"How can the usability of the Direct Hospitality website be improved and why will this increase their net sales?"

Direct Hospitality Home Page
Click to view current Direct Hospitality e-commerce site!

Finding the Research Outcome

In a business world where everything is going digital and there are over one billion websites online (1), it can be hard for an e-commerce site to stand out from the crowd. Although the aesthetics of website design is becoming increasing important, the importance of it being easy for the user to use is equally so (2) (3). Website user experience has a lot of elements (see left, the User Experience Honey Comb), and these must all be achieved to create a positive user experience on a website. Building a positive experience for the user can help furnish the AIDA (4) marketing philosophy for an e-commerce site; that is catch their attention, maintain their interest, create a desire and finally, guide them through the desired conversion or action (such as purchasing a product) (2).

 

User Experience Honey Comb
User Experience Honey Comb, Source: Usability.gov

Direct Hospitality is a family-owned hospitality business based in Shepparton, Victoria. Traditionally, their loyal customers have placed all their orders over the phone. To try keep up with the huge shift to e-commerce over the last decade, Direct Hospitality used a large digital agency to build a large, sophisticated site in 2010. However, the site never received the traffic they intended it too, and today, they still have customers ringing their orders through because they have become frustrated with the site. It became clear although it had come with a hefty price tag, their site simply wasn’t easy to use.

 

Following a conversation with the company’s marketing manager, I decided to research how they could improve the user experience of their e-commerce site in view of increasing their online sales. Following some initial research, I broke user experience for DirectHospitality.com.au in three categories and guiding questions; page design, navigation and ‘flow’ and website performance.