Aren’t we all shopping online for possibly everything nowadays? And to add to that, there has been an increase in the number of e-commerce websites popping up over the past few years. Internet shopping has not only become more popular, it’s also much safer and more secure than it was years ago. And given the large number of websites today, there is a need for an enhanced UX design for e-commerce websites to achieve better conversions.
In one of our previous posts on Microinteractions UX Design: The Small Things That Make A Huge Difference, we discussed how micro-interactions on a website add up to make huge impacts on the user’s mood and opinion. This time let’s take a look at how to really optimize web design elements for a better UX design for e-commerce websites and consequently, conversion rates.
E-commerce business stability is more dependent on its customers. If an e-commerce website fails to entertain its customers with great UX design and marketing tactics then there is no chance for them to survive. Even though every website is unique in its own way, there are certain things that every e-Commerce website homepage should have.
Image Source: SlideShare
It’s important to keep in mind that there are multiple factors involved in the failure of an e-Commerce business, but the lack of user-friendly web design has always been topping the charts. According to a study, e-Commerce websites had a 45% task failure rate due to the poor user site design and bad user interface.
The primary reason people still go to physical shops is because customers don’t have the ability to touch and feel the items they want to buy. This is a huge disadvantage for online retailers. As important it is to have an online site built with solid e-commerce software, it’s equally important to have properly implemented UX design for e-commerce websites so that your store can close the gap and make customers feel more confident in their purchases.
With all that said and done, the truth is the best practices and conventions can only guide you. There are no hard and fast rules. In conversion optimization everything is an assumption, what worked for someone else won’t necessarily work for you. You can start with examples of the best UX design for e-commerce websites and follow the lead of the best e-commerce sites.
Increasing your e-commerce sales is no easy feat and requires constant iteration and testing of UX design elements. So here are some of the best practices that you could follow on your e-commerce website to achieve an enhanced UX design for e-commerce!
Best Practices For Great UX Design For E-Commerce Websites
1. User-Friendly Navigation
Successful navigation structure is built to minimize the visitor’s “cognitive load”. Visitors create a mental image of the site’s hierarchy and message importance in just 2.5 seconds. Make navigational choices and paths short, logical, and don’t try to reinvent the wheel with category naming or site hierarchy.
Normally, an e-commerce website contains hundreds and thousands of pages so it’s important to navigate them to a visible spot. Furthermore, page sorting and categorization process should be smartly done.
2. A Solid Search Bar
Regardless of how well you execute your site navigation, you can always support it with a solid search box. Start small and build up the functionality, keeping these two metrics in mind:
- Precision is the percentage of retrieved search results that are relevant.
- Recall is the percentage of all relevant results that the search system actually retrieves.
One excellent way of improving your built-in search engine is to track what people search and where do they actually navigate. Another easy way to improve is to make sure that your top grossing products are easily searchable, or at least get higher up in the results of any (semi-)relevant searches.
Every single customer is looking for a diversified range of products, for which, an efficient search feature will make user experience swifter.
3. Shopping Cart That Remembers You
What most online stores lack, though, is a cart that would save whatever items you’ve placed in there even if you leave the site. In fact, the average shopping cart abandonment rate is 68.63%.
By keeping shopping carts “dumb”, or self-emptying, companies are practically driving potential customers away. Remember that you don’t have to require visitors to create an account and sign-in for a shopping cart to remember them.
If you make it mandatory for the customer to sign up before placing an order or adding things to the cart, then you have added to the hassle in the checkout process. All that matters is getting the customers to order products, so why create an obstacle by asking for all the information and waste their time.
4. USPs and Campaigns
Do you offer free shipping, discounts or coupons? Do you have a campaign going on for a specific product or category? Whatever it is, make sure that everyone sees it. All of these are great ways to boost homepage conversions as well as to increase the AOV (Average Order Value) in general.
5. Social Proof
The homepage is by far the most crucial place on your site to display social proof. Whether it’s the logos of your most recognizable clients or actual quotes from them. People actually care about them, people are influenced by other people’s actions. If your company or a product has been featured in the news, it’s good practice to link to those articles as well.
6. Social Media Buttons
Social media buttons have two different functions. First of all, you should have social media platform icons linking to your profiles. Usually, companies tend to hide those in footers but are okay to have them on top of the page too. Secondly, you should at least experiment with sharing buttons too, starting from your front page offers.
7. Contact Details
Your company’s contact details should be available on the homepage. Hiding streets addresses or phone numbers behind multi-level navigation make the business seem unapproachable and strictly corporate. You don’t have to display everything here, but the basics, especially email and phone number, should be easy enough for any casual browser to find.
