Top 8 eCommerce UX Strategies to Improve Conversion Rates

eCommerce

Top 8 eCommerce UX Strategies to Improve Conversion Rates

Call it easy or difficult, the mantra for success for any eCommerce business is “win over customers and they will take care of the rest.” Smarter businesses focus on this aspect right from the eCommerce development stages. And what better way of winning customers than making sure they have the best shopping experience on your online store. eCommerce UX, is therefore, one of the most critical elements of an eCommerce strategy.

This blog will tell you about the different UX sections that you need to focus to get the most out of your eCommerce store. There will be tips as to how you can improve upon UX features and give a more immersive experience to users.

But before we get into the tips, let’s have a clear understanding of what it really means and why it is so important.

What is eCommerce UX?

It encompasses all the interactions that a shopper experiences during the product buying process. It starts with them visiting the website or the app and goes beyond the product purchase.

It includes post-purchase interactions such as delivery of the product, customer support, return, or exchange of product, etc. In short, anything and everything that the shopper has to do with the online store falls under its umbrella.

Why is eCommerce UX important?

Majority of online stores are selling a product that can be found on some other eCommerce store as well. Even the prices would be similar on these portals. So, the only thing that now differentiates online stores is the kind of user experience they provide. It is what pushes one eCommerce business ahead of others in terms of success.

Jeff_Bezos_quotePoor user experience repels customers and is one of the primary reasons for cart abandonment. On the other hand, a pleasant eCommerce user experience not only improves conversion rate but also makes shoppers return to your store for future purchases. Some of the other benefits of great UX for eCommerce are:

  • Reduced cart abandonment 
  • Improved rates of returning customers
  • More word of mouth referrals
  • Reduced customer support cost
  • Satisfied customers

Do you know that 88% of customers are less likely to return to a website after a bad experience? And to make matters worse, people are more likely to spread the word about a bad experience compared to a good one. The ecosystem is rightfully ruthless for the ones catering a bad UX for eCommerce. 

But if you follow a customer-centric approach and try to make their life as easy as possible, the rewards would be multifolds of what you invest. The ROI for UX is 9,900%, no kidding! However, it’s a lot easier said than done. To come up with a flawless UX, you need to take care of every nook and cranny of the online store. It’s a perpetual cycle of making improvements with customers’ needs on your mind.

Let us explore some of the prominent features of a pleasant eCommerce UX and learn how you can implement them on your online store.

1. Improve load speeds to increase conversion rates

Why care about eCommerce load speed and site speed?

“An online shopper” and “patience” aren’t the two terms that you would usually find being used in the same sentence, especially in a synonymous sense.

Page speed refers to the time it takes for your eCommerce page to load, whereas site speed is the average time it takes for a page on your website to load. It’s important that you take care of both. 

If we look from the UX perspective, then fast loading pages add a smoothness to the entire experience. The shopper wouldn’t have much time to get distracted by other things if they are going through the purchase processes in the blink of an eye.

Do you know that 57% of the shoppers will leave your website after waiting for 3 seconds and 80% of them will never ever return to the website. That’s a hefty price to pay for the difference of a couple of seconds in the load speed. Slow loading pages are also among the primary reasons for cart abandonment. 

Let’s round up reasons that call for higher page load speeds:

  • Improved UX
  • Reduced cart abandonment
  • Better SEO rankings
  • Improved customer satisfaction

How to keep the page load speeds under check for an eCommerce website?

There are plenty of reasons for why your pages or the site might be slow, and therefore, there are multiple ways you can optimize your eCommerce site to load faster. Let’s explore solutions to some of the more common bottlenecks.

