By 2021, global eCommerce sales are expected to grown to more than 4.48 trillion dollars, which is more than double from 2017.
This is great news for you! However, it’s imperative to your company’s success that your customers have fantastic experiences with your site.
The truth about most online shoppers is that they are heavily influenced by how the online store looks and whether they feel at ease when they first see your website.
Think about it - how many times have you clicked away from a website just because it isn’t visually pleasing?
I’ve done it - so many times!
We all do it, constantly.
You either grab visitors attention immediately and give yourself a chance to sell them something or you risk wasting the effort that you’ve spent to bring them to your store. This is especially wasteful if you are paying for advertisements to drive traffic to your store.
So before you dive into picking a theme for your new site, it’s important to understand the importance of User Experience - also known as UX - when designing.
In layman’s terms, the core idea of a typical user experience design is to get inside the head of your end user and figure out what will provide them a simple, logical, and enjoyable shopping experience.
User Experience is so important that your eCommerce site depends on it - literally! 70% of online businesses that fail do so because of bad user experience. Spending some time and money on understanding and applying basic UX principles will help increase your site’s sales.
Every $1 invested into UX results in a return of $100. That’s pretty good ROI if you ask me!
Chances are your customers have been to sites like Amazon or Nike. These companies spend a ton of money focusing on User Experience, User Interface, and customer research. Even though your company is probably smaller and might not have all the resources that bigger brands have, your customer is still expecting your site to be just as functional and aesthetically pleasing as sites like Amazon and Nike. Most businesses have some type of online presence and search engines, like Google, make it incredibly easy to find similar brands if visitors are unhappy with your site.
Note: 88% of users won’t return to a website after having a bad user experience.
A good way to establish instant credibility is to answer your visitors questions before they even ask. Headings are a great place to do this, along with a call to action.
Call to action buttons (CTA) are the part of a webpage that encourages the audience to do something. They are generally big, flashy, and eye-catching. More importantly, they make purchasing products easy. Examples of CTA’s are things like “Buy Now” or “See More” buttons. These are great for guiding the visitor to your products and information, ultimately making the visitor stay on your site longer and the increase the chance of them buying more. More than 70% of small business do not use call to action buttons - which is astounding because it’s an EASY way to optimize UX.
Through UX optimization, customers can start the checkout process with a simple click of a button - increasing site conversions from the start!
Another important part of UX is site design. Adobe estimates that 38% of online shoppers will leave a website if they find the design to be unattractive. Shopify themes are CREATED with this in mind making this part of the process much easier.
For more information on Shopify themes, check out my blog post here.
Users feel comfortable on a site that works the way they expect, with buttons and links in convenient places and with very few surprises. A familiar interface wins out over a flashy design any day.
Here’s an example of this:
If someone try’s out a new phone that has numbers laid out differently then they are used to, the user immediately considers the phone confusing. It doesn’t matter if it has incredible features; you’ve already turned off your customer. It’s the same with eCommerce stores.
Customers expect things like the cart icon to be in the top right hand corner and the navigation bar to be at the top and for both of them to be easily accessible.
Creating a site that is simple makes it easier for customers to purchase products and are more likely to return.
Stores should strive to make the buying process transparent to the point of being almost unnoticeable. When there’s something in the way of buying the product, it gives users a chance to change their mind and not buy your product. Every time they have to consider pricing or shipping, it reminds them that there is a “pain” in a purchase instead of of focusing on the “pleasure” of getting the product they love. By estimating things like tax and shipping from the start, the customer won’t be shocked and leave when they get to the checkout page.
Customers want to find what they’re looking for fast. Otherwise, they will leave and go somewhere else. Research shows us that if a website takes more than 3 seconds to load, 53% of people will leave the site. How many times have you clicked away from a site when things didn’t load quickly?
More than likely you’ve done it a few times.
So how do you make your Shopify website fast?
First off, you need to reduce the size of your images. However, you want to make sure that you aren’t compromising image quality. This can be done through places like TinyPNG.
TinyPNG is a free to use site that allows you to reduce the size of your images. The compressed images have a much smaller file size and the majority of the time you can’t tell a difference in the image quality.
Secondly, chose a fast and responsive theme for your Shopify store.
When choosing your theme, run the theme preview through Google PageSpeed Insights and see what speed that theme is getting.
