User experience, or UX, in business refers to the emotional or intellectual response of the visitor to your store. It does not matter if it is physical or digital store. A potential buyer makes decisions based on their UX, and your agenda in building a physical store or an ecommerce website is to convert, which in most cases is to make a purchase, and to keep coming back to buy more often and spend more. That is not going to happen if the buyer has a bad UX.
According to this article, a large number of these buyers (88%) will not return to a website after a bad UX, and unfortunately, it takes only a few seconds for a user to decide if a website is no good. A vast majority (94%) of a visitor’s first impression is related to design, so it is extremely important to make sure your website looks good from the first second it loads. Once you have them browsing your site, you have to ensure that they will stay and buy. For that to happen, you have to give them a great UX, and that involves looking into a few things.
Improve loading time
A crucial aspect for first time visitors is the loading time. This is affected both by your design and by hosting provider, so you want to choose one that can deliver what you need. If you feel that your loading time is not satisfactory, or you are still shopping around for a provider, you want to choose the best for your needs
Since you have an ecommerce site, a key component of your business involves certain financial transactions. Most online buyers are reluctant to transact with a site they are not sure they can trust, and for good reason. According to statistics, less than half (44%) of all web traffic is by humans. The remaining 56% is by hacking, scraping, and spamming software, seeking for ways to exploit a weak spot in site security to access sensitive personal and financial information for illegal use. As an ecommerce site owner, the aim is to build a perception of trust for your site visitors to help them across the threshold. You can do this by adding an SSL certificate to all pages on your site.
Secure sockets layer or SSL is standard security technology that encrypts the flow of data between the web server of your site and the user’s browser. Most hacking incidents occur in the transmission of data between sites, so you have to be especially careful in guarding that weak spot. Most users are familiar with one or more trust marks using SSL technology. Among the most recognized brands are VeriSign, McAfee Secure, and PayPal. Displaying an established trust mark on your site can increase your conversions as it builds trust in your brand.
Several case studies conducted by Symantec, formerly VeriSign, prove this. Central Reservation Service, an online booking site for hotels, saw an increase of 30% in conversion rates after they added an SSL badge on their site. Professional writing and editing service Papercheck.com saw a whopping 87% increase in conversions, while credit and financial management company Creditkarma.com did very well with an increase of 26% by featuring the Symantec badge on their site.
Many different types of SSL options are available with varying levels of security. Because the costs vary depending on the type, you need to choose one that has the highest level of encryption and validation you can afford.
- Extended Validation (EV) – this is the top level of SSL security with 2048-bit encryption signified by a green bar, a recognized symbol of trust. It is the recommended SSL certificate for eCommerce sites that collect personal information, and where user trust is crucial. It takes up to 5 days before this type of certificate is issued
- Organization Validation (OV) – second in line, this has from 128 to 2048-bit encryption, and provides verification that the site is a registered government entity. This type of certificate is recommended for eCommerce sites that collect personal information. A site could have SSL OV within 24 hours, and it is more affordable than an SSL EV
- Domain Validation (DV) – the most affordable of trust certificates, the SSL DV is issued within minutes, and recommended for non-eCommerce sites, testing sites, and internal sites. It offers industry standard encryption, and only validates the ownership of the site
Unlike blogs and informational sites, eCommerce sites rely heavily on images for product pages, so you need to focus on how you can improve your images. Make you images as high resolution as possible, and aim for bigger with plenty of white space around it. If possible, include different angles of the product. Give your users as much opportunity to interact with the product images as possible. Allow them to zoom, pinch, scale, and rotate the image.
That said, you should also make sure you provide as complete a product description as possible. Forget about sales copy or hype. You want the user to buy the product based on its features, so be a specific as you can. Long product descriptions are okay as long as you make it easy to scan and read. Break it up into short paragraphs, and use bullet points when appropriate. Avoid copying the product description from the manufacturer, as this will do nothing for your SEO. Do provide a short summary at the top for buyers ready to buy, just to give them that extra nudge towards conversion.
Videos are also a good way to improve your product pages. You might think it will cost too much to produce videos, but there is a workaround. You can feature videos sent in by your users using or talking about your product. Videos can increase engagement and conversion considerably.
You can also look into losing the shipping fees, which is a common conversion killer. When Amazon announced it would offer free shipping on all its sites in 2003, and sales rose by 23% in all countries except France, which did not offer free shipping.
Reviews are also very effective in encouraging buyers to take the final plunge. One study shows that more than three-fourths (81%) of all customers do their research before making a purchase, and this includes reviews (61%). Encourage your buyers to leave reviews for others to read.
Finally, give your conversion a boost by working on your call to action (CTA). Make it stand out by making them big, bold, and colorful. The most common ecommerce CTA is “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart,” and your visitors will be looking for them. Make it easy for them to find it.
Focus on metrics
Improving your UX by choosing a fast host server, building trust and personalizing content is all well and good, but you cannot do any of this effectively if you don’t know where to start. You need to focus on finding out where, how, and why users engage your content, particularly with your product pages, CTAs, and shopping carts. You need to identify a source of data, and you will need more than one method to gather the right kind of information to help you improve your UX. You can use usability testing to find out where you may have issues with interaction, and web analytics to give you an idea of how big are these issues. Together, you can get an insight on how to make the right decisions on improving your UX.
There are two approaches to this. You can do usability testing first, and then web analytics, or the other way around. For the first approach, you can use the information you gather from usability testing to narrow the scope of your analysis of the data you gather from web analytics. On the other hand, the second approach using web analytics first can help you identify features of your website that do not seem to be clicking with users. You can then use usability testing to discover if you can do something to improve the user response. In either case, you are testing your UX from two different angles, and this can help you improve your UX in the right places.
Creating a good ecommerce web design and improving the UX functionality of your website to increase conversion is not a simple matter. Many factors have to come together to maximize conversion, and you want to make sure that all the changes you put in is going in the right direction.. These suggestions should make it easier for you to give your users the experience that will result in conversion. It may not happen overnight, but it will happen if you keep at it and keep making improvements. When you hit on a combination that works for your eCommerce site as evidenced by an increase in sales, keep doing it.