Most consumers shop online because they don’t want to go through the hassle of going to a local store. To that end, it’s crucial that e-commerce sites reduce customer confusion and make the shopping process as intuitive as possible in order to maximize conversion rate.
This means that browsing, comparing items and checkout all need to be streamlined and optimized for simplicity and clarity while providing the necessary information for customers to make an informed purchase. While all of a website’s development and design influence customer behavior, ultimately UX design is the backbone of a customer’s online shopping experience. UX decisions have the greatest impact on whether a consumer will purchase an item on your site rather than someone else’s.
Here are seven UX tips to maximize your e-commerce conversion rate:
1. Simplify flow path. Above all, a customer should never be confused or lost on your e-commerce site. Avoid common UX mistakes like illegibility due to thin fonts or low contrast and scroll hijacking, and ensure that customers have control for the smoothest navigation options possible. The checkout process itself should be optimized for a customer’s ease of use. Let the user purchase items as a guest or register as a returning customer and include a bar to inform them how many steps they need to take to complete their checkout.
2. Decrease page loading time. Did you know that a one-second delay in page loading time can lead to a 7 percent decrease in conversions? After three seconds, 40 percent of visitors will abandon a site if it hasn’t loaded. Every second matters when it comes to e-commerce conversions, so make sure your website loads quickly. Paying for a better hosting plan, using caches, reducing external scripts and compressing images are a few ways to increase load speed.
3. Improve product filtering options. When a visitor first arrives on your site, they should start with an overview of your wares so they have an understanding of the breadth of your store. Begin funneling them into categories before giving them more specific choices — e.g., apparel retailers first letting users pick a gender before selecting types of clothes. You can simplify the search process by allowing consumers to use combinations of filters, whether it’s gender, size, price, delivery time, color or others that are applicable. The goal is to make sure that products can be found easily. List items in multiple categories if it’s relevant to more than one section of your store.
4. Establish trust. Security is crucial to your e-commerce site’s success, as is clear from Google’s decision to include whether a site is HTTPS (a more secure form of HTTP) as a factor in its page rankings. However, being HTTPS isn't enough to convince consumers to trust your site. Sixty percent of consumers have admitted to not making a purchase because of a lack of trust seals. Therefore, be sure to get the approval of those third-party companies.
To build trust further, be transparent about your site’s security and privacy policies and have clear links to your customer service on every page of your site.
5. Use big product images. One of the simplest and most effective ways of convincing consumers to buy your product is to show them what they'll be buying. Big product images go a long way to help the shopper understand if they want a specific item. Offer multiple pictures of a product from different angles and you’ll find that customer service traffic will decline; high-quality product pictures can answer many questions regarding details of its aesthetics and function before consumers need to ask them. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
6. Emphasize selectability and comparison. Clarity is paramount when it comes to e-commerce, so don’t overcrowd your pages with multiple product descriptions. Instead, encourage selection by making the visitor click on a product to learn more about it. Then, take them to a new page with more information and pictures.
To encourage this behavior, use micro interactions to show that product images are clickable in the first place. Don’t forget to include elements of comparison as well — e.g., user ratings and reviews to show customers what other people think of a particular product. If your e-commerce site offers similar items for sale, allow users to compare the two products in a different window to facilitate a purchasing decision.
7. Recapture users who left. Not everyone who visits your e-commerce site will buy something (the vast majority won't), despite your greatest efforts, but you can work to bring them back. Consumers may create a shopping cart and then forget to check out or they may only have been browsing in the first place.
To encourage their return, use recapture tactics like email notifications or SMS (if they’ve registered) to remind them of your store and the goods it offers. You can also entice shoppers with special deals and coupons to lure them away from your competition and bring them one step closer to your own conversion funnel.
There are hundreds of ways to improve an e-commerce site, but these seven tips provide target areas to focus on as you look to boost your conversion rate and bottom line. Are there any UX tips that we didn’t include? Leave them as a comment below!
Ellie Martin is a freelance writer that regularly writes about business, technology and startups for a variety of publications.