  • Make sure it’s not the host: The first thing you need to ensure is that your hosting provider has the right infrastructure to support your online store. The bandwidth considerations should also factor in the peak loads during sales such as the one Black Friday. Finding a hosting provider with some eCommerce experience can be beneficial.
  • Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN): It is the use of CDN that allows Netflix to deliver such high quality content around the globe without any significant lag. If you cater to a global or dispersed audience, then CDN is the way to go. It stores cached versions of your website in a global server network and results in much faster loading speeds.
  • Optimize images: Images make up for a good portion of the content hosted on eCommerce sites. The UX guidelines would suggest that you provide shoppers with high quality images, but the load speed caps say otherwise. The solution, in this case, is to be smart and find the right balance between speed and quality.
    Compressing the images, decreasing thumbnail sizes, getting rid of unnecessary images, uploading images in CSS sprites, etc. are some of the ways you can use to find that balance.
  • Code minification: Poorly written code can adversely affect the load speeds. Minification is the process that helps you get rid of poorly written HTML, CSS, and JavaScript on the webpage. It results in optimal performance and increase in page speeds.
  • Regular interval checkups: The best strategy is to keep checking the online store for flaws that affect load speed. It would allow you to take care of the issue at a much lower level and prevent any major losses because of it.

2. Product discoverability saves customer’s time and increases sales

How product discoverability matters?

Product discovery is not just a usual eCommerce UX design practice but has a direct impact on sales and bounce rates. It gets even more important when shoppers with a higher buying intent are involved. They are very specific about what they want and don’t like fooling around. If these shoppers feel they are wasting their time trying to find the right product in your store, they are going to look for it somewhere else. 

It’s imperative for a great eCommerce user experience that shoppers easily find what they are looking for, else how are they going to bounce away.

Jakob_Nielson_quoteUX strategies to improve product discoverability

People come looking for products using different means. Some might Google the product and pick one of the results, others might first visit the eCommerce site and then search for the product. Then there are multiple ways for product search on the site itself. One can use the search bar, navigate through product categories, or might even get enticed by the offers section.

Here are a few things you can do to make it easier for shoppers to find products on your online store.

  • Make the homepage useful: Instead of filling the homepages with unnecessary bells and whistles, fill it with sections that might help the shopper. For instance, you can have a personalized section showing results related to the user’s previous purchases. Then you can also showcase trending products for the region along with some great deals.
    Another important facet of a UX friendly homepage is navigation, and we will learn more about them in subsequent subsections.
    Build.com has a great homepage with intuitive navigation and the right kind of categorization.

builtdotcome_homepage

  • Focus on navigation: eCommerce navigation is supposed to help visitors narrow down their hunt. If someone is visiting your eCommerce site with the intent to purchase sneakers then you want to let them know of all the different categories of sneakers you have. And all of this should happen without them needing to move to a new page or go through a maze. Flyout menus help a lot in this case. 
  • Accurate on-site search: Everyone’s used to search bars these days. In fact, absence of one turns off a lot of folks. However, the idea is not just to slap a search bar but to make it work for shoppers. It should be able to deal with typos, close-enough queries, natural language processing, etc. 
  • Product attributes are your friend: Product attributes are the markers you set up to help customers find products. Rich product attributes make filtering so much easier and intuitive. It brings in the element of multi-faceted search to the equation. Try relaying as much information about the product with the help of product attributes and you will end up making life so much easier for the shopper.

3. Product descriptions help build user trust

Product descriptions sell the product

The product page is to an online store what a salesperson is to a brick and mortar store. 

The product page is supposed to tell the shopper all there is to know about the product. If you fail to provide sufficient information, the customer may leave your store. On the other hand, if you end up providing misleading information , the store’s reputation is going to take a hit. The product page is supposed to have the right balance between correct and sufficient information.

Home depot has one of the most informative product pages out there.

homtdepot_product_page

Ways to boost up the product description page

Here are some of the ways to make a good salesperson out of your product page.

  • Images speak a thousand words: You already know that product images are at the core of eCommerce UX. However, you need to make sure that displayed images are informative as well. For instance, if the product is a handbag, then an image showing the insides of the bag with all its pockets is going to help the customer more than any description. 
  • Don’t miss out on the variants: If the product has got variants in terms of color, size, or any other attributes, then let the shopper know about it. Let them know they have options.
  • Product info should answer user queries: The product info should be such that it answers the questions that customers may have. Try not going about answering every possible question about the product that a human mind can conceive. Instead, keep the info section sophisticated and helpful.
  • Let user reviews help you: Shoppers like taking cues from the experiences of others. An honest user review section on the product page will help you a lot in the long run. Don’t be afraid of the poor reviews. In fact, address them and use them as a mode to showcase to your customer pool how you care about them.

