Importance of UX design in eCommerce operations
User experience design (UX design) is an element that is often overlooked as the cornerstone of successful eCommerce operations, and that is often the main reason behind the big financial losses and generally failed attempts to penetrate digital commerce market. People often focus on the eCommerce platforms and the features they provide, and completely skip the most important element that brings success – the eCommerce website usability.
People simply can’t navigate easily through the websites created in this way and it reflects in very low conversion rates. Simply put – they can’t buy easily, and that makes them reluctant to buy at all. They often switch to the competitors who allow them to buy same or similar products in the most comprehensible way.
So, what should be the guidelines for you to follow in order to produce the eCommerce UX design that will actually work and bring the results you want?
The answer can be given through several steps you need to follow:
- Scout the opposition
- Consult with the experts
- Adjust UX design of your website to the targeted geography
- Adjust user experience design to the targeted group (demographic targeting)
- A/B test the approaches
- Realize that mobile and desktop are NOT the same
Scouting the opposition
Scouting the opposition is always a smart thing to do, and when it comes to learning what actually works on the market – this step is simply essential! The best thing you could do is to identify the direct competitors who are performing well in online trading operations. These guys definitely came up with some effective designs that give good conversion rates, so scouting their approach could easily give you an edge. Simply – what works for them will most probably work for you as well. Of course, the classic copy/paste operation is not advised not only because of the possible breach of copyright laws, but also because you need to retain the brand identity of your own. Still, the basic outlays and the main characteristics of their eCommerce UX should be considered as the starting point.
During the scouting process, you will get to see best UX design practices and create a shortlist of the approaches that have been used by your successful competitors. It provides a solid base for further expansion of the main idea and allows you to skip some initial blunders that happen quite often to companies who are new in online trading business.
Useful tip: Target the competitors who have similar products to yours, and the competitors who address to the similar audience in terms of geography and demographics.
Consulting the experts
Of course, this step can be done without previously doing the 1st one, but it is better to start consultations with at least some idea of what you would like to get as a final product. Regardless of the UX designer skills the digital agency has, it is always better to give some kind of a starting point.
If this has been done properly, they will know exactly how to help you and how to lead the UX design process in the right direction and impress with the final product. Naturally, they will be able to give additional input on the latest trends in the field. This allows you to surpass the competition and add some elements to your websites user experience. These elements can improve the website usability and give you the edge which doesn’t have to be huge in terms of technology to produce a huge difference in conversion rates.
Also, you should carry out all other consultations with your digital agency. This should include every single aspect of the operation, from picking the right eCommerce platform, 3rd party service providers, and the way to continuously upgrade all segments of your endeavour.
Useful tip: Do not be afraid to ask what the best eCommerce design they ever provided was. From their UX design portfolio you will be able to see user experience design process they pursue and you can make comments that will lead to the perfect adjustment of that process to your needs.
Adjusting UX design to the targeted geography
Running operations in different geographies is not a simple thing at all. Companies often face seemingly surreal situations that the expansion to new geographies with the same UX design brings little to no success. It is a puzzling moment only for those who never actually tried selling on multiple markets.
In fact, this is one of the most common things that will happen to any business who wishes to go on a global market without considering local approach to the entire idea. The fact is that different geographies bring different shopping habits and different cultural backgrounds. It implies that the potential customers will act differently and in order to reach out to all of them in a proper way, you will have to adjust the UX design for each of the specific geographies.
The most obvious change that will need to be implemented is the proper localization in terms of language, currency, payment, and shipping options. Still, this is far from everything you need to do. The very layout of the website, colours, and the position of elements of the website could also be completely different.
These differences can be marginal in the countries with similar culture, but can be also huge if the cultural background is totally different. The best example for this is the difference between EU countries, US, and Asian countries. All three have a very different approach to the user experience.
The only way to do things properly and follow in the footsteps of the best user experience websites is to either do a deep research on each market, or to consult the experts who already operated there.
Useful tip: Check with your digital agency if they had any experience with the storefronts in geographies you wish to target. This is the fastest way to get a good insight and will save you pots of money that you would otherwise have to invest in research or expert consultancy.