8. Responsive Design
Whatever industry you’re operating in, your customers are using mobile. Chances are they’re at least browsing your site on a mobile device, and increasingly more often also making the purchase through the mobile site. The importance of mobile visitors for your business is only going to grow. Responsive design is fairly easy, but also a very effective way to start addressing the mobile audience properly.
All the navigation menus, main banners, and crucial parts are on the first scroll of mobile.
Image Source: Venngage
9. CTA Placement
No one can deny the importance of call-to-action buttons. You need to be careful while choosing the color, directional cues, and style of your call-to-action button. It should catch the user’s attention at first sight. More importantly, research has proved that people, naturally prefer reading or viewing anything presented on the left side as compared to the right side.
10. Clutter Free Category Pages
Category pages should be decently designed, and major focus should be on the products instead of various deals and sale offers. Keep the area around add-to-cart clean and minimalistic. Leave only the essentials: price, stock availability and the shipping method. Use white space around the button to make it pop. The less cluttered the area is, the more effortless it appears for shoppers to click on the buy-now button, as their decision doesn’t have to be weighed down by extra, non-essential information.
11. Strong Content
In the E-Commerce industry, most of the businesses don’t believe in the power of content. Content has a major contribution in making UX design for e-commerce websites, a success. Content should be engaging and allow users to test your product. Also, the font size should be clear and visible to the audience. It can be in the form of product descriptions, sales and deals banner or website content. It’s a sure thing that content can draw an immense influence among your targeted audience.
12. Advanced Filtration
Not every online retail store has this feature on their website but advanced filtration should be implemented by everyone. It helps users to directly jump to the product range, they are in search of. Advanced filtration can be anything like price range, style, color, etc.
There is no hard and fast rule for designing a registration page, but there is one minor thing that should be considered, i.e. ‘GIVE THEM A REASON,’ why they should register to your online store? Like, say, a discount for every new user or a free product. It can be anything that you wish to but make sure there is something the user is getting in return when they use their valuable time to register.
14. Clear Payment Options
Payment options should be clearly displayed on the website in order to save your customer’s time. How does it feel when you are almost done with the checkout process and you find out your desired payment option is not available. Most shoppers tend to complain about this very issue. This is a very important aspect of an e-commerce website.
15. Creative 404 Pages
Broken links are a common problem in any e-commerce websites. Controlling them or redirecting them is not a stress-free job. Hence, it is preferable that a website should have its own unique and creatively designed 404 page that allows users to review other products as well.
5 Worst UX Design Mistakes in E-commerce websites
1. Limited Product Info
Visitors prefer clear cut and straightforward websites. If you keep them guessing or provide insufficient information, they are bound to leave the page. Product information is one of the significant points to be kept in mind while creating a site. Make sure that all the information is compiled in an interesting way so that the users are tempted to make the transaction. The idea is to convince that the product is just what they have been looking for.
By including detailed product info, you are also being transparent with the customers and winning their trust. This extra information will help them accomplish their goals faster and in turn boost conversions. By detailed we mean complete info, that is, features, benefits, ingredients/ materials, and measurements.
2. Restricted Customer Service Information
UX design for e-commerce websites is not limited to products and shopping carts. Pages like shipping, delivery, returns policy, payment pages, and customer service are important and can be a major put off if they lack in display or fail to appear. If such pages are ignored then the customer gets the impression of passive communication.
By having an impressive customer support page, you can prove your credibility in the eyes of users and ensure them gratification of their needs. Customer support area is a major place in the e-commerce marketplace. Customer support pages if well-designed guarantee terrific user experience and yes, also surges the conversion rate higher.
3. Lengthy Checkouts
This is the worst mistake an e-commerce site can commit. You must make the entire process smooth so that the customers can submit their payment and complete the order easily. The more tedious are the steps of putting the items in the cart and paying for it, the greater are the chances of the customers leaving the page without completing the transaction.
A perfect checkout is the one where there is a single page to check the order and provide the billing and shipment details and then get a confirmation page prior to finalizing their order. Even a single step more is a burden on the users and makes the checkout process full of confusion.
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4. Poor Product Images
There are websites who are still not using large product images and resorting to low quality, small images for their product pages. This hampers the experience of shoppers. You can heighten their in-store experience by including larger pictures of the products. Users feel at ease if they are able to view the larger versions of the product coupled with other relevant info as it helps them to finalize their purchase.
