As I sat down sipping my coffee, my mind was still on the book I had read about, earlier in the day. The book was all over the internet. Ashlee Vance’s biography of Elon Musk. For a minute, I thought of ordering it online, only to stop myself and think, let me experiment today. Why shop with the same applications?
I quickly picked up my phone, skipped all my regular shopping apps, from Amazon to Flipkart (I knew I could get the book there) and visited to a new website, you know just to try out.
Have you ever felt like somebody picked you up and slammed you right to the ground, like how Hulk slams Loki in The Avengers movie? Well, that is exactly how I felt. It was as if the site was mocking me for skipping those e-commerce apps on my phone. This site was more like someone had thrown in a few items, a contact form and a credit card form and said “Voila! Here is your website!”
It is a known fact that nowadays to sell products, one doesn’t need a brick and mortar store, and instead needs a good online store. But for an e-commerce store to survive among the plethora of others, the store needs to impress its customers. But how do you do that?
Jeff Bezos says, “Build a great experience, customers will tell each other about it.”
As we delve deeper into the experience of shopping online, we realize that with the leap of innovation in technology and its role in the everyday life of shoppers, a solid user-centered design for an online store is one of the major factors for its success.
There are numerous factors on which the success of an e-commerce store depends on. As a part of the success story, UI/UX plays an important role by directly influencing customer decisions. On this ground, let us learn a little more about UI/UX for e-commerce and how people see it.
Why is it so Important?
“Is design so important for an online store’s success?” I’m pretty sure this is the first thought that comes into your mind when you think of UI/UX. However, you should know that several other factors like load time, ease of use on mobile, easy navigation and more, that vouch for a great UI/UX.
With so many elements making an impact on what a customer thinks of your store, it is quite evident
that a bad user experience will most likely result in you loosing out on a potential buyer. To make things hard, there are thousands of other options for shoppers and this will certainly be a driving force for a visitor to leave your website.
A recent report estimates that
– 35% of shoppers abandoned cart because they found a better store with better prices.
– Close to 25% of the shoppers decided against buying because the website navigation was too complicated.
– 20% of the shoppers decided to move on to another site because the process was taking too long.
So what are ecommerce stores doing wrong? Let us delve a little deeper into this.
Forcing to create an account
I don’t understand why e-commerce stores do this! Why do you need customer information even before they have ordered your products? Asking the customer to sign up mandatorily before moving further just adds unwanted hassle to the shopping experience. Why create such issues which can prompt your shoppers to drop off? Instead, you can ask for the required information after they place an order, and let them know that they can use it to track their orders.
No search box
It is not surprising to see that one in three people decide against a purchase because they did not find what they were looking for. Just think of it this way. Of all the people coming to your online store, who do you think will use a search bar? Those who are more likely to convert! An optimized search bar with the right filter options, ability to handle long tail keywords and auto complete feature can give you insights on what your customers are looking for on your e-commerce store.
Lack Of product details
How often have you visited an online store and felt like sitting in a car with no engine? In other words, too much emphasis on products and price and not much on the actual data required. Online shopping
has one huge disadvantage in the form of lack of interaction with the shoppers. To overcome this, e-commerce stores need to be spot on in providing the best in-store shopping experience.
Product information is an important factor that determines a shopping experience for people. As shoppers take extra measures to ensure that they make an informed purchase when buying online, rich product information (with some great images) can play a huge role in influencing their purchase decisions.
Clumsy Menu and Navigation
Imagine an online store with absolutely no categories for products, navigation elements and just
a common menu with your cart and customer service links. There is nothing worse for an ecommerce store than this. No matter where a customer lands on, it is the navigation bar and the menu that play a huge role in providing all the necessary information. With a cluttered navigation, you are not helping yourself as it results in more people just dropping out from your store.
I’m sure you would have come across this point everywhere in the ecommerce space. DO NOT complicate your checkout. The entire process should be smooth and easy for the customers as they definitely don’t want to end up facing a tedious task. It is important that you keep your checkout page short and straightforward with minimal and necessary fields only.
A recent study examined that among the top 100 ecommerce sites in the world, a near perfect checkout process includes an average of 5.08 number of steps, and 19 number of fields in an order or payment form.
Mobile Optimization – Crucial, Yet Overlooked
When in 2016, mobile search surpassed the desktop numbers for the first time ever, mobile apps turned into a mainstream in the ecommerce industry. Though the term “Mobile Commerce” was first coined two decades ago, it is the technological advancements in the recent years that has enabled shoppers to search, explore, review and buy goods on a pocket-size hand held device. It is not surprising to see that in 2016, there was a 44% increase in spending on mobile devices when compared to the previous year. And by 2020, mobile commerce is expected to grow by 45%.
Despite the great numbers, users are still concerned over the entire shopping experience on a mobile device. But what exactly is a good experience on a mobile device?
Minimal Load Time
A recent report says that mobile users in general are five times more likely to abandon an ecommerce store if it takes quite a time load. Lesser the customers have to wait, better it is for your store.
One of the major concerns for buyers is the lack of security for their financial information when using a mobile device. As an owner of the ecommerce store, you should clearly communicate on the page that it is secure by emphasizing on the same visually.
Mobile forms can be a disaster if they are not well placed on the site. Improved form labels, ease of use, good readability, and appropriate text inputs are some of the factors that needs to be taken care of while optimizing a mobile form.
There are numerous factors which you can take advantage of to improve the experience on your site.
After having discussed the big guns, here are a couple of other “overlooked” aspects of an e-commerce design that needs to be taken care of for a better engagement with the customers.
Images – Bigger the Better
Over the years, e-commerce stores have embraced large product images with more details visible.With a picture worth a thousand words, an e-commerce site with enticing product images can certainly have a positive impact on the buyers. Large images can show much detail, multiple views and other information that can answer some of the questions in a buyer’s mind.
One of the best e-commerce sites that make good use of gigantic product images is Mulberry. With its huge images and easy navigation, buyers find it very easy and pleasing to use.
Product Videos – They Talk a Lot
It is high time you consider your “loyal” product pages again. How well are they doing in retaining the buyers? Are they good enough to bring them again? What makes them interesting? Videos I suppose?
Videos play an important role in prompting buyers to spend more time on the page. A critical feature of your content marketing strategy, videos help in drawing the attention to a particular product.
But that doesn’t mean that you just use some video with no details. What matters is the right approach and the e-commerce site of ‘Bellroy” is the best example. For each of their products, they have a set of images and a short video that explains all the features of that product.
Let them Know
Your design might be inspiring for an e-commerce site, but the efficiency of your store depends on the number of purchases you complete by the end of the day. There are several factors that come into the picture to influence the buyers on a site.
One such crucial factor is the navigation on your site. With intuitive navigation, you can let your buyers know what brand they are dealing with, their products and a clear step by step interaction irrespective of their intent to buy or just to explore your site.
Graze does a great job with its menu with clear-cut navigation and information on what the company is and what it does.
Best practices, important points, guides and errors to rectify are beautiful, informative, wonderful and all that. But they can take you only up to a certain point. Every ecommerce store with its own set of target audience is different which means that it has its own set of UI/UX problems. Do your research, observe your customers, learn their behavior, see what they want and put yourself in their shoes to check if your store is providing the same. It is all about making your customers’ decisions easier with your innovative ideas.
Ganesh is a marketer and blogger at Specbee, a leading ecommerce and CMS solution provider. When he is not busy in exploring new technologies and writing about them, you can find him in a football ground going gaga over the game. You can follow Specbee’s blog for more of his articles.