Once you chose your theme, Google PageSpeed Insights is a great place to check out and see what suggestions they give to make your site faster.
Thirdly, reduce the number of apps installed on your site.
Ever heard of the term “Mobile Responsive” and had no idea what it meant? No worries, I got you.
It’s when the layout and content responds and adapts based on the screen size that they are presented on. A responsive website automatically changes to fit the device that you’re reading it on.
So many sites work great on a computer, but look terrible on a phone. How often do you come across a site that doesn't look good or even work on your phone or tablet and immediately leave?Here’s some interesting stats about Mobile UX:
Basically this all means that having a mobile friendly site is absolutely key to eCommerce success and something that shouldn’t be ignored.
Most Shopify sites are built on themes that are designed with mobile-first in mind, especially that ones that are offered directly through Shopify. So, making sure your site is mobile responsive isn’t something that should take a whole lot of time and should pretty much be automatic. However, it’s still good to pay attention to and to double check your site on multiple different devices before launching.
I always encourage my clients to chose their Shopify theme based on what it looks like on a mobile device because chances are the majority of their customers will be looking at their site everything but a computer.
If you do need additional help getting your site to look perfect on a mobile device, learning some Liquid (Shopify’s coding language) might be beneficial. Or, reach out to a designer like myself to help you out!
Visitors form first impressions of a websites in as few as 50 milliseconds. ECommerce sites need to immediately grab the visitors attention by clearly and quickly showing what it sells and how it can help them. A great way to do this is to use fonts, color palettes, and product images that align with the company branding.
Back to my point on making your site look familiar to users - same thing goes with the navigation bar. Users expect to be able to access site pages, categories, and their cart on the top of the page. Having a navigation down the side or one that doesn’t clearly layout all the links can be confusing to users and ultimately make them leave your site.
Okay so now you’re convinced, UX is EXTREMELY important to your eCommerce business. But what do I do now?
Ever gone into a retail store and it’s incredibly messy and disorganized? The experience is super overwhelming and most likely you end up leaving without purchasing anything. This same thing happens when customers visit chaotic sites with no structure - except at a much faster rate because no one is watching.
One of the MOST important things to remember when designing your site is having high quality images. Check out my post on Shopify images here.
If your customer isn’t fully convinced that your site is secure, the chances of them entering their credit card information is extremely low. A great way to prove security is to display a security badge and link it to a description of how Shopify meets Payment Card Industry standards.
Tell what you do, how your products will help them, and why they should buy from you.
Make the “Add to Cart” button extremely easy for your visitors find and click.
Include a section with testimonials, aka social proof, and how to contact you.
Customers want to be convinced that they should buy the product, but don’t want to read giant text blocks to find out why.
You are 279.64 times more likely to climb Mt. Everest than click on a banner ad. This might be one of the craziest stat’s I found when researching for this blog post.
Think about it:
How likely are you to click on a banner ad?
Do you even look at what the banner says?
Banner blindness is a long known user behavior: it describes people’s tendency to ignore page elements that they perceive (correctly or incorrectly) to be ads. A site has many different elements all trying to grab the user attention and the user has learned to pay attention to the elements that are helpful (things like navigation, search, and headlines) and ignore anything that resembles an ad.
Because desktop ads typically appear at the top of a page or on the right rail, web users sometimes ignore the content placed there and to not return to it again.
Banners aren’t always a bad idea, but just remember that it’s not the best way to reach your customers.
While it might seem like a no-brainer for eCommerce sites, many site’s don’t offer a general site-wide search.
According to Invesp, 60% of online purchases are not impulsive. The majority of the time people know what they are looking for and searching for the product by typing it in the search bar is much faster than sifting through menu options.
When creating filters, add filters that are specific to the products being sold instead of limiting options to general criteria such as size, color, or price. Good examples of these filters could be things like fit, fabric or occasion. This allows customers that have a certain item in mind much quicker than sifting through multiple pages.
If you take the time upfront to design a site focused on User Experience, you’re sure to increase the amount of sales and traffic on your site. While it might be confusing at time, the simple steps that I laid out in this post are a great way to start.
The internet is always changing, user experience is always changing, and customers are going to expect that your business keeps up with industry trends. If you don’t have time to do something like this, it’s best to invest in hiring a professional to create and update your site periodically.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you have any questions, send me a note!