More and more people worldwide are shopping online. In the year 2020, global e-commerce sales are expected to reach $4.2 trillion and make up 16% of total retail sales. The actual numbers may be even higher than that, due to the pandemic closing so many brick and mortar storefronts.

For an e-commerce store owner, it isn’t as simple as sitting back and watching the money flow in. Competition online is steeper. PPC rates are higher. So you’re looking for ways to increase sales.

One of the easiest ways to increase your conversion rate and increase sales is by improving your user experience.

What is E-commerce User Experience? πŸ€”

The e-commerce user experience encompasses a shopper’s emotions, attitude, and perceptions of human-computer interaction. Attractiveness, ease of use, simplicity, and other factors play into the e-commerce UX.

Let’s look at some examples.

We’ve all been there. You’re shopping online for widgets or gizmos. You’re looking for a specific product that meets your exact specifications. Yet the first two e-commerce websites you go to, they don’t list the product details you need. Or, you do find what you want, but when you go to checkout, the website demands that you create an account before you can make the purchase. Or it’s not until you’re almost done that you find out the shipping costs nearly match what you want to buy. This results in an abandoned cart. Welcome to a bad e-commerce user experience 😞

Or let’s say you’ve been searching online for that perfect gift for a loved one. The one thing they can’t stop talking about. You finally find it, click on it, choose the correct size and color, click checkout, enter your credit card and shipping information, and hey, would you look at that, shipping is free! Your product will arrive at your home just in time for the big day. When you check your email, there's a 10% off offer for your next purchase. To top it off, the whole shopping experience only took a few minutes. Welcome to an excellent e-commerce user experience 😁

How E-commerce UX Drives Your Conversion Rate 🧐

A great e-commerce UX is a gold mine when it comes to word of mouth. As Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos once said, β€œIf you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.”

UX design, whether implemented when you first built your e-commerce site, or implemented in a website redesign, is critical in the success or failure of your e-commerce business.

By providing an excellent user experience, you make it easy for a visitor to find and buy your products or services. Make it difficult or unpleasant, and the visitor will abandon the shopping cart.

Picture yourself walking into a brick and mortar store. Everything is attractively and neatly arranged, with signs overhead directing you to where things are. Yet, you’re still not sure, so you stop and look around. A store employee approaches you and asks if they can help. You tell them what you’re looking for, and they lead you over to the product you wish to buy - and you end up buying it.

Compare that to walking into a messy store, where products are mixed together and don’t have price tags. You look around for help, and there’s an employee playing a game on their phone, refusing to acknowledge your existence. You put the item down and walk out of the store.

See the similarities? Make your online store like the first example.

How to Create an Excellent E-commerce UX πŸ“

Want to make cart abandonment a thing of the past? Keep reading for some tips on how to create an excellent e-commerce user experience.

The Need for Speed 🏎

The #1 reason people visit your site and then bounce right out is page loading speed. If your site is slow to load, Research shows that nearly 10% of e-commerce site visitors will leave the site if a page takes more than 2 seconds to load. While nearly a third of visitors will bounce when a page takes 7 seconds to load. Where do they go if your site is slow? Your competitor.

Not only is slow loading a killer for business, but it’s deadly to your SEO. Get up to speed - create an Attractive and Responsive Website

Make Your Site Easy to Navigate 🧭

Remember that big box store example we used? The one that was well organized? Do that with your e-commerce website. Make it as easy as possible for a visitor to find what they’re looking for. Utilize well-organized tabs and categories that lead to clearly defined product pages. Another thing is consistency -- keep navigation the same across all pages. As described in this blog about the components of a good user experience, β€œmake sure the visitor doesn’t have to think!”

Make the Checkout Process Fast and Easy πŸ›’πŸ‘πŸΌ

This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many e-commerce sites are doing well in user experience until the user gets to checkout. How can you streamline your checkout process to make it fast and easy?

  1. Make Guest Checkout the most prominent option.Forcing someone to create an account is a major cause of cart abandonment.
  2. Ask a customer to provide only the necessary information. If you ask for zip a code, you don’t really need the city and state.
  3. Make it easy to create an account if they want to. Don’t make creating a password too complicated.
  4. Provide numerous payment options.
  5. Provide security information to reassure them, such as a logo from VeriSign or prominently display your return policy.
  6. Include clear calls to action.

A good way to test this is to go through it yourself and see if there are any areas that could be improved upon.

Keep Them Coming Back πŸ™ŒπŸ½

Once you have a first-time buyer, how do you keep them coming back? It's possible to increase customer retention in a number of ways, including:

  1. Utilize a newsletter to send special offers
  2. Keep your website updated with new content and highlight new products
  3. Use social media to keep your customers updated and engaged
  4. Reward your brand advocates

You can also embed offers on your order confirmation email as a nice way to keep your brand top of mind.

Let Happy Customers Speak for You πŸ—£πŸ‘₯

Let customer testimonials, reviews, and case studies speak to your strengths and the awesome customer experience you provide. Search Engine Journal put together a great piece on the importance of reviews.

Testimonials and case studies on your site allow the potential customers to see greater detail about what they can expect if they do business with you. Utilize Google, Facebook, Yelp or any other review site if you need content to supplement. This is incredibly important because on the web, customers would much rather hear from their peers than you!

Provide Fast and Easy Customer Service πŸ€—

So many people do their shopping online now because it’s fast and easy (or it should be.) To make the user experience even better, provide several ways for customers to contact you -- phone, email/online form, chat, etc.

It’s best if you have someone available to provide customer support at all hours, but if that’s not feasible, make sure you respond to customer inquiries within a few hours. Wait too long to respond, and the shopper will go elsewhere.

Final thoughts on improving your E-Commerce UX

No matter which of the e-commerce platforms you use, if you don’t put serious time and effort into making the online shopping experience fast and easy for your customers, you’re missing out on revenue. With the average conversion rate between 2-4%, even if you increase sales by another 2%, you just doubled your business!

After reading this post, you should have some concrete tips on how to improve the user experience and increase your conversion rate. Use them to create a comprehensive, strategic approach to creating a great e-commerce UX.

Of course, every product and target audience is different, so it’s critical that you do your user experience research and track changes to find what works best for your e-commerce site.


This article was written by our friends at Stikky Media Inc.

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