Essential UX Design Principles and Strategies for eCommerce
The visual pleasure and usability that a website offers go a long way in determining the user experience. With the marketing paradigms shifting to the digitized platforms, it is important to focus on the design principles of eCommerce websites.
Between 2017 and 2021, the global eCommerce sales figures are expected to double, crossing $4.88 trillion. Evidently, eCommerce designers are collaborating with retailers to shape their customers’ journey.
For designers, it is crucial to adhere to a standard set of principles for UX design, when they work with eCommerce retailers. A sound planning and implementation of the design process helps the retailer gain tangible financial returns.
The user journey greatly influences the flow in the business. A compelling website design can lead to more impulse shopping, higher conversion rate and of course, minimize cart abandonment.
- Discovery of the website
- Product browsing and search
- Product page fining
- Adding the product to cart
- Checking out
- Confirming the purchase
With regard to all these aspects within the customer journey, designers must strive to make their experience straightforward, enjoyable and free from glitches.
An inviting website design leads to a higher user engagement. The visual appeal of your eCommerce website tells a lot about your brand image. Regardless of whether you are a new entrant in the virtual marketplace, or an established firm, it is important to prioritize website design.
Besides, the website should be compatible with mobile devices as well as desktops. An eCommerce site is likely to lose 52% of its potential customers, if the website fails to impress people using mobile devices for browsing.
For designers, it is important to consider these aspects, when they work for eCommerce retailers:
- Powerful branding
- Simplicity of operation
- User data security
- Using visual elements effectively
- Enabling users to provide feedback
- Laying out catalogues and menus for clear presentation of data
- Making contact and general information about business, goods and services available
- Design that supports SEO and draws more traffic
A balanced approach, consider the UX aspect and business aspect makes a convincing eCommerce design.
For eCommerce retailers, it is pointless to have a sizzling website, unless it results in conversion. Often, complex designs repel away customers. Here are some of the secrets, which can help you craft a great eCommerce website.
Tech savvy people love browsing seamlessly from one page to another in a website. Besides, you have customers who are new to the digitized shopping platform. Make sure that their navigation process is spontaneous and intuitive.
Users do not like squandering their time on needless operations. Complicated navigation simply takes your customers to your competitors. Focus on the following aspects to enhance the navigation experience.
Considering the search engines as well as your customers, make the menu labels as descriptive as possible. In leading designing companies, the creative experts and designers work closely, chalking out the way they should present the menu labels.
When people search for eCommerce products, they use certain phrases. A good mix of both short and long tail keywords in the menu labels work out well.
Try to minimize the items in your menu. Potential customers can easily locate what they want, when the site is less cluttered. As a result, your SEO efforts will get a boost, since menus that are simpler enable the authority to be passed on from the homepage to other pages.
As a thumb rule, make sure that the product page lies within four clicks from the homepage. Additionally, you need to incorporate prominent CTA buttons and internal links. It is necessary for the buyers to understand where they are on an eCommerce site, when they land up on a particular page.
Besides, make it easy for them to find the search bar and the menu bar. Prominent designing firms craft pages, which complements the efforts of the users to filter the obtained results.
Captivating homepage design
The homepage of your eCommerce website creates the first impression on your customers. It serves the same value that a book cover does to its readers. It takes as little as 0.05 seconds for an average user to judge your website.
Retailers have a fraction of a second to convey the reliability, security, value and simplicity of their site. A powerful homepage design often helps in captivating the attention of a potential customer.
Designers should focus on the following aspects to strengthen the impression that they create in the customers’ minds.
- A concrete value proposition
This is not necessarily a slogan. You can use a powerful heading, visual element, and a list of features and sub headline to express your value over your competitors.
Therefore, the value proposition should explain the advantages of your brand and results that buyers are likely to get. It should be concise and easily understandable.
Successful eCommerce retailers share the reviews and testimonials of their existing customers in the bottom part of their homepage. Besides, you may also share the names and logos of your partners, press appearances and features of your products.
It is recommended to use a homepage footer, where you can provide your customers with links to other prominent pages. You should link this part of the customer support and company information pages, social media and contact details, social media account and important collections.
Potential customers are likely to interact with the company or seller. They may be interested in buying a particular product, or simply learn about it. Good eCommerce websites come with chatbots, CTA button, email address and social media handles. This enables the potential buyers to get across to the company.
Product pages that convert
After the homepage creates the first impression and initiates a relationship with customers, converting them requires a different effort altogether.
