty much every city that matters in the whole world. (And if your city doesn’t have a Target, well, you probably have some fine operations for manufacturing methamphetamine, which I think is a fair trade.)
That’s why it’s such a crying shame that their website sucks a big fat bratwurst.
I know a little bit about e-commerce. I won’t bore you with the details, but let’s just say when you burn out on journalism, you do one of two things: go into PR/marketing, or drink yourself to death. I chose marketing. First, I worked as a web content manager and then I was a marketing coordinator for an internet retailer. So I know just enough to screw things up around here. (Just thought I’d qualify myself a little before I begin bashing Target.com. Not that credibility has ever stopped me from bashing things before.)
Anyway, here are a few things Target.com in particular and everyone else who owns an e-commerce website in not-particular, should already know.
1. Say I’m going to add an item to my cart. A swing. You want to offer me complementary or upsell items that are not swings, like gyms, play mats, toys and bouncers.
You do not want to offer me more swings. I already picked out this swing. Unless, maybe you’re telling me I need a different swing? Maybe this swing is no good? In either case, you’re insulting my intelligence and now you’ve pissed me off.
2. Let’s see what happens why I try to buy a crib.
This time when I add the item to my cart, Target opts to show me recently viewed items. So I see all the stuff I have already either added to my cart, or rejected. Again, this would be a great place to show me stuff that goes with my crib: rocking chairs, dressers, changing tables…
3. On the product page, Target shows me what other customers bought, which includes mattresses and sheets.
Okay, at least we’re in the same ballpark now. But, nowhere on this page or anywhere else on the site, does Target show me the matching dresser, changing table, toddler bed guardrails or conversion kit that goes with my model of crib. I had to do my own research, which took about 40 minutes and one phone call to customer service to figure out which conversion kit was compatible. At least allow me to shop by collection, or link to related items under the main product so I don’t have to go hunting for them all over the site.
4. Now, say I’m going to add an item to my registry.
More items I’ve already viewed. Seriously? Women are SUCKERS for baby clothes. Even mean ol’ curmudgeony me. I swear to jebus if you’d shown me pictures of adorable baby sneakers or a teency tiny PAAAANK terry cloth bathrobe, I totally would have put it on the list. But I’m pregnant and I can’t be expected to remember things like that on my own, so you just missed out an another big fat selling opportunity.
5. Out of stock items. I understand that for marketing and for SEO purposes, it behooves Target to leave out of stock items up on the site, but as a consumer, you are alienating and pissing me off when I come to a page filled with a long list of items that are unavailable. In the very least, allow me to sort according to availability.
Using Target.com to buy things for the fetus I’m growing offers Target an incredible opportunity to help me spend my wads of cash by showing me items I actually need. Instead, they have employed tired marketing tactics and shown me irrelevant items I’ve already passed over. You’ve read the instruction manual Target, but you’re applying it all wrong. Hire an e-commerce expert, study how your visitors are using your site, and pay attention to your entry and exit pages. Only you can prevent forest fires. Take care of yourself, and each other.