18 Common E-Commerce UX Mistakes You Must Avoid
The Importance of Great E-Commerce UX
Great e-commerce UX can help you increase sales and keep customers coming back for more. But if user experience is so important, how come so many businesses make e-commerce UX mistakes that kill their conversions?
Many e-commerce merchants place too much value on how a website looks. They forget to think about the psychology behind the design.
Look beyond just making your website pretty and think about how the user would interact with your site. Keeping the user’s intention in mind will make it easier to map out the conversion funnel and create a better user experience. Learn from these mistakes to become an e-commerce expert and increase conversions.
Your website can be a powerful one-stop shop for all parts of the funnel. It is a place for shoppers to learn about your brand, become more invested in your story, and eventually (hopefully) buy a product.
But even if your brand content is powerful and your web pages are beautiful, you could lose sales due to simple e-commerce UX mistakes.
What is User Experience?
User experience (UX) is defined as the user’s interaction with the business and its services and products through the website, app, blog, or user interface (UI). Modern consumers believe that excellent e-commerce UX is essential. For online stores, it will streamline the buying process and increase conversions, which also means an increase in revenue.
Consumers usually like to take their time and explore their options. But no matter how long it takes for them to look around, once they’ve set their minds on something, they expect the purchasing process to be quick and easy.
This experience not only covers physical stores but online shops as well. A brick-and-mortar store’s design adapts the process of purchasing. A website should also be designed with the customer or user in mind.
Great e-commerce UX focuses on the following key areas:
- Contextuality: ensuring that users are aware of where they are on the journey.
- Being Human: being approachable, trustworthy, and transparent; using human interactions over machine-like interactions.
- Findability: providing wayfinding signs to users.
- Easy: being consistent and precise with visuals and messages to make navigation effortless.
- Simplicity: using messages that are intelligible by avoiding distractions, jargon, and long loading times.
- Delight: design a delightful experience and create an AHA moment that makes us fall in love with a product.
But apart from knowing what’s right, to optimize your website’s e-commerce UX design, you’ll need to be aware of what NOT to do.
Common E-Commerce UX Mistakes that Kill Your Conversions
1. No Mobile Optimization
With a continuous increase of buyers shopping online with mobile devices, mobile optimization has become more critical than ever. Therefore, it’s essential to test your user experience on different sizes of mobile phones and tablets.
People buy differently on desktops than on mobile devices. Smaller screens limit space for content, images, and buttons. Poor mobile designs often contain too small and tricky to click or too big elements and make it impossible to navigate through the site. In any case, an e-commerce site that is not mobile-friendly makes for a terrible user experience and decreased conversions.
Start by checking your product images. Do they look crisp and neat on a mobile device? Make sure they don’t look stretched out or distorted. Also, consider your buttons. Make sure they are easily tapped and visible across different screen sizes. Buttons should stand out from the rest of the page with a contrasting color and bigger size.
It’s also imperative to check your forms and checkout process. Make sure you can quickly fill out the form from a mobile device and keep the number of fields to a minimum. Having a guest checkout option is ideal for improving the user experience.
2. Slow Page Load Speed
Today’s shoppers are much too impatient to wait around for a slow-loading e-commerce site. Speed is everything today and having a beautifully designed site that never loads means that no one will ever see your site, much less purchase from it.
We live in a world where everyone demands the best to be delivered as fast as possible. People don’t want to wait for taxis; they order Ubers. They don’t want to wait in line, so they use an app to get groceries delivered. The e-commerce demands are no different. Visitors expect your website to have top mobile and desktop speeds; otherwise, they will go to your competition.
One way to evaluate your website’s speed is using Google’s PageSpeed Tool. Enter any URL and find out the website’s speed. You can even test your competitor’s sites. This tool will also provide suggestions to improve performance. Other tools you can use include GTMetrix and Pingdom.
3. No Clear Message or Focus
When visitors land on your site, they want to know what products you are offering and identify with your brand. Otherwise, they can feel lost and end up visiting your competitor. With so many options available, why would someone make an effort to try to figure out an unfriendly website? It is easier to leave and go someplace else.
Another direct message businesses fail to deliver is a clear value proposition. This message sets you apart from the competition and is your promise to provide value to the customer. If you can’t give potential buyers a good reason to buy your products, how are they supposed to come up with one?
The ideal value proposition should answer questions like “How is your product going to help me”? and “Why should I buy from your store instead of another one”? It should be easy to understand.
Avoid over-complicated words that confuse the reader and focus on one of the four main types of consumer benefits: quality, affordability, luxury, or must-have. By focusing on one main category, you will avoid trying to be everything to everyone, which, in the end, doesn’t make you appealing to anyone.