Focus on the product pages, which actually helps your business shine. You need to educate the potential buyers and induce them to purchase the product. Here are certain aspects you need to focus on:
Your website must contain clear and powerful images that generate the impulse to make a purchase. The background colour of the product page should complement that of the product images.
Consider the colour palette of your site, when you integrate other images.The photos should be professional enough to uphold your brand image. Most retailers hire professional product photographers for powerful visuals.
The brand transparency and reliability depend a lot on how your products are photographed. Therefore, reveal details about the products that people actually use. In the virtual business space, customers would like to visualize the products that they are buying.
Integrating SEO tactics in your product description generates a greater volume of traffic. For eCommerce retailers, it is important to furnish the product information accurately. This ensures that the customers can make informed decisions during purchase.
Now, if you integrate the keywords, it may match the search phrases of the customers and boost your SEO. The colour, model, design and other details related to your products should be included in this description.
- Personalized experiences for customers
Ecommerce giants prioritize customer experience, considering their preferences. On analyzing the previous purchases, they can gain valuable insights about their buying habits. Options like ‘Purchased together’ or ‘Our customers also bought’ creates the desire to buy a product.
Cross-selling involves persuading a buyer to purchase a greater number of goods from your portal. Therefore, when a customer buys a particular item, display all items that are related to it. It might result in the sale of those products.
- Furnishing adequate information
Ecommerce retailers should use visual hierarchy and progressive disclosure, so that the users can get the desired amount of information. The most relevant and important information should be furnished immediately and then provide other details down the page.
The long descriptions should be presented in the form of pointers and small paragraphs. For instance, you can present the detailed features, product dimensions, overview and shipping details in separate sections.
This ‘expand and collapse’ feature proves handy in these cases. This prevents the customers from becoming overwhelmed with product details.
User friendly checkouts
So, you have compelled your customers to explore your site and choose a product to purchase. The next hurdle lies in assisting them throughout the checkout process. The leading eCommerce sites use reliable and secure payment gateways.
You need to integrate a user friendly checkout process, so that nothing gets messed up during the process. Here are certain tips that can enhance their experience.
Not all customers like to register. Every customer you encounter would not like to get them registered in your email list. Therefore, do not force them in this process.
If a particular customer is unwilling to share the email address, he or she should be able to make the purchase without doing so. This can actually help you minimize abandonment of shopping carts.
Now if a buyer agrees to register, make sure that you give a smooth experience to the person. The form should be short and be devoid of irrelevant aspects.
Focus on the crucial aspects like credit card information, email address, phone number and delivery address. The forms should be mobile friendly, ensuring that people can access them from all types of devices.
- Disclose your shipping costs
Transparency from your end helps to build trust, and the same applies when it comes to disclosing the shipping costs. Do not give unpleasant surprises to your customers. This enhances your brand image significantly.
Your product page should also include the shipping cost, so that the customers get a comprehensive idea of how much they need to shell out.
SEO friendly landing pages
The SEO tactics should be integrated into the design process. Connect the search terms used by the customers to particular landing pages. This will help you capture users, who are seeking a certain product.
As a marketer, you should understand that your customers may want to purchase a product, when they search for it. You need to come up with a customized landing page for items that are commonly searched for.
You should prioritize the design of your landing page that can increase conversions. This enhances your chance to sell the products.
On-site search box
Although this feature is a basic one, many eCommerce websites do not offer the option for searching within the portal. Even if some sites have this feature, the results are not optimized properly. As a result, the customers get irrelevant recommendations and results.
For a good shopping experience on eCommerce sites, it is important to integrate an on-site search feature. Considering that 60% of all purchases made online are not impulsive, retailers should try to personalize the buying experience. Often, people know what exactly they want to purchase.
They might look for a product model or name. It saves them time, rather than browsing through all the available products in the menu. You must also integrate additional features like autocomplete and predictive search, so that they can get the desired options quickly.
Faceted search and filters
Using filters and faceted search enables the customers to search for different products using multiple attributes. When you create the filters, make sure not to limit the options to colour, price, size and other general criteria.
You need to integrate particular filters for the products. For instance, if you are selling apparel, people should be able to customize them using options like fabric, fit, invitations and occasions, font for print, etc.
Likewise, if you are selling gadgets, features like processor, screen size and other aspects should be used for better customization. The UI should be responsive, so that the filters are applied immediately after a user chooses the. Besides, the customers should be able to remove them easily, if required.
