How To Dress Up Your E-Commerce Website To Drive More Sales [Web Usability]
The e-commerce industry is expected to continue its upward trajectory and continuous growth with the emergence of new technology and smart phones. Now people feel more comfortable in purchasing online in few clicks, rather than facing the hassle of going to a physical store. The present economic data shows huge opportunity for success in ecommerce business. For an entrepreneur, this growth is very exciting and promising to jump start an online store.
Worldwide retails ecommerce sales will reach $1.915 trillion and will continue growth through 2020. If this data stands true, then it is surely good news for online businesses. While the ecommerce economy is poised for significant growth, you can only expect to drive more sales through your website if you approach in a correct way. We have outlined some simple yet critical tips about how to dress up your website to achieve the coveted ecommerce success in terms of sales.
“Usability plays an important aspect in user experience of any e-commerce website “
- Clean & Simple Web Design
Clean and simple web design is a must for any e-commerce site. The biggest drawback of an ecommerce site is its inability to let the customer check a product through basic human senses -touch, feel, smell and somewhat see. She has to do everything virtually. You can imagine how much a customer can feel frustrated, if she has been given a complicated site to purchase anything of her choice online.
The simple design will not only help the customers to find what they are looking for quickly and easily. But it will also help them to complete the purchase fast – which in turn should be the aim of any e-commerce site owners.
The site design should be customer centric. The design should be made keeping the target audience in mind. Before jumping on to the design, the site owner should build a proper customer persona of their target audience. Based on the persona, the site owner can get a proper idea about their purchasing goals, current behaviours, demographic information, challenges/pain and much more. In precise, the site owner should have a Customer Persona Template in front of him before starting the actual design work of the website.
For the best conversion rate optimization (CRO), the site owners should do an extensive A/B Testing of the landing and main product pages. They should experiment with different colours, sizes of call-to-action buttons, product images and search box to get the optimum result.
- Easy Navigation
Good navigation plays a very important role in any website. It doesn’t matter how good your site is, if users can’t locate your specific products or features of their interest then it is of no use. The best thing about navigation is that if it is done well then it covers the major portion of website usability.
The first and foremost principle a navigation system must follow is KISS (“Keep It Simple, Stupid”). E-commerce sites have many products and pages, so it should have the simplest navigational structure. The navigation should act as an invisible guide map for the user along their journey.
Next, a navigation system should be clear. Though it is self-explanatory, still we find many sites fail to follow it. A user must have a clear idea about how to navigate from Page A to Page B at a single glance. Don’t let them think and guess.
Another no-negotiable rule for an- e-commerce site is the use of breadcrumbs or tabs so that a user knows where she is presently and how to access previous or next page.
Lastly, navigation should be consistent throughout the site. Site owner must choose which type of navigation will work best for his site. But once you make a decision, stick with it in home page as well as in all secondary pages.
- Search Bar
On any e-commerce site, the search box is the most frequently used design element. Generally, users use the search box as the last option to find any particular information on a website. When the contents are not organized well and the navigation fails to guide the user to specific information, then the search box plays the role of Messiah for the user.
Quite often it is seen that the designers pay less attention while designing the search box. If the search interface is bad, then there is high possibility to drive people away from the site.
Make the search box stands out from the other elements of the website. The search box is not a mere input field and call-to-action button. The box must be clearly visible, quickly recognizable and easy to use.
The site search must handle long tail semantic searches. A user is much closer to conversion if she searches anything in greater details. The abandon rate in long tail semantic searches is 2% when compared to the 40% abandon rate in a small text-based search box.
The search box must have autocomplete features which will allow the user to search smartly. If the autocomple features include product photos and prices, then it is more user-friendly and tends to convert more.
- Search Results Page and Filters
Just in the above point, we discussed about the importance of a search bar in greater details. A well thought search bar design will not bring the desired result alone. Surprised to hear that? Many of you might be wondering, what’s the purpose of discussing about the search bar in such details then? Wait, wait, we will clear all your queries. What we discussed in the above point is absolutely perfect. There is nothing wrong in that point.
The success of an e-commerce website depends on content findability. So it is vital to focus not only in search bar itself but the entire search experience. The entire search results page is the main design element of the user search experience. The search page will bridge the gap between the search bar and the contents that the user wants to seek from the website.
The layout of a good search result page needs to craft carefully and should have the following functions and features:
• Prominent search box with search category as the drop-down and advanced search option
• Easy Filter Bars
• Proper product image with product name, pricing and buyers rating
One very important design element in a search result page is Filter Bars. Well designed filter bars should allow users to filter by product type, style, colour, ratings and price. It should give a user the desired flexibility to customize the search with the features to include or exclude several search parameters and the choice to save the search for future comparison.
The searched product landing page should display alternatives when the particular product is out of stock. The page can also show complementary products and offers to enhance the up-sell and cross-sell.
Latest trends and best-practises can be implemented in the search result page by examining popular niche e-commerce and search engine websites.
