Last Updated on November 30, 2020
The success of an e-commerce site often hinges on the quality of the user experience (UX) that it offers to its visitors. A site with good UX can resonate with customers, facilitate the sales process, and provide clear lines of communication for customers with a question or two.
On top of that, quality UX can impact your ROI. In other words, a positive user experience equals more money for your company.
Okay, so understanding the value of e-commerce UX is pretty easy, but what about actually implementing it? If your site is feeling a bit lackluster or you’re getting loads of negative feedback from your visitors regarding things like page layout or navigation issues, here are a few crucial tips to help you create a website that delivers the best user experience for your customers.
1. Be Authentic and Informative
Authenticity and transparency are crucial values for modern consumers. Millennials, in particular, have heralded a shift away from traditional advertising and promotional material. Instead of sales gimmicks and discounts, the emphasis has shifted to things like authenticity and information.
If a consumer is able to find resources that clearly establish your brand as an authority within your field, they will be more likely to patronize your company. When it comes to user experience, in particular, authenticity and information primarily manifest through your content.
For example, say you’re selling something that typically requires some education, like cashmere. Create content that quietly meets potential customers on their own ground, gently offering valuable information that helps them better understand the product.
By focusing on authentically and transparently offering valuable information for your site’s visitors, you naturally cultivate a sense of trust. If allowed to develop, over time that trust can translate into fierce customer loyalty, repeat business, and glowing word-of-mouth marketing.
2. Stay Simple
Simplicity is extremely important in the overcrowded online marketplace. The quicker and easier a consumer can find an answer to their problems, the more likely they are to be satisfied with their experience.
Now, it’s important to clarify, a site that exercises simplicity must still maintain its functionality and design. However, doing so in a straightforward manner is an essential key to success. Muddling up your website with a plethora of unnecessary imagery, videos, or splashy, off-brand colors could confuse your visitors. Instead, try to replace confusion and chaos with a candid and sincere design that strives to present precisely what the average customer is going to be looking for.
When considering your current site’s simplicity (or lack thereof) remember that the goal should be to create a seamless experience. Everything from easy navigation to the strategic placement of content to the purposeful use of white spaces should be taken into consideration. This is helpful for companies that are quickly trying to establish trust with their consumer, like a bank or a debit card company. Creating a quick and easy experience helps consumers get exactly what they need out of a service.
3. Research Your Target Demographic
By definition, user experience focuses on the complete encounter that a person has when using a product, service, or in the case of an e-commerce company, an online storefront. This focus on the “overall experience” includes a variety of different factors, from emotional elements to the accessibility of information, the ease of navigation, and so on.
While these factors are all very different from one another, they tend to have one thing in common: the user. They are fixated on providing an experience that is user-friendly and user-focused. This goal to resonate with those who are going to use your site naturally makes understanding the average user a primary goal of creating a good user experience.
With that in mind, it’s essential that each website revolves around a thorough understanding of the target demographic that it aims to serve. This requires extensive research that should include:
- Studying the latest trends and developments in your industry.
- Interacting with existing customers to gather feedback and learn about their pain points and desired solutions.
- Observing competitors in order to see how they are connecting with your shared customer base.
Use this research to craft your site around the knowledge and expectations of your target market. Consider creating a buyer persona — that is, a semi-fictional character that represents your ideal customer — as well, to help guide your UX decisions as you address your website’s content, functionality, layout, and usability. This will enable you to design your sight in a manner that shows, rather than tells, visitors how well you understand them.
4. Prioritize the Back End, Too
While the user experience takes place on the front end of your site, it’s important to consider the UX aspects on the back end of your operation, as well. This includes a variety of activities that, while less showy, can have profound effects on consumers’ overall experience on your site. A few of the most critical back-end activities to consider include:
- Loading speed: Keep your page loading speed fast and efficient in order to avoid losing potential visitors, who can tend to give up at alarming speeds while trying to access a website.
- Cybersecurity: Maintain a high level of cybersecurity, particularly regarding shopping carts, sign-up forms, e-signatures, and any other manner of handling customer information.
- Analytics: By tracking visitor behavior you can glean useful information, such as dwell time or what content is more popular than others, all of which can help you make informed UX decisions in the future.
By tending to the back end of your site, you can indirectly boost your site’s UX by ensuring that everyone on the front end is able to use a smooth, functioning website.
Staying simple and informative, conducting research, and optimizing the back end of your website are all key activities that, while easily overlooked, can all boost your site’s UX — and by extension, your bottom line — in unique and effective ways.
The critical factor is maintaining that customer-focused approach as you go about looking for ways to improve your e-commerce user experience. Each activity should be pinpoint focused on resonating with and improving your target audience’s on-site experience. If you can do that well, the rest of the sales process will follow.