Author: Jessica McDonald

How to increase sales with user focused e-commerce design

user experience focused e-commerce design

Socrates said, “Know thyself.”

We say, “Know thy customers.”

And guess what? They don’t think like you do. You know your product and your website inside and out. You knew it when it was just a few sketches on a napkin. You have been using it in every form and iteration it has been through in its entire life-cycle. Your actions, decisions and preferences have been imprinted into everything from inventory to imagery and organisation.

However, many of your customers are coming to your site for the very first time. Many of them have a goal in mind and whether that goal is to buy a product, or simply to research, they are using your site because they believe it will help them achieve that goal. Others are cautiously poking around, a little unsure due to previous experiences that left them confused and dissatisfied.

“Knowing how people will use something is essential.”—Donald Norman

It is essential because it is a paradigm that you do not share. It is essential because it forces you to be objective and make decisions based on what the user needs and not a subjective preference. It is also essential because it can reveal fundamental flaws in the users assumptions and give you the insight to create something that both delights and engages the user.

User experience focused design aims to understand the reason a customer would be coming to your site and what they may want from it, then tries to lead them to that goal in as few clicks as possible. Here are a few points that all good user focused e-commerce sites have in common;

Give Answers

The best websites answer a binary question immediately. A binary question is a yes or no, and in e-commerce, the primary question will most often be “Is this of interest to me?”

We take information from pictures and videos faster than from text, and so the imagery on your website should make it instantly clear to a customer what kind of products you sell.

Encourage Trust

If you walked into a store and it was a mess, you would probably decide that it was not very well managed. It is the same in e-commerce. A site with poorly sized images, broken links and inconsistent fonts will immediately give customers the impression of a disorganised business. Customers are less likely to trust a company to protect their details, or deliver their purchases quickly, if they appear to be a disorganised mess. Continuity of images, text and brand colours, all tell a customer that the site they are looking at is professional and trust worthy.

Security is always the number one reason for buyer hesitation. Security logos should be displayed clearly. Customer testimonials are a strong way to increase trust, and should be used throughout an e-commerce website. Use testimonials to highlight how great products are, how quick your delivery is and what great service you provide. Under no circumstances should testimonials be hidden away on their own page.

The second most common cause of customer hesitation is returns. In a survey by comScore and UPS, 63% of American consumers check the return policy before making a purchase and 48% would shop more with retailers that offer hassle-free returns. These policies can have an even greater impact on international consumers, most notably in Germany where 72% of consumers would give more business to stores with hassle-free returns. Make sure that your returns policy, or a link to it, is clearly displayed on your homepage and on product pages too. This BigCommerce homepage designed by Frooition for oemassive.com is a perfect example.

e-commerce design

Be Mobile

Mobile commerce is the fastest growing sector of e-commerce, and there is no excuse for any retailer not having a mobile compatible site anymore. Be sure that your mobile design has adequate white space for finger navigation, with large buttons and fonts that read well on small screens.

Be Omni Channel

With people becoming increasingly confident shopping online, and mobile commerce growing, increasing numbers of customers are searching marketplace websites before using search engines to research items. It makes sense that merchants should be present on major marketplace sites for this exposure, and also have their own e-commerce site for increased control and profit retention. Strong, consistent branding across all platforms allows customers to recognise you instantly, and also increases trust.

This eBay design created by Frooition for Dyson mirrors their own website within the eBay marketplace, keeping brand continuity and ensuring that customers feel confident that they are shopping with the brand, even when they are not on the brand’s own website.dyson-ebay

Make Buying Easy

96% of customers reporting high-effort experiences do not become repeat purchasers, compared with only 9% of those with low-effort experiences.

Survay by Comscore and UPS

Even an item offered at the most perfect price will never sell if customers struggle to checkout. Your entire E-Commerce site should be relatively easy to navigate. A rewarding user experience keeps visitors on your site, and also keeps them coming back.

Think about who your customer is and what they are coming to your website for. Make sure everything is they want easy to find, that their questions are answered easily.

