User Experience for ecommerce: what you need to know to improve salesby Jesús Maceira, October 13, 2022
Without a doubt, the user experience for ecommerce is currently one of the most important elements for merchants and online business owners. It is one of the consequences we see in the post-pandemic era. Because digital consumers now expect shopping experiences with features that many companies simply didn't see coming.
As the owner or manager of an ecommerce site, surely your main goal is to make the purchase process as easy as possible for the end user. And this inevitably comes down to the user experience of your online store.
Thinking about this challenge, how to improve the user experience in ecommerce, we want to share in this article the most important aspects that you must consider so that your ecommerce offers your customers the best possible experience. And perhaps what many want and seek: improve sales.
Go for it!
What is user experience (UX)?
As can be seen in this Valido article, the user experience is really not a new concept. But that, with the intensive use of technology, in an —increasingly— large number of devices, it has only become more important.
American researcher and cognitive scientist Don Norman is credited with coining the term "user experience" in the 1990s, when he was working for Apple.
His definition of user experience is:
"The user experience encompasses all aspects of the end user's interaction with the company, its services and its products."
In this video, Don Norman himself (founder of the Norman Nielsen Group, together with Jakob Nielsen) explains the concept:
The user experience for ecommerce
Starting from Norman's original concept, when we think of the user experience for ecommerce, we could say that it is defined as: the emotions that a person experiences after interacting with an online store. In ecommerce, the user experience is directly related to how people feel when they visit your ecommerce store and how easy it is for them to perform the desired action.
In the case of ecommerce sites, there are several actions that we want a customer to perform within the store, such as: search and filter products, select according to category, understand the description of a product -and link it to their wishes- until the most loved by merchants: placing the product in a shopping cart to finally carry out the purchase action.
Always keep in mind that to buy a product, human beings go through a decision process that occurs in our brain. In which stimuli, needs, characteristics of a product, emotions and previous experiences, among others, converge. “Going to the shops” or “going shopping” is currently one of the most important leisure activities for people, which is also a phenomenon that occurs digitally.
When buying, satisfaction is not only related to the product/service itself, but also to the entire purchase process. Something critical for online stores, where the more pleasant and easy this process is, the better the result for the business.
So, the user experience in electronic commerce, to be satisfactory, requires design. It is what is now known as user experience design.
What is user experience design?
According to the Interaction Design Foundation, user experience (UX) design is the process that design teams use to create products that deliver meaningful and relevant experiences to users. UX design involves creating the entire product acquisition and integration process, including aspects of branding, design, usability, and function.
Designing an experience includes not only making the software easy to use. But also to design the other experiences related to the product, for example: the marketing campaign, the packaging and the after-sales support. More importantly, UX design is concerned with delivering solutions that address pain points and needs. After all, no one will use a product that is useless.
In the case of online stores, creating a pleasant and easy user experience involves knowing the specific needs of the potential customers that we want to attract to the store. And especially, knowing what tasks people should easily accomplish when interacting with our ecommerce. Like the ones we mentioned before: search, filter, select... a product.
Why is the ecommerce user experience so important for online stores?
Easy. Because a poor user experience makes you lose money. In a post-pandemic digital society where shopping from anywhere is now the norm rather than the exception, it requires merchants to offer the experience that customers are demanding.
The customer is still the king. And if he is not satisfied with your purchase process, product or service, you will not get any benefit. This is valid for all ecommerce stores. A bad experience causes 38% of users to leave your site quickly, and in fact, 88% of users are unlikely to return to a site after a bad user experience.
Instead, online sites that offer a great experience win customer loyalty, increasing the conversion rate and encouraging customers to spend more money on their products.
According to Forrester, every $1 invested in UX results in a return of $100 (ROI = 9,900%). Customer satisfaction is the key here. Better UX design could lead to conversion rates of up to 400%.
If you have reached this point in the article, we are sure that you are already clear about the meaning of the user experience and its importance in electronic commerce. How do you think the current state of the user experience of your ecommerce is? Is there an error that may be preventing sales growth? Think about it for a moment.
If you want to receive a comprehensive audit of all the relevant aspects of your ecommerce, you can request it from the Valido team here.
It will surely be of great help to identify critical errors in your online store and start implementing the necessary improvements. Let's see now, thinking about the user experience of your ecommerce, what you should consider to improve and increase your sales.
1. Listen and know your customers.
The first step to improving the user experience is listening to your customer base. The opinions of the end user are the most important. Since they can offer you real knowledge about their habits and behaviors, avoiding speculation without much support.
