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How To Optimize eCommerce UX: 7 Tips For Better Digital Sales Funnel

eCommerce UX
Poor user experience permanently repels 88% of site visitors.

As many as 88% of online shoppers say they wouldn’t return to a website after a bad on-site experience.

This is why eCommerce UX matters: It can repel or retain the vast majority of your potential buyers.

In this article, we will explore the seven tips for optimizing eCommerce UX for the benefit of your eShop’s sales funnel.

We will also touch upon:

  • elements that constitute good eCommerce website UX
  • why eCommerce user experience matters for your business
  • The biggest eCommerce UX trends for 2020
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What Are The Key Elements Of Quality eCommerce Website UX?

Your customers value the experience they have on your online shop as much as the variety and accessibility of your products.

The design of a website isn’t the only thing that constitutes a user experience which depends on multiple factors. eCommerce website UX most often boils down to these several factors:

  • Simple navigation: It is important for eCommerce websites to have a logical navigational structure and organization. Using categories and subcategories for your products can help users who want to buy from your site find items as fast as possible. Adding breadcrumbs to category pages means a potential customer can always click to find what they want and go back in a flash.
  • Fast and easy communication: A simple and clear communication – both in the product description, terms and condition, and between buyers and support specialists – is important so that users can understand how and where to find and buy what they need. Understandable communication is a vital part of good UX.
  • Hassle-free transactions and checkout flow: The ideal purchasing system should have a one or two-click checkout process, when possible. You should think in terms of reducing the users’ number of clicks on their journey to checkout as much as possible. You can do this by asking them only for essential info such as name, shipping and billing address.

Apart from these three elements, other factors that you should consider when looking to create a great user experience in your eShop are:

  • Website load times
  • Image quality
  • Familiar patterns in design
  • Customer reviews section
  • Web copy
  • Sorting and filtering
  • Payment and delivery options
  • Return/refund policies
  • Product quality

Why Does eCommerce UX Matter For Your Business?

There may be as many as 2.14 billion digital buyers worldwide in 2021.

User experience in eCommerce has a direct impact on numerous important metrics that define the success your eShop business has achieved. 

Improving eCommerce UX leads to these positive outcomes:

  • Increased conversions and sales: Complicated shopping procedures such as registrations and tedious checkout formalities turn potential customers away. This causes a high bounce rate and shopping cart abandonment rate. On the contrary, enjoyable and simple online shopping experience makes users stay longer, explore the shop more and, ultimately, complete purchases at higher rates – leading to more conversions and higher sales volume.
  • Increases ROI and revenue: Due to the above-mentioned benefit it provides, investing in UX provides a sure ROI. Profitability is one of the most important measures of eCommerce business’s success and the higher volume of sales also means a higher revenue for your eShop brand. 
  • Increases customer loyalty: A user experience that generates higher customer satisfaction is the first step towards increased customer loyalty. Users will wish to return to your eShop after a pleasant purchasing experience. Loyal customers are more valuable to a business than new ones – they are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase. Other research shows that there is up to a 70% likelihood of selling to an existing consumer while there is only a 20% chance of selling to a prospective customer.
  • Provides a positive reputation for your brand: Just as much as poor website design and general user experience turns users away and makes them think poorly of your brand – good UX does exactly the opposite. A user-friendly eCommerce site makes its customers think of it as caring about them. This establishes their good reputation and even motivates customers to become brand advocates.

There may be as many as 2.14 billion digital buyers worldwide in 2021.

7 eCommerce UX Best Practices

Optimizing your eCommerce website for the best user experience is a complex process comprising a variety of steps. 

These seven tips we are about to present are all essential in providing the most user-friendly version of your eShop to your customers.

1. Simplify The Checkout Process

To lower the shopping cart abandonment rate, your eCommerce website should have as few checkout process steps as possible.

However, the problem that arises with this is – how not to cram all necessary steps in one screen and further disrupt the user experience?

  • Make it easier for your customers by storing their login info so that they don’t have to be asked the same tedious questions all over again. 
  • To this end, Facebook and Google integration may be helpful to let users log in with their existing accounts.
  • Try and remove all the distracting elements from the checkout page and leave only those that complete the process.
  • Using “guest checkout” option is advisable for people who don’t want to share their personal information with sites.
  • Look to simplify the data validation process and make it simple for people to switch between the cart and continue their shopping experience, without needing to go back.
[Source: Nordstrom]

2. Optimize Product Pages

A lot of factors influence the decision of a user to buy or not buy a product. A product page layout is one of them.

The product page should present the item you are selling as best as possible and provide all the necessary info about it, so that customers can make an informed decision. 

