“A good product sells itself.” You may have heard that line a time or two, but the reality is, it’s just a myth. Even if it truly is the best in the market, you need more than just a good product to maximize sales.
We aren’t talking about marketing, though. A smart, effective marketing campaign may bring attention to your product, but a great user experience is what converts curious browsers to satisfied buyers. eCommerce UX is one of the most influential and impactful tools you can leverage for your digital marketplace — and if you want to compete with the other 24 million online stores out there, you’ll have to start thinking more about your audience.
Read on to learn about eCommerce UX, why it’s essential, and how you can use it to grow your business.
Generally, the user experience is how an individual navigates through a website or app to reach a specific action or goal. The eCommerce user experience operates in the same way, but it also frames the buyer’s journey, the roadmap that guides visitors from consideration to purchase. eCommerce UX is about how the end-user interacts with your online store in its entirety — not just at checkout. Before users commit to an order, they consider every touchpoint, like the product page, search bar, load times, and even scrolling features. This means you have to meet and even anticipate their needs in order to create a consistent, frictionless, and enjoyable shopping experience.
About 90% of users leave an app because of inadequate performance, and 88% of online customers are less likely to return to a website if they had a poor experience. Essentially, a bad user experience is the fastest way to lose your audience (particularly if they fall into Gen Z).
How you deliver the user experience dictates how a user perceives you and your brand. Can your audience navigate your website seamlessly or do they have to jump through hoops to learn more about your offerings? Any roadblocks, big or small, can cause drop-offs and prevent users from returning. A well-designed eCommerce website or app is a conduit for connection; it engages users and convinces them to make the shift from first-time visitors to loyal customers.
One of the most crucial components of good eCommerce UX is making sure everything operates as it should. Your first instinct may be to add some pizzazz to your website with eye-catching features like videos or animated effects, but the extra coding could slow down your store. There’s also the risk of the code breaking. A highly performant website is the key to converting customers, so avoid any extraneous elements and instead concentrate on ensuring core functionalities are speedy and efficient.
As the first thing people see, your homepage gets the most traffic. You only have seven seconds to make a good first impression, so the homepage should be clean and straightforward. Instead of flashy features that may distract your audience, opt for a minimal design with high-resolution images. The simplicity of your homepage should carry through the entire website, including pages for contact information and frequently asked questions. On product listing pages, place only the essentials: product descriptions, prices, color and sizing options, photos, customer reviews, and shipping and payment information.
There’s nothing more frustrating than endlessly fumbling through a disorganized navigation bar. Users should be able to access the information they need quickly and effortlessly. To improve navigation in eCommerce UX, take a close look at your sitemap and information architecture. Since they outline potential user journeys, they’ll help you properly structure your content.
It’s estimated that 60% of online purchases are planned and that means by the time people reach your store, they already know what they’re looking for. Don’t make prospective customers work to locate the product they want to buy. Consider adding a functional search bar to every page of your online store, so users can easily find what they’re looking for. Make sure search queries account for typos, too.
Calls-to-Action are strong conversion tools in eCommerce UX when used correctly. They drive awareness to your products, help users navigate your online store, and motivate them to take action. A good CTA button is attention-grabbing and explicitly communicates what will happen if a user clicks on it, like “Buy now” or “Add to Cart.” Buttons and CTAs should also be used strategically; to keep customers focused on a specific task, try limiting the number of CTAs on a page. Another piece of advice: If it isn’t a button, don’t make it look like one.
Around 91% of Americans under 50 years old use their smartphones to make purchases, and mobile devices account for 57% of all online traffic. The shopping experience on your phone is significantly different from your laptop, so if your website isn’t optimized for mobile, you’re losing out on a large demographic. The best way to remedy this is with responsive design, a web design technique where the interface adapts to various screen sizes, including tablets.
Even if you produce the most frictionless eCommerce UX possible, there’s still a chance your customers will run into some issues. Show users you care about their experience with customer support features. A live chat option on your digital marketplace is also a credibility booster, allowing you to connect and build trust with your customers. If live chat is too big of a lift, add other customer support methods like contact forms and thorough FAQs.
Are users spending a lot of time on your website only to leave without completing a purchase? Checkout is usually where visitors drop off. Some of the most common reasons for cart abandonment are performance issues, confusing purchase processes, worries about payment security, lack of payment options, and mandatory account creation. Accelerate the checkout process by eliminating unnecessary steps, enhancing privacy measures, offering multiple ways to pay, and allowing guest checkout. If your online store already prioritizes function, then performance issues should be minimal.
Social proof goes a long way in eCommerce UX. User-generated content is the easiest way to show first-time visitors your business is legitimate and can be trusted. Product reviews, testimonials, social media posts, and photos taken by other customers can remove any doubts and convince users to make a purchase.
Copy is an underestimated component of eCommerce UX. We don’t really think about it, but good copy fuels a lot of the purchase decisions we make. While eCommerce content is typically written to persuade, it should also be informative and add relevance, describing product features and providing guideposts for links and CTAs. It helps define your brand and improve SEO, too. When writing copy for apps and websites, it’s important to keep your brand voice, your users, and their goals in mind. Copy without context will always fall short and create a disconnect with your customers.
Looking to take your digital store to the next level? Send us a message to learn more about our expertise in eCommerce UX.