eCommerce web design is a highly competitive and complex field, and to be successful online, you have to follow specific critical points.
It’s simple enough to build an eCommerce site but to be competitive and make it successful, you must understand the critical components that make the best eCommerce websites.
The common thread that separates the memorable and extraordinary eCommerce sites from the rest of the pack is the user experience or UX.
This article, Hopping Mad Designs, will go over the user experience. What is the UX, why it’s essential, and ensure that your customer shaves the best user experience possible on your website?
The Most Critical Aspect Of An eCommerce Web Design Is The User Experience or UX.
Wikipedia defines the user experience as to how a user interacts with and experiences a product, system or service. And this includes your website.
If you want to build an eCommerce online store better than your competition and get as many sales as possible, then the user experience has to be seamless, easy to use, navigate and overall; world-class.
Let’s start by breaking down the UX for eCommerce stores.
To explain what a user experience is and why it’s important, let’s compare the standard eCommerce website to a brick-and-mortar store to give you a better idea of what the user experience means.
Whenever you walk into a shop or store, say in your local Westfield shopping centre, you will expect to see and get:
- Eay access into the store without anything blocking your passage.
- Clear signage and any specials of good for sale, you should be easily able to spot these.
- Be able to speak to a salesperson who is friendly, knowledgable and honest.
- Buy as many products as you want using your credit card and other payment methods.
- The shop has to be clean, uncluttered and easy to walk around.
- Be able to get your goods and exit the store. Oh, yes, and you want a decent parking spot!
If you have had any bad in-store experience, say you are shopping with a friend, and you have been treated rudely by a salesperson, or perhaps the store didn’t have friendly energy or was poorly designed. Chances are you not going to buy from it or revisit it. You might even go online and leave a negative Google review.
You can quickly draw a comparison between bricks and mortar retail shop and an eCommerce online website. They are essentially the same.
Customers online want to be able to see and do the following:
- If they are a repeat customer, they want to know if there are any upcoming sales online via email.
- They should navigate the site easily and find the products they are looking for with a minimum fuss. PayPal tells us that over 70% of online purchases are abandoned at the checkout stage, which is one of the biggest challenges to face any eCommerce website.
- Products should be less than 3 clicks away.
- All products are labelled clearly with detailed descriptions as well as delivery and shipping information.
- You should be able to pay online quickly using your credit card or other platforms like ZIP or AfterPay.
- The website must load quickly and render on all handheld devices.
All of the best eCommerce sites go above and beyond clients expectations by making the whole buying process a breeze. Most websites that go bust never fully understand these critical must-haves for the customer experience. Many eCommerce sites I see are free cheap templates that have absolutely no thought put into the UX and look dreadful. They may load fast and have a decent check shopping cart page, but they look amateurish, which doesn’t inspire trust with the customers. The conversion rates are shocking, and they generally go out of business within the first year or so.
What elements are part of the best eCommerce web design & UX?
Now you have a clearer idea about the whole online user experience and what online customer expectations, we can now look at the variables essential for the best eCommerce website.
A design that works on every device
Statista tells us that in 2017, 75.8 per cent of the Australian population used a smartphone and will reach around 80.1 per cent by 2025.
Your customers are fully mobile, and to capture this market, you need to fully design your eCommerce website to cater to this mobile market. Failure to do this is one of the reasons why people will leave your website.
Online users want fast, snappy information at their fingertips and websites that show even the slightest hassle in getting to the products area are a real cause for concern.
Website load times
Simply put, your website must load quickly. No one, and I repeat, no one is going to hang around waiting for your site to load. Website page speed is critical for the customer experience and will also affect your SEO rankings. Neil Patel, in his blog How to Increase Page Speed,
explains that 47 per cent of consumers expect a website to load in no more than two seconds.
Any longer than a two-second load time will smash the user experience, and your next online purchaser may just hit that back button and exit the site.
Top-quality, detailed product descriptions
Shopping online is highly visual. Your customers can’t touch or feel the products that eliminate the whole tactile experience, which means they need to read the product description and view the images in detail. The only way they can decide to buy or not is if the description is tempting and the product shots are clear and high-quality.
Product categories are evident
People hate navigating through different pages to find the products they want to buy. There is a three-click rule determining the user experience, which tells us that customers should get to a product within 3 clicks. Any more, and they are likely to leave the site and shop elsewhere. When you are briefing your web developer, make sure they understand this before designing the wireframes.
Easy checkout process
BigCommerce tells us that shopping cart abandonment occurs when customers add items to their shopping cart but leave before purchasing.
Most people will abandon their purchase during the check out stage if they have to create an account. Never ask your customers to do this. It’s a killer for conversion. And give your customers a wide variety of payment options and shipping options.
Offer Free Shipping
People love the words free, and if you can offer some free shipping, scream this out and let them know about this on the home page and the checkout and product pages. 90% of consumers view free shipping as the top incentive that would encourage them to shop online more often, according to Ship Bob. Free shipping is a massive incentive for customers to buy from your site. Wherever possible, push the free-angle as customers enjoy freebies.
Include a search bar
Searching for products on large eCommerce sites can be a hassle and frustrating, especially when you know what you want. Adding a search bar eliminates any search hurdles by allowing customers to find what they want in one click. Over 40% of customers go to the search bar in the first instance, so definitely include this.
Adding a contact button with a phone number adds trust as customers know that they’ll contact a real person if there are any issues with the product or delivery. If your a small start-up without the resources, then include an email such as:
Make sure you get back to every customer as happy customers tend to leave positive reviews on Google, which will further boost your websites trust factor and overall user experience.
Summing it up
There are many facets to the user experience. It’s not as simple as it looks, and for an effective eCommerce website, you shouldn’t take a DIY approach. I have seen far too many failures with sites that don’t cut the mustard. Investing in designing and building an eCommerce site with a significant focus on the user experience is worth every cent. Invest now if you have a long term strategy for your business and watch your client base and revenue grow.
Need Help With Your eCommerce Store? Contact Hopping Mad Designs
As specialists in web design and WordPress eCommerce stores, Hopping Mad Designs is here to help you create a more robust, hard selling and user-centric eCommerce website that works.
To start the conversation call us on 02 9360 8514.