The missing link between usability and profitability
I’ll share some research that shows a direct link between usability and site purchases across the e-commerce venues of travel, music and books.
For those of us developing our professional vocabulary, this research area covers the concept of “cognitive lock-in.” Cognitive lock-in represents consumers whose shopping habits bring them back to a site enough to return again and again – they have “locked-in” to the ease of use of that site and make repeated purchases over time. (For example, are you an Amazon shopper, yet?)
That is, customers are motivated by usability (albeit unconsciously). These customers want to avoid the cognitive effort of learning how to shop at an alternative site. They have “cognitive lock-in” with your site. Perhaps you have the experience of cognitive lock-in yourself.
We can adopt an evolution metaphor to chart the steps of increasing management support for usability. That is, some managers miss seeing the link between your usability efforts and increased profitability for their web site. However, the following discussion on cognitive lock-in can support your claims that usability indeed contributes directly to greater profitability.
You now have “the missing link” to show your team.
Article by Human Factors in their UI Design newsletter:
‘Cognitive lock-in’ occurs when users return to a site because they have learnt how to use it and don’t want to invest time and effort learning to do so on an alternative site. ‘Cognitive lock-in’ increases the likelihood of repeat sales and this article suggest that the key to ‘cognitive lock-in’ is usability…