User experience (UX) design is important for every website, but it’s especially critical for e-commerce sites. Companies lose an estimated $4.6 trillion in sales annually as a result of frustrated shoppers who abandon the purchase experience.
This post will share 10 best practices for e-commerce UX design to help you maximize conversions.
Why UX design is key for e-commerce sites
The average cart abandonment rate is 76 percent. This abandonment translates not only to immediate lost revenue for your company, but also to a loss in future repeat sales. Users who are frustrated by a difficult shopping experience are unlikely to return to your site.
The most common reason people abandon their cart is because of unexpected costs like shipping, taxes and fees. A complicated, time-consuming checkout process itself is the next most common reason. The great news about these issues is that they are correctable and can be improved with better UX design.
E-commerce sites should consider the user experience throughout the shopping process. Devote attention to the experience from the shopper’s initial discovery of your site, all the way through the checkout process to completion of the purchase and confirmation of receipt.
10 best practices for e-commerce UX design
When they’re implemented consistently, the following 10 design principles can increase the likelihood that a user will complete an initial sale, return for additional purchases, and buy on impulse.
- Usability first
UX design is focused on solving users’ problems and making it simple to complete the action the user wants to take. Usability is the foundation of success for an e-commerce site. The steps the user will take to navigate your site to make a purchase should be clear and easy to follow.
- Less is more
Keep the design as simple and clutter-free as possible to improve usability. Apple’s iPod was a market leader because it followed this principle. There were many MP3 players on the market before the iPod, but they didn’t gain widespread usage until the iPod was released with a much simpler user interface and cleaner design.
- Keep language simple
Your users are busy, and may be multitasking while shopping, so it’s a good idea to use simple language without a lot of technical terms. Use clear and consistent wording throughout.
- Show clear primary actions
Make it easy for a user to discern what they should do on your site and how they can do it. Buttons must be prominent and make it clear what will happen when a user clicks. Navigation through your site should also be straightforward.
- Include optimized search
Most people will go to your website searching for particular items. Make it simple for them to find what they’re looking for using your search bar. You’ll also want to consider adding the ability to filter based on categories to improve the user’s search experience.
Additionally, take the opportunity to show shoppers other items they may be interested in based on what they’re searching for — either when users go directly to a product page or see the results of a search.
- Share feedback
When a user interacts with your site, they want to have confidence that the action they meant to take was completed. Have you ever added items to your cart, and when you got to checkout, they weren’t there? This experience is frustrating. A better user experience would show a message to users when an item is added, alerting them that the item did (or did not) go into the cart.
- Present social proof
Shoppers want to see product feedback like ratings, reviews and comments before they buy. Amazon is a great example of an e-commerce site that leverages social proof. You can also offer customers the ability to share their feedback on social media, and then display their comments on your website.
- Enable guest checkout
Impulse purchases make up nearly 40 percent of all purchases made on websites. If you allow users to check out without requiring that they go through the extra hurdle of creating an account first (guest checkout), they are more likely to complete their purchase.
- Confirm before commitment
Before a user completes the checkout process, they should be prompted to review their cart. This review should include any additional charges, like shipping or taxes, that may be added to their cart. People want to know that they’re seeing all the charges that will be part of the total cost of their purchase.
- Follow up for confidence
You’ll also want to send a confirmation email after a purchase is completed so your customer knows that the transaction went through as it should have. It can be frustrating for a shopper to wonder if a purchase was completed successfully. Also provide tracking information to your customer so they know when to expect their purchase.
UX design has the power to make or break an e-commerce site. E-commerce developers who incorporate proven UX design principles will see tangible financial returns and are more likely to be successful over time.