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User Experience vs Shopper Experience

The terms User Experience and Shopper Experience are often used interchangeably in ecommerce. 

If the user is your shopper, isn’t it all the same experience?

While there is some overlap between the two, and both are important for the success of any online store, there are important differences to be aware of.

Let’s dig in on how to optimize both UX and shopper experience for a high-converting buyer journey. 


What is UX?

UX, or user experience, is the overall usability of a website. Combining functionality with design, UX is how a visitor flows through a site and completes the desired task. In the case of ecommerce, this is how well the site supports the customer to find a product and complete a purchase. 

Assessing a website’s UX involves questions such as:

  • How easy is the site to navigate?
  • Is the site mobile-friendly and quick to load?
  • Are there broken links or dead ends?
  • Does the checkout process support a quick and easy conversion?


What is the Shopper Experience?

While similar to UX, the shopper experience involves a more holistic view of your ecommerce brand. UX is considered the foundation of the shopper experience. An easy-to-use website is critical for a positive shopper journey. To fully engage and connect with the customer, apply an additional experiential layer that goes beyond functionality. 

If user experience is the ease with which a customer can complete a task on your site, the shopper experience is how the interaction makes them feel. It’s the impression they form of your brand in the process. Assess the shopper experience with questions like: 

  • Is the website messaging helpful? Is it in an approachable tone?
  • What is the quality of the customer service?
  • Is the journey personalized to each individual visitor? 
  • How likely is the visitor to return or recommend the site to a friend?


Why the Difference Between UX and Shopper Experience Matters

Knowing the difference between UX and the shopper experience has two important implications. 

Testing and Measurement

The methods to measure and assess UX and shopper experience are not the same. For example, UX testing involves software that tracks visitor behavior on your site to identify problem areas. Shopper experience might be measured via customer service feedback, participation in a loyalty program, or the rate of return visitors. 

Optimization and Team Resources

Naturally, testing techniques present different opportunities for optimization. Team members involved in improving UX and shopper experience come from different skill sets. While UX specialists often fall within technical and design disciplines, shopper experience is more often brand, marketing, or ecommerce professionals. These teams work hand-in-hand to optimize the overall shopper experience. 


How to Optimize Ecommerce UX

Ideally, you are carrying out regular site audits to identify gaps in the user experience on your ecommerce store. Below are some of the key points to focus on:

  • Usability: can users effortlessly navigate and interact with your site?
  • Accessibility: is your site accessible for users of all abilities?
  • Design: do your website visuals complement the usability of your site?
  • Speed: do pages load quickly and completely?
  • Links: are all buttons and links working? 
  • Responsiveness: is your site responsive to all devices and screen sizes?
  • Checkout: do shoppers face unnecessary obstacles or glitchy forms at checkout?


How to Optimize the Shopper Experience

Once website UX is perfected, it’s time to find opportunities to improve the shopper experience. This includes:

  • Personalization: does the shopper receive personalized recommendations?
  • Merchandising: are promotions engaging and up to date?
  • Search: are search results relevant? Is your no results page a dead end?
  • Community: do shoppers feel connected to your brand? Can they join a loyalty program?
  • User-generated content: can shoppers find trustworthy reviews?
  • Customer service: can the shopper quickly find assistance through multiple channels?
  • Off-site engagement: does the shopper receive post-purchase communication? Can they engage with your brand on social media?


Everything You Need for the Ultimate Shopper Experience

The shopper experience extends far beyond the customer’s functional interactions on your site. Ecommerce retailers must go above and beyond to form lasting relationships with customers.

If you need help elevating the shopper experience, get in touch. Searchspring empowers retailers with the powers of personalization, merchandising, shopper insights, and much more.