- Product Images
For any e-commerce website, the famous saying can go like this: “A picture is worth a thousand sales”. Images matter a lot in an e-commerce website. It is pretty self-explanatory and everybody knows about it. But still we find lot of e-commerce websites with poor and blurry images. As mentioned earlier, in online shopping a user perceives a particular product by just seeing its imagery virtually without using her actual human senses.
Product information in an e-commerce website should start with high quality imagery as part of the shopping experience. Product images effectively communicate the details of the product with the customers in ways that a product copy cannot.
Below are the essential requirements for product images for any e-commerce store:
Product images should be of appropriate size. Small images are not recognizable and effective to convince a user to purchase. Proper size, great quality and high resolution imagery is must for any product image.
Just imagine how we check a product when we purchase something physically from a local store. We check the finer details closely. Same feel should be given to your online customer by allowing zoom functionality. Adding zoom to product images, will provide a user the confidence on product texture and quality, to make faster purchase decision.
- Alignment & Margins
Proper alignment and white margins on product images make the product page visually consistent and results in pleasant shopping experience. It builds trust among the customers.
Lighting and shadow can make or break a product image. Poor lighting creates an ugly shadow; however a subtle shadow in well lit environment provides the depth and dimension to the product. Drop shadows should be created under the expert guidance during photo shoot or in post production.
Always use a clean, plain and white background for product images. A white plain background will help the product image to stand out. Use same background throughout the website to add consistency.
The customer can better understand and visualize the product if it is shown at different angels. Showing multiple views of the product at different angels is surely going to increase the purchase rate.
Colour is the most important feature of the product image during online shopping. It is always good to show the original product colour and not to use any filter in the image to jazz up. Showing the correct colour of the product will give the customer the exact feel of what they will get and thus reduce product returns.
Props will help the customer to understand how the product will look actually in real life. Prop should be used smartly so that it does not distract the attention from the product.
- Easy Checkout Process
Online shopping can be of great experience till you get the ease of checkout process. It can turn out to be a horrible experience if the checkout process is not setup properly and is not easy to use.
The check out page is the final destination of any online shopping journey. It is the place where the customer handover their credit card information and part ways with their hard-earned money. So, one can imagine how critical the whole checkout process is.
A smooth, secure checkout process is crucial for ecommerce success. The website needs to ensure the following requirements:
- • Simple Sign-Up at the end of checkout process – people hate to fill up forms
- • Shows products availability
- • Easy order modification
- • Shows images, specifications and links of the products in the basket
- • Real time support
- • Easy checkout page design
- • Strong call-to-action button
- • Prominent basket buttons in search result pages
- • User-friendly option to pay through multiple payment methods
- • Order Finalization and Thank You note
- • Proper Delivery and Shipping Status
- • Email Confirmation
- Mobile Responsive
The emergence of smart phones and growing interest of mobile usage has definitely created fierce competition in online shopping industry. The business owner needs to adapt to latest trends and technologies of this mobile era to stay ahead of the competition. Responsive design is a must to any e-commerce website for expanding the reach and augmenting the conversion rate.
We found many business owners are in dilemma whether they should opt for a fully-responsive website or a separate website dedicated for mobile only. Though both options have their own pros and cons. But Responsive Design has a little edge for its adaptability, flexibility and ease of use. Moreover, Google recommends responsive design and penalizing brands who are not effectively addressing their mobile consumers’ needs via a mobile-friendly responsive website.
For those unfamiliar with responsive design, it refers to a website that’s been designed to adjust to various screen sizes and resolutions. That saves a website owner a lot of time and money for having a single site for both their desktop and mobile users.
The planning to have a highly-converting mobile website must have steps planned out at a very early stage. The business owner should not decide the steps in mid-way of their development process. They should ask themselves the following questions while designing the plan for their responsive website:
1. Who are the target audience for their mobile website?
2. How the navigation will look in different mobile views?
3. Which design elements they need to part-ways in the product pages?
4. What factors they need to give importance for high usability and conversion rate?
5. Is the shopping cart easily accessible in mobile views?
- Fast Loading Time
An e-commerce website can’t afford to have a slow loading time. Page loading time is an important part of any user experience. Loading time is the major factor for site abandonment or low conversion-rate. Every second counts in online shopping journey. With so many competitor sites, if an online shopper experiences a slow website, she will move onto to next speedier website. Thus, creating a bad customer experience – this will not do any good for the brand.
The following is a list of actions that a business owner can take to improve the speed loading time.
1. Optimize image size and format
2. Avoid inline CSS and JS files
3. Avoid using heavy and too many fonts
4. Avoid using too many unwanted plugins and tracking scripts
5. Optimize Caching
6. Avoid render blocking scripts
7. Avoid redirects
8. Encourage G-zip encoding
9. Avoid too much HTTP request
10. Reduce Cookie size
In this part, we have discussed mostly on usability and user experience. We hope our tips and suggestions will provide you the necessary information about designing a website for your next e-commerce venture. What are you waiting for then? Jump on board with these above tips and tricks.
If you have any other tips or suggestion, please feel free to add them in the comments section. We will love to hear from you guys.Topics: E-commerce Word press