The goal of any company is to design a product that’s easy to use, gives its customers an intuitive way to accomplish their tasks, is pleasant and inviting, and offers a consistent experience throughout the entire transaction. Typically, a designer would look at similar products or applications and figure out ways to give their product or service an edge over the competition. But how do you create a fantastic user experience for something that hasn’t been done before? I am sure the first commerce sites – both B2B and B2C – faced the same problem: How do you make online shopping easy and intuitive for users who have never bought anything on the internet before? And while a lot of wisdom has been gained over the last two decades, there are still a number of industries that have not yet committed to going fully digital. Among these steadfast outposts are the buyers and sellers of chemicals. The chemical industry is one of the most technologically advanced in the world, and not just in the formulations and manufacturing areas – most companies’ finance, accounting, HR, tax, and other teams rely on cutting-edge ERP and CRM systems to automate their operations. However, the process of buying and selling chemicals, including finding products, negotiating prices, drafting contracts, agreeing on shipment terms, and validating suppliers and distributors, has remained remarkably low-tech. This is the market that Agilis is serving with our innovative commerce platform. And because we are trying to get people to change something that they have been successfully doing for decades, we have to pay extra attention to usability.
No manual, no demo – no problem!
From the start, our goal has been to build a product that’s so easy and intuitive to use that we won’t need to train our end-users or supply them with training videos or demos or written documentation. So far, it’s working exactly as we planned – when we get asked to show the customer how the product works, we give them login credentials and ask them to “test drive” it on their own. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive – when people can feel comfortable using the product from the very start, they are much more likely to adopt it as their primary commerce platform and be successful with it long-term.
Two-way Conversations with Our CustomersWe often ask our customers to give us examples of what they like about their experience as ecommerce consumers and build features based on their input. So, before each new major feature set or product release comes out, we sit down with a select group of customers and show them what we have in mind. Getting their feedback at each stage of the design process is essential, and many times we had to course-correct and completely redesign a feature mid-flight, based on what we heard during these sessions.
Sometimes customers don’t even know they are giving us user experience feedback – we analyze support calls to see if the same question gets repeated several times, and customers are seeking help for a specific problem. Is this something that could be solved by tweaking the design? Made easier by modifying how items are displayed on a page? Accomplished with fewer clicks? One advantage of being a startup is that everyone wears multiple hats, and we are always communicating. So, feedback that our support engineers are hearing will find its way into the user experience design lab sooner, rather than later.
At Agilis, we are not trying to reinvent the wheel. We are mostly trying to extend the technology into a market that we know from experience could benefit from it tremendously, but has been resenting the change for a long time. We hope that commitment to user experience would help convince even the most resolute skeptics to give digital commerce a try. It’s not going to feel hard or alien – our user experience team is making sure of it!
Give Agilis a try. Visit agilischemicals.com today!
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