4. Create CTAs to help shoppers achieve their goals i.e. buying products

CTAs guide one through the customer journey

At the end of the day, the entire drill of creating a pleasant eCommerce user experience is to sell more products. If the journey you are creating is not turning the visitor into a customer then you need to introspect your actions.

CTA_examplesCTAs not just aid in enhancing the UX but also motivate visitors to make purchases (or the other action mentioned in the CTA). Proper placement and effective use of CTAs will create a smooth passage for the customer through the eCommerce funnel. With the right CTAs, visitors get clarity about what they are supposed to do next, and you get to improve your conversion rates.

Best practices for the use of CTAs in eCommerce

  • Make them stand out: This is as generic an advice can be about CTAs, yet a lot of eCommerce webmasters fail to implement it. Use of contrasting colors will help visitors locate the button with ease, thus improving the probability of them clicking on it.
  • Use actionable text: Generic text or the age old copy is less likely to do the trick these days. The CTA text should be such that it pushes the customer to take action. You can also highlight the value proposition in CTA text to make them even more effective.
  • Less is more: Even though it sounds like a great idea, do not fill a page with CTA buttons. Focus on one primary action for each page such as ‘Add to cart,’ ‘Make payment,’ ‘Add to wishlist,’ ‘Checkout,’ etc. Introduce multiple CTA buttons only when it is unavoidable. Else, the higher number of CTA buttons will only confuse the shopper and spoil the user experience.
    CTA_gif

5. Simplify checkouts and don’t extort sensitive information

Smoother checkouts avoid cart abandonment

If you desire creating an awesome user experience then you need to get rid of the roadblocks along the customer journey. The majority of cart abandonment takes place at the checkout stage. However, not all cart abandonments on the checkout stage are because of the complexity of the process, some happen simply because of the lack of user intent. But there is no denying that the checkout stage is the biggest hurdle for the customers.

Another bummer for shoppers is when the online store focuses more on collecting sensitive information rather than selling the product. Customer trust isn’t that easy to win. Even though all you want to do with the collected info is to make life easier for the customer, the message is hard to convey amid all the privacy concerns these days. The best option in this case is to let the other doors remain open for the customer to buy the product.

Tips to simplify the checkout process

  • Have a single page checkout: The shorter the checkout process, the higher is the probability of the customer going through with it. Single page checkouts have gotten quite popular among eCommerce business and shoppers alike. See if you can have the same for your online store.
  • Progress bars help the user feel in control: Progress bars are a great tool for generating user trust and enhancing the eCommerce UX. It also encourages the customer to remain patient during the shopping experience and reduces the bounce rate.
  • Provide guest checkouts: Not everyone would want to share their personal information and create an account to complete the purchase. The best way to avoid losing such customers is to provide the option of guest checkout alongside the usual one.
  • Avoid long forms, especially during checkout: Unnecessarily long forms can shoo away potential customers. If you think collecting a lot of information is crucial for a better UX then do it in stages, and even that should be optional for the visitor.
  • One-tap-buys: These can be the friends to compulsive buyers on the online store. One-tap-buy should always be a feature on your online store irrespective of what percentage of the customer pool uses it.

6. Deliver personalized shopping experiences and retain more customers

Keep everyone happy with personalised experiences

Preferences vary from person to person. It is an absolute curve ball to come up with a user experience that pleases everybody, perhaps next to impossible. However, the technology has made it very easy to address this issue. If you can’t create a universal experience for everyone, deliver personalized user experiences to every individual. 

59% of online shoppers trust personalized eCommerce stores to find more interesting products for them. Amazon is probably the guiding beacon for all eCommerce businesses eying personalized shopping experiences for their customers.

