The ecommerce landscape is growing rapidly. With a staggering 2.64 billion online shoppers now frequently engaging with ecommerce retailers, digital brands need to step up their game if they are to compete with industry giants.
The question is: how can you ensure that you build an online store to handle this increase in online traffic? Can the company’s Web host handle a the necessary bandwidth? Is the content up to scratch for a diverse range of users?
It’s no secret that a positive, online user experience drives conversions. The key requirements for consumers who are making online purchases include high-quality content, streamlined navigation, and a fast-loading Web site. These should be priorities for any digital retailer that wants to perform well.
“For retailers with a robust ecommerce platform, this shift to online shopping is a boon. But for those who have yet to accommodate hybrid shopping practices, catching up to the competition will become mission critical in 2023,” says Shankar Balakrishnan, Area Vice President at Anaplan. “Ultimately, I believe the year ahead is going to be a bit of a balancing act for retailers who have to create agile inventory and merchandising plans that support an increase in online shopping, as well as the sustained need for physical stores.”
Let’s delve into what the modern-day ecommerce landscape could look like for small businesses and reveal why prioritizing the user experience for shoppers could be the ticket to conversion success.
Can the User Experience Impact Ecommerce Success?
As consumers become confident in an online world, they also become more demanding. So consumers are now pickier than ever before when it comes to the brands with which they interact online. With so many online competitors to choose from, modern-day shoppers simply bounce from page to page until they find a retailer that offers them a perfect user experience—one that offers personalization, optimized visuals, and pages that load quickly. If you provide consumers with a direct path from first impression to checkout, you’ll quickly see a Web site’s conversions rise.
As Figure 1 shows, the user experience matters in improving consumers’ engagement with a site. Over 88% of consumers bounce if a site takes more than three seconds to load, while a whopping 61% jump to a competitor if they struggle to navigate through a site’s content.
In fact, according to Adobe, 38% of online shoppers now leave a site simply become they find its content unattractive. In a digital arena where most online retailers have the UX design fundamentals covered, design flaws that historically went unnoticed have now taken center stage in the battle to beat competing retailers.
Content quality, inclusive accessibility, and personalization are now three common UX battles that ecommerce retailers face every day. The question is: how can you ensure that you have all of these basics covered when your goal is to make the consumer’s purchasing path as easy to follow as possible?
Next, we’ll consider three content-quality rules whose aim is to improve an ecommerce site’s UX design and keep the site rising among the ranks of competitors.
3 Content-Quality Rules to Remember for UX Success
According to experts at Big Commerce: “UX design plays a pivotal role in the success or failure of any ecommerce activity, and it is not just limited to aesthetics.
“Right from thorough logic and transitions to simple and clear microinteractions, fast feedback from the system, attractive product presentation, easy payment flow, and a bunch of intuitive features, every such single aspect can directly or indirectly affect your ecommerce game.”
The problem is that mastering all aspects of user experience can be tricky. Did you know that less than 1% of online shoppers claim that ecommerce stores meet their expectations during every interaction?
With that in mind, here are three UX fundamentals to remember when creating content for an ecommerce site that can increase conversions.
1. Accessibility and Innovation
The content could be top tier, but if users struggle to access it, chances of making conversions begin to fade. The key here is to balance accessibility with innovation. The content should be engaging, original, and provoke consumers to make a purchase, but it should also be user friendly, fast loading, and adaptable to a range of different devices and accommodate diverse abilities.
Optimize a site to function on any device—whether a mobile phone, computer screen, or tablet. You should create adaptable versions of visuals that perform well no matter how consumers access an online store.
For example, if a call-to-action (CTA) button follows the content, make sure that it is visible to all users. While it could sit next to visual content in a horizontal desktop layout, mobile users scroll through their content vertically. Therefore, you should place any CTAs below the content rather than beside it.