Trust proves to be one of the most valuable assets for any business, and acquiring it takes great efforts. Therefore, try not to leave the customers guessing about product availability and shipping options.
Provide the contact and customer support information conspicuously in the website. In case you have important information to convey about the return policy, the customers should be able to view the same easily.
If the customers are able to make informed decisions, they are likely to return to your site. Building trust also leads to expansion of business, as word of mouth has a significant role to play in the marketing mechanism.
Designing the shopping cart
The customers should be able to view an order summary, clear and concise, before they get over with the purchase. Therefore, the cart should display the items they purchase, price, quantity and the total bill. The user should be able to edit the items and quantities, as required.
Therefore, you should include the option for deleting and updating the cart. Provide a shipping summary as well, so that they can get an idea about the shipping charges.
In case you are offering a discount, a dedicated option should allow the customers use their promocodes. With a clear summary and receipt, the transaction remains transparent. The buyers are able to view the breakdown of cost, shopping charges and tax.
Statistics reveal that around 40% of the revenue generated by eCommerce companies comes from impulse buying. The sites should enable the customers to checkout without registration.
They might appear as guests for the first time, and then get themselves registered. Complications during registration can minimize the impulse purchases.
Visual feedback during purchase
This is a relatively new and effective feature that many eCommerce sites are integrating nowadays. A coloured bar is used to represent the progress of the customer during online purchase.
This progress bar represents the stage in which the customer is presently in. This gives them an idea about how long it might take to complete the process.
In fact, each bar represents a step, and the bars progress as the customer close up towards the checkout process. Some of the reputed companies like Apple allow the customers to move back and forth within the checkout process.
They can click on these bars to edit and update information. However, the information they entered remains stored. In the process, the customers do not lose the information they already provided, as they toggle between the bars.
Include multiple payment methods
One of the most reliable ways to ensure that the customers do not face any hassle during check out is to include multiple methods for making the payments. Usually, the eCommerce sites offer options like credit and debit card payments to the customers.
You should also include the popular digital wallets, as it is convenient for many buyers to make payments through them. PayPal is also a recommended option.
Besides, many people opt for EMI purchase with their respective banks. The payment gateway should include all the offers that the customers can avail, when they go for EMI purchase.
Integrating multiple payment methods indicate that customers can switch to an alternative option, if the preferred payment method fails to operate due to technical reasons.
The websites and mobile apps of eCommerce retailers are developed within a particular scheme in business. It indicates that they are a part of the branding and marketing strategy. A lot of detailed planning goes into this process.
In fact, the design process gets commenced much ahead of the first promotional line that appears on media through advertising. The branding elements should be considered, when the site is designed. Designers cannot ignore the following aspects, when they come up with a particular design.
The best benefit that customers can derive from the product should be conveyed through the website design. Visuals are powerful indeed to create an impression. The value of your product should be conveyed through a design.
Focus on target audience
Right from the initial stage of a particular project, you should be clear about the target audience. Therefore, the designer should psychologically exploit the target groups through their creativity.
Important elements that reputed designers consider include their shopping habits, culture, age, orientation, literacy level and to what extent they trust online shopping. Besides, the customers might also be influenced by their social circles. A planned process works out the best in these situations.
In the virtual space, your website creates the first impression about your company. You must be able to convey the voice of your brand through tone and positioning. Therefore, the design should help the customers identify the brand as friendly, modern, serious, experimental, luxury, exclusive and so on.
The brand positioning determines the space that your brand occupies in the minds of your customers. It is important to strongly position your brand, and the right design can boost up your image.
For instance, the design should convey whether your products are semi formal or formal. Regardless of what you sell, try to position your brand through the right visuals in the design.
Website designers have an active role to play in leveraging the sales and marketing. They integrate a wide range of posters, banners and photos in the landing and other pages. Attractive illustrations allure the customers in making their purchases.
The colors, font and design of your website need to be consistent. Reputed retailers often use the same visual elements and designs in online, indoor and outdoor advertisements. In the process, the customers start getting familiar with these brands.
The designers are aware of the conditions, where they should use particular designs. They can decide the colour scheme, layout, typography and font accordingly. All these aspects combine to deliver a seamless browsing experience to the customers.
An enjoyable and fast navigation, pleasant fonts, easily searched products and a seamless checkout process enhances the overall shopping experience. Forward thinking online retailers must consider partnering a designer to infuse their sites with the right visual impact.