With the use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, you take the eCommerce user experience to a whole nother level. It will lead to increased customer retention, increased sales, improved customer loyalty, etc.

Elements that help creating a personalized shopping experience

  • Fastrack processes: In the list of benefits that shoppers should get out of personalization, faster completion of processes is among the top ones. Be it the checkout, the payment, or even product selection, the customer should be able to go through them a lot faster.
  • Personalized recommendations and more: With the ML algorithms, you’d be able to suggest products which are based not just on the user’s browsing history but their actual preferences. The feature will help a lot when the customer delves into a new product category and is still satisfied with the recommendations.  
  • Onsite and offsite personalization: The scope of personalization goes beyond just the online store. You can make use of it in the push notifications and emails you send to the user. Such personalization has been proven to improve the number of purchases from individual customers.
  • Use geo targeting: Geo targeting is one of personalization features that lets you cater region specific offers and deals to shoppers. Do not forget to make use of it to enhance the UX.

7. eCommerce UX is incomplete without customer support

Turn mishaps into opportunities with customer support

No matter how much effort you put into creating a streamlined customer journey, there are always going to be instances when customers run into roadblocks. However, you can leverage such instances to show customers how you care about them and win their loyalty.

Customer support helps with the eCommerce user experience before, during, and after the purchase process. There is no way you can pay less attention to this part of the customer experience. The benefits of great customer support on a website are improved brand and product value, improved retention rates, increase in user trust, and much more.

Tony_Hsieh_quoteThe three commandments for UX friendly customer support

  • Provide omni-channel customer support: Omni-channel customer support refers to the one in which all the different customer support touch points are integrated with each other. This way the shopper can contact you via any medium such as live chat, email, phone, twitter, etc. and wouldn’t need to explain the issue again.
  • Use chatbots: Shoppers like chatbots when they are smart. Instead of having canned responses for your customers make use of smarter chatbots to assist them better.
  • People like self-support: Not everyone is interested in interacting with a customer rep. They like handling problems on their own. It is for these people that you should also have a self service portal. It can be anything right from an FAQ section to chatbots.

8. UX for mobile commerce is another beast to tame

Pleasant mobile commerce UX comes with countless rewards

Mobile commerce is becoming a different niche of its own and is set to overtake eCommerce in the near future. Given the fact that the way we interact with our smartphones and desktops are different, UX for mobile commerce comes with an additional set of challenges.

Mobile commerce is set to make up for more than 50% of online sales by 2021. The benefits of working on mobile commerce UX are obvious. It is going to help you sell more products. Keeping customer satisfaction at the forefront is going to help you here as well. 

Pointers for a better mobile commerce UX

  • Use of double tap and pinch: Staying true to smartphone features of taps and pinches will allow you to deliver a much smoother user experience. People expect images to expand on pitching and tapping on mobile devices. It’s better if your online store allows them to do that. 
  • Dial pads for number fields: Filling forms on mobile devices can be a task in itself. Providing a dial pad instead of the QWERTY keyboard for filling form fields is a subtle but very effective UX feature for mobile devices.
  • Allow single-handed operations: Most of us prefer using mobile devices single handedly. It comes with a sense of freedom and demands lesser efforts. If the mobile interface of your online store is easily navigable with single-hand use, then you can expect shoppers to spend more time on it.
  • Provide bigger buttons: Small buttons can be very annoying on small screens of mobile devices, especially when they are clubbed close together. Bigger buttons keep shoppers away from such feelings and add fluidity to the customer journey. 

There is still so much that you can do in terms of eCommerce UX design to propel your business to greater heights. We, at Simform, can help you with all kinds of technological and eCommerce development challenges that might come along your way while creating a pleasant UX.

The key takeaway is that making life easier for customers is going to make life easier for you. With customer satisfaction as your north star, you can create one of the best eCommerce user experiences possible.

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A thought leader, Jignesh leads Simform's Product Engineering team by DevOps Institutionalization, end-to-end product development and consulting led transformation programs.

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