Poor Website User-Experience Can Directly Prevent Sales
Disclaimer: I respect, admire and actively support three entities mentioned in this blog post. In no particular order they are: BH Cosmetics, Pranava Beauty and Carli Bybel. This blog post is my humble analysis of the technical difficulties took place as a Digital Marketer and User-Experience Enthusiast.
The Palette Launches and a Closer Look at the Issues
Carli Bybel launched two makeup palettes through BHCosmetics.com – one launched in 2015 and the other just recently on April 3rd 2017. In both instances Carli notified her 5 million + subscription base on Youtube of the date and time of the launches and was active on Twitter at that time to ensure they went smoothly. Unfortunately, in both cases users of the BHCosmetics.com website cited extreme difficulties in making their purchase and great numbers of them notified both BH Cosmetics and Carli Bybel via email and social media. From reviewing the Twitter feed regarding the most recent launch on the hashtag #CarliBybelDeluxeEdition some of the issues cited on the BHCosmetics.com website included:
- The launch was an hour late.
- The BH Cosmetics website was unreachable.
- Users were forwarded to the Magento website.
- Pages were slow to load.
- Transactions did not complete.
- Transactions went through but users were sent to “thank-you” pages saying they had purchased different products.
- Transactions were processed and payments accepted but no confirmation emails came through.
After a couple hours of continual difficulties on BHCosmetics.com, Carli Bybel made the decision to have the makeup palette taken off of the BH Cosmetics website entirely and within 4 hours she relaunched the palette on her own website: PranavaBeauty.com. How her web developers got through that relaunch on such short notice I have no idea! Nevertheless, it was a complete success and Twitter was abound with grateful customers who had just completed an issue-free transaction on PranavaBeauty.com.
What Went Wrong? Why Could PranavaBeauty.com Handle the Traffic When BHCosmetics.com Couldn’t?
This is the part that interests me – what is wrong with the BHCosmetics.com website that it couldn’t handle the volume of transactions the company is bringing in online? Why was the user-experience on the PranavaBeauty.com website seamless? I performed some basic analysis on the BHCosmetics.com and PranavaBeauty.com websites and here’s a short summary of what I found:
- The BH Cosmetics website has a page load time of 5.286 seconds which is over the average loading speed which is 5 seconds. Keep in mind this means the user will wait 5 seconds for each individual page of the website to load as they try to navigate their way around the website.
- Contrastingly, the Pranava Beauty website has a page load time of 1.27. Comparatively, this is lightning fast which is what users on Twitter reported.
Server and Security
- The BH Cosmetics website does not have an SSL certificate and is not using HTTPS. What does this mean? In Google’s eyes this website is not offering a secure shopping experience for users because users payment information is not secured by an SSL Certificate. The site is more vulnerable without an SSL Certificate and if the website came under attack it would be easier to get access to users personal information. Google penalizes websites in a variety of serious ways for not having an SSL certificate.
- The Pranava Beauty website has an SSL certificate and uses HTTPS which means Google has labelled it a secure website for users to use. PranavaBeauty.com will not face the consequences that the BH Cosmetics website currently does for not offering shoppers a secure transaction environment.
I have not even scratched the surface of a thorough comparison between these two websites. If you want to know more – review THIS REPORT on the PranavaBeauty.com website and THIS REPORT on the BHCosmetics.com website.
The BH Cosmetics Social Media Clean Up
Once Carli Bybel asked BH Cosmetics to take her palette off of their website so she could move the entire launch to her website (PranavaBeauty.com), BH really ‘stepped-up’ in my opinion, and handled the situation very well given the scale of the difficulties that took place. BH Cosmetics took the Carli Bybel Deluxe Edition palette down from the site and immediately launched a campaign to clean up the damage done. They published the message below on Twitter apologizing for the chaos:
And created a dedicated Twitter account to respond to issues which you can view here: @bh_cares. This was also a wise move from an Online Reputation Management perspective as this will allow them to divert users’ negative Tweets, so their corporate Twitter does not feature a stream of complaints from clients. As of writing this blog post (April 2017) they have not fixed the issues on their website that caused the problems with the site launches.
Customers were literally tweeting their thanks to Pranava Beauty for offering terrific user-experience and smooth, safe transactions – never underestimate the value of responsible web development and considerate user-experience!
Lessons for Other Online Business Owners
It’s always my intention to write helpful blog posts that contain take-away’s readers can implement right away. Offering exquisite user-experience on your website doesn’t have to be a complicated or expensive initiative and it is definitely a worthwhile investment as we can see from the case study above.
Here’s what online business owners can learn from this:
- User-Experience directly impacts your bottom-line.
- Make sure your website has an HTTPS certificate so your customers are safe to make purchases on your website.
- Make sure your website page load time is as fast as possible.
- If you’re launching a new product on your website – HAVE A BACKUP PLAN in case something goes wrong!
- Invest in talented web development and web marketing professionals who can swoop-in quickly and save the day! Hooray for the Pranava Beauty developers!