Ecommerce trends tend to come and go. While some stick and become industry standards, others fall away amid hype.
Remember ‘social shopping’ from the 2010s? The idea was that social media and online shopping could be a marriage made in heaven. A survey by SUMO found that 82% of shoppers surveyed said they had never made an ecommerce purchase through a social channel. It seems folks prefer to keep ‘social’ and ‘shopping’ experiences separate.
Creating sales-booking experience for your online store is recognising that site visitors have different ‘experience’ gears. The second step is to assist that ecommerce experience without grinding those gears.
Here are a few ways of increasing ecommerce sales with UX sales-boosting experience tweaks.
What Is Ecommerce Experience? A Deeper Understanding
Most ecommerce marketers today likely recognise the importance of seamless online-shopping experience. But what exactly is ‘ecommerce experience’ at a deeper level, beyond simply ‘helping customers easily find what they’re after?’
Let’s start with the simple definition we all know already:
An effective ecommerce experience is, more or less, one that offers online customers a simple, logical and enjoyable shopping experience.
In practical terms:
Simple means uncomplicated navigation and easy, uncluttered checkout that prevents cart abandonment.
Logical means clear, understandable product categories and orderly site design that matches competitor benchmarks of the kinds of website layout customers are used to on other sites.
Enjoyable means meaningful, fluid, end-to-end online-shopping interactions that help site visitors problem-solve without friction and frustration.
That’s all simple enough, in theory, isn’t it? So what is ‘ecommerce experience’ at a deeper level?
Going deep: ecommerce convergence
Convergence is the coming-together of different things.
‘Ecommerce convergence’ refers to the coming together of online technologies to deliver an elevated ecommerce experience. One that goes beyond simply making things look and feel user-friendly.
Convergence of content and ecommerce
One great example of two different online technolones coming together to create elevated ecommerce experience is the convergence of digital content and ecommerce.
Fancy, a “social commerce” platform started by entrepreneur Joe Einhorn, for example, has revived the ‘social shopping’ model with a hybrid social-ecommerce ecosystem where ecommerce ads are carefully seeded into targeted social media spaces.
In a post-launch interview, Einhorn explains the vision behind Fancy.
“[We’re asking] what is the medium that people are ultimately going to be consuming this information in? If we really know what things look like, their colours and their shapes, we can be a really rich data set. We’ve created a fun social commerce system, but we’re also really trying to take on challenges that will set us apart.”
Sounds pretty impressive, doesn’t it? But let’s keep our feet on the ground. This kind of niche ‘social ecommerce’ concept is for the 1% of ‘disruptor’ brands.
The point here is that sales-boosting ecommerce experience is about satisfying customer needs and expectations, and that can easily be done without reinventing the ecommerce wheel.
It’s all about doing lots of little, simple things brilliantly well to capture the cumulative, marginal gains.
Back to Basics: Boosting Ecommerce Sales With Marginal Gains UX Tweaks
How can UX design and UX research help increase ecommerce sales? Simply said, by ensuring your ecommerce experiences don’t just consistently match customer expectations, but also consistently exceed them.
Here are our top 3 ‘must-dos’ of ensuring your ecommerce UX design consistently exceeds customer expectations.
Simplify ‘primary navigation’
Having a search bar on your ecommerce online store seems like a great idea. Actually, search-bar dependency can isolate customers. Often they won’t know exactly what the ‘thing’ is called that they’re after, or the way you name it doesn’t match what they’re searching, leading to ‘zero results’ failures.
The key is to design well-organised tabs and categories that offer clear, no-brainer navigation options. By having precise, carefully designed product groupings, you won’t need a search bar at all.
Make checkout and payment process faster
Confused, clunky ecommerce payment process is right up there as a major conversion blocker and cause of cart abandonment. Here are some tips to increase sales by smoothing out ecommerce payment workflow.
- Offer a range of payment methods (e.g. debit or credit card, Apple pay, PayPal)
- Don’t clutter payment workflows with ‘sign up’ or ‘newsletter’ ads and pop-ups, it’s a known, big conversion rate killer.
- Offer a guest checkout option.
- Minimise form fields by separating checkout into different steps, one per page
- Avoid diverting to other websites to process payment
- Add clear calls-to-action guiding people to next steps.
Get all of the above right, and you’ll see those cart abandonment figures start to creep downward.
Show, don’t tell
Instead of focusing on heavy, overt marketing tactics throughout your online store, make your ecommerce experience customer-centric. In other words, don’t tell customers how great you are.
Give customers user-evidenced proof of the impact products had on other customers. for example, use product testimonials gathered over time, or a product review system. This will give visitors purchasing confidence that comes from 3rd parties, instead of from your brand speaking highly of itself.