Monday 5th December 2016
7 Tips for Excellent eCommerce Site Usability
You want your customers to have a smooth and pleasant experience of using your eCommerce store. You can put as much effort as you like into driving great, high quality traffic to your site, but if your store is slow, hard to navigate and lacking information, you’ll struggle to sell. That’s why having an eCommerce site that’s usable is so important.
Here are 7 tips for excellent eCommerce site usability:
Navigation & Structure
First thing’s first, visitors need to be able to easily and quickly navigate your site. You need to make your navigation simple and easy to follow. That means ensuring that you have a simple and logical site structure. Think about where your customers would expect to find each page and product. They should be able to navigate your eCommerce site intuitively wherever possible.
Implement clear, nested categories with logical sub-categories that let your visitors easily locate the product sections they’re looking for. If visitors can’t find a particular category, or you name the category something that customers don’t immediately understand, you’ll find they often don’t bother looking at all.
You could also consider including breadcrumbs in your site (such as in the example below from ASOS) so that customers always know where they are in your site structure at any one time. Breadcrumbs show where in your site structure the customer is. So, as you can see below, the visitor is in Men > Accessories > Caps & Hats. They can then easily navigate back through your site. This could be particularly useful if you have a large store with many different products and categories.
Having a fantastic search feature is a must for any eCommerce store. If you want to improve usability on your site, you’ll need to make sure that customers can quickly search for products, as well as including options for advanced searching & filtering.
Make sure that your search bar is featured prominently on every page of your eCommerce store to allow customers to search at any time. You should also make sure that search result pages are well designed, with the most relevant products being displayed first. Making sure that your product titles, descriptions and meta data are accurate and descriptive is very important for ensuring that search results are useful to the user.
Customers won’t wait around forever while your site loads up. In fact, they’re unlikely to wait around for more than 5 seconds. It’s essential then, that you optimise your site for quick load times, both on desktop and mobile devices.
Be sure to optimise all of your product images, as they’re likely to be responsible for a large part of your load times. Strike a balance between having large, beautiful photography and files that load quickly for a great customer experience.
Optimising for mobile is vital nowadays, and will only become more important. Make sure that your eCommerce store scales down well, still provides all of the necessary information to customers, but loads quickly and is displayed well. With mobile making up an increasing segment of online shopping, having great usability on mobile devices is essential.
Your home page will be the first thing that a lot of visitors see. For this reason, you want to make sure that the experience and usability of your eCommerce store’s home page is as good as possible.
Make sure that your most popular products are featured on your home page and that any new product lines, offers or promotions are also prominently placed to catch the eye of your visitors. Your home page should always be kept up to date, with fresh design and content. If customers see the same thing every time they visit your home page, they’ll presume that your products haven’t changed either.
The home page is a great tool for grabbing visitor attention, so making it simple and usable is essential if you want to draw in new customers and direct existing ones to relevant products.
Once a visitor finds a product they are interested in, your product pages need to be simple and informative in order to convert them to a paying customer.
Information should be easy for customers to locate, and should be scannable. It is vital that users can quickly scan information on your product pages in order to pick out important product facts. Consider using bulleted lists as well as longer descriptions to make information accessible.
Think about the information that your customer is likely to need and make sure that nothing is missed from your product pages. If customers can’t find a key stat or detail, they won’t buy.
You also need to make sure that your buy now or add to cart button is clearly visible and featured prominently on the page; something that seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many eCommerce sites forget this.
Once customers have made the decision to buy from your eCommerce store, they don’t want to be hanging around in the checkout process for too long. Make sure that your checkout comprises of as few steps as possible. Your customers should be able to progress through it quickly.
One way to achieve this is to only ask for information that you absolutely need. Take customer details relevant to the purchase like card details and delivery address, but don’t overwhelm them by asking for unnecessary information.
You should also make sure that all costs and fees are clearly visible and structured as simply as possible. Your customers don’t want to be suddenly confronted with a wealth of shipping options at the last moment, so limit your store to a few simple options and explain them fully to the customer.
Delivery & Returns
One final tip for great eCommerce usability is to make sure that you have a delivery and returns section. This is something that eCommerce sites often forget, but is essential for good usability. Finding out about your delivery and returns policies is an important part of the purchasing process, especially for new customers.
In order for your site to be usable, customers need to be able to locate your delivery information easily. Think about where they are likely to be looking for delivery and returns information and make sure that it is easily accessible.
Include your delivery and return information at checkout, but also make sure it can be found easily
beforehand as well. This will give customers the confidence to shop with you, knowing that the can return goods if there is an issue.
You should be thinking about usability, not just in terms of the tips in this blog post, but in every aspect of your site. Always consider the usability of new features and changes when implementing them. You also should be testing any changes to your site to test their usability. A/B test them against your current site and always do what works for your eCommerce store and your customers.