February 01, 2017

Tips for good UX in eCommerce web design

Since the emergence of eCommerce, consumer shopping has completely changed.  Approximately 79% of Americans shop online and the number of consumers buying products online will hit 270 million by 2020.  While some assume it's entirely for retail business, eCommerce is also very important for business-to-business (B2B) buying and selling.

User experience (UX) is always the critical element to a successful website, especially for an eCommerce website or application.  A well-designed user interface in a website or application can increase the conversion rate on your site significantly.  In order to drive more sales, enhancing user experience is a very important part of your online business.  Here are some tips to improve your eCommerce UX design and gain an edge over the competition.

Easy to use & Easy to navigate

I'm willing to be you've probably had this kind of experience- you're browsing some random shopping website and find something you like, but in the end you're unable to figure out the checkout process or run into errors during checkout.  Don't make your customers feel the same way.  

A study shows that more than 70% shopping carts remain abandoned possibly because of poorly-designed check out procedures.  Keep the buying process as simple and intuitive as possible.  If you are able to save your customers even just one click during the process, do it.  Your customers should never be wondering about how to get through the check out process on your eCommerce website or how something works on your eCommerce application.

Also, don't frustrate your customers with confusing navigation or multiple annoying pop-up windows.  Your customers should always be able to find what they are looking for on your eCommerce website.  Nobody likes spending an extra 5 minutes trying to find what they're looking for.  Your customers time is valuable and they'll go somewhere they can easily find and purchase what they're looking for within just a couple minutes and under a total of 10 clicks (i.e., Amazon).

To really get a better idea of how to improve your eCommerce site, try to imagine yourself as a visitor on your own website. Or better yet, ask a friend who hasn't seen your site before to browse it.  Watch as they navigate your site and you'll notice that areas that were obvious to you may not be so obvious to others.  They may try to click on items that aren't clickable or unable to find the checkout button in plain sight.  Take notes on these places as they may not be the only person having this issue.

Responsive design is a requirement

Did you know that in the last 6 months, 62% of smartphone users have purchased products online by their mobile device?  Even in physical stores, about 80% of shoppers use their phones to either look up product reviews, or compare prices with other brands.  I can personally attest to looking like a crazy person standing in front of a row of products, researching every item before purchase.

With the growth in mobile device activity, having a responsive eCommerce website is standard and, dare I say, a requirement now.  You can read this article to know how important it is to have a responsive website.  

Cross-device transactionKeep in mind that more than 30% of the online buyers in the U.S. have had cross-device transaction, meaning at least 2 devices are involved during one transaction.  Therefore, your eCommerce website has to be built to adapt any screen size, to provide seamless and smooth user experience.  In terms of products, this means always using high resolution images to not alienate users with higher pixel density or retina devices.  Think you don't need to worry about pixel density?  Think again- almost all devices, including both Androids and iOS, use higher than 1x pixel density, meaning your beautiful product images are probably coming across blurry and pixelated.

Who's your customer?

There are roughly five main types of online shoppers: product focused, researchers, browsers, bargain hunters, and one-time shoppers. 

Product focused

They know what they want, and they go directly to your website to get it.  What they need is simple; an effective search function which can help them to find what they're here for.  Search functions are not made equally and there's a good amount of logic that can go into the ability to find something.  For example, should more weight be placed on the title or content of a product page?  Clear product titles, descriptions, and a decent search algorithm will help a lot for this type of shopper.

Researchers

They're planning on buying a product but they're not sure which brand or shop to go for.  Most likely these shoppers are looking for good reviews and ratings to help them make up their mind.  A powerful filter system and a way to compare products will work great in conjuction with a good method to collect feedback.

Browsers

They're just here to look and not necessarily ready to purchase.  You may not want to focus too hard on this kind of shopper, but by telling them what's popular and trendy right now and offering sales or discounts, they may end up buying something anyway.

Bargain hunters

They just want it cheap.  Show them how much money they can save every step of the way and make it stand out.  Don't forget to display sales items and promotions on your homepage.  If you capture emails during checkout, offering coupons or loyalty credit can provide a good source of returning customers.

One-time Shoppers

This customer is here for a single item or maybe a gift.  While this isn't your ideal customer, giving them a good experience and easy checkout may persuade a small percentage to return.  Don't make them hate your registration process.   Offer quick and easy or "guest checkout" options.  The fewer fields, the better.

Design your site for your shoppers

Above all the other points, focus on your target audience.  Design your eCommerce website for these types of shoppers.  Are they old or young?  Do they tend to be cheap or have expensive brand quality taste?  Do they have short attention spans or are they very detail oriented?  This is one of the fundamental aspects of any business and it shouldn't be forgotten when it comes to your eCommerce site.

Test, test, and retest

Skipping this part is extremely unwise to build a successful and profitable eCommerce website.  Test all the aspects of your eCommerce website, even after you launch it.  Observe your shoppers' behavior and continue to tweak and  improve the user interface of your online shop. 

Also, make sure your users see what you want them to see (i.e., your CTAs).  If the click through rate of your call to actions is low, find out the root cause and fix it.  If conversely, your click through is high, but your conversion is very low, consider why users are not following through with orders.

User experience matters

The world of online shopping is competitive and the most decisive factor of a successful eCommerce website or application is user experience.  Provide your customers a simple, easy to use, and fast eCommerce website to maximize online profit.

If your eCommerce website developer builds you a website that even you can't figure out how to use during any step in the shopping process, you should ask them to alter the design or consider someone who is willing to listen and work with you to optimize the site.

If you have any question about building an effective eCommerce website or you need a free quote for your eCommerce website redesign, contact us anytime or leave a comment below.  Our team is always happy to help.