Ecommerce user experience: 4 best practices
Picture yourself in a physical retail shop.
What draws you in? How do you browse through the products? What resulted in a purchase? Why do you continue to shop there?
With every strategy a retailer implements to convert a casual browser to a customer — from window displays and merchandise organization to sale incentives and check out — the same process stands for an online store.
Think about it.
Are customers likely to walk into a shop without signage or without a clear idea of what’s inside? Probably not. On the off chance they do decide to explore, if the shop has men’s apparel mixed with women’s apparel, a pile of unfolded clothes, or a calculator with a fanny pack of cash serves as your checkout system, the likelihood of making a sale is more like one out of a million. “So you’re tellin’ me there’s a chance!?” No, Lloyd, no chance.
Your online store must create an enjoyable ecommerce user experience your customers in order to keep bounce rates low and conversions high. The homepage is your display window. Much like the products you’d find in a professional retail store, products in your online store should be categorized and displayed in an easily navigable and visually pleasing way, and the checkout process should be clear and quick—slow lines at checkout cause shoppers to abandon ship.
Now that you get the picture, here are four steps to help you revamp your online store.
- Create a user-friendly navigation path
- Implement breadcrumb navigation to help customers find their way back to pages they want to revisit without having to start over at the homepage.
- Include logical product categories and subcategories based on your customer intent (i.e. Men’s, Women’s, Best Sellers, Gift Guides, Seasonal Collections).
- Show recently viewed products and categories. Shoppers have limited time and short attention spans, so remind them of products they previously liked and increase your sales.
- Make it quick and easy for your customers to shop
- Add a quick shop button. Sometimes customers know exactly what they want, so enable them to skip past product details other offers. All they need is search, add to cart, and checkout.
- A single-page streamlined checkout is absolutely essential to avoid dropped carts and missed opportunities. This should be the quickest and easiest part of your customer experience.
- Empower your customers with the product information they need
Envision the experience a live consultant provides and create a similar digital experience for your customers by providing the following information on your site.
- Color swatches
- Close-up zoom with additional product views
- Product reviews
- Image and video galleries
- If you’re extra fancy, a product selection tool can be really advantageous. Surf brand Rip Curl offers a great example of this.
- Live chat options throughout the site
- Clear customer service contact information on the checkout page
- Don’t forget your mobile users!
- If you haven’t already, hop on the mobile-wagon to define your brand’s mobile strategy
- Mobile subdomain, responsive design, or app? One of them will be the right approach for your brand’s specific goals and budget.
- Make sure your user interface is touch-friendly. Shoppers use their smart phones with a variety of preferences (i.e. one-hand swipe versus two-hand hold). Research your customers’ mobile postures and design accordingly to make navigation and clicks convenient.
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These checkpoints will help guide you in creating a great ecommerce user experience for your online store. If you’ve implemented any of them and seen great results, or if you have another tip to add, let us know in the comment section below!