By: Jenifer Wetterau
We’ve all experienced it: seeing a fantastic product and wanting to buy it immediately, but when you visit the website it is so hard to navigate that you leave it without making a purchase. So what elements differentiate the great sites from those that get left in the dust? You don’t need to hire an expensive design team to build a flashy site with all the bells and whistles, just simply concentrate on your customers’ needs.
-Let shoppers browse their way
An intuitive navigational structure is essential to make it easy and quick for a customer to find exactly what they are looking for with the fewest number of clicks. It’s best practice to offer many ways to filter and sort, especially if your products come in many different styles and price points.
Since your customers will be shopping on different devices with varied loading speeds, it is important to incorporate options for viewing product results (list with photos, text only, etc.).
Note that 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less (http://bit.ly/1vnIwN2)
Another helpful feature to aid shoppers’ browsing is to add breadcrumbs. They provide links back to each previous page the user navigated through to get to the current page so you don’t have to start your search from the beginning.
-Give products the spotlight
Properly promote your products with high quality, sharable images. You can have an easily searchable site with great copy, but shoppers are there for the product photos. Encourage them to browse longer and return often by delivering exceptional imagery.
Provide multiple views of each product [photos, videos, etc.] on their own, as well as being used or worn. Mouse over effects and zoom are very important so shoppers get as good of a feel for the product as if they are seeing it in person. Include as much detail about a product as possible [size, material, weight, etc.] and enable detailed customer reviews. People are much more likely to make a purchase if it has been vetted by their peers. Show all related products, up-sells and cross-sells on the same page so your customers don’t get sidetracks on other pages and not complete the checkout process. Enable wish lists, sharing and notifications if an item a shopper is interested in goes on sale or is close to selling out.
-Simple, streamlined checkout
Shockingly, an average of 67.89% of shoppers abandon shopping carts and retailers lose $18 billion annually due to shopping cart abandonment (http://bit.ly/1vnIwN2), so this is a crucial element of your site. Great care should be taken not only in the planning and design, but in frequent and continuous monitoring and testing. Make the shopping cart clearly accessible from every page and allow customers to buy without having to create an account or become a member. Design forms for fastest completion time and make the checkout a single page to avoid drop offs that may occur due to slow loading pages or patchy Wi-Fi.
-Superior customer service
Research what is important to your customer base and make it your mission to over deliver. The majority of shoppers have come to expect free shipping and are encouraged to buy more products when given this perk. Enable live chat and encourage shoppers to ask questions while browsing your site to give them more confidence in their purchase decisions.
User Experience is the overall emotional feeling a user gets after using a website. Give them a convenient, intuitive, and enjoyable experience and they will not only buy, but become loyal shoppers.
What elements of UX do your customers find essential?
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