UX for eCommerce
Each time we make a purchase there are several factors that influence it. Factors that we are not aware of most of the time but that are carefully thought out and placed to influence your decision and purchasing process. These factors make up something that is called User Experience (UX), and it’s the practice of optimizing a website so that it is as easy and user-friendly as possible. UX for eCommerce is all about making your website usable, accessible, and pleasing for a user to navigate.
It is essential to design an eCommerce website aimed at sales, taking into account all the factors that influence the online shopping experience, which can include the layout, branding, sounds, text, visual design, and interaction. You obviously have to make money with this type of site, but you should not let the user struggle as a consequence. You need to find a balance that can cater to both of these factors, but ultimately, it’s the users experience that will result in them giving you money, so this should be one of your biggest priorities for your online store.
UX For eCommerce Patterns
On a web page, the same thing happens as when you enter a physical store through the door; there are many or almost infinite different routes that you can make.
If there is no type of signage that helps you easily find what you are looking for, it is very likely that you end up frustrated and abandoning your purchase or, in the best case, you end up buying something but your level of satisfaction will not be full.
It’s easy to understand this concept in a physical store but you should also understand the importance of taking care of the user experience of the person who enters your online store as well.
The principle of UX for eCommerce is the same; to get someone to find what they want, quickly and easily. With the difference being that leaving an online store is very different from a physical store; one click and you have lost a potential customer.
Unless you have a live chat system or a chatbot integrated into your website, your users will not have any person to guide them and help find exactly what they’re looking for. This absence of human contact, coupled with the inability to see and touch the products, makes the tolerance for frustration much less than in a physical store.
This is where the UX comes into play, which will enable you to make this purchase process as quick and intuitive as possible on a platform that generates confidence and security for its potential customers.
UX For eCommerce Best Practices
Depending on the nature of the product, it will be necessary to take into account certain elements more or less when designing your website. The user experience will need to be measured to the millimeter to make the customer go through all or the maximum number of sections of your store but without much delay and without causing disorientation. Basically, you need to streamline the whole process for them and make it as quick and easy as possible. This can include optimizing pages such as your cart and checkout so that the whole process is seamless. Your user should be able to find a product, add it to their cart, and then proceed to pay with minimum hassle involved. The more steps they have to take, the greater the chance of losing the sale.
Create and Design for Your Visitors
This may seem obvious, but a lot of people build their website for themselves. You need to put yourself in the place of your potential visitors and think about what they would want. There may be some things you don’t like or disagree with, but that doesn’t matter, because your users are paying you money for this experience. If you think that a certain feature of your website is completely ugly and annoying but your visitors love and it make more purchases as a result, would you change it? Probably not.
Think and understand how buyers interact during the purchase process and build your store based on it. Avoid falling into the temptation to put what you believe is the best, and consider what would streamline the users experience on your website. You can actually monitor how users behave on your website by utilizing heatmap application software such as Mouseflow. It can be added to your website and you can see exactly where your visitors click, scroll their mouse, interact with forms, spend the most time, their location, and much more.
Take a look at your competitor’s websites and analyze their structure. Look at how they have designed certain elements, where they have positioned certain things, what you like, and what you don’t like.
Take note of how they have detailed product descriptions, sections where they can be contacted such as a form or live chat system, an FAQ page, contact number, and general bits of helpful information. Think how you can be better than them and what you can offer to your visitors that they can’t for theirs.
In order to complete a purchase, the user needs to have been able to easily navigate through your website. It is crucial that they can find the products or information they’re looking for without much effort.
The user must know at all times where they are. If they have been browsing through your pages without thinking but want to go back to something they saw before, they should be able to easily find it through your main navigation menu instead of continuously clicking the back button until they hopefully get there.
Generally speaking, if a page is more than three clicks off your home page, it is far more likely to not be found by a user in search of it.
Your navigation will encompass every page on your website. There doesn’t have to be a direct link to every page from your home page, but the sections should be properly titled and make sense to the user if they are looking for something.
This location is the most common for these pages and most users will expect to be able to find them there.
Your main navigation menu should be sticky which means it doesn’t disappear when the user scrolls down the page. This means they can browse through your content and easily stay on your website by going to another page with minimal effort. It should also include the main pages that the user would need such as your main product categories or blog.
Responsive Web Design
It is essential that your online store be compatible with every type of device whether it be a PC, phone, tablet, or laptop. You can probably guess how many people use their mobile phones predominantly for web browsing in today’s times.
Sometimes a website can look great on a computer but when brought up on a phone everything is misaligned and organized. This can and will cost you sales.