Users appreciate help in their buying decisions so shots captured in each color, from the front, back, sides and even detailed images of the features will definitely aid in making their mind. By including four or five images you can remove all the doubts of the customers and make them feel more comfortable about their purchase.
5. Absence Of Related Products
You can also place the related items together so as to enhance the sales of your company. Always choose a platform that permits you to display similar products on the product description pages. These products will surely persuade the buyers to go for other choices as well.
If a buyer isn’t keen on buying a particular product show them related products from the same category. As an online shopper, this trick does wonders for me. Especially on clothing websites, the absence of related products makes a huge difference and fails to capture the attention of buyers.
4 Major Areas Of An E-Commerce Website
Design matters; and good website design signals that there’s a solid company behind the screen. If visitors aren’t saying “wow” when they visit your site, it still needs work. Do not cut corners on design. Every pixel, every picture, and every word matters. Hire a good designer if you can afford it and make design a priority.
Read More About Web Design on Does Website Design Impact The Bottom Line?
Speedy websites increase sales for businesses. Dave Garr of User Testing has said that increasing site speed improved his conversion rate by 78%. A second may not seem like a big deal, but it can mean hundreds of dollars (sometimes thousands) in lost sales for a business. Don’t underestimate the impact of speed.
Image Source: Kissmetrics
Having too many choices can actually cost you sales. So don’t think that having an enormous selection of products is the key to success. Sometimes limiting your selection can allow customers to quickly find what they are looking for and keep customers from having “decision paralysis”. Product selection should be carefully thought out and strategized.
After the user has completed the order, they should quickly receive a receipt via the email address provided. Generally, most receipts contain the order number, contents of the customer order, an email, phone number, and social media links to contact the business. What most businesses don’t include are links back to the website. This should be practiced.
Many e-commerce sites have a web based order management function. Customers can see their order, its status, and a tracking number from the freight carrier. The majority also send out an email once the order has been shipped.
Top 5 E-commerce UX Design Trends in 2017
The web design trend that is popular today might be outdated tomorrow. Nobody knows, what’s going to rule. However here are some e-commerce web design trend predictions for the upcoming year that might work out for your business.
1. Semi – flat design
Despite a few issues, flat design has been a huge hit in 2016 and loved by many people. However, the popularity of this design trend has already started to decrease now and the design appears to be growing into the semi-flat design. Semi flat design makes the designing more engaging, visually more beautiful and attractive and user experience wise and more usable. However, this web design trend keeps the simplicity, functionality, and style of flat design.
Image Source: HomesDirect365
2. Lots Of Images
Images are the best way to grab your customer attention. Recent research shows that 92.6% of people feel that the visuals are the most influential factor affecting a purchase decision. A site with lots of images to show off your products, services, and brands is what customers are going to look for in 2017. The text is good for a site but, too much text included in your website can somehow drive your customer away.
Image Source: Dribbble
3. Long Scrolls
In 2017, long page scroll designs are going to rule. It is somewhat bothersome to keep on clicking next page, especially when you are browsing through mobile devices. On the other hand, it too takes more time to load a new page, so it makes more sense to add more products to the current view page rather than loading a completely new page from both page loading and performance aspect. So in 2017, you are probably going to see more products in a single page view.
Image Source: Dribbble
4. Rich Animations and Cinemagraphs
If you want to give an unforgettable user experience to your customers then, animations and cinemagraphs can be the great way to do that. Animations and cinemagraphs may appear in headers to motion graphic demos, 360 videos of products, background images, homepage banners, product images and much more. In 2017, we could also expect the explosion of more bright colors.
Image Source: Nirmal
5. Hand Drawn Elements
We are likely to see more hand drawn elements used in websites, yes in e-Commerce websites too, in 2017. Stock images and graphics have been the designers’ first choice for icons, logos, banners and so on. But, in 2017, we can predict that hand drawn elements are going to be more popular. Incorporating hand drawn elements in websites is a great way of conveying originality as well as giving your customer an individual note about your brand. It creates a strong impact on your customers and makes your brand unforgettable.
Image Source: Nirmal
Making e-commerce sites that become user’s favorite depends on the UX design that drives them to go for it. The question is what all it has in store for the visitors or prospective buyers? Leave aside creative web design, the main thing that matters is clear information presented in an upfront manner. A fully informed buying decision will always leave the customers happy and satisfied and further make the e-commerce business a sales king.
E-commerce and mobile commerce have dramatically changed the way brands reach customers. Making it faster and easier for consumers to make purchases on the fly.
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