[Updated on November 2023]
If you are a business owner running an ecommerce website, you should always be looking for ways to improve your online store to scale up your business and meet your customer needs. In this modern digital age, an ecommerce website is the bridge between businesses and their customers, so making it a user-friendly and value-added experience is the ultimate goal that every company should pursue. This is where the ecommerce user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) come into play.
Today, every niche has thousands of online businesses competing to offer similar products. Competition is fierce, therefore the one thing that helps businesses to stand above the rest is its ecommerce UI and UX design.
So, how can you improve your ecommerce UI and UX? In this article, we look at 8 proven and effective methods you can use to optimize and offer a better online experience for your customers.
- The Critical Role Of Ecommerce UI and UX In Your Business
- Effective Use of Visual Elements
- Keeping The Consistency In Your UI/UX Design
- Simplified and Intuitive Navigation and Checkout
- Make Search Your Sales Assistant
- Guide Users With Personalized Product Recommendations
- Optimize The Mobile Experience
- Get Customer Feedback
- Always Test And Iterate Your UI/UX
- Wrapping Things Up
The Critical Role Of Ecommerce UI and UX In Your Business
Firstly, we have to understand what makes an ecommerce UI/UX so important that it warrants regular optimization.
“Companies in highly competitive industries—such as retail and consumer products — often spend between 5% – 10% of their net revenue on marketing.”
You might be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not a significant chunk of your revenue in creating an attractive and conversion-focused marketing strategy for your website.
This is certainly needed in today’s competitive marketplace, but what if your ecommerce website fails to provide a simple, intuitive and attractive experience? A clunky, complicated and error-filled website will only put all the effort and investment in marketing initiatives to waste.
The user interface and the user experience goes hand in hand for any ecommerce. Both are often overlooked and one of the main reasons contributing to the failure of a company’s marketing strategy. If you offer a visually appealing, intuitive and user-centric site UI / UX, first-time customers are much more likely to purchase and become returning ones, leading to increased sales – it’s as simple as that.
The best ecommerce UI and UX designs have multiple components working in harmony to help visitors navigate a site and complete a purchase in the most efficient manner. Now, let’s investigate each one of these areas and how they can be optimized effectively.
Effective Use of Visual Elements
UI elements are the fundamental blocks of visual communication between an online business and a user. Every single UI aspect, from the font, colour, shape, pattern, and texture form parts of the visual language spoken between the two sides.
An ecommerce website needs to combine all the above elements effectively to create an optimal environment for sales conversion. Think carefully about how you design and employ the various UI elements and where you position them on your website. For a deeper insight on this topic, we have compiled a comprehensive UI/UX audit checklist and best practices.
Keeping The Consistency In Your UI/UX Design
In general, you should always try to maintain the consistency of your UI and UX design, because it helps customers understand how you are communicating with them. In this way, they will be accustomed to the methods of navigating through your site, and can easily identify with your brand.
Taking a call-to-action (CTA) element such as an add-to-cart button as an example, consider the consistency of its implementation:
- UI: Is the button all displayed the same way (size, etc.) across all pages on the site?
- UX: Does the button work the same way for all products. If it doesn’t, why not?
Simplified and Intuitive Navigation and Checkout
This is a common recommendation that most UX experts tell you, but what does “simplified” and “intuitive” actually mean in the context of an ecommerce store?
To make the user experience simplified, it’s all about making things easy and effortless for the user to reach his goal – find the product he wants and pay for it. Meanwhile, an instinctive experience is one that the user finds to be natural, and without doubt of the steps involved in the process.
The navigation of a website and the checkout experience should be as smooth as possible, ensuring that the user knows how to find the product he or she wants and purchase it with ease.
Here are some tips:
- Regularly check for broken links and 404 errors, along with other common UI/UX errors.
- Avoid lengthy sign-up forms and steps for visitors to successfully register or make payment. As an e-commerce site, you don’t actually need to know their phone number, what kind of work they do, and other minor details.
- Make CTA buttons stand out – they help in generating higher conversion rates and improving site usability.
