Customers’ needs and technological advances are two constantly changing variables. For an eCommerce business, keeping up with these evolving trends is a year-round priority. To ensure retention and loyalty, an eCommerce website should find the right balance between being memorable and offering meaningful and relevant experiences to people shopping online.
The way brands succeed in building holistic experiences depends on the degree of user research and empathy they put into everything related to customer interaction. A good user experience is the result of creating your eCommerce website focusing as much on seamlessness as on memorability. UX and usability principles are the basis for guaranteeing this balance. They ensure that customers value the experience with your brand and keep coming back.
The Power of Proper User Research
Sometimes, eCommerce website owners tend to be too close to their product and too far removed from customers. To overcome this, proper user research and a competitive analysis done right will ensure that they answer customers’ needs and meet their expectations. Moreover, user surveys, usability testing, search-log analysis, or analytics reviews are some of the methods that guarantee an optimum user experience. We deep-dived into these user research methods in one of our previous blog posts.
Once done right, user research should be accompanied by several eCommerce UX principles and best practices for a seamless user experience. We’ve compiled a list with the most important ones:
1. Easy navigation
According to Hick’s Law, the more choices a user has, the more time it will take them to complete an action. Navigation needs to be intuitive, with minimum choice pathways and no unnecessary interruptions. For example, websites with many products in a single category should enable faceted search and left-column navigation to allow shoppers to sort products according to different attributes.
In a world where customers have plenty of options, lists of recommended products or items that other customers bought are of great help. These personalization features speed up product search and the completion of the purchase. Moreover, they add a personal touch to the buying process and lead to deeper relationships between customers and brands.
3. Clear and prominent CTAs
Calls-to-actions’ role is to keep customers focused on completing a specific task during the user journey. A good call-to-action should look clickable and stand out from the rest of the page, clearly communicating what happens next and nudging users to take action. Although they’re powerful tools, they can seem overwhelming if used too much.
4. Visible product value
Shoppers must be able to immediately and effortlessly ascertain a product’s value. In this respect, the jobs-to-be-done framework for user needs is extremely useful as a starting point. An important thing to take into account is that website visitors shouldn’t have to read and scroll a lot or watch long videos to be able to perceive the value of a product.
5. Powerful search feature
As search users are more likely to convert, a search feature on an eCommerce website is extremely useful. This feature is especially relevant for the searcher type, the visitor that’s almost at the end of the buying funnel, for which a good eCommerce search engine would pull up relevant products. On the other hand, a search engine becomes even more important in the case of a complex offering. Sticky search bars with auto-complete versions for specific queries, for example, streamline the search process from every page. However, their presence on checkout pages is not recommended, for the sake of conversion.
6. Social proof
When people are uncertain about a purchase, they seek social evidence to speed up or back their decision process, with ratings and reviews having a profound impact on purchasing decisions. Social proof comes also in the form of user-generated content such as testimonials, case studies, or user reviews. Implementing a user-generated content feature on product pages can be a powerful tool for increasing conversion.
7. Security badges and customer support
eCommerce is among the industry sectors that are the most prone to security breaches. Users are becoming more and more aware of their potential vulnerability online. Therefore, credibility and trust are paramount and can be easily built by displaying security badges and third-party endorsements in a prominent place on an eCommerce website. Moreover, support features like chatbots, return policies, FAQs, and customer support details are of great help.
8. Geo-location targeting
When selling internationally, a geo-location targeting feature for location-specific offers ensures relevance for the entire user journey, in the customer’s own language. It can also help in swapping images and promotions to enable the right offer to the right customer at the right time.
9. Avoid automatic sliders or video backgrounds
Automatic image sliders or video backgrounds are trendy for their top-notch aspect. However, they’re usually prone to glitches. If implemented incorrectly, these design elements may slow down the website, and distract the visitor from reaching the checkout page. As both site speed and user experience are important SEO factors, these design elements may not be worth it.
10. Speedy checkouts
A slow checkout process is one of the major reasons for cart abandonment. Using clear progress indicators and short forms, removing distractions, and providing clear information about shipping costs and multiple and diverse payment options will ensure a seamless checkout process. In addition, guest checkouts could be a viable option for retailers whose business does not revolve around generating customer accounts as it prevents account-creation fatigue.
The impact of good UX
Eventually, a relevant and meaningful user experience is one of the key factors to ensure long-term success, customer loyalty, better word-of-mouth marketing, positive reviews, and recommendations. The success of eCommerce websites lies in improving user experience, keeping it simple, and winning clients’ trust. This will not only result in higher conversion rates, but will also influence brand perception and, therefore, have the right impact on customer retention and loyalty.
From a business perspective, following the UX best practices and principles and investing in optimizing user experience can have an immediate impact on conversion rates. Check how good UX more than doubled online transactions for one of our clients.
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