What do you do when you get back to work in the morning? Yes, the first thing is to get the menace of email out of the way. But then there are two other broad categories into which the daily routine can be divided. One, is a set of new tasks that need to start on that day or needs your attention on that day. Two, and more importantly perhaps, is a continuation of what you were doing the previous evening before you left. You need to complete the incomplete tasks at hand. This where our memory serves us well. We explicitly remember that there are somethings that we need to complete before proceeding with other things.
How I hope the same was true with web applications too. And especially for e-commerce. It will also help answer that all important e-commerce question: How do increase customer loyalty? Let me explain.
When I go over to a e-commerce site (e.g. flipkart.com) to research a product (books, lenses, camera accessories, etc.) I do not necessarily buy it with my first visit. If it is something specific I will read reviews on the site, or in case there are none go off to a search engine to get that information. If I am only certain of the class of product (e.g. a wide angle lens with Nikon mount) I might compare the product specifications, reviews and then may be continue the research elsewhere on the web. Fairly straightforward. Nothing what others won’t be doing.
Here is where I feel a little bit of memory would serve both the e-commerce sites as well as the customers well. On Flipkart for example I can see a list of recently viewed products when I am on a product page. But not on the home page when I land there. So if I am returning to the site to do further research or even buy a product I have to do a search again or at best access it quickly from my wishlist if I have added it there (which is also not very convenient if it is as long as my Flipkart wishlist).
Not only is this an extra step to get to my goal, it is also a missed opportunity for the site to remind me that I was looking at something the last time I was there that I have not yet made a decision on yet (as far as they know since I might have picked it up from somewhere else for whatever reason). So how should this memory thing work for e-commerce?
Just stop here and think about it. I will be back with my thoughts tomorrow in part 2 of this series.