E-Commerce Mastery: UX for a successful eCommerce Platform
Today we’ll talk about the essential design and UX components for a successful eCommerce platform in 2022. Everything from best practices, to what you should look out for, and how to get it. Following that we’ll continue with infrastructure challenges and data analytics!
In the current age of rapid growth of stay-at-home services, eCommerce is among the leading segments, showing staggering growth metrics! And predictions only claim that this growth will continue. This makes it one of the most lucrative endeavours you can jump into!
With that said, any successful endeavour requires a well thought out, outlined, plan! We’ve said this multiple times, and will continue to say so, before you begin any sort of investment, development, or partner-hunting; you must develop a clear image of how your Platform will work and function!
Once you have everything figured out, make sure to put into a document somewhere, preferably into a BPMN 2.0, this will give the clearest picture!
And to know what to look out for, we’ve decided to compile a list of best practices, modules, things to look out for. All this information should be treated as a list of essential components to ensure your success and that of your eCommerce platform!
Essential Components for a Successful eCommerce Platform:
The very first things you must ensure you have, are:
A consistent & recognizable brand. It might sound like a no-brainer, however planning, refining your design, slogan, and visual representation so it best represents your company and sets it apart from your competition is among the first things you must take care of!
A Marketing umbrella prepared. This means that a single web-app is not enough, make sure you have a full-scale marketing plan to exploit all the avenues of your online presence. This means social media platforms, PPC ads, blogs, partnerships etc.
Gauge your actual logistical capabilities, do not try to sell more than you can, absolutely do not over-promise, your customer loyalty is your everything! Make estimations as accurately as possible on real numbers of how much you can deliver. A broken promise can cause far more harm in the long term, than admitting that your logistical chain can only deliver so much.
Starting off let’s take a look at the most obvious first, the look and feel of your platform!
Responsive Web Design
Among the most paramount elements your eCommerce platform should have, is a Responsive Web Design.
Alongside making your Platform M-compatible (mobile) Responsive Web Design is a paradigm ensuring full compatibility with all devices. According to a study, 57% of users will not recommend your web-app if it is not designed to work with their smartphones.
With an average user taking roughly 0.05 seconds to form a first impression of your site, you want it to be hyper tuned for a best first sighting.
Take full advantage of adaptive website frames which adjust your modules according to the screen they are displayed on. If you’re developing your web-app and still deciding how many “pixels” a window will take, you’re doing it wrong. Focus on what part of the screen it will take regardless of size.
UX for Successful eCommerce Prioritizes Mobile Phones!
Speaking of mobile phones, according to recent 2022 analysis and surveys, the mobile the number of people accessing online stores via their mobile devices steadily grows, pushing out desktops or other bulkier devices. With 54% of all eCommerce users come from mobile devices, and 33% purchasing with their mobile device – 40% more than last year.
And this trend does not show any signs of stopping, so if you are pressed for budget, we Highley suggest you make absolutely sure your eCommerce platform supports mobile above all else if you must choose.
Omnichannel approach to your customer’s journey
Speaking of the divide in customer purchasing habits. Regardless of the stay-at-home reality we all live, people still like visiting brick-and-mortar stores. Customers still like researching the products they buy, they prefer buying for well known brands, or at least ones they’ve interacted with before.
An Omnichannel Customer Experience means that you have a centralized data system allowing your customers to complete their purchases across multiple channels without having to restart the process.
This means people can check whether your physical store has items available in stock through your web-app, or vice versa. Or they can receive their order in person at your store, after making a purchase on your online store. Matter of fact they expect it.
UX for Successful eCommerce platforms Avoids Clutter
Avoid cluttering your front/homepage with unnecessary walls of text or banners galore. When it comes to conversion rates, simple and clean designs perform better than overcrowded webpages that overwhelm your customers on their first visit.
Amazon have refined their webstore to a science, notice how there’s minimal clutter assaulting their customers, and even then, it could be less!
Search Bar Placement matters
Since we’re talking about simplicity, make sure you add a search bar, might sound obvious, though there are small shops that opt out of this seemingly obvious feature. Usually this happens with platforms that supply small number of products, though a search bar is still crucial.
Your search bar should always be visible and easy to find. Make sure that it’s always either at the top-centre of your bar or in the corner, and it maintains consistency at all times.
Category Hierarchy and ease of use filters
Too many categories only lead to confusion and the potential for your customers to give up and leave your platform. Avoid hyper specificity. Per example: If you’re selling clothes, avoid separating your products into: T-shirts, Long Sleeves, Tank tops, Sweaters, etc. Instead create a single category – “tops” and break it into further lesser categories.
