While e-commerce sites have been constantly on the rise, maintaining one is not an easy task. These sites need to be updated from time to time in order to reflect what’s actually in your inventory, and also require transaction management and customer support, among others.
Additionally, aside from the day-to-day operational backbone of e-commerce sites that involves processing customers’ orders and shipments, an e-commerce site’s look, and feel shouldn’t be taken for granted. In fact, customers aren't just looking at what they see on your website. Its ease of use - whether they're aware of it or not - is also being taken into consideration when transacting with your business. An e-commerce site that’s designed with the customer’s experience in mind tends to keep customers longer and convert more sales compared to poorly designed websites, making a website’s user experience a vital factor in overall sales.
Whether your e-commerce site is minimalistic or elaborate, there are simple design principles you must consider when building and enhancing your store. Ready to optimize your e-commerce store?
Here are 17 overlooked UX hacks for an e-commerce website-
1. Professional Web Design
People have now become more aware of the quality of products and services they use, making it very important to provide your customers with a professionally-designed website that feels clean and uncluttered. Always try to get your design from a web design company that specializes in the art. This will make them hang around your website for a bit longer. Lead them to learn more about your website, browse more products, and then eventually convert them into a sale.
Let’s take Tim Ferriss as an example. Thanks to his simple and straightforward website, this author-entrepreneur was the first to get 200 million downloads in the business/interview podcast category. Without having to go deeper, first-time visitors of Tim Ferriss’ website will instantly know relevant information about him, such as:
Hubspot’s statistics on the case study
His podcast’s latest episode:
- His podcast’s recognition
- Quotes from reputable institutions
- What he looks like (he even got his face on his website!)
Compelling content and a strong call-to-action might just be what it takes for your website to achieve improved performance. Humanizing your products and services might also be a great idea, which you can do by putting pictures of your staff on-the-job, and compiling positive reviews from your customers.
2. Website Loading Speed
Among the factors that retailers and e-commerce websites face, abandoned shopping carts could just be one of the most frustrating. It’s hard to see customers picking up items on your shelves then suddenly just leaving without buying anything. In fact, it is said that abandoned shopping carts for online retailers accounted for around $18 billion of potential sales per year and that 18% of these were attributed to slow page load speeds.
A recent study found that a page’s load speed is very crucial for a number of reasons:
- A 1-second delay in page load speed can result in a 7% reduction of conversions
- Around 79% of customers who weren’t pleased with a website’s performance are less likely to buy from the same site again
A retail website making $100,00 a day can add another $7,000 in daily revenues by just improving their page load times by 1 second
3. Updated Website
As the saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt – and your loyal customers might find your website boring soon. Make it a point to regularly update your website to keep it relevant and fresh.
The people from Conversion Rate Experts were successful in increasing Voices.com’s conversion rate by 400% through the implementation of a series of website updates. These updates served as experiments meant to streamline their customers’ sales funnel, as well as to educate their customers about the value of their service. The most prominent changes were the following:
Carry on Cocktail Kit’s logo and prominent CTA button
Promotional Video of Dollar Shave Club
- By adding logos in their website, trust and credibility is easily established
- By illustrating the service through videos, they were able to minimize, if not eliminate, confusion around how their service works
Carefully plan a regular website update to keep things interesting for you and your customers. Additionally, you can also come up with a website re-design and upgrade that’s based on your current brand guidelines once every few years and leverage a marketing campaign hinged on this upgrade. Though, you should be careful not to set the balance off with too radical design changes that may thwart your loyal customers.
4. Visible Call-to-Action
Regardless if your business operates an e-commerce website, or offers specific products and services, the importance of an effective call-to-action directly influences what your customer does while on your website.
Amazon’s Example of Call to Action
Amazon.com is an excellent example of how to use a call-to-action button. By simply adding a “look inside” button on books being sold on their platform, Amazon.com is able to pique on their customers’ interest with a quick sneak-peek of the books’ first few pages – similar to how books are bought in a bookstore. This unique shopping experience has made Amazon a preferred platform for books, and a leader in online shopping.