This BigCommerce design for ExpoAv.Rent has a hire now button in the central image, and three step description breakdown of the buying process to make it clear how easy it is. There is even a live chat function box in the footer, incase customers have questions.website navigation

 

The best e-commerce designs consider the customer journey, and present information gradually, at the stages where the customer would want it. Put menus or links to product categories in a prominent place, and make sure categories and the products that are in each category are properly named. The last thing you want is for a customer to go on your website only to not know where they are going and have to search for it. The BigCommerce one page checkout was created because the payment page is where most sales are abandoned. A payment must be fast loading, super secure, and filled with minimal effort to maximise sales.

Consider The Cart

Most cart abandonment happens on the checkout page. Aside from displaying information clearly, a good shopping cart layout should be simple, effectively display company branding (colours, company logo), and include prominent checkout buttons.

A shopping cart page should also include all the important elements your customers need, such as the ability to change quantities, select shipping options (shipping prices should be displayed), enter promo codes, select a payment option, or continue shopping and/or adding more products to the cart. Also important: don’t limit customers to only one or two payment options, such as PayPal only, or only Visa and Mastercard but not American Express. You are only hurting yourself by not making as many payment options as possible available to your customers.

BigCommerce payment pages can be branded with your company logo, but are managed by BigCommerce to ensure premium performance and optimum security.

Contact Frooition to discuss creating an e-commerce store that drives sales through user experience focus for your brand.

5 Lessons Every E-Commerce Merchant Can Learn From Amazon

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Lesson 1:  Social Proof Sells

Over half of people in the U.S now search for a product on Amazon before they use a search engine like Google. One of the main reasons for this is the massive success of Amazon’s on page product reviews and customer questions and answers. Clearly displaying product reviews can answer customer questions and overcome buyer hesitation, significantly improving the conversion rate of a product page.

Knowing how precious customer reviews are, Amazon leverages post purchase emails to make sure they get reviews from as many customers as possible. This is something that can also work for other online retailers, building social proof for products and boosting sales.

Lesson 2: Own Your Mistakes

When Amazon removed un authorised copies of books from people’s kindles without notifying them, the internet exploded with furious customers. But when Amazon’s CEO Jeff Benzos publicly apologised online, many applauded his bravery and were very forgiving. A huge PR catastrophe was saved by one man stepping forward to give a heartfelt apology.

It may be on a far smaller scale that Bezo’s press release, but when you make mistakes, honesty and sincere apologies will always be well received.

Amazon apology

 

Lesson 3: Page Speed is Power

The time it takes for a webpage to load can have a large impact on user experience and sales, and so Amazon take page speed very seriously. Amazon analyzed their ratio of sales to website performance in 2016, and discovered that for every 100ms of page load time there was a 1% decrease in sales.

So how fast does your website need to be? Many usability experts propose that the ideal page load time is 2 seconds or less. Frooition websites and eBay designs load in one second or less across all devices. You can easily test the page load time of your own website by using free tools such as WebPageTest.org

Lesson 4: Personalize To Maximise Sales

One thing that Amazon does very well is personalizing the shopping experience to each user. Going to Amazon’s homepage you’ll see different sections such as “Related to Items You’ve Viewed,” “Inspired by Your Shopping Trends,” Recommendations for You in..,” etc. Amazon knows that the more relevant the product is to the user the more likely users will purchase. Online retailers can learn from Amazon and personalize the shopping experience as much as possible. Both BigCommerce and Shopify offer plugins to provide similar functionality. A simple alternative within BigCommerce or Shopify would be showing users recently viewed products, or relevant related products to what they have been viewing. While it might not be as fancy as Amazon’s elaborate personalization strategy, it’s a simple way to personalize the shopping experience that is proven to improve average order value.

Lesson 5: Let Data Drive Your Decisions

“If you double the number of experiments you do per year you’re going to double your inventiveness.”
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Adopting a culture that allows for continuous testing can have a high payoff in e-commerce. Amazon test Product prices, marketing channels, calls to action, colors, navigation, button styles, messaging, shipping rates, etc. If you can think of it, chances are they’ve already tested it.