Follow a clear parent-child paradigm in creating your categories:
- Need – The basic reason why a product exists. i.e “footwear”
- Family – A family of needs, a subcategory of the basic need. i.e “boots” “sneakers” etc.
- Class – Similar to family, in which we categorize various products within product lines. i.e “High-tops” “Low-tops” “Summer” etc.
- Line – Product line refers to a type of product within the brand. Example: 2021 collection.
- Type – Within a product line or series, there are multiple models, or version.
- Unit – A single item of a product type. Basic Model.
Use filter frameworks, customers hate not being able to customize their shopping experience by this simple function.
A good UX for Successful eCommerce simplifies the checkout process
Ensure your customers the easiest and fastest checkout possible. The less steps your client has, the less chance of him dropping out of a purchase. Matter of fact, 28% of consumers report they abandoned a shopping cart during checkout because the process was too cumbersome and long.
Prepare to analyse common customer pain points during a check out and constantly work to minimize them.
Focus on the essential information you need: Billing information, shipping address… that’s it really.
Don’t force a registration, though encourage it
Keeping on with the checkout process, do not make the mistake and force your users register an account before they can make a purchase. 22% of cart abandoners drop out during the “requirement” to register a new account.
Employ guest check-out options where guests can just quickly fill out the information and be done with their purchase.
But as we all know returning customers make up most consistent form of profit, a permanent account is far more preferable. Consider giving discounts, benefits, easy checkout and other options to your customers who decide to register.
However, do not be too intrusive in your efforts to make customers register a profile.
Optimal UX for Successful eCommerce provides as many payment options as possible
Having Visa and MasterCard support is obvious, however do not assume that either one is enough, or even both of them.
Integrate as many payment options as possible, these include: Discover, PayPal, Amazon Pay, Google Pay, Apple Pay, eBay Payments, and even Cryptocurrencies if you have the infrastructural bandwidth for it.
Consider eliminating third-party ads
You might be tempted to use all that banner space to maybe make some extra buck on the side by advertising other brands for products you don’t provide. We advise you to avoid this.
Disregarding the fact that you risk your customers to click away from your web store, by cluttering your store with third party ads you’re actively harming your own efforts.
Customers hate ads, everyone does more or less, by introducing third-party banners into your platform you risk your customers to be reluctant to click on anything for fear of clicking an ad. Most banners leave a lot to be desired, most of the time they look like spam, you do not want that to be impression your clients have of your platform.
Provide high quality imagery and even video demos
Ensure you have high quality images, preferably in WebP format, if not, at the very least JPEG. Realities of online commerce dictate that customers can’t touch and feel their purchase same way they can in a physical store.
Hence being able to zoom in, rotate and examine the pictures have huge impact on purchase conversion rates. Consider creating video demonstrations of your products, a very time/costly endeavour but according to Forbes, proportionally beneficial at 90% clients reporting positive feedback.
UX for Successful eCommerce focuses on Customer Support and AI helpers
We’ve talked about the importance of proper customer support, and it deserves an extra mention right here as well. After all, customer service is as much your brand face as your… brand face.
Customer Service represents your brand image, mission and value. With 96% of clients expressing that quick and polite customer service is among the most important aspects they take into account when deciding whether to shop with you or not.
Make sure to have your CS phone, email and live chat readily available!
And don’t forget about the innovation of ML and other algorithms that contribute to this.
One of our colleagues told us about the fascinating history of Chat Bots, otherwise known as AI helpers. And the importance of these as a strong ally for improving customer support and data gathering.
Just make sure that whoever takes care of your Customer Services is well trained and dependable. For they can do more damage to your brand’s reputation than anything else.
Encourage customer reviews and engagement
Having good user engagement and most important improving brand credibility – that is the name of the game here. Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your products, and make sure you have all the infrastructure for it.
You can even send a follow-up email to your customers asking them for a quick review on the product they bought. Just make sure you give them enough time to actually… you know, use it before you go ahead and ask for their opinion.
Do not be afraid of negative reviews, they are a part of life, and a good way to show credibility to your customers as well as take tangible steps towards improving what ever might have caused the problem in the first place.
On average reviews (good and bad) improve your sales by 18%. With 79% of costumers putting more weight on online reviews than on mouth to mouth recommendations.
This has been a first part of a small series in a comprehensive guide into all the components you must have if you want your eCommerce platform to be a smashing success.
Follow us next time as we discuss how to gather your sales data into something you can actually use. How to focus your marketing efforts. And what to do if God-forbit you experience a data breach.
While you’re here, tell us in the comments what is the most important part of a customer journey?
Stay classy business and tech nerds!