5. Color Psychology on Buttons
Stylish e-commerce buttons from MaxButtons PRO
Most people are unaware of how colors play a vital role in their decisions. Professional e-commerce website makers, however, know this all too well. Because our primary sensory organ is our eyes, what we see always affects what we feel and do. Color has a solid impact on our attitudes and reactions.
So, just how important is color in our buying process?
- The human brain processes visual cues 60,000 faster than how it processes words
- In another study, 84.7% of respondents think that color accounted for more than half of the factors in choosing a product
- Judgment towards a product is affected by color accounts for 62%-90% of
- Upon seeing a product within 90 seconds, 62% to 90% of a person’s judgment is affected by its color.
Here are a few pointers on what colors work:
Psychology of color by fencerowfurniture.com
- Blue, purple, and green works for feminine products, while blue, green, and black are good for masculine products
- Black is seen as powerful and luxurious
- Blue is seen as trustworthy
- Yellow represents optimism and cheerfulness
- Green gives off a relaxing vibe
- Orange ignites enthusiasm
6. Visible, Easy to See “Add to Cart” Button
Just like shopping in a physical store, customers have grown familiar with having a cart on e-commerce websites, especially those who buy more than one item at a time. This allows users to transact all their items once, eliminating the redundancy of paying for items one at a time.
An example of add to cart from phppot
Yagendoo’s example of an add to cart
Which is why a customer might leave your e-commerce website if they can’t locate that “add to cart” button. Place it in a familiar location on your website, usually beside a product’s image.
7. Easy Product Search through Autocomplete Suggestions
Those who shop in e-commerce websites know just how convenient it is to get autocomplete suggestions when searching for a product. Search autocomplete suggestions allows for a more accurate search by eliminating misspellings and by narrowing down searches in suggested categories.
You can go beyond providing suggestions in plain text and provide a richer user experience. Just like what Kohls is doing, they provide search autocomplete suggestions in photos, leading customers not just to what they might be looking for, but also to popular products related to their search query.
With 82% of the top-grossing e-commerce sites using this feature, putting a search autocomplete feature on your e-commerce site is definitely something that you should do.
8. Implement Search Filters
Example of a refined search filter
Just like autocomplete suggestions, search filters help your customers find the product they want faster, which can make for faster transactions and less abandonment. Search filters, when done right, can also help minimize product returns, especially those concerning wrong product specifications.
Let your website’s search filters add value to your customers’ journey by sticking with these principles:
- Let filters be easily beside search results, without interrupting or redirecting them away from the product results
- Identify the most relevant filters and show these filters first
- Easy toggle of filters
- Visual cues that let the user know their chosen filters are applied should easily be identifiable
9. Accessibility Across All Devices
Customers today aren’t just shopping online on their laptops and computers at home. As the use of mobile internet become more widespread, more and more customers are browsing the internet with smartphones and tablets, making mobile compatibility an important aspect of web design.
In fact, 40% of adults in the UK start their online shopping journey on mobile devices and finish on another device. This is why it’s important to maintain a pleasing user experience, regardless of your customers’ preferred browsing device.
- Pay close attention to your website’s mobile compatibility. Fonts should remain readable, images must adjust according to device size and orientation, etc.
- Key functions such as call-to-action buttons and filters should remain working and easily accessible
- Make your email newsletters mobile-friendly
10. Social Media Integration
Don’t miss out on the opportunity of your products getting shared on social media. Just like shopping in a physical store, some shoppers would like to get their friends’ take on what they are about to purchase. Provide an easy way for your customers to share it with a friend by adding social media share icons on product pages.
Social media integration is also an opportunity for you to advertise at no additional cost. Let your shoppers spread the word about your products and services.
11. The Green Lock: Secure Checkout
If you’re just an average person with just an average knowledge about e-commerce websites, you would know that a green lock icon on your browser means your transaction is secured, but to what extent?
