Would you shop in a physical store that had a messy window display or long waiting queues? How about if you had to search for hours to find your favorite products? The window display, fast service and store navigability are equivalent to design, usability, and speed in the Internet world. Sound content structure and labeling (information architecture), an appealing and intuitive user interface, and a fast site are the building blocks of good customer experience.
Offers, discounts, easy returns and free or low cost shipping are marketing and sale tactics that every eCommerce site must have. However, the most important element for the success of your online store is the customer experience. Successful eTailers (amazon, zappos, bestbuy,…) continue to focus on improving customer experience with the goal of increasing customer loyalty, satisfaction and sales growth. Based on the results of extensive usability tests of successful ecommerce sites (amazon, ebay, zappos,…) there are four areas where online merchants could improve the shopper experience now while laying the foundation for successive improvements over the next several years.
1. High Speed
According to a recent study by Forrester Consulting, “40 percent of consumers will wait no more than two-three seconds for a web page to render before abandoning the site.” The study also shows that a slow site makes shoppers less likely to come back and might even prevent them from buying at a retailer’s physical store. An under-performing site has serious consequences to revenue – online and across channels. Today’s shoppers have high expectations when it comes to buying online. Websites which take too long to load can result in negative brand perception, diminished goodwill and a significant loss in overall sales.
2. Intuitive Search and Navigation
If your online customers struggle to find the items they want, they are more likely to abandon the purchase. This missed opportunity highlights more than a lost transaction; it also damages your reputation for your customer who is then more likely to try online shopping somewhere else… Problems locating goods and services also tend to make shopping less pleasant. Not only are these problems among the most frequently encountered by shoppers, they also share a strong negative relationship with user satisfaction. Those businesses that make their goods and services easy to find not only encourage purchases, but also make online shoppers happy.
3. Detailed Product Information
You should provide as much information about your products as possible in order to encourage sales. Your customers can't hold your product in their hands when they shop online, so they rely on you to provide them with information to help them make the right buying decision. Give your customers detailed product information and customers reviews. Provide plenty of high quality product photographs and videos. Let your customers know about product availability and shipping details. Your product pages should incorporate the best in text, imagery, tools, and customer service information, as online shoppers rarely buy from an ecommerce site with incomplete information for fear of disappointment.
4. Appealing User Interface Design
Your eCommerce website is only as good as how your visitors perceive it. Studies have proven that many people look for visual cues when assessing a site’s credibility. When designing your site pay attention to layout, typography, images, consistency issues and style because these all affect how users perceive your website and what kind of image you project. Their perception will dictate how they treat you, your products recommendations, and everything else. Increase your brand remembrance by creating an eStore that is in sync with the likes and dislikes of your targeted customers. Learn more about your customers and create unique branding by using unique color combinations, site layout and innovative logo. Be different (but not loose) in order to create a positive appeal in the minds of your customers for achieving esuccess.