The main aim of any eCommerce website is to convert visitors into buyers, with the hope of them becoming repeat customers. However, if your website does not provide a good user experience (UX), there is little chance of your venture finding the kind of success you may expect. For starters, your target audience will take little time to move to a competitor’s website. In addition, poor user interface (UI) and user experience can hurt your website’s search engine rankings too. What helps is that improving eCommerce UI/UX is possible, provided you know how to go about the process.
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What is UI?
The user interface of a website incorporates all the elements of an application, be it menus, controls, blocks, or buttons. These elements work in creating a distinct feel of the product or service on offer. eCommerce UI development involves defining a brand’s identity, selecting colors, and making use of the latest design principles.
Simply put, you may think of eCommerce UI as a set of commands that give users the means to interact with a website or an application. While the interface is among the first aspects that come to the attention of users, it also plays a role in determining if users will remain on your website or leave.
What is UX?
UX, in the online world, refers to how people feel during their interactions with digital offerings such as websites and mobile apps. The efforts that go into web design and development have a significant impact on user experience. However, individual preferences and some environmental factors may also have a bearing on overall user experience. Some factors that affect eCommerce UX include design, accessibility, usability, utility, and performance.
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Why is eCommerce Website UI/UX Important?
The effects of poor eCommerce website UI/UX as well as the benefits of good UI/UX are plain to see if you take a look at these numbers collated by Startup Bonsai.
- 88% of users are unlikely to return to websites that deliver poor user experiences
- This number increases to 90% with mobile apps
- 46% of users who have negative user experiences will tell someone about it
- 78% of users judge the credibility of a website based on its appearance
- 32% of consumers will abandon a brand after a single bad experience
- 45% of consumers want web content to display in the right manner no matter which device they use
Improving eCommerce User Interface and Experience
Boosting the sales of your eCommerce website requires looking beyond your offerings, marketing, and providing incentives. Trends in eCommerce UX show that improving user experience, especially when consumers go through the checkout process, can have a significant effect in reducing shopping cart abandonment rates. If you are wondering how to improve user experience on an eCommerce website for your target audience, various aspects require your attention.
The best place to start when looking to offer a good eCommerce user experience is to get feedback from your existing customers and target audience. However, it is important that you formulate suitable questions. According to eCommerce UX best practices shared by experts from this field, you need to ask specific questions, because you do not want feedback that might seem vague.
Some of the questions that you might consider adding to your questionnaire include:
- Are users running into any bugs or software problems?
- Are they having any other problems with your website?
- How much effort do they have to put into performing specific tasks?
- What kind of information do they need and why?
- Do your offerings exceed expectations formed during the purchasing process?
- Do your customers feel you have delivered on your promises/claims?
- How often do they use your offerings?
- How likely are they to recommend your offerings to others?
- How satisfied are they with the customer service you provide?
- Have they looked for alternatives since starting to use your products or services?
- Are they looking for anything in particular through your new offerings?
Increase Brand Visibility
Getting your branding right is crucial when it comes to providing products that consumers can put a face to. It plays an essential role in eCommerce website UI design, especially if you want to use online platforms to attract more potential customers.
Integrating your brand’s identity into the UI design process gives designers an easy yet effective way to build brand awareness. To maintain a balance across spheres, UI designers take the general branding concept into account and work on the interface, colors, types, fonts, and shapes accordingly.
Ideally, aspects such as user and market research, defining the target audience, analyzing competitors, and developing brand identity should take place before the UI design process begins. This increases the possibility of your offerings becoming recognizable easily and quickly.
If you try to understand eCommerce UX patterns, you will notice consumers tend to look for websites that are easy to navigate. From your point of view, the revenue your website generates defines its efficiency. A great design will not do you much good if it does not lead to desired levels of sales. This is where simplified navigation plays a key role.
Here are some aspects digital agencies need to address to get eCommerce navigation UX right.
- The number of products on offer
- Use of symbols, signifiers, and slide-outs
- Search history-enabled navigation
- Suggesting next logical steps
eCommerce UX research suggests that users look for some distinct information and features when it comes to navigating websites. These include:
- The brand or company providing the offering
- The page they are visiting
- Location of the menu
- Accessibility to the homepage
- Search boxes
- Search filters
- Page loading time
- Access to detailed information about offerings
- Ability to choose from alternatives
- Ability to save items in carts or lists
- Seller information
- Access to ratings and reviews
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Think Responsive Designs
Data released by Google shows that the probability of people making purchases through eCommerce sites reduces by 62% if they have poor experiences on mobile devices. Besides, around 70% of online shoppers might return to responsive websites, and more than 65% are inclined to shop through responsive websites.
