You’ve got your product right, the price right and your digital marketing efforts have succeeded in driving potential customers to your store. You’re winning.
But what about when they land on your website? How can you help your customers to browse, add products to their baskets and check out with ease – and then want to come back for more?
Building your eCommerce store on a reliable, trusted platform like Shopify is a great start, but there’s much more you can do to help provide your customers with an amazing brand experience.
Our resident UX designer, Sam, has a few key tips to share…
A great way to enhance a user’s experience is to engage them via small interactions. They ensure the user knows something is happening, for example, a button changing appearance when scrolled over, or a mini basket revealing itself once a product is added to the cart. These ‘microinteractions’ are small and may seem insignificant, but they form the building blocks of a good eCommerce experience.
Ditch the jargon
This may not be relevant to all industries, but if your subject matter is specialist, try to keep the language simple and easy to digest. The language on your website must be human. Ensure your filters and sorting options are well-defined and consistent.
Give the user control
It’s important to always give your customers a ‘way out’. As a user inputs information, filters products or refines a search during their shopping experience, allow them to go back and undo.
Then redo. Then undo again.
You get the gist – give your users the freedom to tweak their searches to suit their needs.
You can’t create a good eCommerce experience if there are gaps in consistency. Your audience will eventually find these holes and it will reflect badly on your brand. You can reduce learning times and eliminate any confusion if your user interface is well-defined and researched. And if you don’t have access to user research? There are plenty of resources online to help you. You should be fine-tuned when it comes to designing for accessibility, too.
Reduce the chance of your customers making errors on your website by creating prompts and changes of state in your interface. A great, but simple example of this is to show an error message on a contact form when something has been added incorrectly. Or labelling a postcode field to show how it should be inputted.
Don’t reinvent the wheel
When it comes to eCommerce interface design, the key is to build upon what users already know and trust. There are some things users expect to work in a certain way, and if you change them, they’ll have to learn, remember and recall how to use them when they next visit your website.
We’re not saying you can’t be inventive and follow best practices as they evolve, we’re simply saying ensure your website is as usable as possible. After all, the last thing you want is to confuse or irritate potential customers whilst trying to convert them!
Cater for everyone*
*Not to be mistaken with, design for everyone. That’s impossible.
You should cater for all levels of user without assuming they’re all the same in learning or experience. Ensure your store is scalable and flexible by allowing users to choose how they want to search, navigate and refine their journey, remembering there’s a big difference in the learning for new to repeat customers. New customers are looking for recognisable things, whereas repeat customers are engaged more with a changing aesthetic, but can recall how to best refine options to suit them.
An example of this is a user looking through a ‘sale’ section on a website. They most likely won’t appreciate products organised by high to low price as standard, but would rather want to view products by ‘newest’.
Design is the relationship between content and form, an evolving marriage of communication and style. With this in mind, eCommerce websites need to stay true to the brand, but must also have a clear goal. Busy designs and disjointed interfaces are usually a common symptom of not knowing the primary goals of the user. The best eCommerce websites out there know how they want to sell products and do it well. Bad eCommerce websites want users to know everything all at once and cram in details, images and information into the smallest of places.
But remember, users don’t appreciate a hard sell.
Jargon Alert! Check out The Gestalt Principles for examples on how to create designs that work for the user, not for you!
So, we’ve covered your onsite experience, but what about offline, too? Here’s how to deliver a memorable unboxing experience your customers will love.