I hate going to the grocery store. It's not that I mind spending my Sunday there. I don't even mind the crowds. What I do mind is the archaic way stores are set up. It seems to me that grocers are permanently stuck in the 1950's. My particular problem is that I don't have an expectation yet of where certain products are in the store so when I look where I think they should be I get frustrated and leave.
To add to my frustration, I usually go into the store prepared. I have a list ordered by how the store is set up (keep in mind this only works in one store as each has a different layout) and I do this to avoid walking 15 miles per shopping trip going from one side to the other. Here are a couple of examples so you know what I am talking about.
- I use artificial sweetener in my coffee. When I go to the coffee aisle to pick up a bag of beans I expect that the sweetener would be close at hand. But no. I have to walk to the baking aisle to get it. So a) it doesn't make sense to me and b) it wastes my time.
- If you are fixing an italian dish and you need sliced tomatoes and tomato sauce they are in two different places. One in the "soup/suace" aisle and the other in the "Italian section.
I know that selling shelf space is a big way grocers make money. Companies pay for space and there are more products than ever competing for attention. But, at some point the needs of consumers needs to be taken into account. Why not spread items into places that make sense? This wouldn't eliminate space, just spread it around. If I do get frustrated and leave, I am less willing to come back. I am willing, however, to skip using the manufacturers product.
Now, think about this in terms of your web presence. Do you make people go find the information they want or do you bring it to them? If you are selling a product, do you show the user all of the accessories, warranties, photos and related products on one page within a single click or are they on their own? Are you linking in related content at each place it makes sense or are you keeping things corralled into neat piles?
Providing customers with this service is easier to do online than anywhere else. Space is easily gained and there are analytics programs that can be applied to make sure people are not leaving your site pre-conversion. If they are leaving, you can easily react to make sure they are finding what they need. Think like your customer (or simply ask them what they think). When they click, what do they expect to see? Are you meeting their expectations?