Understanding making or breaking a customer’s purchasing decision is a must for ecommerce merchants. While product selection and price are two of the biggest determining factors, it’s also important to consider the process customers must complete to close out a transaction.
Optimizing the user experience (UX) is paramount because it determines how shoppers go about browsing and buying. When visitors to your website hit snags, it increases the chance they’ll exit before making a purchase—possibly for good, meaning you’re losing out on an immediate sale and the possibility of a loyal repeat customer.
Avoiding ecommerce user experience pitfalls can boost conversions and improve your brand identity. As Econsultancy writes, good UX design can benefit your business by “reducing friction in the customer journey which leads to better conversion and more sales in the short term.” It can also be used to reassert the positioning and values of your brand with a suitable and representative user experience.
Here are five prominent UX pitfalls to avoid on your ecommerce website.
Pitfall #1: Slow Load Times
Slow loading times for landing pages on your website create frustrating delays for customers. Any amount of time longer than three seconds per page boosts bounce rates. Whether people are accessing your website on a computer or a mobile device, it’s a safe bet they will not appreciate your pages loading slowly.
Convenience is key in today’s ecommerce world, so start off strong by optimizing your website for speedy loading.
Pitfall #2: Clunky Navigation
People can only buy what they can find. Few online shoppers are interested in going on what feels like a “wild-goose chase” to make a purchase. If your site navigation is clunky or confusing, people are more likely to exit your site and try their luck with a competitor.
Here are a few ecommerce website navigation tips from Smashing Magazine:
- Make parent categories and sub-categories a part of the clickable product hierarchy.
- Put sub-categories underneath any and all relevant main categories based on what people may search to find it.
- Make it easy to find “what’s new” right away.
- Suggest complementary and alternative items to help guide shoppers in an intuitive way.
- Include a “recently viewed items” section so shoppers can quickly circle back as needed without having to start over.
The underlying principle here is the importance of understanding how people move forward and backward through the ecommerce funnel, then facilitating that journey.
Pitfall #3: Lack of Visual Cues
There’s no such thing as “too obvious” when it comes to making your calls to action pop. Help website visitors avoid searching high and low for the commands they seek. Also, make sure buttons and links contrast visually with other elements on the page.
Pitfall #4: Subpar Mobile Experience
Question: What is an ecommerce business without a healthy mobile component? Answer: Woefully antiquated. The fact of the matter is people are now using smartphones and tablets to browse and buy. Missing the mark on mobile user experience is a surefire way to discourage shoppers from completing transactions or returning in the future.
One Baymard study found approximately half of all ecommerce sites “are performing downright poorly,” causing customers “great difficulties in finding, evaluating, and purchasing products—if they are able to at all.” Make sure you’re truly designing for mobile rather than just scaling down your desktop site. The controls and visuals must all suit smaller devices.
Pitfall #5: Unclear/Inaccurate Information
Surprises can certainly be fun, but not so in the context of unexpected costs. Providing opaque or incorrect information can call into question the very legitimacy of your store. Make sure you’re up front about fees, shipping costs and restrictions to reduce shopping cart abandonment.
Avoiding these five ecommerce UX pitfalls will make your customers happier and benefit your bottom line.