The design of your ecommerce site significantly influences the success of the site. Whether we are talking about fundaments of an ecommerce site or the essential components for sections within the site, high-quality user experience is key. Let’s take a look at some of the features and offerings that consumers have come to expect from any ecommerce site.
Responsive Design and Mobile Friendly
A majority of smartphone consumers use their device to make online purchases. Add in the number of shoppers who use a tablet to surf and shop the Internet and you can’t afford to offer an ecommerce site that isn’t responsive and mobile friendly. If you’d appreciate a comparison of those two phrases, a responsive website depends on mobile operating systems and changes depending on the needs of the particular device being used to look at a website. A mobile-friendly website works in exactly the same way regardless of the device being used – the functioning does not depend on mobile operating systems.
Things to Feature on Every Page
Cart Icon: a clearly visible cart or basket icon situated in the top right corner of every page is the best design practice. The cart or basket icon should indicate the number of items the customer has added to the cart. If your ecommerce page offers hover features, show the actual items in the cart when the consumer hovers over the icon.
Calls to Action: these buttons should be prominently displayed throughout every page on your site. They can be used to encourage consumers to explore other areas of your site or to take a look at sales merchandise. The most important call to action you should feature is a clearly visible checkout button. This button is often situated next to the cart or basket icon. Another option is to have the cart or basket icon function as a direct link to check out.
Search Bar: consumers shouldn’t have to search for the search bar, situate it prominently at the top of the page. By offering a comprehensive search function, you allow consumers to directly find catalog products, zero in quickly on what they are looking for, and are acknowledging the importance of their time. Many companies take the search bar a step further by providing predictive suggestions while the consumer is typing in his search terms.
Brand Contact Information: consumer anxiety can be easily reduced by providing multiple brand contact options on every page. Let your customers know they can contact you via chat, email, phone, etc. with any questions they might have during their time on your website and after they make a purchase.
Working Through your Site
Navigation Menus: the navigation of your site should be intuitive and navigation menus clearly available to guide consumers to different product categories and subcategories. Segment your products or services into distinct groups to help customers easily find what they are looking for.
Filters and Sorting Functions: few shoppers want to needlessly sift through hundreds of products when they have an idea of what they are looking for. The more filters and sorting functions you can provide, the better. If a customer is looking for a black coffee table that costs less than $200, they should be able to indicate their criteria to minimize the time they will spend looking through product images and descriptions.
Images are often the first impression consumers receive from your brand. Professional, high-quality, photography that captures your products in use is more emotionally compelling than stagnate product images. Show products from a variety of angles and incorporate zoom technology so customers can key in on any prominent or important features.
Recommended Products: show products that you want to feature as well as your best sellers. Many people are drawn to products that they know others have bought and given positive reviews. Personalize suggestions - “customers who bought this also purchased XXX,” or “if you like this product, you’ll love XXX!” or “Don’t forget to buy XXX to use with your new…!” Include visuals to make your suggestions even more compelling. Upselling benefits your brand but it also helps customers feel like they are receiving one-on-one attention.
Reviews and Recommendations: include review scores from your previous customers to share which products have been social proofed. Feature testimonials throughout your websites, too. Many online shoppers prefer to read what others have to say about a product before they make a buying decision.
Share Product Availability: you can reduce customer frustration levels when you inform them of stock availability as they are viewing a product listing. If you are sold out of mediums, let the consumer know before they click into a product page. It also plays into consumers’ FOMO (fear of missing out) when you let them know, “Only 7 items left!” and can increase sales.
Additional Call to Action: in addition to a button that allows consumers to add products to their shopping cart, include a button that lets them tag a product for later viewing. You can call it “Add to Wishlist” or “Save for Later” or whatever works for your brand. This time-saving measure allows people to think about an item they might like to buy without committing it to their shopping cart or having to dig through all of your products to find the item again.
Product Descriptions: be concise when writing product descriptions. If an item requires more detailed information to be shared, use tables to segment the details. This allows consumers to look at the information they deem important without having to wade through other text. You can also put the most pertinent information first and include a “read more” tag at the end of the text.
