I just bought something on the Canadian Lowes site and it struck me how much time and thought they obviously put into the UX. The item pages contained the usual recommended other items, reviews, etc, that you can see everywhere. It was the other information on the item page that caught my attention.
I found the item through online search, but it was easy, with obvious breadcrumbs, to find related items. The ‘shipping included’ was prominent but not overpowering (for a large item, I prefer it to be shipped to me but don’t want to pay a fortune for shipping). The page included links, near the ‘Add to Cart’ button, to both the shipping and return policies, and the estimated shipping date was easy to see, even before adding the item to the shopping cart.
The big changes that I noticed came next. Where so many shopping sites ask you to create an account, login, etc, this one simply re-configured the checkout workflow. After the usual steps (fill out shipping address, pay through paypal/credit cards) there were two things I noticed. First, the return page gave the option of adding another email address to have the notification sent there as well, suggesting I not close the page until the email notification arrived (which it did, promptly). And second, it was only after the transaction was completed that the site asked me if I wanted to add a password so I could track the status of the shipment. I can track the status using a link in the notification email but I added a password anyway. So now I also have a Lowes account, created with very little friction.
This seems a sensible time to encourage the site visitor to create an account. I’d already bought something, it’s quite likely I’ll buy other large items in the same way, and it didn’t take much time or decision-making. Kudos to Lowes for listening to their UX people.