Would you stay on this website, or make a hasty retreat? The truth is, most people would close this website as fast as they could.
A great user experience, or UX, is key to a successful e-commerce store
An absolute classic study into UX found that Amazon lost 1% in sales for every 100ms of latency. This was in 2009, so imagine how the figures would be now that everyone is a pro at online shopping.
With the e-commerce industry accounting for trillions of dollars annually, it sometimes feels as if users are moved to the back of the mind. Is it so difficult for a store to be able to accept my phone number? Abandoned carts are a real issue, and they can mostly be improved by better UX.
The truth is that many companies are simply driven by the bottom line – shelling out on advertising and getting traffic to their website. Improving their UX comes in as an afterthought. However, the irony is that if they nailed their UX, their bottom line would only grow!
Despite this, there is evidence that the tide is turning. Although many online stores are not big believers in UX, 74% of businesses do think that it is important to improve sales.
Here are some great UX practices to keep in mind when designing a website for a smooth customer experience
- Be mobile-friendly. Nowadays, 25% of Americans turn to their smartphones first when looking to shop for something online.
- Scale images. An important part of product page UX – many people like to gauge the size of products with in-scale images. Currently, only 72% of stores execute this properly.
- Display sensible amounts of information. On the product page, you don’t want to overload users with too much information about a product. Stick to the basics – price, image and key features. You can always provide somewhere to click for more information.
- Facilitate the pinch. As in, pinch to zoom. Mobile users expect to be able to pinch an image to zoom in. At the moment, only 60% of stores allow this.
- Shorten the checkout process. With an average of 15 fields to fill out, you want to try and reduce this as much as possible. Bonus points if you can provide a progress bar that lets users know how long is left until they are done.
- Auto-format fields. For example, if filling out a credit/debit card number, ensure that the box creates a space after every four digits.
- Localized input fields. Each country has a different dialing code – make it easy for the users by pre-populating the start of the phone number with their country code, or providing a simple drop-down list of options.
- Live form validation. This is when each line the user fills is either met with a green tick or red cross. Using this prevents the frustrating experience of submitting a form, only to be told that some fields were filled incorrectly. 40% of stores don’t do this at all, so it can be a big win for your store!
- Mark required fields. Make checkout quicker by indicating which fields are optional and which are required. If you can do this with each field, your store would be part of the 9% that get it right.
- Clear card expiry dates. When a user is inputting their card expiry dates, make it so that the drop-down presents options exactly as they appear on the card. For example, use ‘03’ instead of ‘3’ when referring to the month of March.
- Provide a clear rating summary. Presenting rating data in a way that is easy to understand is a great victory for UX. Currently, 43% of t he world’s top 60 e-commerce sites don’t present any aggregated rating data at all.