How to Create the Ideal Online Shopping Experience
The ecommerce business is on fire, with just under 2 billion global digital buyers in 2019.
As exciting as this time can be, when you’re going up against the likes of Amazon, you need to provide a smooth, user-friendly online shopping experience for your customers if you want them to stick around for the long haul. If your ecommerce website is slow to load, out of date, or uses a poorly designed interface, your customers will take their business elsewhere.
Consumers value online shopping because it’s convenient and accessible. Those two adjectives should also describe your ecommerce store. The easier it is for shoppers to use your website, the more successful your business will be.
Thanks to the latest website design tools, you don’t need a lot of technical expertise to create a fluid, convenient online shopping experience. But you do need to invest in the latest ecommerce UX trends and keep up with your website as time goes on. Use these four steps to create the ideal online shopping experience.
- Create an Intuitive Shopping Experience
Most ecommerce stores have the same design or interface to help their shoppers get around as quickly as possible. There’s usually a menu option or header that lists all the possible categories for customers to choose from. Within each category, new sub-categories may appear, and then the company’s individual products.
When a customer hovers on a product, they may see a thumbnail with a short product description. Or they can click on the product to learn more about its benefits and features. If they click “Add to Cart,” the product should appear in their online shopping cart. Overall, shoppers should be able to find what they need and make a purchase on your website in just a couple of minutes or less.
Apply the same strategy to your ecommerce store. Your customers should be able to find virtually any product on your website using the menu or header bar. You should include options that give your customers more information about your business and how your products are made, such as “About Us” or “Our Story” pages. If you’re not sure where to start, you can use premade website templates to build a user-friendly ecommerce store
Keep these tips in mind as you go about designing your store’s interface:
- Use easily recognizable categories that won’t confuse your customers.
- Keep your menu visible, so customers can find what they need.
- Include a search bar to give users another option.
- Leave plenty of white or empty space, so you don’t overwhelm the user.
- Use bright colors on the most important elements of your store, such as the call to action, menu, shopping cart, titles and headers.
- Keep Your Online Store Up to Speed
Nothing will slow down your business like a slow-loading website. Google and your users will avoid your website if it takes more than just a few seconds to load. Your website will appear lower in search rankings as Google values speed and accessibility.
Your ecommerce store also needs to be mobile-friendly. Google has started rolling out its mobile-first index, which means it uses the mobile version of your website when ranking pages.
Mobile ecommerce is expected to account for 67.2% of digital sales in 2019.
The speed of your website can also change over time, so make sure you’re monitoring the functionality of your website on a regular basis.
You also need to update your ecommerce website so your users have something new to see. Update your imagery, introduce new products, and invest in original content to keep your customers coming back for more. Otherwise, your website may seem out-of-date, which limits your ability to convert new visitors into paying customers.
- Simplify the Checkout Process
An astonishing 69% of online shopping carts are abandoned. So, what’s the main reason behind all these abandoned carts? High unexpected costs.
Be transparent with your customers and tell how much they can expect to pay for shipping.
You can even absorb the cost of shipping into your business model, thus raising the price of your products, so your customers can enjoy free shipping, which is often considered a strong selling point for online shoppers.
Having a complex checkout process will also confuse your shoppers. Streamline this process as much as possible. Ideally, your website will store the user’s contact, payment and shipping information, so returning customers can check out with just a few clicks. Tell your customers how you plan on using this information and how you plan on keeping it safe.
- Be There for Your Customers
Consumers are most likely to trust a business that makes it easy to contact people at the company.
Even though your store exists purely online, you need to provide some basic customer service, either by picking up the phone, offering email or chat support, or using AI-powered tools like chatbots. Customers tend to prefer interfacing with a human being as opposed to an automated machine, so don’t completely isolate yourself from your customers.
You can also use social media to respond to customer inquiries, share breaking news about your products, and resolve disputes. If you’re not sure how to use social media for ecommerce, attend a social media marketing seminar to brush up your skills.
If your customers don’t get the sense that you’re there to support them, shopping on your website will feel like an unnecessary risk.
The ecommerce industry is quickly expanding, and only the best online stores will survive. Competing against Amazon means you need to offer something your competitors don’t, such as original products, great customer service, and an intuitive shopping experience your customers won’t soon forget. Use these tips to create the ideal ecommerce experience.