One thing in common with all consumers is their desire for a quick, easy, and informed path to purchase.
This is true whether waiting in line at a brick-and-mortar or buying online. I’m sure you can agree.
In fact, the last time I had a hard time finding a product, putting something in the cart and checking out, it was all over. I abandoned the experience because there’s no time for that—especially on mobile!
A great ecommerce user experience design gets shoppers through the process effectively.
It will improve your traffic, increase conversions and build trust in your brand.
While not all brands have the ability to offer a convenient app with one-click buying (like Amazon), there are basic ecommerce best practices necessary for a great user experience when buying something online.
Focus on these fundamental areas, to help ensure a successful online shopping experience.
1. Mobile Experience with Responsive Web Design
A responsive web design allows customers to have a consistent ecommerce website 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. However, studies are showing that 54% of online ecommerce traffic comes from a mobile smartphone.
While 30% of this traffic actually brings in revenue, rapid advancements in technology will only support growth for mobile ecommerce conversions.
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. In fact, Google definitively announced that mobile-friendly web sites will rank better in mobile search).Over 54% 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 still 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.
Basically, this means removing decoration (farewell to bevels, glows, shadows and textures!), to allow for a clean and focused ecommerce user experience design.
Clean design gives a page the breathing room it needs to offer a 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 a 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 on the best ecommerce websites 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.
Ecommerce website 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.
Ecommerce website 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).
Here are some tips for the best ecommerce experience visually:
- Show more than one angle of a product
- Display the product in a context
- Reveal interesting product details
Also, 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 website 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 page is one of the most complex, and important pages in an ecommerce website design. 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
Variant images are showing the same product in its different colors, textures or 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 shoppers consult reviews before making a purchase.
If your product is amazing, then let people review it!
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. These are the absolute essentials for your online shop!
Use this checklist of great ecommerce design basics, which can only strengthen the online shopping experience.
- 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 of the web is that enhancements and changes can always be measured through analytics and A/B testing. Remember that not all ecommerce website 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?
Share with us in the comments below!
FreshSparks is a branding agency specializing in brand strategy, brand identity and brand marketing. We can help your customers trust and love your brand so that they convert after enjoying their online shopping experience! Contact us to chat about your next project.