E-commerce stores begin with an idea. Then come goals, objectives and logistical decisions. Understandably, the entrepreneurs behind online stores become quite attached to these “brainchildren.” When you’ve been involved in the planning, launch and running of an e-commerce store, you care about its business outcomes. You want to see it succeed.
But it’s important to remember your e-commerce website isn’t ultimately about you; it’s about online users. Without the patronage and support of loyal customers, your business will struggle to succeed. This serves as a reminder to put aside your personal tastes and instead focus on centering the customer experience. As Digitalist Magazine writes, customer-centered design “is all about putting the customer at the forefront of everything you do and always being the champion of the customer.”
What does user-centric e-commerce web design look like in action?
Simple Design And Navigation Wins
Simplicity is key. Frills only serve to obscure the path to conversion. This is true whether your website sells rugs, camping gear, candles, handmade furniture, books or any other product under the sun. In order to buy your goods, people must be able to find them, along with the information they need to make purchasing decisions and complete transactions. Any hiccups, glitches, delays or confusing missteps they encounter will diminish the likelihood of them making it all the way to conversion.
Here’s what online shoppers say contributes to a great experience, per 60 Second Marketer:
* Speedy: 47 percent say it’s critical “[they] can find and buy what they need as quickly as possible.” Another 47 percent say it’s important.
* Seamless/Easy: 45 percent say it’s critical there’s a “smooth, continuous and effortless experience across the different channels.” An additional 47 percent say it’s important.
* Sense of Control: 39 percent say it’s critical a website “lets [them] search for answers/ask for help, keeps [them] updated and gives them a sense of being in control.” A full 51 percent also said it’s important.
Knowing what people want is the first step toward being able to provide it on your website. Spend time perfecting your navigation and site structure so people can move intuitively back and forth through landing pages. Ensure elements like your search window and shopping cart are easily located. Conduct A/B testing to determine the effects of various changes on website visitors before making them permanent design fixtures.
Smooth Out The Checkout Process Question
What is an e-commerce business at its core? Shopify’s business encyclopedia defines it as “the transaction of goods and services.” Without a streamlined checkout process in place, you’ll only be hindering your ability to conduct these transactions. Great navigation is a start, but it’s equally important to optimize checkout.
Shopping cart abandonment—people exiting a website before purchasing the products they’ve placed in their carts—is a costly phenomenon in online retail. It’s the epitome of “close, but no cigar.”
Checkout can be the difference between cart abandonment and a finished transaction. Here are a few of the reasons visitors give for abandoning their shopping carts during checkout:
* The website required account creation (37 percent)
* The checkout process was overly long or complicated (28 percent)
* It was impossible to calculate the order cost up front (23 percent)
* The website seemed untrustworthy with credit card information (19 percent
* The website failed to offer enough payment methods (8 percent)
Consider these reasons what not to do when it comes to optimizing your store’s checkout. User-centric e-commerce website design simply provides the best experience possible to all visitors—from intuitive navigation to streamlined checkout.