With more and more people opting to purchase products online, many companies are rushing to create an eCommerce website and grab their piece of the action.
However when creating an eCommerce website there’s far more to consider than placing nice photos of your products in a tidy grid, and adding a Paypal payment gateway. You need to consider the user experience: in short you need to get into the mindset of your customers.
Here are 10 tips to nail the user experience and turn your eCommerce website into a selling machine.
- Showcase Your Products
People who want to shop, want to shop now! Don’t clutter your homepage with information “about us” or how the company came to be – these items are far lower priority for the average shopper.
Ensure your homepage tickles the user’s fancy with eye-catching images of your products, or models enjoying your products. Show the user how they can’t possibly survive without your brand.
- Logical Navigation
Now you have the user hooked, they need to be able to find exactly what they want without fuss.
Create a simple navigation system – group similar items in categories with appropriate titles that explain to the visitor exactly what the category contains.
Use a fixed navigation bar so it shows even when the user scrolls down a page – making it all so easy for the visitor to easily click through to a new category or page without have to repeatedly press the “back” button.
Some customers know exactly what they want and aren’t planning to browse around your website.
Provide a site search function in an easy-to-find location (commonly the top right of the screen) which will display all items matching the search terms. Ensure the search function is sophisticated enough to search product descriptions, not just page titles and custom fields.
- Filters to Narrow The Search
Most of your website users will want to filter the products by cost, by colour, by size etc – make it easy for them with simple, intuitive filters. They certainly won’t want to have to wade through pages of products that don’t match their basic requirements.
And if they want to clear a single filter, let them. There is nothing more annoying than an inflexible eCommerce website which makes you restart the filter process from the beginning each time you want to make a change.
- Related Products
Your website visitor may have found a product they quite like the look of, but aren’t 100% sure. So why not show them a few of your related products? They may even prefer one of the related products and they didn’t even have to search for it.
Or better still, they may choose to buy both!
- I Wish
Many savvy consumers aren’t happy to visit one website and make a purchase – not without checking prices on competitor sites first.
Make it easy for your users to add items they like to a Wish List – ready and waiting for their return.
- Shipping Prices
It’s all too common to see eCommerce websites that display the product price, but are a little more cagey about displaying the shipping costs upfront.
This will drive your users mad! In fact 28% of online shoppers have said that unexpected shipping costs are the reason they abandoned their shopping cart*.
Have a prominent link to your standard shipping prices in your navigation bar – you could even include an interactive map:
Ensure that once your customer enters a delivery address, the shipping rate (or estimate) is clearly displayed in the basket summary – a trick that Amazon.co.uk has recently introduced.
Some clever websites recognise the user’s IP address and automatically adds the shipping rate to the basket – even before the delivery address is added. Nice touch!
- Check Out
If your check out process isn’t slick, you’re going to see a lot of abandoned shopping baskets – 12% of online shoppers quoted a confusing checkout as the reason for abandoning their shopping cart*.
On your eCommerce website, ensure the data capture form for the customers’ details is
- as simple as possible
- uses obligatory fields only when necessary – just the essential information
- capable of capturing different address/post code formats if you are selling internationally
- Optional Account Creation
Let your users choose whether they create an account or not. Don’t force them to set up a user name and password if they don’t want to – 23% of online shoppers stated having to create an account was the reason for abandoning their cart*.
Elizabeth Arden New York are, however, really pushing for guests to sign up for an account, with the “Guest Checkout” as a bit of an afterthought and perhaps easy to miss – not an approach we recommend:
- Payment Pathway
Ensure your customers have several payment options: PayPal, credit cards, debit cards or gift vouchers. PayPal may be one of the most secure payment pathways in eCommerce websites but not all of your customers have a PayPal account, nor wish to create one.
It is also essential to show your customers that your payment pathway is secure – 13% of online shoppers abandon their cart if they don’t believe the payment gateway is secure*.
You must install a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate to provide a secure connection and encryption of payment information if you want users to feel confident about purchasing via you.
IN SUMMARY a great user experience on your eCommerce website will lead to more sales, fewer abandoned carts and more customers returning time and time again. Add in the word-of-mouth recommendations to friends about their hassle-free shopping experience, and investing in an eCommerce website designed with the user in mind is the only sensible option to grow your business.
*Statistics taken from https://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/2435488/why-do-customers-abandon-online-shopping-carts
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