Main Call to Action: the button that instructs a consumer to buy or add a product to their shopping card should be prominently placed on every product page. Make the button stand out by using a bright and buying dedicated color. Consider placing multiple buttons on a page so it is visible regardless of how far a viewer scrolls down a page.
Delivery: show the estimated delivery time for a product. If a customer is wanting to use an item for a particular event or day, they will appreciate an accurate estimate of when they will see the item delivered. This will also allow consumers to choose alternate items if they know something can’t be delivered in the timeframe they need.
Fees: be transparent regarding any and all fees associated with the purchase and shipping of your products. Hidden fees are given as the most common reason consumers abandon their carts. Don’t wait until the end of the checkout process, show all fees upfront on the cart page.
Cart Changes: make it easy for consumers to either remove unwanted items from their cart or to change the quantity of the items. Nothing is more frustrating than having to go back to a product page to manipulate an order. Provide an easy way for consumers to update items directly in the cart.
Shopping Flow: consumers often want to go back to shopping after viewing items in their cart. Include a link that allows them to “continue shopping” directly from their cart. Better yet, provide a way to return to exactly where they were before jumping into their shopping cart. Ease of movement within your site will encourage people to stay longer and make solid purchases.
Provide Focus: once a customer has moved to the checkout phase, keep them focused on completing that task. Do not feature the navigation menu on the checkout page as it may tempt customers to move away from the purchasing process.
Segmented Process: nothing is more discouraging than having to completely redo an order form because you accidentally back out of a page. If you separate the ordering process into multiple steps, you offer a smoother experience. Once a consumer has verified the items in his cart, take him to a customer information page. Once that is done, take him to a payment information page, and then, finally, a confirmation page. If you can make it possible to backtrack without losing information already provided, even better.
Offer Options: customers are more likely to trust brands that offer their preferred method of payment be it a credit card, debit card, third-party options like PayPal and Amazon Pay, or e-wallet payment. Consumers also appreciate delivery options. Some customers want their items as soon as possible while others want to spend as little as possible, or nothing, and don’t care how long it takes. Provide detailed information regarding your delivery options so consumers know exactly what they are getting into with each choice.
Security: in addition to helping consumers feel secure with the option of third-party payment options, reassure your customers that their financial details are safe. Show your SSL certificate and any security badges on the checkout page.
Home Page: often the first introduction consumers have to your organization, your home page is not the place to start listing products. Use that main landing page to create brand appeal, to feature incredible deals, or to build excitement about upcoming purchasing opportunities.
Catalog Page: segment your products with tags and tabs, menus and submenus. The last thing you want to do is overwhelm shoppers by including too many items on a single page. This is why the filters and sorting features we mentioned earlier are so important.
Product Page: your product pages will make or break the sale. Make sure viewers have access to a crisp, clear image and can zoom in on the visual details. Show the items in use to increase excitement about the product. Provide all pertinent details and relevant choices in a clear and concise manner. Feature prominent “add to cart” buttons on every product page.
Cart Page: make it easy to get to and from the cart page. Make it easy to change the number of items. Make it easy to remove or add items, too. Ensure shoppers can easily access product details without having to leave their cart. Show all potential fees on the cart page so there are no surprises during checkout.
Checkout Page: provide a focused, segmented checkout process to minimize the chance that a consumer will leave mid-purchase or have to re-enter information. Offer options for both payment and delivery. Ensure customers that their information is safe in your system by displaying security badges and your SSL certificate.
Ecommerce sales are expected to hit $4.5 trillion by 2021. Ecommerce represents 10% of all US retail sales and is expected to increase by 15% every year. Given those statistics, you can’t afford to offer anything less than a dynamic, intuitive, and unhindered ecommerce experience.
The experts at Strategy Driven Marketing would love to learn more about your brand and business goals. We have extensive experience helping organizations create and maintain ecommerce websites that are an expression of their brand and direct channel to their customers. From creative and front-end development to functionality, responsiveness, and more, SDM can help you provide an amazing user experience that will create a buzz about your brand and keep customers coming back time after time. Contact us today to learn more!