Adjusting UX to the targeted demographic groups
This is another cornerstone of the UX design process. People with different mind-sets have different preferences and different shopping habits. You need to address the exact group that can actually be converted into shoppers.
For example – devising a great UX design that works perfectly for fishing and hunting niche where the main target are men will be of little use if you apply it to fashion items where the majority of potential customers consists of women. Of course, there are some similarities in every eCommerce website out there as they all treat the same issue (selling goods online), but the layouts, the sales funnels, and the general design foundations are completely different.
Make sure that you are well aware of WHO your potential customers are and devise the entire website design around that premise.
There are some niches where the potential customers come from all demographic groups, and in that case you should target the majority of them, or go with the advanced personalization options which could bridge the gap between the groups and provide personalized experience to every single user. Keep in mind that deep and good personalization tools are not cheap, but they can do wonders for your conversion rates, especially if your targeted audience is mixed in such a way.
Finally, if this is too expensive, which is often the case, there are A/B testing options that could give you the right answer to the questions on which approach to UX design is the best for your operations.
Useful tip: Do not overextend in attempts to reach as much potential customers as you can. Overinvesting is equally dangerous as underinvesting. Aim for the majority of potential buyers. Also, make sure that you provide them at least something that could bridge the gap between the groups. Enabling ratings and reviews on your eCommerce website is often a good move as it allows the people outside of the targeted group to get some insight on the quality of the goods or services you are selling.
The very best way to expand your operations regardless of the geography is to split test the UX design. This is the operation that does not involve too much of an investment. Simply, you should create several versions of the pages for your website and test them on the sufficient sample.
It does require a platform that can support this approach, but the results can be more than rewarding. If you are unsure which well converting option is the best (based on the scouting process and consultations with the experts) – simply try them both. It is possible to do it by simply going with 2 different designs, and does not require 2 different websites. The visitors could be randomly redirected to one of the versions of the website, and you will see which one performs the best. It can result in huge returns through increased conversion rates, increased sales, and increased brand identity. Given the level of investment required for such operation, it is more than useful option.
Useful tip: Adjust split testing to your budget and your needs. It has more sense to it than losing customers, which eventually happens with every out-dated design, but there is also little sense in doing it if it will damage you financially in such a way that it renders your business unprofitable. Again, consult the experts. We at Studioworx had a lot of chances to work on split testing and we know from the direct experience how to help you.
Mobile and Desktop
The times when desktop and mobile eCommerce were the same are long gone, although it has been just a few years since mobile devices made the breakthrough. Going with the same UX design on both options is not a good idea as it can ultimately lead to only one outcome – complete failure!
Mobile user experience is something completely different compared to the standard outlay. It requires higher agility, as the mobile users usually want to make purchases as fast as possible. A lot of turnover in mobile commerce comes from the impulsive purchases. If the user is forced to go through several steps in order to buy, the ratio of impulsive purchases will drop.
Responsive and adaptive designs are good and often do the trick, but the mobile user experience has to be very, very agile. Still, this is just the basic approach, and more and more businesses opt for mobile apps that are directly connected with their eCommerce websites. Through these apps, mobile commerce gets all the speed it needs to be successful and the conversion rates soar.
Of course, all the previously mentioned steps should be carried out in order to reach the mobile user experience that will be effective and will bring revenue.
Useful tip: Go gradually with the mobile commerce. Responsive website is a good start. If you see that the conversion rates through mobile devices are lower than the ones coming from desktop/PC options, then evaluate if there is any sense in investing to create a mobile app. Monitoring this process is not hard at all as Google Analytics provides abundance of data. Simply track the devices and the operating systems and conversion rates on them, and you will get a pretty clear idea where to go next with your efforts.
If you go gradually through all the mentioned steps, you will end up with an eCommerce website that works well, converts well, and most importantly – generates sales and revenue. Going with the simple solutions is not always the best approach. On the other hand, overinvesting and going too much into detail can also hurt your attempts to succeed in online trade.
Always consult with the experts, and you will be able to determine which approach is the right one for you. We at Studioworx are always at your disposal for any question you might have. Feel free to give us a call or contact us through our website, and we will be there to help you out. The experience we gathered while being involved in over 600 projects will help you succeed from the 1st attempt!