Some experiments will yield positive results while others not so much. Don’t be afraid to fail. Even experiments with negative results can provide useful insights. Powerful traffic and visitor analysis platforms such as Google Analytics can help webmasters make data driven decisions when it comes to testing.

A/B testing different versions of mail campaigns, social media adverts or landing pages from your Google ad campaigns is a good way to start establishing what your customers want to interact with.

With online retail, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Massive ecommerce websites such as Amazon have paved the way for online success. They have shaped customer expectations and the way we shop online. By learning from Amazon, online retailers can utilise proven strategies, design, and plug ins within a BigCommerce store to create Amazon style selling success for their own e-commerce.

Creating Successful Cart Abandonment Strategy

cart abandonment strategy

Statistics show that, while numbers can vary between industries, the overall rate of cart abandonment is 73.9%. Reasons for abandonment vary, with distraction, confusion, security, mobile accessibility, and delivery costs being the most common.

As many as 75% of people who abandon carts, do so intending to return and complete their purchase later.

Both BigCommerce and Shopify stores feature cart recovery functionality. Developing a cart abandonment strategy to use with these tools will help you to save those otherwise lost sales.

Stage your mails

Most large online retailers will send you an email within an hour of you abandoning a cart. Many customers will abandon just because other things distract them at the time, but will return if reminded. Customers are most likely to re visit and complete their purchase while the product is still fresh in their mind.

Include contact details

Customers who left their cart to look for further information, or due to frustration with the website or technical issues may be able to be saved by your customer service. Make it clear how they can contact you, and how quickly they can expect you to reply.

Include images of the item

Including a photo of the image they abandoned instantly jogs the customer’s memory. They may have left your website to look at other options or do further research, and may have plain forgotten the item left in your cart. You can help them with research by including customer reviews for the item, images of similar items and suggestions for add on purchases even.

Get the call to action right

As with everything in e-commerce, the call to action is key. Make it clear, make it easy. This means a call to action that leads back to their original cart. If they have to start from scratch, they may just give up again.

Offer discount

Of course you don’t want to teach customers that abandoning their cart will earn them discount, but there is absolutely a place for a cleverly offered discount to be used as part of a cart abandonment strategy. Delivery costs are one of the most common reasons for cart abandonment, and so offering free delivery as the second or third stage of your strategy can be enough to save a significant proportion of abandoned carts. The offer of a discount can recover carts, but its time limited discount offers that create the urgency to recover the most carts.

Why every marketplace seller should have their own e-commerce store.

e-commerce

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

Age old advice we all recognise.

But the internet gives so many options for merchants, that deciding exactly where to sell can be overwhelming. Major market places can bring huge exposure to your products, but even businesses that are dominating marketplaces need to establish their own domain online. Here are the reasons why;

Control

When you sign up to sell on a marketplace, you agree to abide by the rules of the platform. These rules can change at any time, and sellers must adjust to keep selling on that marketplace. When you have your own ecommerce site, you set your own rules. Your contact details can be clearly shown, and with BigCommerce or Shopify you can easily add a live chat plug in.

With a BigCommerce or Shopify e-commerce, the only page you cannot alter is the payments page. This is because the payments page is managed by BigCommerce or Shopify. They have whole teams of experts constantly monitoring and updating to ensure security. This means that you do not have to worry about payment page problems, and your customers can shop with confidence.

Profit retention

Marketplaces make money by charging sellers fees. These fees are usually a percentage of the sale value. Sellers have no control over these fees, and they can rise at any time. When you sell from your own e-commerce website, you eliminate that cost.

Brand building

When a customer buys a great product from you on a marketplace, they learn that they can find that item on the marketplace. On eBay sellers can brand listings, but on marketplaces like Amazon, where the seller has less options to individualise their store, the buyer will almost certainly associate the good value and service with buying from the marketplace rather than the seller.