You should consider all possibilities and elements like choosing a color, size and other parameters when configuring your products for presentation – and especially these:

  • Use high-quality images: eCommerce – no matter the vertical, be it fashion, beauty products or books – is very visual and reliant on imagery. A lot of users buy products based on their looks and high-quality photos can help customers discern whether a product is also of high-quality. Having zoom functions that focus on the product’s details is also very important.
  • Communicate product details clearly: When presenting your products on their respective product pages, think of what their unique selling points are and why your customers should buy them from you and not somewhere else. Show your products’ advantages over your competitors’ by providing information such as differentiation points and by just generally going in-depth with their specifications, features, production, materials and so on.
  • Upsell and recommend other products: Recommending other products on a product page is a good way to steer the attention of your customers to other types and categories of products that complement the one they are looking at. This shows the variety and scope of products available and can even help upsell if a user decides to buy a product besides the one on the product page.
[Source: Lush]

3. Optimize Store’s Search Engine

While some customers look for products by browsing the available categories, others look for them by using your eCommerce site’s search engine.

These are the customers who already know what they want and are looking to see if you have this item in stock. 

The way your search engine works and how effective it is may either prompt users to leave a website or get positive user experience when they easily find what they are looking for.

Here is how to make sure the latter scenario always happens:

  • Use suggestions for products: A search bar should provide suggestions for products as a user is typing in their query. This can be a product based on their purchase history, the products they’ve viewed, those that belong in the same category or products that are currently on promotion.
  • Show alternatives on pages with no results: When a customer lands on a page with no results after using the search engine, they should be presented with an alternative for what they searched for, such as similar products or categories. Otherwise, a completely empty page with “no products found” disclaimer is a dead-end from which they may choose to leave the eShop entirely. 
  • Provide hints and corrections in your search engine: A user may not use the exact term for a product you have named it, when searching for an item. Your search engine should be prepared for the fact that most users have different knowledge and habits when looking for products and provide hints to complete search queries. They should also compensate for synonyms and multiple languages.
[Source: AliExpress]

4. Simplify Product Search Filters

Customers who decide to browse for products, as opposed to using the shop’s search engine, will want to use multiple finely-tuned filters that let them find exactly what they need.

Developing these filters is often difficult because they often need to envelop a massive amount of products and categories. 

Another issue is presenting a lot of filtering options in a way that’s not overwhelming and is accessible.

Here are some tips on how to achieve this:

  • Streamline your filters: First things first – make sure that the positioning and the design of your filters works in your eCommerce site’s favor. They should leave users with no doubt as to what filters they have currently selected or how to disable some of them or where they are located on the page.
  • Make your filters as simple as possible: Filters that use whole blocks of options for the entire eShop and not individual categories can make them appear cluttered and very difficult to use. Don’t forget about the information architecture in your filters to make them less complex and more user-friendly.
  • Disable the automatic page reload: Sometimes, when users select or check a box for one filter, this automatically reloads the products page before they get a chance to select another filter. Page visitors see this as a very bad user experience. Consider using a “Submit” button that users will need to click when they select all the desired filters to reload a page with new results.
[Source: Amazon]

5. Offer “Save To Wishlist” Option

eCommerce shoppers are often undecided when buying and sometimes don’t even wish to complete the purchase right away. Instead, they might want to browse the eStore in order to compare different products or just “look around”.

This is why any eCommerce website that aims to improve its user experience must provide options for customers to save products for another time. You should also consider that most people have products they wish to buy, but can’t do it at the moment for a variety of reasons.

Instead of just cramming everything they like into their cart, your customers will appreciate it if you provide them with a different method of saving products they wish to buy for later.

Consider implementing a “Save to Wishlist” option that saves a lot of work for your customers: instead of having to remember the products they found interesting to find them later, they can simply add them to a handy list where they will be saved for good.

This makes users feel less pressured to make a decision and complete a purchase if they don’t want to. Plus, you can obtain user info through the “Save to Wishlist” option, by leading them to a simple registration procedure so they can save their list, if they’re not already signed in.  

[Source: Thriftbooks]

6. Create A Multichannel Shopping Experience

A contemporary eCommerce customer is using different devices and platforms interchangeably and simultaneously. That’s why it is important that your eStore is present across all available channels.

A big step forward for your customers’ convenience and overall user experience is having a multi-channel eCommerce presence. This also provides an opportunity for your eStore business to reach new groups of customers and target audiences on different platforms.

Developing a multi-channel experience for your customers means making your eStore present and visible on:

  • Both desktop and mobile devices
  • App stores – by making a mobile app for it
  • Social media, as social commerce is on the rise, which we will discuss shortly
[Source: Sephora]

7. Optimize Your eCommerce Website For Mobile

By 2021, mobile transactions will contribute with 72.9% to all retail eCommerce purchases.

Also, mobile use has surpassed the use of desktop computers, with over half of all internet traffic now coming from smartphones and tablets.

In such a climate, it is essential that your eCommerce website is optimized for mobile use to provide a great user experience to a growing number of customers who buy with their mobile devices. 

