To those who are yet to test the waters, e-commerce may look like a cakewalk. What does it take, they might wonder. A website, some products, some content, a shopping cart and a payment gateway and you are set, right? Not really, it turns out. Experience e-retailers will attest that an e-commerce site with all the above features would still not guarantee you any conversions. Especially so, if you are making UX mistakes that are driving your customers away. So here’s what you should be looking out for and the ways in which you can fix such errors:
Long and complicated checkouts
According to a study conducted by Statista, almost 40 percent of ecommerce customers abandon their carts midway either because it took too long to process to checkout or as it was too complicated. One thing you need to keep in mind while designing your site is that the main reason that customers use e-commerce sites is to save time. So by putting them through a long and complicated checkout process is only going to backfire on you.
Make the process as simple and straightforward as possible. The best checkout process has a single page which has space for customers to enter their card details and shipping information. And, once they are done filling in, a confirmation page appears to check these details again. Try to combine pages and arrange sections column-wise to make pages look shorter. In these times when companies like Amazon are offering one-click checkouts, you would only be lagging far behind in the race with long, outdated and cumbersome checkout processes.
Forced registration before checkout
From a business’s point of view, you would want your customers to sign up to your site. But think of it from a customer’s viewpoint. Imagine that they had painstakingly entered all their details only to be stopped just before checking out saying that they had to register to complete the transaction. There is nothing more frustrating than forced registration. While businesses think that customers would more likely just complete the sign-up form so as to finish their order, the reality is that they just abandon it and look for other options, most likely on your competitor’s site.
The fix for this is to make this step optional. Do not force your customer to register but let them know quickly what’s in store for them if they choose to sign up. Make it clear that even though they can complete the order at hand without registering, only registered members can save their account information, make wishlists and track their orders now and in the future. In this way, customers would consider saving their information and not feel as if they had no choice but to register to make a purchase.
Inadequate or overly complex search function
These are two extreme situations which e-commerce sites need to steer clear from. Most customers come to your site having somewhat an idea of what they want to buy. This is why they will use the search function to get to the product as quickly as possible. Your search function has to strike a balance. It should neither be too complicated that you are left with hundreds and thousands of matching (sometimes unrelated and irrelevant) results to choose from, nor should it be inadequate that it doesn’t return the right match even though the product is available in the store.
Make sure that the ecommerce software you use has a good in-built search facility that uses keywords and allows for sorting and filtering search results. Follow the ideal prototype of making it possible for customers to sort according to price levels, popularity and so on. Having an auto-suggest feature is a good way to help customers narrow down their search according to the different categories available in the store.
Inadequate product details
Customers who shop at e-commerce sites are at a disadvantage that they cannot physically examine the product they want to buy. This is why it is important to provide them with enough and more details regarding the product’s look, feel and functionality. Do not just upload a single photograph of the product and regurgitate archaic product descriptions.
Product images should capture how the item looks from different angles and even help customers estimate the size and feel of it by showing it in relation or contrast to another object. If your images are too tiny, there should be an option to zoom it. And, even if the size, color and material can be made out through the images, put it in writing in the description as well. If a product is available in different colors, include images of each of these, too. For example, if you are an online clothing store, you will have to provide everything from the size to material, cut, fit, weight and care instructions for every single product. Avoid using technical terms and try to humanize the content so that your customer will be able to relate more with the product.
Not disclosing important information
The first rule of e-retail is to stay away from tricking your customer. This is a business model that works purely on trust, so full disclosure is compulsory. Put all the required information out in the open so that your customer know that they are dealing with a credible company. Hiding contact information and store policies would only affect your reputation as a business and drive customers away from your brand. Same goes for the case of shipping rates; do not surprise your customers with your rates of shipping at the last step of the checkout process.
Be as transparent as possible with the customer. Offer your contact information and location right on your homepage so that customers know whom to reach out to if something goes wrong with their order. Have a FAQ page that answers all important questions that your customers are likely to have. Put up your privacy, cancellation and refund policies on the site and also disclose your shipping rates right from the beginning of the checkout process.
Having a user-friendly, easily-navigable website increases your customers’ sense of trust in your brand. Make your site responsive to all devices as per statistics, almost 78 percent of mobile searches for local businesses end up in conversions. Use tools like Google’s mobile testing tool to see how your site looks on other devices. If you still seem lost or feel that you could do better with a little help, reach out to us at Suyati and choose from our basket of e-commerce services on offer. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to know how we can help your business.
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