Building a website is a great way to spread brand awareness and drive new traffic to your shop. But if your e-commerce shop isn't using the latest eCommerce UX best practices, it could be wasting the traffic that it generates.
In this post, we're going to cover the best practices of UX for e-commerce websites, giving you the insights you need to capitalize on your visitors and land conversions consistently.
Let's start with the basics!
What is user experience?
User experience, abbreviated as UX, is the combination of factors that influence your users' experiences with your product. That can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the experience you've crafted.
UX encompasses a broad swath of website components, including aesthetics, functionality, branding, accessibility, and credibility. Calculating and improving your UX is key to providing an online shopping experience that not only prevents users from leaving your website but keeps them coming back for more.
Balancing all of these different factors at once can be difficult, though, especially for the inexperienced. It can even seem that improving one aspect of your UX is harming another at times. That's where resources like e-commerce UX best practices can help you build a solid UX foundation.
Why is user experience so important?
There are several reasons why UX is important to e-commerce businesses, not the least of which is that happy customers are repeat customers. Beyond that, though, are practical reasons why you should invest in your user experience design.
The better your UX, the better your SEO ranking
SEO isn't just about content creation and keywords (though that is a key strategy). Google Search also considers factors like how easy it is to navigate your website and how your site looks on mobile. Neglect this, and Google Search will neglect you.
A solid UX takes less time and money to maintain
This one is common sense: If your website is a shoddy, jumbled, unusable mess, you're going to run into more problems and maintenance issues. This creates more costs over time than a simple and efficient website.
8 need-to-know e-commerce UX best practices
Below are the e-commerce UX best practices that every online store owner needs to know. By following these practices, you can ensure a smooth, competitive, and effective UX.
1. A clear, direct homepage
First up is one that everyone can (and should) implement: A clear, direct homepage.
There are three pieces of information that your homepage should communicate to your visitors in an instant:
- Who you are
- What you do/sell
- Your USP
Text is a great way to communicate these points, but so are images, too. For instance, if you have a recognisable logo, then that can qualify as your "Who you are" point. Or if your USP is your one-of-a-kind product designs, then a background photo showcasing a stunning design will communicate your "USP".
2. Easy navigation
The second item on our list of e-commerce UX best practices is another must - navigation. Your visitors aren't going to stay on your home page. And if you don't want them to leave, then you need to make it easy and compelling for them to stay.
There are a plethora of great navigation tools that have become commonplace in UX design. Expandable menus, navigation bars, and big CTA buttons are all staples for a reason. Think about where your visitors would want to go after being hooked by your homepage, and then direct them there.
3. Don't be afraid of pop-ups!
Everyone has had a bad experience with webpage pop-ups. You're browsing a website when suddenly, a loud video is being shoved in your face. Ads are being shoved over the text you're trying to read, or an announcement for a sale you aren't interested in won't go away.
These bad practices can lead site owners to think pop-ups should be avoided at all costs. But not so! Pop-ups are a tool, and like any other tool, they can be used incorrectly.
When used tastefully, though, pop-ups can be a great way to let visitors know about special offers, show off a useful chatbot, or spread news quickly. Just be sure to treat it like a quick alert rather than a way to force a user down a certain path.
4. Speed is non-negotiable
Next, we have speed. This is specifically referring to how quickly your website loads, including the front page and all others. 46% of website users leave a page if it doesn't load within four seconds, and the rest won't wait much longer.
You can ensure your site loads quickly by following a few e-commerce UX best practices:
- Keep image file sizes as small as possible (you can use algorithms to compress images without sacrificing quality noticeably)
- Use an efficient and updated platform (like Shopify or Squarespace)
- Embrace the latest web technology and stay updated!
5. The faster your checkout system, the better
Speaking of speed, look at your checkout system. How quickly can a visitor purchase a product after they've decided they want to buy it?
If it takes more than five steps, you're on the slow side.
Try to break your checkout process up in these stages if possible:
- Billing info
- Shipping info
- Review order
For customers that have an account with you, you can speed things up even more by pulling billing and shipping info from a previous order.
It's also worth considering using a one-click checkout process for customers with an account.
6. Do your product pages have all of the information your customers need?
A major frustration that customers encounter in online stores is a lack of information. e-commerce shops tend to fall into one of these traps when making this mistake:
- Adding too little information. A photo and one-sentence description of your product is not enough. Show different angles, maybe a 30-second hands-on video, a list of ingredients, a description of what the product is used for, a list of other products the person will need to have for this product to work, etc.
- Adding too much information. On the other hand, if your product description looks like an essay, your customers won't read it. That's almost the same as having no description at all! Use scannability techniques like lists, incorporate an FAQ, and break your product description up into categories like "Description", "Specs", "Ingredients", etc., so customers can quickly find the info they need to make a decision.
7. ...that includes reviews!
Yep! The information on your product page should include user reviews. Guess what percentage of your customers use reviews from other customers to make a decision. 30%? 70%?
90% of your customers use product reviews to make a final purchasing decision.
That's basically all of them. If you don't have product reviews built into your website, you're seriously hampering your ability to reach new customers as well as boost your SEO (reviews are packed with keywords).
8. Keep things mobile-friendly - if not mobile-first
Finally, our last suggestion for e-commerce UX best practices is to keep things mobile-friendly. Purchases made from a mobile device (i.e., a smartphone) comprise 40% of all eCommerce orders.
Not only that, but Google Search is now scanning websites to see how mobile-friendly they are. The worse your website is on mobile, the lower it's going to rank in search. Platforms like Shopify coupled with a savvy design team can create a seamless experience regardless of which device your customers are using.
Put these e-commerce UX best practices to effect with the experts
These e-commerce UX best practices are critical to boosting your sales and visibility. If you aren't incorporating them, you're losing out on business.
Fortunately, you don't have to be a design pro to turn things around! Reach out to the team at Mercury Assets today for a glimpse into how a redesign could give your revenue a massive bump.