Make Search Your Sales Assistant
The search function is the best place to start the improvements of your online store. It is absolutely essential for online stores to have this functionality, especially for those that have a wide assortment of products.
In particular, the search bar is a commonly used feature by visitors of an ecommerce store, whether they are first-time or returning customers. The search bar’s role is to help customers to quickly find what they are looking for, thus making their shopping experience more satisfying rather than full of frustration.
A great example is Amazon.com, where its search engine includes predictive search, autocomplete, and refinements based on features, category and popular searches.
There are a number of other practical ways to improve your site search experience, read this article to learn more.
Guide Users With Personalized Product Recommendations
Making suggestions on related items throughout the shopping journey not only helps save the customer’s time, but also helps increase revenue and customer retention on your ecommerce store. An example is a website that provides recommendations of batteries, accessories and peripheral products when a buyer is purchasing a laptop.
Personalized product recommendations guide users to the right products and allow them to discover new ones, thus, potentially, increasing their average order value and creating a better user experience. It’s like having a customer representative giving product suggestions.
One of the best ways of implementing product recommendations is by referring customers to “best seller” or “trending” items. These work well because they offer social proof. It makes customers aware of the most relevant items in the market — if other people are buying those specific products, it must be for a good reason. Everyone wants to be part of a trend, or to buy the product with the greatest value.
Another useful feature to have are recommendations to up-sell and cross-sell your products. To up-sell, you can show visitors similar products of higher quality. To cross-sell, you can showcase complementary products that can enhance the product experience. For example, a parent who is searching for a baby mattress may not be aware of mattress protector options, which could then become a highly desired product for their purchase.
Optimize The Mobile Experience
With more and more people shopping on their smartphones and tablets, it’s crucial that your ecommerce website is designed for mobile devices. That means having a responsive design that looks great on all screen sizes, and making sure your site loads quickly on mobile networks.
The key to the success of an ecommerce as it relates to the mobile user experience is simple: if a website offers a great mobile experience, users are more likely to make a purchase.
Here are some points to consider:
- Does your mobile commerce require flexibility in front-end customizations, without the need to make significant changes to the rest of your ecommerce platform? There are various solutions in the market such as headless commerce which can meet your needs.
- New screen sizes are born each year, so it’s more important than ever to keep up to date and consider the pros and cons of responsive vs adaptive design.
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Get Customer Feedback
Another place to start when looking to improve your ecommerce user experience is to get feedback from your customers and target audience. However, it is important that you formulate the right questions.
Firstly, you need to be specific because you do not want feedback that is vague or does not serve your needs. You also want to ensure that the questions are catered to the right audience, whether they are first-time visitors to your side, returning customers, etc.
Some questions that you might consider asking:
- Did your customers find any problems with the website? If yes, what were they?
- How much time / effort did your customers spend to perform a specific task?
- Did they manage to find what they were looking for?
- How likely are they to recommend your website to others?
Always Test And Iterate Your UI/UX
Equally as important as designing the best UI and UX for your ecommerce, is to ensure that it is working correctly and as expected at all times. There’s always the likelihood of an error occurring, whether in the visual or functional aspect of an ecommerce website.
There are a number of ways to monitor the UI/UX performance of an ecommerce store.
- Investigate web analytics and user feedback to constantly adjust and make improvements.
- Evaluate the web vitals of your website, such as page loading speed, accessibility, SEO, etc.
- Test with automated tools that can proactively monitor the accuracy of both the appearance and functionality of your site. Valido Testing enables brands to quickly identify UI/UX errors on their ecommerce sites, which if left undetected can leave a permanent and devastating impact to the business.
Wrapping Things Up
Designing and maintaining an optimal UI and UX is one of the most important things to consider for any online business. Good user experience will attract users, retain them, boost sales conversions, and consequently increase customer trust and loyalty.
By following the recommendations and best practices above, you can start to see the benefits of improving your ecommerce website UI/UX. It cannot be overstated how important the online user experience is to your overall business, so it’s worth investing the time and effort to get it right.
If you are not sure how to get started, get in touch with us on our contact page to explore the testing solutions that Valido has to offer.
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Digital UX, writing about the latest ecommerce trends.