Today, consumers have a myriad of choices when it comes to online shopping. If your website is confusing, or even uses unappealing design, online shoppers will choose to buy somewhere else, or will make their necessary purchase but not return. For this reason, User Experience (UX) has been one of the buzzwords of eCommerce over the last decade. More than just another catchphrase, UX makes or breaks in the world’s most iconic digital products and online stores. To improve the user experience of your online store, you can follow these 5 important and up-to-date rules of usability in eCommerce:
- Multi-platform integration (omnichannel experience)
In the last decade, we’ve all gotten used to multiple screen sizes and compatibility across devices. Per a Forrester study, UX leaders enjoy a 5 percentage point advantage in global revenue growth over laggards. Indeed, to lead the way in the matter today means getting into omnichannel retailing. Moreover, retailers are now expected to provide a holistic UX that includes online-offline approaches, showrooms, and “buy online, pick up in store” options, as well as plentiful product information.
In 2020, online store UX are already integrating many innovations like voice-based interfaces, gaming consoles, various dashboards, interactive videos, and streaming shopping, across existing mobile, desktop, and tablets platforms. Indeed, this is the year of kick-off towards auditory and tactile interfaces. Voice User Interfaces (VUI) are promised to be the rage in the new decade with the rise and acceptance of newer technologies in home automation and security services. Despite many of these appearing overwhelming, keep in mind that customers will prefer a simpler, efficient and seamless omnichannel experience over blatantly complex and confusing messages.
- Focus on inclusive design
According to Forrester’s Inclusive Design Imperative, the majority of online players focuses on the “average” consumer, which represents about 80% of the population, and thus miss out on tapping into the revenues garnered from the other 20%. Indeed, many companies only address accessibility concerns to the legally required point of compliance. Nevertheless, inclusive design makes accessibility and inclusion central to the UX design process from its earliest stages. As a matter of fact, Forrester calls on organizations to start the design process with the needs of the 20%, pointing out that, “focusing on the margins not only opens doors to new markets but also yields the desirable side effect of innovative solutions that even those who are not at the margins benefit from.” Knowing this opens a world of opportunities for online businesses wondering about how to conquer niche segments which have usurped the mass market.
- Provide intuitive navigation
Having a complex website is counterproductive if it doesn’t result in completed purchases. One of the main reasons why customers abandon their cart is often due to the complexity of a website’s navigation. As simple as it sounds, it’s still an element of UX that most online retailers do not get right. Remember to keep things simple and effortless. Online shoppers don’t want to click and scroll endlessly until they find the desired product. If they notice they’re wasting their precious time on unnecessary operations, they will simply leave for where they can shop more efficiently. To be successful in this point, it is important that you create descriptive menu labels without generic options like “Products” or “Solutions”; simplify your navigation menu; make it easy for people to move from one page to another; support searches with appropriate result matches. All in all, these tips will also help you boost your SEO, as search engine assess if online businesses deliver an above-adequate customer experience to secure loyalty.
- Become a storyteller
Stories play a very important role in the overall UX of your online business. Very often, you will see these on landing pages as an introduction to the brand, product or service. Storytelling is all about transferring data to the users in the most informative and creative way possible. This can be achieved with copywriting mixed with an ordained visual hierarchy, including elements of typography, illustrations, high-quality photos, bold colours, animations and interactive elements. To effectively tell your story, know your audience, define your core message, decide what kind of story you’re telling, and establish your call-to-action. The story you develop will help to curate the offering you are featuring.
- Feature a curated offering that converts
Where your homepage engages customers and builds a relationship with them, your product pages turn a visitor into a paying customer. These pages need to educate a customer about your product, intrigue them, and inspire them to click the “Buy Now” button. Important elements of your product page include realistic product images, accurate product information, cross-selling, and personalized customer experiences. Thanks to technological advancements, a personalized customer experience is an increasingly mainstream concept in eCommerce. In 2020, personalization has made its way into most facets of online shopping, and goes beyond personalized marketing. As a growing majority of consumers would rather not buy simple, plain, or mass products, nowadays the ferocious competition in retail has, in practice, turned the ability to personalize products into the only guarantor of high conversion rates.
Indeed, the majority of consumers are willing to pay a premium for a unique, fresh, and personalized product; this number has been consolidated with Millennials coming into their prime purchasing years and will intensify with Gen Z entering the job market. For a successful user experience, you will need to break away from the conventions of offering products on your store, explore niche segments, and get on with the latest best practices of product personalization from leaders in the industry.