You’ve got a great product, competitive pricing, and an ecommerce store all set up to sell your goods. But if your website’s user experience misses the mark, your ecommerce sales numbers might too. Here’s how to increase your ecommerce sales by addressing the most common user experience issues.
What is user experience and how does it relate to ecommerce sales?
User experience, or UX for short, describes the look, feel, and functionality of your product and services across all devices. It’s all about how they come together to create an enjoyable experience for your users.
User experience is a technical term referring to website design. Ecommerce UX describes your buyers’ experience of shopping at your digital storefront and encompasses all the things that go into creating seamless online shopping. This includes, for example:
- Whether you offer personalized product recommendations based on purchase history
- The clarity of your calls to action (e.g. ‘Buy Now’ and ‘Add to Cart’ buttons)
- The number of steps or clicks involved in your online checkout process
- How fast your site loads
Creating a good ecommerce UX is crucial for any business wanting to attract, retain and upsell customers. Ecommerce UX represents a fundamental part of delivering an excellent customer experience.
Not convinced? Consider the following stats:
- Most of the world’s consumers are e-shoppers: 98% of global consumers shop online, including browsing, researching and buying (Google) providing a clear business case to optimize your ecommerce experience.
- Mobile matters: By 2021, 53.9 percent of all retail ecommerce in the U.S. is expected to be generated via mobile. (Statista)
- Personalization generates sales. People are 40% more likely to spend more than planned when they find the shopping experience is highly personalized. (Google)
Top UX issues and how to solve them to increase ecommerce sales
There are many ways to optimize your website to increase ecommerce sales. Here are some of the most common issues ecommerce websites face and tips on how to address them.
1. Spammy interfaces
This is a catch-all for “too many…” — too many pop-ups, too many fields to fill out before purchasing, too many clicks to get to the checkout page, too many loud, distracting ads. Pop-up ads tend to be among the most disliked by consumers: according to HubSpot Research, users consider them the second most annoying form of advertising after telemarketing calls.
Tip: Test and analyze the effectiveness of your pop-up ads and shopping cart checkout process. If your popups don’t affect bounce rates, but your buyers drop on the second step of checkout, then you might want to revisit that particular step.
2. Forcing users to sign up for accounts before purchase
Requiring buyers to register with your website before they buy from you is a common ecommerce sales tactic. Marketers then use these email addresses to send promotional newsletters. But most of the time, all buyers really want to do is purchase your product, no strings attached.
Tip: Consider implementing a guest checkout process, with the option to register for an account after purchase. In the Crate & Barrel example below, shoppers can continue purchasing online as guests, without signing up for an account. This ensures their buying experience carries on, uninterrupted.
3. Hidden fees that surface on the checkout page
Imagine the scenario: you’re browsing on Instagram, you hover over a t-shirt advertised as “free” and click checkout, only to find the shipping fee is bloated to include retail and shipping prices. This falls into the ‘gotcha tactics’ category: and it doesn’t look good. At best, your visitor buys from you but their trust in you is damaged. At worst, you lose a potential buyer.
Tip: If you want to create a relationship with buyers that leads to a great customer experience, be transparent. Make sure you include all fees upfront, even in your product description copy.
4. Failing to signal trust and security
Buying from an ecommerce store feels risky for shoppers concerned about the security of their online transactions. Make sure you have a secure ecommerce payment process in place. Once you do, display trust seals to demonstrate your business takes financial security seriously. A study by Baymard showed how 18 percent of shoppers who abandoned their e-shopping carts during checkout did so because they “didn’t trust the site with my credit card information.”
Tip: One other way to signal trustworthiness on your checkout page is to include copy referencing confidentiality. A disclaimer about the security and encryption of buyers’ credit card information helps put potential buyers at ease.
5. Lack of immediate customer support
Ecommerce sales happen 24/7. Make sure you can deal with customer issues and product questions, no matter what time they come up. Whether it’s a quick question about pricing, or an inquiry into your product’s capabilities, providing support at all hours is essential for a great ecommerce user experience.
Tip: It’s not always possible to be online 24/7, so make sure your site includes self-help resources, like a knowledge base or FAQ page, to guide users needing a quick question answered (e.g. “Is your sale still in effect?”) Go a step further by adding live chat and chatbots to your website, capturing all user questions and contact information — even those you can’t get to straight away.
6. Unfriendly mobile ecommerce UX
Mobile usability isn’t an optional extra anymore — 77% of smartphone shoppers are more likely to purchase from companies whose mobile sites or apps allow them to make purchases quickly, according to Think with Google. Sites that fail to provide a seamless ecommerce mobile experience are losing out on ecommerce sales. Strive to provide a truly omnichannel customer experience across all devices.
Tip: Utilize responsive design in your development, and keep your content short and sweet. Responsive design scales and contracts to fit the device being used, and long text looks wordier on smaller mobile interfaces, slowing down the user experience.
7. Navigational lags
Site speed, lack of a search bar, sloppy site architecture — these factors all contribute to navigational lags on your website. The more lags your users experience, the more likely they are to bounce. Create a quick and efficient experience on your website to help increase ecommerce conversions.
Tip: While there are a host of technical changes you can make to improve navigation on your site, one of the most important things you can do is ensure your site loads faster across all devices. Take the time to learn about some technical improvements you can use to boost your site speed.
Ecommerce UX is an ongoing practice: the more you invest, the more sales you’ll generate. Get into the habit of analyzing, testing, and improving your website to increase ecommerce sales and keep your customers coming back for more.