This is the final blog in a trilogy investigating the concepts behind our “3 pillars of marketplace success“. In this post we are going to have a look at how user generated content can significantly improve or decrease the user experience on your site.
What is User Experience?
User experience is all about meeting the exact needs of the consumer in the smoothest possible way, for them!
Anything that gets in the way of a user reaching their goal is clutter and should be eradicated.
When you design for user experience the concept of the user journey is a great tool to ensure the smoothest possible flow.
Imagine this scenario. The user wants to buy a lampshade, but they are uncertain of how exactly they want it to look. So they come to your site both for inspiration and to buy if they find something that speaks to them.
After navigating to the relevant category they find themselves presented with a mixture of candlesticks, outdoor lighting and actual lampshades.
Do you think wading through clutter like that speaks to them?
They will likely jump to a competitor site hoping for better results or move on to Pinterest where they will waste hours of their lives looking at DIY alternatives they will never actually start.
Make sure that
- Category names are specific and clearly state what they cover.
- Trim away crossover categories and categories which are too broad. If you have a gadget and an electronics category you might end up with iPhone listings in both.
- Have a process in place for recategorizing ads through moderation.
Ever visited a marketplace, navigated to the category of your choice and been met with row upon row of the same stock photo accompanying identical adverts? Nothing in that experience makes you want to explore the site further and it does nothing to convince you that the items you are searching for can be found on the site. In fact it does the exact opposite!
Apart from looking horrible and turning your users off, duplicates also clutter search results making it almost impossible to find the relevant items listed on your site.
Duplicates are often the result of people trying to bump their posts without paying a fee for added visibility so not only do they degrade the user experience, they also directly impact your bottom line.
Make sure that:
- Duplicate listings are caught through moderation efforts and refused.
Quick Time to Site
When speaking about user experience it is easy to focus on visible elements like navigation, layout and design. Time to site is a UX element that is often overlooked, but for sellers it might be the absolute most crucial part of the experience; seeing their content live on your site.
To keep your site safe and the user trust high as we discussed in our user trust blog post, you should moderate content before it goes live. Unfortunately pre-moderation has a tendency to slow down time to site significantly and as such negatively impacts the user experience.
Make sure that:
- You use automated moderation wherever possible. Good automation solutions can moderate with high accuracy and reduce the site time to a few seconds.
- When manual moderation is required strive for quick handling and keep the user updated about the process.
Why Is User Experience Critical for Marketplace Success?
With the emergence of the mobile revolution, modern consumers have begun to expect instant gratification in online interactions. So many things compete for our attention that a negative user experience will make us move to the next viable option and there are plenty of those!
When we go to a website to purchase something, we don’t want to spend a ton of time looking for it.
Modern shoppers are BUSY!
As such the best user experience a two-sided marketplace can offer is a topnotch search function and intuitive browsing experience free of clutter.
Yesterday I was browsing a site trying to find a present for a very good colleague of mine who loves coffee. I wanted to buy her a deluxe coffee travel mug. You know, one of those that can charge your phone, play music AND keep your coffee warm. But when putting “coffee travel mug” into the search field I got a messy mix of coffee travel mugs, coffee pots and even a couple of flower vases? The experience was so frustrating, that I ended up not buying a coffee mug at all. My colleague lost out on a present that would have been perfect for her and the online marketplace lost out on my commerce, likely forever!
What can two-sided marketplaces learn from this anecdote?
Your search results have to be razor-sharp to avoid sky-high bounce rates and loss of revenue.
Learn how to moderate without censoring
Why moderating content without censoring users demands consistent, transparent policies.
When people are browsing through the listings on your site they may be looking for inspiration or for a very specific object. Either way, page after page of duplicate ads are not going to fulfill their needs. A page with listings should act as a catalogue or a storefront for your site and as such it should be well structured, with quality content that is easy to browse through. Clutter and repeated adverts will make people think your site is thin, lacking in content and unable to fulfill their needs smoothly.
How You Ensure User Experience through Content Moderation
For a persistently positive user experience, you need to ensure that visitors on your site always feel that it met or exceeded their needs. Content moderation is the best way to guarantee that content on your site is supporting this goal.
The best results are obtained by finding the right automation levels for your content and combining it with manual moderation for grey area cases. This way you ensure a short time to site and high quality, structured content satisfying both seller and buyer needs.
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