THE USER EXPERIENCE: FIVE BEST PRACTICES IN THE WORLD OF E-COMMERCE
Jeff Bezos once stated, “If you build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful”. He couldn’t have been more right.
The user experience (UX) of your online platform is critical for generating and maintaining traffic, building trust, and inspiring conversions. With the competitor’s website just two clicks away, encouraging visitors to stay can be quite tricky.
Think of your site design as the lobby of your storefront. It is your visitor’s first impression of who you are. According to Google, 79% of people who don’t like the site they are on will search again for a different site. If you are using any portion of the internet to interact with your target audience, it is time to be sure that your site has optimal functionality and user-ability.
E-commerce sites can be used for just about anything in today’s digital age. For example, let’s look at the recruiting market. We can use video interviews, systems to track applicants, and mobile evaluating forms to recruit top talent. While the recruitment and selection process can many challenges, e-commerce has allowed us to find some innovative solutions to better serve the targeted audience, or in this case: tomorrow’s rock star employee.
E-commerce has also provided the opportunity for customers to have more purchasing power at their finger-tips. With the shift towards e-commerce, companies have started to think smarter and smaller. Customers are asking to be delivered to directly and technologies are fitting that demand.
Whether you are trying to draw in new clients, loyal customers, or talented employees, UX design should be your top priority. We have five reliable tips for you to build a strong foundation and excel in the world of e-commerce.
There is a reason why e-commerce blew up: the everyday person loves the ease of use offered online. Likewise, you should provide and incorporate intuitive navigation tools and design. Having a functional and simple website will allow your visitors to navigate quickly to the targeted content. According to WordStream, one of the top reasons that visitors choose to leave a website is due to the unfavorable complexity of a site’s navigation. This includes drop-down menus, readable colors and fonts, sitemaps, and links to bring the visitor back to the main page at any time. Here are a few ideas that you can implement:
Provide Engaging and Informative Menu Options
Avoid the very generic, overused menu labels such as “Products” or “Solutions”. These do not bring much value to the table and don’t contribute to your SEO.
Streamline Your Navigation Menu
Providing a streamlined menu of options gives potential visitors fewer opportunities to get lost in your content and can boost your SEO allowing your main page to pass through less authoritative pages.
Minimize Navigation from One Page to Another
This can be done by merely adding internal links within your pages to bring your visitors to the next page you are targeting they interact with. The key here is that you want to ensure a visitor is never more than four clicks away from the main page. Visitors leave websites when they feel they have lost a sense of navigation or lost their interest in your site’s purpose.
NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF SECURITY
Safety will not only provide you will a more secure system but also help build a sense of trust with your visitors. Substantial email lists are highly sought after, so increase the likelihood of capturing your visitor’s contact information by providing a secure platform. This can be done by utilizing ‘HTTPS’, rather than an ‘HTTP’ web address. In an age of privacy concerns and data breaches, visitors won’t want to waste their time on a site that seems insecure. There are a few additional ways you can add a sense of safety to your site:
Host Your Site in the Cloud
Using the Cloud as your platform will provide your site a much more scalable, high performing, and reliable experience for both your web designer and your visitor alike. Keeping platform up to date will help prevent security breaches, which are often caused when e-commerce sites are not up to code. Be quick to install a newly available upgrade or patch.
Do Not Store Sensitive Information
Holding onto sensitive data, such as credit card numbers and expiration dates, puts your reputation in a vulnerable position if your site is ever breached
PROVIDE A PLATFORM FOR REVIEWS
Feedback can seem intimidating, but allowing your visitors to provide you with feedback can be beneficial for many reasons. Whether the words are what you want to hear, you will receive invaluable opinions and information on how you can optimize your site or serve your visitors better. Do you want some extra credit too? Be sure to build in the opportunity to respond to the feedback you receive. Your site will feel more engaging if you leave individualized responses to your feedback, whether good or bad. To gather feedback from your site visitors, you have a few options:
· Offer an Incentive for Honest Feedback
· Install a Feedback Button or Box Directly on the Site
· Provide a Chat Option (Live or Delayed)
· Implement a Pop-Up Survey
As a company, you are in the business in solving problems and delivering high-quality work, whether that is through your day-to-day operations, the products you manufacture, or the people you serve. You should also be in the business of solving your site’s visitors’ issues when they are browsing for someone like you. User feedback can help guide your service and product development, while identifying and eliminating problems that people find, frankly, annoying.
EMPHASIZE AND MAXIMIZE YOUR CONVERSION RATE
Your ultimate goal as an e-commerce site is to engage your visits by establishing the value you can provide. Your user experience should be emphasized on converting a site visit to a loyal customer, a potential employee, or a partner in business. A few important elements of your product, service, or advertising pages are:
Interactive Images or Videos: Don’t let the lack of high-quality images kill your sites’ performance or reputation. There are so many tools out there; we don’t have any excuses in today’s day and age. Kraken offers plans starting at $5 a month and TinyPNG offers free image services.
A Personalized Experience: One of the biggest weaknesses of cookie-cutter e-commerce business is their inability to make customers feel related to. A personalized experience can let your site visitor feel heard and understood.
Be Responsive: Cater your site’s design to respond to the type of visitor you are targeting. If this is done efficiently, the user experience will be enhanced by minimizing the need to resize screens, scroll excessively, or pan.
Cross-Selling: Offer distinct complementary products, services, and benefits, or newly added functionalities, in addition to your bread and butter. This is different than upselling, as it includes the final product plus an additional product.
Consider Going Mobile-First: Google has moved to mobile-first indexing. This means that mobile design strategy is now not only important to the visitors, but Google is considering mobile-capabilities for their rankings. According to Adobe, mobile users are five times more likely to stop or switch a task if the site they are on is not optimized for mobile use.
UNDERSTAND WHAT SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO) MEANS FOR YOU
For a few years now, search engine optimization, typically known as SEO, has been all the hype (and for good reason). SEO is essentially the process of increasing visibility and web traffic of a website found by search engine users. In other words, SEO will help a website rank high in search engine results. As noted a few times in this post, the key thing is to make your e-commerce site simple, comprehensive, and valuable to as many users as possible. We have a few tips for you on how to achieve SEO:
Minimize Your Sale Pitching
Starting in 2017, Google is penalizing, or negatively ranking, sites which utilize obtrusive pop-up ads or lightboxes. Web users find such advertisements to be irritating and invasive.
Maximize Your Breadcrumb Navigation
Users also find getting lost on an e-commerce site to be irritating and a nuisance. To avoid losing your visitors to information-overload, we recommend implementing breadcrumb navigation. In a nutshell, breadcrumb navigation is a secondary navigation scheme which highlights the user’s location within a Web application or a website. This scheme can also help users find those high-level pages quicker when they arrive at your site from a deep link or a search result.
The Quicker the Better
Page-loading speeds should be a high priority within your optimization goals. Loading speeds are vital to the success of driving traffic and maintaining loyal visitors to your manufacturing marketplace, your company website, or your small business shop. You can either hire a professional to check your pages’ download times or use analytic tools to measure your load times. Google also provides a tool, PageSpeed, to test your site’s performance and speeds. Be sure to check both desktop and mobile load speeds for better SEO.
According to a study conducted by Walker called Customers 2020, the customer experience will take over price and product as the key to brand differentiation by the year 2020. Building, designing, operating, growing, and maintaining a successful e-commerce site can be a challenging process, but your number one priority should be the average user’s experience.
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