The benefits of responsive web design for eCommerce sites are plain to see, given that the number of people who turn online to shop using mobile devices remains on the rise. Responsive web design not only offers a better eCommerce user experience, but it also finds favor with search engines such as Google. One of the benefits is that search engines have to deal with only one URL per page.
Improving Page Scannability
Scannability refers to the effect produced by using different formatting and writing techniques to make up for people not reading all the content they get to see online. This aspect plays an important role in eCommerce UI/UX design because, according to a report released by the Nielsen Norman Group, people are prone to scanning content, looking for particular words or sentences, as opposed to reading word for word.
Some ways to improve page scannability with the aim of offering a better eCommerce UX experience include:
- Highlighting the benefit of any offering
- Including relevant sub-headings
- Highlighting keywords
- Providing information through bulleted lists
- Limiting a paragraph to a single idea
- Going easy on the word count
Minimizing User Effort
An integral aspect of improving eCommerce UX is to save the time and effort people put into making purchases through your website. A few simple measures implemented by the web design and web development teams can address this aspect rather effectively.
- Keep the sign-in and checkout process simple
- Use suitable algorithms to display related products
- Minimize the need for multiple operations, keeping the required clicks to a minimum
- Use color and shape markers to group items or content
- Ensure that the layout appears harmonic and natural to the human eye
Using Landing Pages Effectively
Another common factor in all eCommerce UX best practices talks about the effective use of landing pages. A landing page refers to a standalone webpage designed to target a specific section of your target audience by providing a more tailored experience. This is done to increase conversion rates.
While an eCommerce website cannot create individual pages to cater to all its customers, it can work on coming up with distinct online storefronts. Landing pages give businesses the ability to adapt according to their user base, which they may use to create positive impressions and increase user engagement.
If you follow a highly personalized customer-centric approach, you also get to benefit by relying on the emotions that work in influencing user reactions. From your customers’ point of view, landing pages reduce delays when they are looking for specific offerings or information.
Making the Homepage More Informative
The homepage of your website, web application, or mobile application should serve more than one purpose. It functions as the window to your online store, it provides users with direction, and it is an important marketing tool. In several instances, it is the first point of contact between your business and its target audience. By making the homepage aesthetic, accessible, and usable, you stand a great chance of delivering a good eCommerce user experience.
The information you may provide and the layout of your homepage essentially depend on the expectations you have from your website as well as target audience research. Some of the elements that typically find their way to eCommerce website homepages include:
- Search box
- Contact details
- Links to social media accounts
- Awards, reviews, and testimonials
Simplifying the Checkout Process
Website functionality plays a vital role in attracting your target audience and enhancing eCommerce UX. The design and development stages should ensure that the checkout process remains simple and seamless. A two-step checkout process, for instance, makes for a way better user experience than one that requires five or six steps.
Consider offering a guest checkout option because some customers see no value in creating new accounts, especially when they plan to make small or one-off purchases. Since concerns around privacy continue to grow, not all users might feel comfortable sharing more information than they feel is actually required. Besides, this step gives your probable customers an extra opportunity to abandon their carts.
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Using High-Quality Images
The use of high-quality images to improve eCommerce user experience is a move in the right direction. This is because shoppers want to see the details of the products they plan to purchase clearly. The best way to accomplish this is by using high-resolution images.
Incidentally, using high-quality images does not limit to product listings. Images give you a powerful way to grab the attention of your target audience by differentiating your brand. While images hold the potential to convey messages more effectively than text, they also work in crossing language barriers with ease.
Providing Contact Information Where Needed
You typically find contact information at the footer of a website. However, it may appear as part of the header or the pre-scroll area if it plays a role in increasing conversion. This is usually the case with eCommerce websites where users might need to get in touch frequently.
Make sure the contact information is not hard to find as this may lead to frustrated people leaving your website. Phone numbers should be clickable, as should addresses that then open up in maps. Links to your social media accounts may also prove to be beneficial. Paying attention to these seemingly simple aspects can go a long way in offering a better eCommerce user experience.
Online shoppers have come to expect a quick and seamless purchasing process, fast shipping, access to accurate information in a timely manner, as well as experiences that get as close to the real world as possible. What might have served as good eCommerce UI/UX a couple of years ago may well be passé today. Users, after all, have evolved, and they now look for added elements of delight and inspiration. If you wish to attract and retain your target audience, you need to go above and beyond, making it ideal that you partner with an experienced web design company.