Want to deliver a picture-perfect user experience to the customers of your e-store? 2016 is all about profound understanding of user’s needs. Goods and services sell well only when people can find what they’re looking for. So, the ultimate objective of the online store owner is finding the optimum combination of functionality and a thought-out design.
User experience is big, so is the list of eCommerce design guidelines by Nielsen Norman Group. No matter how great a web developer is, it’s nearly impossible to fit all of the 884 items. But is it necessary, really?
Analyzing web design trends and comparing the solutions that businesses have come up with is a great way to understand what would suit a specific project. Here’s some universal advice that works for everyone.
Build a Homepage that Sells
By looking at the home page of an online store, users don’t have to second guess on why they’re here. According to the study conducted by Taylor & Francis Group, it takes something between 17 and 50ms for a user to form an opinion about a website.
So, giving a clear understanding of the product selection, special offers, bestsellers is your primary goal. At the same time, don’t be too pushy, upselling or cross-selling the goods. To deliver the great user experience to the customers, the context should be right.
Hunter’s Wines offer the deals for a bottle and a case straight away to sell their goods right away.
In this respect, the rise of ready-made eCommerce themes made for any online commerce engine you can only imagine, needs to be brought up. Most online stores are created using pre-built solutions, because they are relatively inexpensive, yet not so difficult to handle.
This, though, leads to the existence of multiple similar looking websites on the Internet, which does not improve the UX at all. Obviously, purchasing a website theme, the shop owners should remember to tailor it to the specific needs of a business venture.
Gourmet Food Shop PrestaShop Theme by TemplateMonster is quite and appetizing example of a clean and uncluttered design for a food online store.
DW Store WooCommerce Theme has six predefined styles, so the choice of layouts is unlimited.
Minimalism Shouldn’t Mean Lack of Information
Design wise, online shops tend to become more uncluttered and less loaded with information. Yet this shouldn’t look like there are no goods to offer. Modern web design trends are all about usability – the grid-based structure creates order to ease navigation.
“White” (blank) space, also known as “negative” space is used not only to let the user’s eyes rest from the clutter but also to focus their attention on important things.
Another side of minimalism is using a card user interface or Pinterest-like interface, as everyone knows it. This lets to summarize the information about a certain item without overselling it.
Sony’s online store design is pretty minimalist, yet clever use of negative space makes the goods that are grouped in a certain category stand out much better.
Navigation Above All
The pursuit of success depends on how user-friendly the navigation is within a particular online store. The point is to make people happy with how fast they can find a thing they’re looking for.
An ideal online shop should have several navigation options like a top menu, a multicolumn menu for item categories and sub-categories, a secondary navigation for contacts and other information, a menu in the footer. Also, cross-reference between the products with multiple categories is a good idea, because people may be looking up a specific item in different sections.
Do not neglect the shopping cart menus, for this is a final stop for a client before proceeding to payment. It should be clearly visible and providing information about the price and number of purchased products with all the necessary details.
Remember, people are lazy, so they will most likely skip the navigation menu for the sake of a search bar. Faceted search is best suited for online stores, because it allows plowing through a lot of products, especially when there are more than 20 items in a separate category.
The filtering option to sort out the items by such parameters as price, size, color etc. significantly improves user experience on the web resource.
Greats provide an extremely appealing and user-friendly navigation for their luxury quality sneakers and shoes store without overselling it. That’s the way to go!
What’s in It for the Customer?
An online store without an appropriate value proposition becomes just another website on the Internet. The only thing people want to catch instantly is what’s in it to them. No matter what information is emphasized: a free shipping offer, coupon codes in emails, discounts for signing up for a newsletter, all of this should be clearly visible.
The part of great UX delivery is the social proof of value and customer testimonials. If there are no reviews, an eCommerce project seriously lacks credibility in the eyes of a target audience.
Skillshare is not really an online shop, yet they’ve done excellent in pushing their paid creative courses forward making a nice value proposition for both teachers and students right on the homepage.
It’s a common practice to ask for an email address of a customer, however, it should be used wisely. Clients want to learn information they can benefit from every time they receive a newsletter or become a part of an email marketing campaign.
This is why sending coupons, rewards and other freebies is a good idea to prove the value of an online shop to a particular user. Emailing a week later to learn about the impression a purchase has left is a great way to nurture customer loyalty. People like feeling they’re cared about, and the after sales service is one of those things that can either make a dedicated client or turn a person off.
Of course, it’s possible to go on and on about improving the UX for an average customer. The point is to always ask questions, whether this or that website element or improvement is good and comfortable for a person who goes on the Internet on a daily basis. So, which other advice would you give to deliver an exquisite user experience on a particular online store? Sound off in the comment section below!