10 Tips for Creating an Unbeatable User Experience for Your E-Commerce Website
With fierce competition only a click away, your e-commerce website must provide an impeccable user experience if it wants to have any hope of holding onto its place in the market. However, even if your digital marketing efforts are drawing in more traffic to your website than you ever hoped for, it's all for nought if your bounce rate is high or people are abandoning their shopping carts in droves. Likewise, even if you have the best prices in your industry, a poor user experience will turn many customers away. A successful e-commerce website relies on a clearly defined customer journey, which is complemented by the following features:
1. Mobile-Friendly Design
Consumers are more likely than ever to find your website while browsing from a smartphone or tablet, and making purchases using mobile devices is also becoming increasingly common. Additionally, a recent algorithm update by Google favors mobile-friendly websites in search results delivered on mobile devices. Simply taking a few steps to accommodate mobile users, such as using a scalable user interface, is no longer enough. Your e-commerce store needs to provide an optimal experience on the small screen, and while using a responsive page layout is a good start, you may want to consider going a step further by having a mobile app for your shoppers.
2. Suggestions and Recommendations
Customers often arrive at an e-commerce store without knowing exactly what they want to buy. For example, if someone is searching for the perfect birthday gift for a friend, they'll likely not want to spend hours looking for what they want. A great e-commerce store provides a guided discovery experience that serves to help customers find the perfect item. By providing a personalized experience, your customers will be more likely to fill up their virtual shopping carts. You can help them make decisions by offering relevant product recommendations based on what they've been looking at so far. Just take a look at Amazon.com to see how it works!
3. On-site Reviews
Many businesses are wary of allowing their customers to leave on-site reviews for fear of receiving negative feedback. However, providing this facility to customers has proven time and again to increase conversion rates and help people make guided purchase decisions. Although you will be dealing with the occasional negative feedback, this in itself can also be seen as an advantage, since it can help you refine and improve your product catalog to better appeal to your audience. Many successful e-commerce stores, such as the aforementioned Amazon.com, make extensive use of on-site reviews and product ratings to help their customers.
4. Wish Lists
A wish list provides the simple functionality of allowing potential customers to add products they're interested in to a digital collection that they can return to later, and this is something people often do when browsing on a mobile device. By saving interesting products to their user accounts, they'll be able to continue browsing before making a final purchase decision. You can extend the functionality even further by offering a 'gifting' feature that allows potential customers to share their wish lists with others. Another benefit of providing wish lists is that customers can use them to keep track of products that aren't currently in stock.
5. Consistent Delivery Information
No one likes unpleasant surprises, and no one wants to spend time browsing your e-commerce store and filling up their shopping baskets only to find a huge surcharge for delivery when they come to checking out. Overpriced or slow delivery or a lack of consistent delivery information is one of the most common reasons for shopping cart abandonment, so you'll need to keep your potential customers well-informed during every stage of the purchase process. In fact, most e-commerce businesses now offer a free delivery service as well, although it's a good idea to provide a range of options with the price for standard delivery included in the final shopping cart cost.
6. Multiple Payment Options
Successful e-commerce ventures have learned that providing plenty of different payment options is crucial for decreasing their shopping cart abandonment rates. As consumers become increasingly reluctant to provide their payment information to websites and payment systems they don't know, you must be able to accommodate their requirements and preferences. Providing a mix of a credit or debit card payment system and third-party platforms, such as PayPal, tends to work best. Your website should support all of the major credit and debit cards as well, including American Express, despite its higher processing fees.
7. High-Resolution Imagery
Visual appeal plays a vital role in almost any e-commerce store, and if your products aren't jumping off the page with excellent imagery, you'll likely fail to make a connection with your potential customer. Professional photographs are essential for all of your products, and you'll need to be able to provide high-resolution imagery without being too demanding on your website's bandwidth. Visual content, including both images and videos, should also look great on any Internet-enabled device. You can take visual appeal a step further by providing 360-degree product views and demonstration videos for appropriate items.
8. User-Friendly Product Overviews
Many e-commerce websites simply lift product descriptions straight off the manufacturer's website, but since they will not be unique, they may not be indexed by the search engines. Other online stores might post tedious product specifications filled with technical jargon that isn't likely to be very helpful to the viewer. Having unique and original product overviews written for your e-commerce store will help you to stand apart from the competition. You'll also be able to adopt some creative license to highlight the benefits and discuss your products in such a way that they create a meaningful connection with your target customers.
9. Curated Bundles
Offering the occasional promotion is a great way to show your customers you care, but you can take it a step further by offering discounted collections of products. Not only do curated bundles provide an additional incentive for customers to fill their shopping carts - they also help them to make purchase decisions. For example, you could provide a bundle consisting of gift ideas for the holiday season or hobby items which all complement one another. By packaging certain items together as well as offering a bulk-purchase discount, you'll greatly improve the chances of increasing the value of individual shopping carts.
10. Minimal Distractions
Distracting your customers is a sure-fire way to ruin a streamlined user experience and increase shopping cart abandonment. Your goal should be to keep customers focused on the shopping experience without bombarding them with things like irrelevant content and intrusive advertising. In just the same way no one likes the pushy salesperson in a high-street store, no one likes to be distracted by popups and redirects, particularly when they're already close to making a purchase. The entire checkout process should be quick and simple, and anything that might lead them away from the page will reduce your conversion rate significantly.
Showing your customers you care is a great way to improve your conversion rate. To start with, you should have a thorough plan in place which is based on the ideal course of action you want your potential and existing customers to take when they land on your website for the first time. Your goal should be not only to attract customers in the first place, but also to hold their attention and guide them towards fulfilling your goals. By assisting shoppers with making their purchase decisions and minimizing irrelevant distractions along the way, your e-commerce store will be far better equipped to succeed in an increasingly competitive market.