E-Commerce UX: Best Practices for Designing an Outstanding Online Storefront
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” As marketers and small business owners, that quote really hits home. For e-commerce businesses specifically, it’s especially on target. The truth is, you only get a few seconds to make a good first impression and – in the case of e-commerce – to hook a buyer; if someone lands on your site and doesn’t like what they see, they’re almost guaranteed to leave, and they may never come back. A good e-commerce UX is that important, right off the bat.
What is UX in e-commerce?
UX is an abbreviation that stands for “user experience,” which refers to a person’s emotions and attitudes toward using a particular product, system or service. E-commerce user experience refers specifically to the way a would-be customer perceives, interprets and – quite literally – experiences your online store.
The best e-commerce UX designs tend to come to life when a business owner and/or website developer puts themselves into the shoes of the end user. They view the site from the customer’s point of view and use that unique perspective to help determine the design elements and processes that will provide the simplest, most logical, and most enjoyable shopping experience for the end user.
With that in mind, we have tapped into our own e-commerce UX wisdom to provide you with some of our best suggestions for creating a moneymaking website with a top-notch customer experience.
E-commerce UX best practices
- Design a strong homepage. Remember that first impression we talked about earlier? Most often, your home page is going to be the first page that your customer sees, and you want it to stand out – in a good way. It should engage the user with clean imagery, bold text and an overall feeling of reliability. That is step one for achieving a good e-commerce UX.
- Make your site simple to navigate. Even the best-looking website is useless if the user can’t find what they’re looking for. The next most important element of the e-commerce user experience is to create a site that is simple to navigate. It should scroll smoothly from section to section, and the menu (and your products) should be organized into easy-to-understand categories.
- Include a search bar and enable filters. There are two types of customers out there: those who know what they want and are ready to buy, and those who wish to browse for a bit before making a purchasing decision. Allowing for both direct searching and casual browsing ensures that both types of customers feel at home on your site. And, as an added bonus, you can enable filters that make it possible for the user to narrow down their purchasing options even further.
- Create easy-to-convert product pages. Ultimately, your goal is to make money. To do that, you have to close sales. But that won’t happen if your customer isn’t inspired to move a product from search result to cart. The goal here should be to design your individual product pages so that they not only inform your customers about the product in question, but also inspire them to click the “Add to Cart” button.
- Make checking out as straightforward as possible. By this point in the process, you’re so close to converting a sale, you don’t want to create any sort of hurdle to keep your customers from completing a purchase. Your checkout process should be as simple, straightforward, and distraction-free as possible to make the customer feel eager and confident in completing their purchase.
When all is said and done, as temped as you may be to design the flashiest website on the block, the key to a good e-commerce user experience is simplicity. Ease of use is the top priority when it comes to creating the warm, fuzzy feelings that keep your customers wanting more.
For more information, or for help optimizing your own e-commerce UX, contact Paradigm Marketing & Design today. One of our team members will be in touch.