Why is user experience important?
Have you ever visited a website that was difficult to navigate? Have you visited one with seemingly endless steps to place an order? What did you do? Chances are, you gave up and went to a different site.
Your business might provide a top-quality product or service, but if people are finding your website frustrating to use, they are likely going to leave and never return. On the other hand, if your website provides a good user experience (UX), customers are much more likely to complete transactions, return, and spread the word.
The key to this for any e-commerce store is to ensure a streamlined UX for customers. Make it fast and make it simple. But how?
Make it easy to navigate
Users arriving at your site through a search engine usually already know what they’re looking for. Does your website let them find it easily?
A well-organized page allows visitors to find what they want quickly and effortlessly. Separate products and services into categories and subcategories. You might want to consider drop-down menus to reduce clutter, especially if your website has a broad array of categories and subcategories
Another effective tool is offering multiple sorting options. Some people are price-minded and don’t want to scroll through items in a price range they’re not interested in. Others want to look at particular brands or functions. Yet others may prefer alphabetized listings or the ability to sort by customer ratings.
In short, the fewer clicks a user has to make to find what he or she wants, the better the chance that the user makes the purchase.
Make it mobile responsive
Over half of e-commerce traffic now occurs through mobile devices like phones and tablets. And, commonly, websites look and function differently on a phone than they do on a laptop.
When a mobile user has trouble viewing, navigating, or purchasing on a website, that person is probably going to visit another site and will never return to yours.
Search engines like Google, also prioritise responsive sites in the search engine results pages.
Therefore, it is essential that your site provides intuitive and enjoyable UX on all devices and platforms. If it’s not, you’re missing out on both traffic, and sales.
Make it easy to read
Your website is not the place to make the case that you are an undiscovered wordsmith. Unless you are providing something highly specialized, keep wording and descriptions simple. Avoid jargon that the average person might not know.
Keep product descriptions to the point. What is it? What does it do? What is the benefit of buying from you, over someone else? That’s what customers are looking for.
It’s also important to keep paragraphs short, utilising headings and bullet points to break up content.
To many users, a long paragraph looks like a wall of text. It can appear overwhelming, and the person may choose not to read it at all. If the person does start reading it, he or she may lose interest and stop reading. When that happens, there’s a good chance that the person will not look at a different product but instead will look at a different site.
Likewise, sentences should be direct and efficient. Long, complicated sentences make it hard to keep a reader’s interest.
Keep it clean and simple
Design and layout is important, for information organisation and visual appeal. This one goes hand in hand with short paragraphs, clear wording, and good organization.
You want your website to be visually pleasing by avoiding clutter and not being distracting.
A crisp, clean look is inviting to users and makes them want to stay. It also allows the focus to go where you want it to go.
Each page should have a purpose, whether this is to invite the reader to learn more, contact you, sign up to a newsletter, add to cart, or make a purchase. If the content doesn’t align to the purpose of that page, it should be removed or placed elsewhere.
My biggest tip for this one, increase white space, always!
Use high quality visuals
This is where your visual assets come into play.
Good branding allows your clients to connect with your business in a matter of seconds, build trust, and decide your product is something they want to learn more about.
Good photographs of products help make the decision to buy. If you’ve ever been frustrated by tiny, blurry pictures of a product, you’re not alone. Another issue is extremely large, slow loading images! Don’t do that to your customers!
Where possible, provide images from different angles and the ability to enlarge them.
If it’s a service you’re providing, good visuals of happy clients and finished products can make a compelling case for your business.
Provide redirects and options
Sometimes a user is going to find that a product is unavailable. That might be beyond your control, but it nevertheless presents the risk of losing that customer. Other times, a user may decide against a purchase based on the price.
To keep these customers from leaving and going to your competitors, you can provide options for clients to sign up for restock alerts, or suggestions for similar products. Many websites employ some variety of “You might also like…” or “Other customers purchased…” on the same page, with clickable links to those product pages. This is a strategic move. Your flagship product might be the one with the best margin, but it’s certainly not the fit for every budget, so give your shoppers options and don’t make it difficult to explore those options!
Use calls to action
Every page promoting a product or service should have a clear call to action on it, a way for a customer to easily begin the purchasing phase or request more information. For products, this is most commonly an option to add an item to a cart or to purchase it right away. If your business is providing services, such as a landscaping company or dental practice, you’ll want some type of “Contact Us” link that enables the customer to get an estimate or make an appointment.
When customers have these options easily accessible on the pages they’re viewing, it’s easier to persuade them to follow through with a transaction.
Buying should be fast and simple
It’s not always possible for an e-commerce site to make purchases possible with just one or two clicks, but it’s important to let customers complete that process with as few clicks as possible. Instead of having separate pages for name and address, contact info, shipping preferences, and payment details, put it all on one page if you can.
Give customers the option to save their information for future visits by creating an account. Even better, make the account creation process as simple as possible by only asking for necessary additional information if the shopper has already entered their basic info. However, don’t make the mistake of requiring an account to make a purchase; many people prefer to check out as guests and will leave a site demanding they make an account.
During the checkout process, any return policies or quality guarantees should be clear and easy to understand. Few things frustrate customers the way vague or deceptive return policies do, and then those unhappy customers are gone for good!
Is your user experience up to scratch?
With a smart, effective UX, your customers can find everything they need hassle-free and can complete a transaction in just three or four clicks. Customers who are happy with not just the product or service but also their experience on your website will be more inclined to be repeat customers and to recommend your business to others.
We at Seedling Digital are experts in e-commerce website development and design, and are incredibly passionate about supporting product-based businesses to increase their online sales, by building beautiful custom WordPress websites from scratch, or redesigning websites where appropriate.
We can help you streamline your users’ experience to increase conversions and improve customer retention while you focus on what you’re best at.
To find out how we can assist you, contact us today.