Here are three essential steps for achieving this:

  • Improve the site load speed: A sure way to improve eCommerce UX and, subsequently, your conversion rates, is to improve the page loading speeds and make the site less heavy. Stats show that 53% of customers will leave if the mobile site doesn’t load in 3 seconds. Therefore, try to aim for the 2-3 seconds max page load speed.
  • Think about your font’s readability: Info accompanying your eShop’s products is very important to users. And it’s not only the gist of the content: your content’s readability on mobile devices is a big UX factor. Think about the size and spacing of the font when optimizing your eCommerce site for mobile’s smaller screens, as well as a general layout of your text blocks. 
  • Adapt the size of clickable elements to mobile: Using an eCommerce website on desktop and mobile differs in a very fundamental thing: on the former, users utilize mouse and on the latter, their own fingers. Consider the size of clickable – or, in case of mobile, tappable – elements, particularly those smallest ones like checkboxes in filters or in mobile forms. Resizing these elements for mobile should go hand in hand with rethinking a distance between them, which also improves the ease of use on portable devices. 

Mobile transactions will contribute with 72.9% to all retail eCommerce purchases.

5 eCommerce UX Trends For 2020

The above tips for improving eCommerce user experience are evergreen and will always be relevant. However, as online shopping evolves, there will be new trends and requirements for creating a successful UX in this vertical.

These are the ones that will be most prevalent this year and in the years to come.

1. Personalized Digital Customer Experiences

Providing a superior user experience in 2020 means personalizing almost everything there is to personalize, including messaging, email marketing and entire buying experiences.

Delivering personalized shopping experiences to your customers is not just about making a purchase online, but also about building lasting connections with your buyers.

Personalizing your customers’ digital experiences can be done by:

  • Tracking their purchase history and providing highly-personalized product suggestions
  • Offering them customized promotions and discount offers
  • Greeting them on their special days with gifts and more special offers
  • Sending personalized emails that match their user journey and online behavior, for instance sending them a discount on products they abandoned
  • Asking for their feedback and taking their suggestions into account

2. Social eCommerce

Social media shopping or social commerce is becoming a necessity for eCommerce businesses. The launch of Instagram Checkout will trigger a social media shopping race that will open new frontiers for eCommerce enterprises.

Consumer confidence in shopping via mobile phones has increased, thanks to quick functionalities for paying for products online and a rising number of safe mobile payment methods.

This safety and familiarity with this type of payment have led mobile payment services to integrate into social media channels that are evolving into sales platforms.

As a result, more and more people are exploring social media purchases – buying products directly from brands’ or eShops’ social media pages.

The aforementioned Instagram Checkout and Facebook products list resemble eCommerce sites with their layout, making buyers feel comfortable to click on a “Shop Now” button that takes them to eCommerce website to finalize the purchase.

3. B2B Mobile Purchases

From the perspective of eCommerce UX, a demand for making it possible for users to complete purchases on portable devices is growing continuously.

Mobile shopping was mostly reserved for B2C sector in recent years, but B2B businesses should consider optimizing their own businesses for mobile shopping as well.

Even B2B customers no longer require desktop or laptop computers to do their work – in fact, most of their learning about a product they might potentially buy comes from using mobile devices.

In 2020, responsive websites need to be more fluid in order to make it easier for B2B customers to use their mobile devices as an eCommerce experience.

Mobile optimization is one of best practices for optimizing eCommerce user experience
Simple navigation and checkout flow are a staple of good mobile eCommerce UX.

4. Voice Input

Voice search is becoming the next big trend in optimizing websites for search engines and changing user behavior.

Also, voice search is particularly good news for local businesses, because a majority of voice searches for a product or a service are locally-oriented.

50% of all searches in 2020 will be spoken – meaning that voice research and speech recognition are already a part and parcel of our everyday life and are embedded firmly in daily habits such as buying.

Integrating voice input into eCommerce will be a big task for eShops in 2020. The simplicity, directness and speed of looking for products to buy using speech is a huge step towards a top-notch user experience.

This trend can benefit eCommerce brands greatly, as well. Its ease of use may increase the number of page visits and volume of received orders – if a website is voice-optimized well enough.  

5. UX As A Business Mindset

Providing a great eCommerce website UX is not an isolated activity – it is a duty of all business departments and must be taken as a mindset rather than just another sale strategy.

Marketers, content creators, developers, designers and other eventual business sectors must work together and relate to user experience as a company goal.

Customers today expect a high level of personalization and businesses to know what they like, what they have already bought and what ads they have looked at in the past.

Knowing all of this makes it possible to make well-informed predictions about future trends and user behavior changes and even anticipate these changes before they happen.

By setting UX as a mindset standard for the whole enterprise and deleting the boundaries between departments in that sense, your business can create the balance to set the right expectations.

Takeaways On eCommerce UX

The magnitude of the role user experience plays in eCommerce cannot be overstated. A quality eShop UX can

  • Increase customer loyalty and brand reputation
  • Boost ROI, conversions and revenue
  • Give you an edge over the rising number of competitors

To provide your visitors with top-class user experience, make sure to

  • Streamline your navigation
  • Facilitate communication and readability
  • Simplify checkout process
  • Create a multi-channel experience
  • Embrace social media shopping
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