Ecommerce user experience
Learn essential strategies to enhance ecommerce user experience, including optimizing for mobile, streamlining the checkout process, improving navigation, and more.
In the world of ecommerce, delivering a seamless shopping experience is essential. Yet, numerous ecommerce sites neglect the user experience, which can lead to elevated bounce and cart abandonment rates.
Recognizing the significance of ecommerce user experience in shaping your brand, how can you optimize your store’s UX?
This article outlines what ecommerce UX is, its role, and strategies to enhance the user experience of your online store.
What is ecommerce user experience?
Ecommerce user experience (UX) is the overall experience your customers have when interacting with your online store.
The main objective of a good user experience design is to create a positive online shopping experience without any friction. Good ecommerce UX follows core UX design principles to help you design an online store that your target audience will love.
Why is ecommerce user experience important?
Below are some reasons why you should consider improving your ecommerce user experience:
- Easy navigation: A good ecommerce UX ensures that your online store has a clear information architecture. This makes it easy for your customers to quickly and easily find what they’re looking for.
- It increases customer satisfaction and brand awareness: An intuitive ecommerce website gives visitors a good first impression. Customers will be more likely to spend time on your website and may also be compelled to leave positive reviews or promote your brand via word of mouth.
- Improved user engagement: Personalizing content based on a user’s interests, browsing history, and behavior can increase their chances of staying engaged.
How to improve ecommerce user experience
Below are some top tips for improving the user experience of your ecommerce site.
Streamline the checkout process
Ecommerce stores have a specific goal – to convert online visitors into buyers (and then into repeat customers). A smooth and friction-free checkout process will help you achieve this goal faster. On the other hand, having a complicated checkout can make prospects abandon their cart.
A study by the Baymard Institute of US online shoppers shows that the average documented cart abandonment rate is around 70%. Looking closely at this research, 25% of shoppers abandon their carts because they’re required to register before they can check out and 18% leave their carts if the checkout process is too long and complicated.
To streamline your checkout process, start by reducing the number of steps required to complete a purchase. Your store should also have a guest checkout option, making it easy for visitors to complete an order without having to sign up.
Using automatic fill-in form fields is another way to simplify your checkout process. Instead of asking shoppers to manually fill in their personal details (e.g. name, address, email address), these fields can be automatically filled in, saving them time and making the checkout process quicker.
Lastly, ensure that you offer multiple payment options and provide a buy now, pay later option.
Optimize your store for mobile
Today, more people are shopping on their smartphones than they are on other devices. It’s therefore essential to optimize your store to perform well on mobile.
A study by Insider Intelligence predicts mcommerce sales to hit $534.18 billion, or 40.4% of ecommerce sales, in 2024. Another survey by Statista shows the growing rise of smartphone subscriptions across the world year-on-year.
By optimizing your store for mobile, customers using mobile devices can easily navigate on smaller screens. This in turn will improve the shopping experience.
To ensure that your ecommerce store functions well on mobile, take a mobile-first design approach when designing your webstore. This approach includes developing for mobile before expanding to devices with bigger screens.
Use clear calls to action
Calls to actions (CTAs) nudge your visitors to take a desired action. They can direct your visitors to complete a purchase, subscribe to a newsletter, or learn more about a product or service.
Having clear and precise CTAs can make a significant impact on your conversion rate.
Here are some tips on how to optimize your CTAs:
- Ensure your CTA buttons stand out: Use designs that distinguish your CTA buttons from the rest of your page.
- Use action-driven copy: Your copy needs to nudge your readers to take a specific action.
- Make clear promises and follow through: Make a clear promise and spell out what users can expect when they click a button. Ensure you follow through with your promise.
Top tip: To test which CTAs resonate with your target audience, we’d recommend running a preference test in UsabilityHub. Simply upload your options and ask your test participants which design they prefer and why. Sign up for a free 14-day trial to try out this feature for yourself.
Use an intuitive navigation and search bar
A navigation bar is an essential component of your ecommerce website. Having intuitive navigation makes it easy for visitors to navigate through different pages of your website and find what they’re looking for without any hassle.
A good example of an intuitive navigation bar is a sticky navigation menu. This navigation style lets users access the nav bar regardless of where they are on your site.
The search bar is equally as important as a navigation bar, as it allows your store visitors to search for a specific product and filter their search results.
Use high-quality product images
Using quality product images is another way to improve your store’s user experience. This is because shoppers rely on images to see exactly what they’re buying. A study by Google/Ipsos shows that 85% of shoppers say pictures are important to them when deciding which brand or retailer to buy from.
Since product pictures help shoppers make buying decisions, how do you ensure your images present your products in a good light?
When taking and uploading product images to your store, here are some of the tips to consider:
- Use large and high-resolution pictures: Your images should be large enough to show your products in detail. Use a high-resolution image to ensure that your product image is clear and sharp, even when you zoom in.
- Different angles: Your product should be photographed from different angles to give customers a good understanding of what it looks like. For clothing brands, make sure a model is wearing the item and is shown in different poses.
- Use consistent pictures: Ensure that your product pictures have a consistent style. This could be a consistent background or angle, or even the scale of the pictures.
Provide prompt customer support
In today’s ecommerce landscape, brand preference is often driven by a strong emphasis on exceptional customer service. According to Microsoft’s Global State of Customer Service report, 90% of respondents indicated that customer service is important to their choice of and loyalty to a brand. Zendesk’s CX-Trends 2023 report also states that 58% of consumers base purchasing decisions on the level of service they expect to receive.
When offering customer support, you should aim to provide multi-channel support, like live chat, phone, chatbots, and emails. You can also include a frequently asked questions (FAQs) section or help center documentation to answer recurring questions.
Improve page loading speed
Research has shown that page loading speed impacts the user experience for ecommerce customers. A survey by Unbounce shows that 70% of consumers admit that page speed influences their likelihood to buy online. This means slow load times on your ecommerce store equals bad UX, which in turn leads to fewer sales.
Research has also shown that optimizing your ecommerce store for speed has a direct impact on your conversion rate. In a study by Portent, online stores with 1 second load time have a 2.5x higher ecommerce conversion rate than a site that loads in 5 seconds.
Now that you know the benefits of optimizing your store for speed, what are some of the best ways to improve your load time?
- Compress your media files: Uploading large media files can put a strain on your server and make your website load slower. To help with this, you should compress and resize your media files and make them smaller before uploading them to your online store (You can do this by using a tool like Sqoosh).
- Use fast and reliable hosting: Ensure you’re using a reliable hosting service provider. Also, make sure you’re using dedicated hosting instead of shared, which can be slower.
- Minimize the use of pop-ups: Using too many pop-ups can slow down your website speed and performance. They can also be distracting, which can impact user experience.
- Reduce redirects: Every time a user clicks on a redirected URL, the server has to process the redirect request before it serves the correct page. This can result in some delays, especially if there are multiple redirect requests.
Optimize your ecommerce user experience with UsabilityHub
When reviewing the user experience of your ecommerce store, it’s important to continuously analyze your visitors' behavior and gather feedback to make better improvements. Doing so ensures that you create an ecommerce store with a smooth and seamless user interface.
UsabilityHub can help you test your navigation and gather valuable insights from your target audience. With UsabilityHub, you can conduct preference testing, navigation testing, card sorting, five second testing, design surveys, and prototype testing, and organize interviews with your users. Using these features, you can get feedback from real users about your ecommerce store and gain insights on how to optimize it for a better user experience.
Sign up to UsabilityHub to get started.
Femi Oyelola is a B2B SaaS/Tech content marketing writer. He specializes in writing long-form content about marketing, ecommerce and product development. You can connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.