4. Not Showing Enough Products on Your Home Page
Your home page is your chance to convince visitors to keep browsing and eventually buy. If it looks empty or the user doesn’t find an item they like, chances are, they won’t care to browse around.
Your home page is like a front store display. You want to showcase your best products to attract as many visitors to come in as possible. The difference is that, with e-commerce stores, you have much more real estate to utilize. So a front store display can maybe display a handful of products. But your homepage can be divided into sections and provide a taste of your whole collection.
It’s a good idea to showcase your latest products. There are always people looking for the latest designs or arrivals. Displaying best sellers also helps. It allows you to show that other people are liking your products, which helps with social proof. In addition, you can advertise seasonal products and sales.
5. Poor Customer Service Pages
For many online store owners, e-commerce UX begins with the product pages on their site and a quick and convenient shopping cycle. But, unfortunately, they fail to understand that a serious shopper will go through plenty of other pages on the site to make a buying decision.
Many consumers like to go through the ‘Returns Policy,’ ‘Shipping + Delivery,’ ‘Payment Pages,’ and ‘Customer Service’ pages. They don’t appreciate it if a site doesn’t have them or comes up with such pages for the heck of it.
A lack of customer service pages indicates these websites aren’t concerned about offering more information about the business and its policies to its target customers. This lack of information negatively affects their credibility.
A sparse or missing customer service area indicates that the merchant couldn’t be bothered about customer service.
Navigation is everything. If your customers can’t figure out how to go through your site, your beautiful product photos and lightning-fast site don’t count for anything.
Here are a few things you can do when optimizing your eCommerce site’s navigation:
- Make your internal search bar prominent
- Make sure your menus are logical
- Use product categories
- Offer your customer the chance to filter your products
- Use Breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs show the overall path from home > category > subcategory > product page. Just like Hansel and Gretel, leave breadcrumbs so your customer can find their way back through their navigation.
7. No Product Search Functionality
Did you know that users who search for a product on a website are 200% more likely to convert? Therefore, failing to implement search functionality on your e-commerce website is a missed opportunity.
Without this feature, it will also be a lot more difficult for users to find a specific product on your website instead of using their intuition to navigate through the various categories on your site.
To make on-site search functionality even more effective, we recommend including autosuggestions and spelling corrections too. In addition, ensuring that any search query will always return results is critical. Displaying some of your most popular products usually works well as a default.
8. Limited Product Category Options
It’s all well-and-good to split your products up into different categories. Still, it’s even more important to make sure that your categories promote a good user journey. By this, we mean to ensure that all product categories are relevant and intuitive. You never want to have a category name that leaves the user wondering what it even means.
Even though it may seem obvious, some of the key product categories that many e-commerce sites fail to implement are “Men’s” and “Women’s.” Many high-volume e-commerce websites display these two categories prominently on their homepage. But you’d be surprised at how many sites fail to include these categories on their website at all. It could also make sense to have a “View All” category option, which can then be filtered to refine results.
9. Product Listings that Don’t Open in a New Tab
When researching, reading news articles, or shopping online, millennials and young adults often engage in something called “page parking.” Page parking is the process of opening multiple tabs in quick succession to save items and revisit them later.
When shopping on e-commerce websites, people use page parking to compare various products before deciding which one to buy. As you can imagine, having product listings that won’t open in a new tab can be a massive turn-off for anyone that uses this comparison technique.
10. Insufficient Product Information
Do you know what is turning online shoppers away from your site? It’s missing product information. The fact is 42% of shoppers abandon an online purchase because of limited product information.
Product information is one of the most critical components of your site’s UX. Some sites have a better reputation on the market than others because the former provides a truckload of product information (all relevant) to help shoppers make an informed buying decision.
There is no need to write a product treatise. Still, it’s essential to make sure that the description offers information about the product’s benefits, its features, the material used, and measurements. And you need to put across this information interestingly. But, again, the idea is to convince people that the product is just what they need.
11. Low-Quality Product Images
You’ll be surprised at how much low-quality images impact e-commerce conversion rates. Research suggests that 67% of consumers say the quality of a product image on a website plays an essential role for them when following through with a purchase.
Not only will a low-quality image portray a terrible impression of your brand. Depending on how pixelated the image is, it can stop the user from seeing the product details.
Online shoppers can’t physically handle products to know how they feel and look. So an online merchant has to recreate and, if possible, improve upon this aspect of the in-store experience. One of the ways you can do this is through better product images that convert.
12. Limited Product Images
A limited number of product images can also hurt your website. For example, if your product has just 1 or 2 photos, but a competitor’s product has 4+ images, then the odds will be against you. You will lose the sale because your competitors give the end-user more information on the product, enabling them to make a more educated purchase. Multiple product images are even more critical with high-value products.
