One thing in common with all consumers is their desire for a quick, easy, and informed path to purchase.
A great ecommerce web design executes on that idea by getting shoppers through the process effectively.
Focus on the following ecommerce user experience best practices, to help ensure a successful online shopping experience.
1. A Mobile Experience with Responsive Web Design
A responsive web design allows customers to have a consistent experience across any device they choose to use while shopping–whether desktop, tablet or mobile.
Consumers likely will not stop buying things with their computer or laptop, but studies are showing that just over 50% of online ecommerce traffic comes from a mobile smartphone.
While 21% of this traffic actually brings in revenue, rapid advancements in technology will only support growth for mobile ecommerce conversions (think: larger screen sizes and fingerprint scanning for one-tap login or checkout).
If your ecommerce site still does not have a mobile-friendly experience, you need to think about adding one as soon as possible.
Not only will it create a seamless experience across devices, but it helps with search engine optimization efforts (Google definitively announced that mobile-friendly web sites will rank better in mobile search).Over 50% of online ecommerce traffic comes from a mobile smartphone.Click To Tweet
The Nixon site does a great job combining brand and culture, using ecommerce user experience best practices. The responsive web design experience carries through from large screens to small.
2. Flat Design = Clean & Focused Design
In the world of web design trends, flat design has been reigning supreme within user interfaces for the past few years.
Apple, Microsoft and Google (read about Google’s design ideas here) have all minimized the look and feel of their OS in an effort to present a simple, honest and essential experience.
Aside from usage by technology giants, there is also merit to the flat design style for any web design. Removing decoration (farewell to bevels, glows, shadows and textures!), allows for a clean and focused design.
Clean design gives a page the breathing room it needs to offer compelling call to action for engagement.
Focused design can help showcase products…such as large and detailed imagery that a customer needs to make their decision to buy now.
Ayr has a clean, minimal flat design; this use of ecommerce user experience best practices also uses color sparingly. Beautiful lifestyle photography tells a story about the products without being interrupted by too much interface design embellishment. Don’t you just want to kick back in those jeans?Clean design gives a page the breathing room it needs to offer compelling call to action for engagement.Click To Tweet
3. Organized & Easy-to-use Navigation
Navigation is a tool that guides users in the right direction and assists in browsing a product catalog.
Always make the navigation prominent and super organized.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many ecommerce sites did not take the time to really think about this!
Navigation should be easy to find with obvious category and sub-category names. Keep the navigation in the same place using the same style, colors and fonts, on all pages.
Allow users to shop in different ways outside of general categories…for example by brand, or by new arrivals.
When they can’t find it, they won’t buy it…simple as that.
Don’t forget the impact of a search bar! This is a frequently used method that helps shoppers navigate to find exactly what they are looking for.
As with navigation, put the search bar in an easy to find place in the header on all pages. Use the most robust search functionality that your site can afford or accommodate.
Best practices to consider for search:
- offer auto-complete suggestions
- allow for search by product name, and model number
- support symbols & abbreviations within a search term.
4. Excellent Product Photography (and Video)
Even though the “store” is online, products should be pristine and well presented…just like inside an actual brick and mortar.
Shoppers are not going to be able to touch the items before they buy.
So the best way to describe what’s for sale, is with lots of well-photographed images presented in as large a format as possible (zoom functionality can help with small details).
Show more than one angle of a product, the product in a context, and interesting product details.
Include a video if possible. Videos can help a customer understand how a product is used/made, or is an opportunity to promote the item for a particular customer’s lifestyle.
Beautiful photos in an ecommerce web design can convey the value of a product, and be one of the major deciding factors in a conversion. A good photographer can help achieve success well beyond the initial investment.
On a budget? Learn more about taking high-quality photos yourself (it’s not as difficult as you may think!).
Harry’s does a nice job of telling the story for simple daily use products: razors and shave cream. They display close-up details, include an interactive graphic about the benefits of the design, and show product in context.
5. Product Detail Page Must-Haves
The product detail is one of the most complex, and important pages in ecommerce. There is a fine line between keeping it clean but informative, and too cluttered.
With so many things to consider, here are some majors:
A highly visible Add to Cart button.
The Add to Cart button should be a good size, readable, above the fold if possible, and in a color that stands out from the rest of the page.
This button shouldn’t be overlooked!
Be sure to use the call to action of “Add to Cart”, or “Buy Now”. Creative copy is not needed for this particular CTA. Tell the customer exactly what they should do!
Showcase product imagery (see #4).
Plan for the following with your product images:
- large product photos
- close detail shots
- product video, 360° views
- variant images (showing the same product in its different colors/textures/fabrics)
Users pay close attention to photos and other images that contain relevant information…In ecommerce, product photos help users understand products and differentiate between similar items. – Jakob Nielsen, Photos as Web Content
Use trust badges.
Adding visible trust badge graphics to a site is one of the most important ecommerce user experience best practices.
Add them to product detail pages, shopping cart, and checkout.
It will help strengthen the buying confidence of a customer.
In addition to trust badges, get your site working with an SSL certificate so that browsing and buying from the site is even more secure. Added bonus: Google gives secure HTTPS sites a boost in search engine ranking.
Allow customers to read and add reviews.
It might seem daunting to give the public access to fully disclose about a product, but 7 out of 10 of shoppers consult reviews before making a purchase.
Ratings can help other potential customers understand the value of the product they are buying, and also help you fine-tune your offering with (free) feedback.
Studies show that customer reviews can create a 74% increase in conversion.7 out of 10 of shoppers consult reviews before making a purchase, resulting in a 74% increase in conversion.Click To Tweet
There are, of course, more than five ecommerce user experience best practices to consider.
However start with these essentials, which can only strengthen an online shopping experience.
- A mobile experience with responsive web design
- Flat design = clean and focused design
- Organized and easy-to-use navigation
- Excellent product photography (and Video)
- Product detail page must-haves
The beauty about the web, is that enhancements and changes can always be measured through analytics and A/B testing. Remember that not all stores are the same, so use these basics as guidelines–but create effective experiences tailored to the targeted customer for your specific brand.
What are some other ecommerce user experience best practices to consider?
Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
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FreshSparks is a creative studio specializing in branding, custom web design and development, online marketing and ecommerce solutions. We can help your customers convert, after enjoying their online shopping experience! Get a free consultation on your next ecommerce web design project.