When you pay to advertise your business, or are featured in a blog or magazine, it is better to send people to a dedicated website, where you have no competition and can be sure that your brand is the focus.

Find new customers

Guaranteed traffic is the main reason for merchants to have a marketplace presence. There are lots of people who now search eBay or Amazon for products before searching Google. A marketplace presence ensures that you do not miss out on this traffic. But there are still customers out there who do not shop on marketplaces. A dedicated e-commerce website for your products, means that customers who do not like to shop on marketplaces can still buy from you.

Bring offline sales online

When you have a website with BigCommerce or Shopify, you can opt for a POS system to take card payments in brick and mortar stores, at pop ups and events. The sales taken through the POS automatically adjust your inventory and sales records, making it easier to track and report sales.

Contact Frooition to find out more about about creating a unique e-commerce presence for your business with Shopify or BigCommerce.

Hidden Active Content

hidden active content

Active content is a broad term which covers any type of non standard text that can be included in item descriptions to provide additional functionality. Examples of active content include Javascript, Flash, plug-ins and form actions which can be used to create features such as cross-promotion modules or video players.

Fron June 2017, eBay will limit the use of active content in all new listings across all devices, and it will not appear by default. Later in 2017, eBay plan to remove or block listings with active content.

Ebay are encouraging sellers to check if their listings contain active contentby following this check list. They are also sending out emails alerting people to listings which contain active content.

Some sellers are not currently using any active content in their listing design but are still receiving emails from eBay alerting them to active content in their listings and being flagged by i-ways checker. There is one very common reason why, and that is that we are looking at the finished page, while the computer is looking at the code. These two things are not always the same.

Here’s why –

Sell Similar

Our director Adrian Bausorwas invited to speak about active content on eBay radio. Presenter and eBay veteran Griff spoke about how he thought that his listings were active content free, but has now been alerted by eBay that they are not. His current design contains no active content, but, years ago, Griff subscribed to a third party rotating carousel that was made with active content. He stopped using that feature, and as far as he is concerned,it is gone from his listings.But it is not gone. It is just hidden, and so now Griff is recieving emails from eBay warning him that his listings contain active content.

This is a common issue. Griff’s listings contain hidden active content. Because he is using the sell similar feature on old inactive listings which still have the active content code in them. He no longer subscribes to the carousel, it doesn’t appear appear for the eye to see on the page, but the code is still there, lying dormant, and so it is still there for the computer to read. Until the code is removed, every time he uses the sell similar feature on that listing, he is simply multiplying his active content problem.

Will hidden active content effect listings?

Listings with active content will still be live and working after June, just the elements which are active content will not work. Alisting with video embedded for example, will still be a live listing in June, just the video will not work. For elements of active content no longer used and lying dormant in your listing code like Griff’s long forgotten image carousel, not rendering as expected is obviously not a concern, as it is not seen anyway.

Does hidden active content need to be removed?

In short, Yes. Here’s why;

Ebay are not going to block listings with active contentfrom June, but they may block them in the future. Clearing any hidden elements of active content from your listings now, means that you do not have to worry about this later.

Active content is being disabled by eBay because it slows load times and is bad for customer experience. It is especially bad for customers shopping via mobile. With the internet being a convenience that now serves as part of our everyday lives, users expect fast load speed. Research from Google found that if a page takes three seconds to load, 58% of customers will leave that page and not return. Over half of customers on eBay are now shopping from a mobile device, so mobile experience should be a priority for every business on eBay. Carrying active content will make your listings slower to load and may not work as well for customers using mobile devices. Leaving dormant active content hidden in your listings impairs user experience, and could potentially lose you sales.

How should it be removed?

You can remove hidden active content yourself by going into the listing code and deleting any old pieces of active content such as scrolling galleries. Emails from eBay will indicate what kind of active content you would be looking for (eg;javascript).

If you are not confident with code, or have more than a handfull of listings, removing the active content yourself may not be an option. Even for confident coders it is a time-consuming task. So we have created an automated listing rescue service. This service starts at just $149, and removes active content faster than any other method.