The green padlock icon seen on most e-commerce sites represent data encryption between the website and you. Basically, this means sensitive information such as credit card details and personal information can only be interpreted and read by the website you’re transacting in.
However, this doesn’t always mean you’re 100% safe. As scammers explore other means to exploit other people on the internet, phishers pose a major risk both for users and e-commerce websites. As a customer, you should pay close attention to which website you’re browsing. For example, phishers might try to imitate eBay.com by setting up eBay.co. By simply verifying the address you’re at, you might eliminate the risk of getting phished.
12. Thorough Product Descriptions
Since shopping online eliminates the ability of users to hold a product physically, they rely heavily on visual and textual descriptions, whether through static images, written descriptions, or videos. See to it that products are well-described so that customers will have an idea what a certain product is like.
Good product descriptions usually have:
- a clear product title that represents the product
- a list of attributes and features of the product
- a summary of product benefits, especially for sensitive products such as skincare products, food, etc.
- an in-depth description of the products’ details
13. Only Use High-Quality Photos
Product photos can definitely add value or be detrimental to the customer’s experience on your website. High-resolution photos that show the products minute details help customers get an idea of the product quality. However, a low-resolution image may give a notion of poor product quality.
Adidas’s example with the addition of other angles on the left panel
Adding multiple image angles also provides more perspective for the customer, making it easy for them to fully examine the product which provides confidence in their decision.
14. Create Product Videos
In addition to high-quality product images, putting product videos is another excellent way to provide customers with product details. In fact, people browsing an e-commerce website are 64%-85% more inclined to purchase the product after watching a video about it.
Patagonia is doing an excellent job in showcasing their products through videos. As of 2015, 54% of their products over $50 have videos on their website.
The type of video you include on your product pages depends on your brand’s personality and the type of products you’re selling. Here are some video formats you can choose from:
- Descriptive videos
- Tutorials videos
- Product or service reviews
- Unboxing videos
15. Organic Proof: Customer Reviews
As customers acknowledge that online sellers can be too aggressive in writing excellent product descriptions, online shoppers are turning to customer reviews to know how true its product features are. With 61% of customer looking at online reviews before making a purchase, showing what your customers have to say about your product becomes very important.
Additionally, letting your customers post product reviews can help your e-commerce website rank better in search results. As Google aims to provide better user experience through verifiable content, it is giving more importance to products with customer reviews in its search ranking.
16. Sizing Chart Guide
If you own an e-commerce site selling clothes and apparel, you’ll know by now that size and fit concerns are one of the most common factors that discourage people from shopping online. Unsurprisingly, this is also one of the most cited reasons for product returns and exchanges. Since customers don’t have the advantage of trial-ability or observe-ability online, customers need to have a quantifiable basis to help them do specific measurements at home. This is where a sizing chart guide becomes very useful.
Fashion Metric’s tool that predicts body measurements
However, many shoppers don’t really know their body measurements. Thankfully, services such as Fashion Metric can provide e-commerce retailers with a tool that predicts body measurements by collecting relevant customer information and analyzing a customer’s height, weight, and shoe size, among other factors.
17. Total Pricing and Shipping Fee
The last aspect of the customer’s online buying journey provides an opportunity for adding value for customers. Waiving the product shipping fee for your customers is an excellent marketing strategy that benefits both the consumer and retailer.
By setting a minimum purchase amount for free shipping, retailers are able to maintain a profit margin without compromising the customers’ experience. In fact, it is said that 90% of shoppers will aim to purchase the amount needed to qualify for free shipping, which translates to more sales for e-commerce website owners.
These factors tell us that user-centric website design goes beyond its aesthetics. Designing functional websites for customers involve every aspect of your e-commerce website from start to finish. Let us know in the comments if his guide was able to help, or if there are other overlooked UX design hacks we missed.
This is a guest post by Kenneth Sytian of Web Design Philippines.
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