With the acceleration of digital transformation during the pandemic, users have become accustomed to top-notch eCommerce experiences and are willing to settle for nothing less. With so many options on the web, users will quickly jump to the next best thing if your eCommerce site isn’t up to their standards.
So, what can you do to get your eCommerce store to stand out from the crowd and to give users the experience they’re looking for? Here are a few key tips to get you started.
The best chance that you have in getting users to the places where you want them to land on your site is to invest in developing strong site navigation. What does site navigation mean? Well, it refers to the process that users undergo when they move through and interact with information on your website. When users start on one page on your site and have an objective in mind, you want it to be easy for them to navigate from one page to the next, ideally such that they will take the intended action. On an eCommerce site, the target action is often to get the user to check out, so you want to design your site navigation so that you are helping users to easily find the product or products that they need and then are working them towards a seamless checkout process.
In order to try to objectively assess how strong your site navigation is, write down several objectives relevant to your website and put them all in a hat. Aggregate a small group of friends or colleagues and have everyone choose one piece of paper out of the hat with a given objective written on the paper. Ask each person to find their way to your website and have them try to accomplish the given objective and see how long it ultimately takes them to complete it. Throughout this exercise, each person should act as if they are a new consumer so they can objectively assess how easy it is to find the product on the site and to purchase the item. After everyone in the group works through this activity, have a discussion about the various experiences and see if any bottlenecks persist.
When you get a new or returning user on your site, the ultimate goal is to get them to the point of purchase. To do so effectively while minimizing bounces, it’s important to eliminate any obstacles users may encounter throughout the process. One thing that is detrimental to the user experience is a long load time, such that it takes a while for individual pages to load throughout the user’s journey on your eCommerce site.
Ideally, you want to invest in making sure that your site loads incredibly quickly. This will help to ensure users don’t get agitated before they check out and purchase the items in their cart. A strong eCommerce page load speed typically ranges from about a half a second to two seconds. If you find that your pages are taking longer than two seconds to load, you should dig into the source of the long load time and invest in improving this to enhance the overall customer experience and ensure users can move through your site at their ideal pace.
One of the challenges associated with getting people to buy products online is that the users don’t get to touch and feel the products as they do in the store. This can be particularly problematic in cases where users are shopping for products like clothes since they can’t fully tell how much they really want or need the product without truly understanding how it fits. In order to compensate for this, it’s important to create updated and visually appealing imagery on your site. At the bare minimum, you should have images of your products that detail an accurate version of the product to help the user understand what the product will look and feel like in real life.
More updated eCommerce sites often now feature some iteration of 3D imagery or videos to help the user go beyond a 2D online shopping experience. The purpose of including 3D visuals is to bring the product to life digitally and help the user understand the true scope of the product. In some cases, users are able to spin the product around on sites to see all of the different components of a product without looking at individual images one at a time and trying to piece the product together conceptually in the user’s head. In other cases, some eCommerce sites feature videos of individuals interacting with the product to show users how they might utilize this product in their everyday lives.
The most important action that you want users to take on your eCommerce site is to work through the checkout process. It takes a lot of time and effort to get users to this ideal point on your website, so you don’t want to waste all of that effort by having an overly complicated checkout process that ultimately drives users away before they make a purchase. Rather, you want to institute a very simple process that clearly details the steps users need to take to buy the product they want from your website and to get it shipped to their home.
The objective of a smooth checkout process is to eliminate any unnecessary steps that might frustrate the user or increase the time it takes for them to complete the process. When trying to optimize your checkout process, start by setting expectations for the user to make it clear how long the process is going to take and what they can expect throughout the process. Don’t require more information than you need in advance of allowing the user to physically check out, such as requiring them to register for your program or mailing list more generally. Your ultimate objective is to close the sale, so you don’t want additional hurdles that stand in the way of allowing the user to complete this action.
Many people will be navigating through your site for the first time. They don’t want to be forced to guess what you want them to do as the site designer to work their way through the complex journey of searching for, selecting, and buying the item they want to purchase. To alleviate any uncertainties and decrease the chance of users bouncing from your site, include clear calls to action throughout the experience to handhold users throughout the process and make it feel as if you are their personal concierge leading the way to help them make the perfect purchase.
So, what’s the purpose of a CTA? Well, a call to action aims to get a user or respective target audience to perform a specific action. Calls to action are important to incorporate into your web experience because they help the user to understand exactly what you want them to do at different points throughout the user journey. Strong calls to action include compelling copy that can drive users to follow whatever it is that you are instructing them to do. Try to keep the CTA fairly straightforward and concise, as there shouldn’t be any guesswork involved for the user.
It can take a while to optimize your eCommerce website, so don’t try to tackle everything at once. Rather, create a list of internal priorities to improve the quality of your site over time to give the user an optimal experience.
If you’ve been working hard to improve the quality of your user experience and are still finding that many users are bouncing, don’t be too hard on yourself! This is one of the most frequent challenges that eCommerce leaders are faced with, and there are several marketing strategies that you can use to pull users back onto your site if they end up bouncing. Reach out to our experienced team of A&R experts at Camber Creative for a complete user experience consult to help you understand how to enhance your user experience.