Listen to all the negative and positive reviews. They are an inexhaustible source of information to implement improvements. Resolve queries and respond with a solution to complaints. You can use feedback forms or surveys to understand the customer experience on your website.
When you actively solicit feedback, you make your customers feel that you value their opinions. Customers will provide you with much of the useful insights you need to improve the user experience. Therefore, actively and kindly listen to your customers.
2. Create a mobile-responsive ecommerce.
There are currently more than 4.32 billion mobile Internet subscribers worldwide. That's almost 52% of the world's population, so it's important to make sure your ecommerce store is 100% mobile-responsive.
This really isn't that hard to achieve, all the leading e-commerce platforms like HCL Commerce, BigCommerce, Adobe Commerce or B2BStore have the essential and modern functionality to have online stores that look perfect on mobile devices.
Another important fact to remember is that mobile users are 5 times more likely to abandon a task if the site is not optimized for mobile users. This by itself you still consider it little relevant to pay attention to mobile optimization.
3. Decrease the loading time of your store
One of the biggest reasons people buy online is that they want to do it… fast. From your home or office, to avoid going in person or queuing to pay for the items in your cart. Online shopping has to do with the perception that we human beings have of: saving time. And time they say... is money.
What if your ecommerce website takes forever to load?
Most visitors will leave immediately. And they may never return. In fact, 40% of people abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
You will lose almost half of your potential customers in a matter of seconds... Is this happening today in your ecommerce? …let this settle.
I can't stress enough the importance of load time for ecommerce. The ideal load time for websites is 1-2 seconds. The faster your online store loads, the better the user experience will be. In addition, you will help improve your position in Google search results.
This may be a very technical aspect. Because it involves elements such as the weight of the images, the calls to the server, the configuration of your web hosting, the platform you use, etc. So you will need help from a specialized team, but you can find an idea of the solution under the headless approach of commerce here.
4. Show the variety of your products in an organized way
People are diverse and your products should be too. This is why you need to have different product variations. Especially if you are in the business of selling consumer goods.
Your customers get frustrated if they can't find the desired product variation. You may have the product variation that your customers want, but if that variation is hard to find in a disorganized online store, then the customer will simply leave. Furthermore, frustration, as an emotion, is the archenemy of shopping.
Displaying product variations in an organized way is an important part of user experience design. It is here, for example, where tasks such as searching or filtering come in. Making your products and their variations easier to find will help your customers choose exactly what they're looking for. It will increase sales and improve the overall customer perception of your brand.
5. Improve the visual design of your ecommerce
The customer's first impression of your online store is based on the visual, on its design. It is what designers and developers call User Interface (UI). Modern ecommerce platforms manage this aspect very well.
The visual elements of your ecommerce have to do with: The information architecture of the store, the organization, the size of the text, the images of the product, the color palette and the clear information on each product page.
“75% of people form their opinion of a website based on its aesthetics.” (Source: BCS)
As we mentioned before, an ecommerce user experience design considers the needs of the customers. To improve the current user experience of your ecommerce, apply uniformity and consistency to web design, facilitating user navigation. Make sure the visuals you use in your online store can deliver a seamless experience across devices.
6. Personalization, the key to a good user experience.
Personalizing the experience is perhaps the best method to change the current perception of your ecommerce customers. It's the ideal way for leading ecommerce brands to build loyalty and repeat sales. Who does not like to return to where they know your tastes well, the experience is pleasant and also easy? Think about it for a moment.
A surprising benefit of personalization is that it makes your customers feel valued, which triggers the stimulus directly to make a purchase. Through the power of personalization, you can offer a better customer experience and improve your sales.
This is a summary list of what a personalized experience can offer customers:
- Messages and products, according to geographic location.
- Product recommendations according to browsing and customer interests.
- Offers, products and content based on when the customer accesses the store.
- For registered customers, purchase history, preferences, interests, personal data and exclusive offers according to the profile.
As you will see, there are many possibilities offered by the personalization of the experience, which will undoubtedly have an impact on the perception of the brand and the increase in sales.
Now is your turn!
Without a doubt, there are still more ways to improve the user experience in an ecommerce. At Orienteed we believe that it is an activity that never ends and can always be improved. But now that you know what the concept and design of the user experience is, as well as its importance for online businesses, do you think that the current experience of your store can be improved? In what aspects?
It's time to get to work. In the long run, improving the comprehensive experience of your ecommerce will bring a positive impact, both in reputation and in the growth of your business's income.