Gone are the days of muscling through thick crowds to get your hands on the newest gadget or latest fashion piece. Now, you can score virtually anything you want with just a few clicks of a button.
According to Statista, there are over 1.8 billion people who purchase goods online and this number is expected to balloon in the next few years. With a growth rate of 15%, e-commerce has become a multi-billion dollar industry in the span of just two decades, eclipsing the sales of brick-and-mortar stores by a huge margin.
Because of the rapid growth of the e-commerce industry, both small-time vendors and multinational brands are migrating to the World Wide Web to tap into a larger market and rake in higher profits. While this sector is currently dominated by e-commerce giants like Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba, small and midsize businesses (SMBs) can also find success in this extremely competitive industry. So how can entry-level e-commerce sites get ahead of the competition?
While there are several factors that contribute to the success of an e-commerce platform, one of the most important is perhaps its user experience (UX). Companies must be able to create a digital experience that is unique, consistent, and completely hassle-free. The goal is to make online shopping a more blissful experience for your customers and, if possible, make it far better than in-store shopping.
One of the first things you should do is improve the navigation of your e-commerce website. Your platform must pave the way for easy browsing. In order for customers to quickly find what they are looking for, you must also provide sorting and filtering options that can simplify their product search. This can let them quickly browse through your available inventory based on price range, product size, color, and other specifications. You can also make use of predictive search or autocomplete features to make it easier for your customers to hunt down items.
Another way of enhancing product search is by integrating a personalization feature. This means you get to offer customers personalized product offers based on their personal preferences, purchase history, and browsing activity. Personalization goes as far as providing tailored content and advertisements to your visitors. This gives your e-commerce website a more personal touch, which is an effective way to improve the overall customer experience. Personalization helps increase retention, reduce bounce rates, and improve customer loyalty.
Aside from personalized product offers, a descriptive product page can also boost the UX of your e-commerce website. Your product page must be able to effectively communicate the value proposition of your product, enough to compel your customers to make a grab for their wallets. For example, provide a complete description of the product— its features, its benefits, its price, and other product specs. Include pertinent information that could nudge them to hit checkout. Make sure to choose images that are compelling, on-brand, and of high quality. These photos must be able to present the product in different angles to give your customers an idea of what the actual item looks like. You might also want to showcase customer reviews on your product page for that extra push.
Your checkout process is perhaps the most important of all. It’s the last puzzle piece in your quest to generate sales for your business. If you have a complex checkout process, you can lose half of your customers. Recent data reveals that 63% of users abandon their carts for various reasons—undisclosed shipping costs, mandatory account registrations, complicated information signups, and long checkout processes, among others.
Customers don’t have the time or patience for unnecessary hurdles, so you have to simplify the checkout journey for them. Don’t make them jump through hoops before they’re able to place their orders. For example, give them an option to create a new account, connect an existing social handle, or continue as a guest in order to make the checkout process more convenient and less time-consuming for them. Refrain from requesting irrelevant information. If there’s a way to streamline their checkout journey, then do that.
To further strengthen your e-commerce website, there’s another trick you can use: Email marketing. This is, in fact, one of the most integral yet most overlooked parts of an e-commerce platform. Email marketing is a cost-effective way to capture customers at various stages of their shopping journey. Whether it’s to introduce a special deal, send out a shipping confirmation, or just follow up on a purchase, email marketing is an effective method to reach your target audience and bolster your e-commerce website.
Part of designing an excellent UX is making online shopping a walk in the park. If companies put their customers first, then they can create an experience that is unique, consistent, hassle-free, and essential.
Sample of Predictive Search
Sample of Personalization
Sample of SImplified Checkout