Platforms such as Shopify and WooCommerce have themes where the majority will come with a responsive design, so you don’t need to do any coding to optimize your website. This makes UX for eCommerce a lot easier and virtually no technical changes need to be made in order for your site to work on mobile devices.
It is estimated that by 2021, almost three quarters (72.9%) of eCommerce sales will come from a mobile device.
This statistic can’t be ignored, and mobile commerce is going to be the majority that needs to be catered to.
You can test your website’s responsiveness using free tools such as Am I Responsive?
Trust is one of the most influential factors for a conversion to occur. There are several elements that contribute to generating security and confidence for customers and you must not ignore them.
Here are some examples:
Use a secure signal (HTTPS – SSL) on your website
Publish reviews of verified customers
Display Payment Methods
Shipping and Delivery Information
Just think; how many times have you been on a website and were about to buy something, but for whatever reason, you just didn’t feel right about it and your abandoned your cart?
Trust is everything, and not just online.
There will be multiple instances throughout the users time on your website where they will question your legitimacy and wonder if your site is safe to purchase from.
An SSL certificate is indicated by the padlock you see in the top left corner of the address bar on your browser. This means the website is secured by Secure Sockets Layer technology, which encrypts the data between a web server and a browser to maintain privacy for the user. SSL has since been deprecated and is the predecessor to TLS.
They are actually very easy to install, are very affordable, and are legally required if your users are entering their payment information on your website. If your user is entering their payment information off your website, then the payment processor will need to have one in place.
Include logos of the payment methods you accept on multiple pages of your website in visible locations. It’s very annoying for a user to go through your site, choose a product they really want to buy, get all the way to your checkout page, enter in their details, and only then discover that you only accept bitcoin.
These logos are commonly included in the website’s footer so they are displayed on every page and definitely the checkout page as well. Some eCommerce websites include them in a prominent position on all product pages as well so the user is never in doubt.
Content and Quality
Take pride in your website and what you sell.
Your users will be looking and judging everything on your site and constantly be re-accessing if they should buy from you.
Imagine if your website was awesome, but your product images look like they were shot in a poorly lit basement with a disposable camera.
You’ve just lost yourself some sales.
Every detail of your website needs care and attention given to it because every detail will be judged by someone at some point.
The content on your website should be properly written, free of spelling and grammatical errors, and effectively communicate the message you want to convey.
Your product descriptions should accurately and concisely detail what the user is looking at, so they can understand immediately what they would be getting, preferably without having to contact you to ask additional questions.
All the images on your website, whether of products or for other purposes, should be clear, clean, detailed, and a proper representation of the page and content surrounding it. A lot of user experience for eCommerce is just basic common sense. Where it gets trickier is testing and knowing what the users better respond to such as placement of certain features, colors used, and much more.
Less is More
Eliminate everything you can that may mislead from the purchase.
We start from the basis that a user who ends up on your website is there because they intend to buy, or at least to learn about your products. The more clutter there is on your website, the more likely they are to abandon their purchase or search.
It’s very common to want to give your users as much information as possible, but sometimes this can really clutter an eCommerce website. Save the lengthy information for your content pages, while keeping the purchasing sections with only the essentials. You want your visitors to buy your products, so why overload them with unnecessary information that detracts from the goal?
The colors and fonts you use are also very important in order to create a good user experience. You may know about the psychology of colors and how they play a part in the users subconscious behavior. This can be a huge factor in UX for eCommerce and the colors that you use for certain elements on your site can be a huge deciding factor for someone.
For example, if your “Add to Cart” or “Buy Now” buttons are colored Red, how do you think the user would mentally perceive them?
Now if those same buttons were instead colored Green, how do you think the perception would be different?
Most people in the world instantly associate these colors as Green = Go and Red = Stop.
Due to this, the user could subconsciously decide that clicking on that Red button is not a good idea because their brain has made an association and told them what to do.
Regarding typography, the rule of thumb is to use simple and easily readable fonts. Users are very familiar with the standard fonts such as Arial and Verdana and we suggest not using more than three different sizes. Using crazy fonts is not recommended unless it is legible and completely related to your niche and the theme of your website.
A moderate use of colors coupled with a minimalist and flat design makes the page super clean and intuitive for the user.
You may notice that a lot of eCommerce stores, especially ones selling fashion have a very clean and minimal design. In fact, a lot of them look quite plain in terms of design and predominantly just use black and/or white as their color scheme. This is also a calculated decision, because the black and white color scheme of the website provides no distractions and enables the clothing to pop and stand out from everything else.