13. Too Much Content
Nowadays, potential customers are becoming more visual. They prefer content including videos and photos to guide and influence their shopping behavior. Text should still be present, of course, but it tends to get skimmed over when it’s too long or is irrelevant. Make sure not to overwhelm users with useless content.
14. Out-of-Stock Items Showing in Listings
Ever had love-at-first-sight with a product, only to click through to it and discover that it’s out of stock? It’s highly frustrating and can feel like wasted time; most people that fall victim to this will click away from your site and never return.
Showing out-of-stock items can be damaging for both your brand image and your website’s bounce rate. So it pays to constantly maintain your product listings, ensuring that no out-of-stock products have got mixed in with the rest.
15. Not Prominently Displaying Price
As pricing is one of the most influential aspects of a customer’s purchasing decision, making your pricing obvious across your website is essential. But, again, this is an easy mistake to correct. Still, you’d be surprised at how many websites fail to display their pricing information above the fold on product pages.
An effective way to do this is by highlighting your pricing on any product pages and making sure that it is displayed above the fold on all devices, from desktop to mobile. If a user must scroll through a webpage to discover how much a product costs, it’s not going to bode well for your brand’s image. It will likely deter the user from purchasing from your site.
16. Not Offering Recommendations
Part of helping visitors purchase on your site is giving them recommendations. As a sales associate would assist a visitor in a store, your product recommendations will help your visitors find their ideal products. With more help, your visitors will be able to have a better experience on your site.
In addition to helping visitors find what they are looking for, recommendations can also aid visitors in discovering new product ideas. You can find this on Amazon, where they have a suggestion called “Customers who bought this item also bought.”
Recommendations can also help you increase conversions by providing social proof. For example, use “best seller” suggestions to show your top products. Everyone is interested in knowing what others are purchasing.
This feature is handy when looking for gifts. Choosing “best sellers” provides a sense that you’re choosing the best the store has to offer, which can give a sense of relief when choosing a gift.
Another good place to add recommendations is your cart. Use this opportunity to recommend products that complement the products in the cart. For example, show a cellphone charger to someone who is buying a cell phone case.
17. Complicated Checkout
Have you shopped on an e-commerce site only to find an overly complicated checkout system? It’s a pain.
The entire theme of e-commerce UX optimization is removing friction between when the customer lands on your page and when they hit the “purchase now” button. You want to remove as many obstacles as possible.
The checkout option is one of the essential elements of your web design, as this is the action you want your visitors to take. Therefore, you must make sure your checkout is straightforward and not confusing for the customer.
Your checkout process should be linear, pointing the consumer to complete the order accurately with the required information. Also, the form fields must have descriptive tags.
18. No Guest Checkout
Failing to offer a guest checkout option can significantly impact an e-commerce website’s bounce rate and conversion rate. Luckily, it’s also one of the easiest mistakes to correct.
After spending time searching for a product, adding it to their basket, and preparing to pay for it, users usually want the checkout process to be as quick and easy as possible. Forcing people to spend even more time on your website, signing up for an account that they won’t even use, to buy a product is only shooting yourself in the foot.
Requiring shoppers to create a user account is a common cause of shopping cart abandonment. If you see this trend in Google Analytics, it could be wise to implement a guest checkout option.
Before Fixing E-Commerce UX Mistakes
Before thinking about your website’s user experience, it’s essential to understand your target market. It will help you put yourself in your buyer’s shoes and visualize how they interact with your site.
Think about different case scenarios and how your website would help the buyer in each situation. For example, if you’re selling products for women but want to appeal to men that buy gifts for them, you may want to add a link on your navigation for “perfect gifts.”
This simple option saves men the guesswork and helps them have a better user experience than scrolling through hundreds of products they don’t even understand.
User experience is about the design and everything involved in improving the user’s experience: the site’s structure, content, navigation, and more.
Before making any changes, you’ll want to benchmark your current site’s performance and sales. To do this, you’ll need to install tracking software such as Google Analytics.
It’s easy to overlook the importance of some of these mistakes. But prioritizing e-commerce UX will have a positive effect on your website’s conversion rate. You’ll be surprised at how much of an impact even the more minor things on this list can have.
Building e-commerce sites that users will love comes down to the kind of user experience your website can and does deliver. Suppose it is unable to offer shoppers a satisfying user experience. In that case, it will fail to do its job, becoming a sales generation machine. You don’t want that to happen, do you?
If you hire an experienced web design agency to build a top-notch e-commerce site, you have a better chance of e-commerce success. We are here to help!
Here at PixoLabo, we offer a full range of e-commerce website consulting and WordPress web design services, including website design and development, e-commerce solutions, search engine optimization, and WordPress optimization.
And if you are still not sure how to overcome these common e-commerce UX mistakes, let’s talk! We will listen to you, answer your questions, and determine the best e-commerce solutions for your company or product brand!
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