Better still, why not also improve content feedback? Sound and vibration haptics can help mobile users who are visually impaired to access a site’s content. From adding interactive buttons to using sound to guide the user along a navigation path, haptic user experiences have become a great accessibility feature that ecommerce retailers can use to boost device inclusivity.
Did you know that 15% of all global Web users live with some form of disability? Improving your accessibility game could, therefore, open up an ecommerce site to a wider demographic and actually give you a competitive edge in the race for conversions.
This is where adaptable accessibility comes into play. As shown in Figure 2, tools such as accessiBe offer a great, AI-powered solution for businesses that want to make their Web sites more accessible to people with disabilities. Implementing this tool is fairly simple. Ecommerce stores need only to subscribe and place the widget on their Web site, and they’re ready to go.
If all visitors can access a site’s high-quality content—regardless of whether they suffer from a visual, hearing, or cognitive impairment—you’ll see higher levels of engagement and more users talking about a positive experience with the brand.
2. Layouts with Optimized Visuals
If you want high-quality content to stand out, the design of its layout is key. Opting for minimalistic, functional designs can help enhance product visuals, descriptions, and calls to action.
If consumers find it easy to navigate a Web site, they’re likely to spend more time browsing its content. To optimize layouts, start thinking about what you can remove from pages. While overloading landing pages with visuals could give shoppers more opportunities to engage, it could be overwhelming.
Instead, choose the visuals that would be most likely to attract visitors’ attention and blow the images up to a larger scale. Make these large visuals a focal point of landing pages, while still preserving plenty of negative space around them. In this way, you can drive users to the large visuals that are front and center on a page, making them more likely to click a CTA button.
It’s also important to optimize visuals when designing an ecommerce site. If you want to create an attention-grabbing layout that makes a great first impression, its visuals must look polished. That means fast loading times and no pixelation.
To ensure that a site’s images and videos are of premium quality, introduce a good content-delivery network (CDN) as part of your UX strategy. A CDN is a network of servers that are spread out across multiple locations around the world. Depending on where visitors access a Web site, these servers work together to deliver the Web site’s visual assets—including images and videos—to users based on their geographical location.
Ensuring that you’ve sized product visuals correctly for the user’s desired device, then delivering them through a CDN could mean that the images look sharper when a potential lead accesses them. By providing a better view of an ecommerce site’s products with visuals that load in record time, you’ll be sure to see more users head to checkout.
3. Knowing the Audience
Last, but certainly not least, you must review external UX factors such as the audience’s needs and gratifications. The closer you are to an ecommerce store’s demographic, the better you’ll be at predicting content trends and personalization needs, but no consumers are the same. Nevertheless, creating customized content for a specific audience could increase engagement tenfold.
The key here is to track not only a site’s current traffic sources but also the quality of the traffic. Since Google Analytics has moved to a new engagement model, using a traffic-analytics tool such as Finteza could help you to quickly gather more information about a site’s demographics and see what makes its audience tick and also click.
As shown in Figure 4, Finteza can identify the quality of the traffic itself. Unlike Google Analytics, in which it’s quite challenging to filter out bot traffic, cookie manipulation, and data-center traffic, Finteza automatically categorizes this traffic.
Finteza can also perform a complex user analysis. Creating multiple samples, depending on your own research needs, can aid UX designers in optimizing certain aspects of a site. For example, if you’re aiming to optimize a site’s mobile content, Finteza can help you get closer to the smartphone-based traffic. By accessing their mobile sample, you can easily view low-traffic spots for mobile consumers and identify which areas of an ecommerce site you need to renovate to create an improved mobile user experience.
Knowing an ecommerce site’s demographics inside and out could be the difference between creating content that thrives and content that dives.
A UX-Driven Tomorrow
Did you know that 88% of users are less likely to return to a Web site after enduring a bad user experience? Whether this is a slow-loading page or an overwhelming content layout, the user experience matters when you’re seeking ecommerce success.
As the competition within each online industry accelerates, users continue to seek new ecommerce experiences and demand more personalization from digital retailers. The question is: has your online business got what it takes?