Written by Ellie Martin.
Improving an ecommerce user experience is all about standing out from the crowd. It’s easy to follow trends and copy what others are doing, but how can your design look unique yet cater to a commercial market at the same time?
Your best bet is to start communicating with your users, using data and analytics to see the bigger picture of what customers actually want to see on your website.
The vast majority of new ecommerce websites are made with a packaged solution like Shopify, Bigcommerce or WooCommerce. Whether you go with a platform like one of these or you build your site from scratch, your UX will still require customizations and tweaks. After all, you can’t just expect to select a ready-made theme that has every important UX element implemented from the start.
It’s essential to take into consideration customer experience as well as user experience, since each one of your users are people who are thinking hard about whether or not they should buy from you. Seeing as these customers are making split second decisions based on UX, it’s important to take a look at what could be missing from yours. Have you neglected something that is costing you thousands in profit? Let’s take a look.
High Quality Writing and Storytelling in Product Descriptions
Online shops are quick to tell a story about the company’s roots on an About page, but what about getting creative in the product descriptions? This generally doesn’t fall in the hands of a designer, but it’s essential for designers to advise clients about the importance of useful and creative web copy.
Harry’s uses storytelling by explaining how leading razor companies gouge customers with insane prices. The company uses graphs and blocks of text to demonstrate how choosing Harry’s is one of the only options to keep costs low. Not to mention, they unveil the hidden truths about how razor manufacturing isn’t all that expensive.
This is just one example of how storytelling works in ecommerce, but it can range from anything like the origins of a product to how it can solve a simple problem. Imagery is also great when combined with storytelling as customers can visualize themselves using the products in similar situations.
Easily Accessible Contact Information and Support Resources
Not everyone who comes to an online store is going to know what they want. In fact, it’s reasonable to assume that support pages, blogs, knowledge bases and contact forms are some of the most sought out pages on the internet.
If you take a look at the HappyFamily website above you’ll notice that they dedicate space in the main navigational menu for Knowledge and Community pages. This shows that the company isn’t all about selling, and they’re committed to staying in touch and educating customers.
The Simplest Checkout Process Possible
Kissmetrics has a great article on why customers often don’t make it past the first part of the checkout process. It outlines that stores often need to exclude pages and buttons in order to make the checkout more fluid. For example, they recommend tips like adding a progress indicator, cutting out the sign-in banner and matching the shopping cart to the rest of the website.
Is your payment processing tool offering a one-page checkout experience? The least amount of clicks is ideal, and many online stores could take a hint from Amazon with the One-Click Checkout feature.
A Simple Header, As Opposed to a Slider or Effects
This is an interesting suggestion considering sliders and effects towards the top of a homepage are all the rage right now. Well, we’re here to tell you studies have shown that sliders don’t improve conversions. In fact, they can actually confuse customers and minimize the amount of clicks that go through that part of the site.
These sliders tend to disrupt the thought process, while the content inside the slider generally doesn’t target customers directly. Think about it. The content is rarely going to be relevant because it’s designed to appeal to a wide audience. Not to mention, sliders rarely look good on mobile devices, which is a huge concern for all online stores.
Finally, sliders don’t typically add much in terms of SEO. So, your best bet is to focus on a text based header or perhaps some static visuals.
Large Initial Imagery
It may not seem like a big deal if product images first appear small on product pages. After all, you most likely have a zoom function for drastically increasing the size, allowing consumers to look in more detail.
The problem is that you’re forcing consumers to add one more step into the research process. Not only do these zoom-in features often look way too big, but no customer wants to unnecessarily spend an extra click. Therefore, it’s wise to present product pages with imagery that’s already large enough for examination.
What are some further UX elements that could improve your ecommerce experience?
- Virtual tools to try on clothes (or have a model try them on for you)
- A module that tells customers what other people are viewing right now
- A texting feature that alerts users when an item is available
- Multi-customer chatting, where two people can talk about the product in a chat box
- Customer product tagging
- Translation tools for all languages
- Product images that are uploaded by customers
- Alerts about price changes
- A button for people to order online and pickup at a brick and mortar store
- Product videos on each page
Chances are there are more than a few items that you would like to improve about your ecommerce UX, but the best plan is to choose one of them and tackle it head on. This way you can make gradual changes to boost the effectiveness of your overall user experience.
If you have any other suggestions about what may be missing in most online stores, drop us a line in the comments section below. Also, feel free to share your own experiences with testing out some of the suggestions we’ve discussed about above.