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Ecommerce UX principles and best practices

Jessica Farelly
By Jessica Farrelly

Only 1% of customers think companies consistently meet their needs. One. Percent.

Why are user experience and ecommerce so intrinsically linked? Because improving your customer’s experiences on your site makes them happy. Happy customers spend more, and happy customers keep coming back.

Take it from (one of) the founding fathers of ecommerce, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, “Proactively delighting customers earns trust, which earns more business from those customers, even in new business arenas. Take a long-term view, and the interests of customers and shareholders align.”

 

What is user experience in ecommerce?  

User experience, or UX as it’s commonly referred to, is all about giving your shoppers the best experience possible. 

Remember the movie Pretty Woman? Remember when the fancy Rodeo Drive boutique refused to serve Julia Roberts? Remember what happened?

 

Source

“Big mistake. Big. HUGE.”

 

So, think of UX as a store experience, except online. Don’t be like those Rodeo Drive stores, be like Bridget who helps Vivian find exactly what she’s looking for.

 

Why is ecommerce UX important? 

The design studio, Tubik, suggests there are four key aspects to ecommerce UX that can’t be ignored:

  • Utility: helps users find and buy things they need
  • Usability: easy to operate and navigate the site in the least number of clicks and least amount of time
  • Accessibility: anyone, no matter their ability or disability, can use the site
  • Desirability: the site is attractive and users keep coming back

The bottom line, if users can’t find what they’re looking for, can’t easily navigate your site, can’t access it based on certain limitations, or don’t find it valuable, they won’t buy from you and they certainly won’t come back.

 

What are ecommerce UX principles? 

There are certain aspects any ecommerce site should have. These principles make the customer’s experience with your brand that much better. Here are a few of these principles:

Navigation: easy navigation means that visitors to your site intuitively know where to look for things. The menu labels are clear (not clever) and are simple in their descriptions. For example, use “About us” instead of “Brand essence. 

Security: customers are trusting you with their credit card information so make sure that security measures are called out to keep that trust.

Speed: site speed can be a big problem in the ecommerce world since high quality photos are needed to sell products. But it doesn’t have to be. The important part is the photos that are high resolution don’t have to be big in size either. According to Google, if a page takes more than 3 seconds to load, 53% of visitors will bounce while 50% expect it to load in 2 seconds.

Design: the design of your ecommerce store should be consistent throughout the entire website. This ensures visitors know what to expect from one page to another.

Contact: with everything digital these days, it’s easy to forget that sometimes customers want to contact us for questions or concerns or even praise. Make sure that your contact information is readily available, including an email and phone number.

 

What are ecommerce UX best practices? 

When it comes to best practices, UX is ever-evolving. That’s because users become more and more particular about what makes an online experience with a website important. Here are a few ecommerce website UX best practices to consider.

Product pages: these are your sales pages and are very important. You need to have several photos of the product from different angles to give the user some context. You need descriptions of the product that tell the visitor the features of the products, and in some cases, the benefits as well. You want to include all the different options available to customers (sizing, colors, brands, etc.). Product pages can also feature cross-sell and personalization options as well, which customers appreciate.

Search: search is an important feature of ecommerce UX that shouldn’t be overlooked. When a customer knows exactly what they want, it’s important to give them a way to find it quickly and efficiently without having to wade through pages and pages of other items. You can use semantic searches to decipher between product categories and attributes and yield better, more appropriate results for your visitors. Filters, within searches, are important because they further help your visitors narrow down their searches.

Merchandising: online merchandising helps ensure your products are seen by the right shoppers. These can be items that are popular at the time, on sale, new to the store, and helps to ensure out-of-stock items are not shown to the customer. By adding merchandising to your ecommerce strategy, you can help promote the items your shoppers are looking for while customizing their shopping experience.  

Checkout process: with an average of 76% abandon cart rate, your checkout process should definitely be checked out. It’s important for customers to be able to easily checkout once they’ve put the items they want in their carts. Part of the checkout process is making sure delivery costs and return options are clearly outlined before getting to the very last page. 

 

Make UX a part of your ecommerce strategy

For every $1 a company invests in improving user experience (UX), brands see a return of $100, or an ROI of 9,900%. Improving UX is always a good thing because it ensures your customers have the best possible experience on your site, and that will ultimately translate into more revenue.