In 2021 retail e-commerce sales amounted to approximately 5.2 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide. This figure is expected to grow by 56% over the next years, reaching about 8.1 trillion dollars by 2026.
However, with staggering growth, the competition is growing too; there are 24 million e-commerce websites worldwide, and this number is increasing daily.
As the number of e-commerce websites continues to rise, users expect a certain level of quality, are used to certain elements, and want flawless UX.
Though we know user experience is vital for every website, it’s especially critical for e-commerce sites. Why? Because e-commerce businesses lose an estimated $4.6 trillion in sales annually due to frustrated shoppers who abandon their carts due to poor purchase experience.
In order to acquire and retain your customers, you need to pay attention to the best practices for e-commerce UX and incorporate them into your design. Because if you’re not optimizing your e-commerce UX yet, know that your competitors are.
With that in mind, given below are five user experience best practices that will help you improve your conversion and deliver the best experience to your users. Let’s take a look.
#1. Create a Clean, and Simple Design
Design plays a crucial role in the success of an e-commerce website. According to research by Forbes, a better UX design yields up to 400% more conversion rates. So, your web design must be clean and concise so customers can find what they are looking for, make payments seamlessly and checkout quickly.
Most people know this, but unfortunately, they just focus on adding fancy UI elements, without much effort put into the actual functionality. Subsequently, they over-complicate the design that may look nice but lacks functionality.
Remember, good websites like PayPal or Amazon are not the most creative when it comes to design, but they are very functional. And that is what good UX design is all about.
Good UX design is about keeping only those elements that add to the bottom line and avoiding visual distraction.
MatchesFashion has an aesthetically pleasing website design and a CTA that stands out clearly; the clear white text on a dark background adds to the appeal and minimalist design.
#2. Use High-quality and Eye-catching Product Images
Images are integral to every e-commerce website. In a brick-and-mortar store, you can try things on but in an online store whatever product you sell is mainly communicated through images as you can’t feel and touch the product before you buy them.
Since the quality of the pictures can directly impact sales, you should invest in high-resolution images so potential buyers can see the fine details of the merchandise without having to strain their eyes. This, in turn, will increase the chances of that product reaching the checkout section.
But your product photos should not only be high resolution. They should also feature the different elements of the product as possible – like:
- Shots of the product from different angles
- Close-up images of its texture
- Photos of the product in use
And your images should be zoomable!
Given below are two examples from sites that are doing it right:
#3. Make Your Checkout Process Frictionless
Did you know cart abandonment is the most troubling thing for most e-commerce store owners? Nearly 7 out of every ten shoppers that add a product to their cart leave it before completing the purchase.
Wondering what you can do to reduce your cart abandonment? You can optimize your checkout process and make it a frictionless experience for your shoppers, encouraging them to move forward with their purchases.
Here are a few things you can do to optimize your checkout:
- Reduce the number of form fields.
- Automatically copy shipping information to the billing field if they are the same.
- Show the checkout flow by using a progress bar.
- Use trusted symbols to make your shoppers feel secure.
- Don’t add unexpected fees at checkout as it can be a turnoff for your shoppers and will lead to cart abandonment.
#4. Employ a Wishlist Feature to Increase Conversions
One of the easiest ways to increase your e-commerce website conversion is by letting visitors Wishlist or save the products they like.
Why? Because sometimes shoppers need to postpone the checkout. There can be a lot of reasons behind it, from a lack of funds to a lack of time.
The Wishlist feature can help e-commerce in two ways:
1) It allows shoppers to add a product they like but don’t want to buy at that particular time.
2) It allows them to add a product they’ve wanted to buy, but could not buy due to its non-availability, thus adding to the waitlist.
No matter the reason, a Wishlist feature can help you enhance your user experience as it will help shoppers continue the shopping process where they’ve left it.
ModCloth lets shoppers add a product to their Wishlist. Also, it shows how many people have already wish listed that particular product.
#5. Tap into User Research to Spot UX Problems
Following UX Best practices are a great way to start, but they can only take you so far. Every e-commerce site and its visitors are different, meaning your UX problems need not be the same as your competitor’s. To deliver a flawless user experience, you need to spot the issues on your site and fix them. And user research can help you do that.
So, invest in a user research platform – one that offers features like:
- Heatmaps/ Scroll Maps: So, you can understand what users do on your website pages—where they click, how far they scroll, what they look at etc.
- Session Replays: So, you can watch shoppers navigate your site. And find out what frustrates them. Where do they drop off, etc.?
- Facial Coding & Eye-tracking Technologies: So, you can understand the user’s subconscious behavior.
Also, user research can help you understand your customers’ mental models. And you can use this information to create an experience relevant to your users.
Related Read: Search Bar Design: 5 Best Practices for Nailing It.
Bringing It All Together
User expectations are rising, and with so many other options, shoppers won’t hesitate to go elsewhere if you don’t offer them a great experience. So, if you are running an e-commerce business, you cannot underestimate the importance of user experience anymore.
Also, a good UX drives loyalty, inspires conversions, and encourages customers to share positive word of mouth about you. So UX is an area you need to constantly invest in because it will help you garner loyal users who will act as brand ambassadors and spread the word about your business.
To stay ahead of the competition and deliver a great user experience, follow the UX best practices covered above. And if you want your success to last, don’t forget to continuously improve and find new ways to enhance your user experience.