Selling your products online is all about product presentation, right? Wrong! Of course, it’s important to present your products in the best possible light, but you also need to make shopping at your store a pleasant experience.
Do you know how high-end stores pamper their customers by offering personal shop assistants and complimentary champagne? That’s because the shopping user experience is as important as the products we’re purchasing. It is the same with your e-commerce store UX.
So if you want to boost your conversion rate, you need to optimize your e-commerce store UX. Here’s how to do that.
Optimize your speed
There is nothing that says poor UX in e-commerce quite like a slow website. If it takes forever to load your store or more products, customers will get frustrated and leave. Actually, it takes much less than forever — three seconds is enough to lose half of your potential customers.
So do everything you can to make your e-commerce site leaner, such as optimizing your image size and decluttering. Also, steer clear of extensions. You can use software with built-in features instead of piling too many extensions, which can kill your speed.
If you have a large product base (we hope you do), you also need to invest in a caching tool as cache can slow down your site significantly.
Build simple navigation
Your e-commerce store can be the most beautiful thing visually, but if users have a hard time finding their way around it, it means nothing for UX. When it comes to navigation, there’s not much room for experiments — just stick to the formula that works best.
You need to make the use of your store as intuitive as possible, i.e., guide the eye exactly where it needs to be. It’s always a great idea to group your products and allow for a variety of search filters. Have a neatly organized menu and make everything essential easy to spot on the page. Don’t make your customer have to roam around and waste time.
Put effort in your mobile version
M-commerce is on the rise, and you’ll miss out on a huge customer base if you neglect the mobile version of your site. Apart from the fact that it needs to work flawlessly without any glitches and delays, it also needs to have a different design and layout compared to the desktop version.
That’s because people have different habits and expectations regarding their mobile experience. It’s best to replicate the mobile gestures taught to users by social media platforms. For example, users need to swipe to see the next product or use two fingers on the screen to zoom in on a picture.
Have a simple checkout process
One of the main problems e-commerce businesses have to deal with is cart abandonment. Customers choose the products, put them in the cart, and abandon the cart right at the end. So what makes them change their mind so quickly? There are many reasons behind cart abandonment, but one of the most common ones is a complicated checkout process.
If a customer needs to fill an excruciatingly long and complicated form before they can make a purchase, it’s highly likely that they will just drop it and turn to a competitor. It is best to ask only for the most essential information and make the instructions crystal clear. It’s a great idea to add real-time validation next to entry boxes.
Allow reviews and feedback on the site
One survey shows that 91% of people read at least one online review before they make a purchase. The best recommendation for your store and products are comments made by happy customers. People look for reassurance in other buyers’ reviews.
What’s more, if you allow your shoppers to leave reviews and feedback, you get to see what they like and dislike about the store. That way, you can give them more of what they like and change what they dislike. What better way to improve user experience than hearing from the users themselves?
Automate customer support
One thing about the online shopping experience that people really appreciate is the self-service part. They don’t have to talk to clerks or interact with people in any other way, which can be time-consuming and even stressful. What’s more, millennials would much rather text than talk, which is why messaging is their preferred way of communicating with businesses.
So why not automate your customer support by implementing AI-based chat windows? These chatbots can respond faster than live agents and cater to many customers at the same time. They can assist the shopper in finding products, completing the purchase, explaining the payment process, and answering any questions. Plus, they are available 24/7.
Use white space to your advantage
White or negative space is just as important as occupied space, and it’s an often-overlooked factor in providing a great user experience. Sometimes, people try to fill every corner of the page so as not to “waste” any spot, but this sort of thinking is wrong.
Cluttering your pages is an assault on the customers’ eyes, and it can be extremely overwhelming. Plus, it takes the spotlight off your products by stealing the show (in a bad way). Instead, you should utilize white space to your advantage, i.e, use it to accentuate products and focus users’ attention where it should be.
Alert customers to special offers
We all love a good discount, a limited offer, or — better still — a freebie. These things have been drawing customers in since the beginnings of retail, and they work for online stores too. You just need to make these offers easily noticeable on the products page.
However, if there’s a special offer on a product, it’s not enough to display it on the product page only. You need to reiterate the offer on the cart page too. If a customer doesn’t see it there as well, they might think the offer is not valid and abandon the purchase.
Kevin has gone through an extensive home renovation with his son, which he has both thoroughly enjoyed, and dreaded every morning. He is now the proud owner of half his dream house and has become a successful blogger writing on PlainHelp. You can follow him on Twitter.