UX Design for Ecommerce
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What is UX Design?
The user experience (UX) is how a user interacts with and experiences a product, system or service. It includes a person's perceptions of utility, ease of use, and efficiency.
User experience is a popular term these days and has evolved to encompass a very broad set of tools and disciplines.
It overlaps and collaborates with many fields, including: digital marketing, web design, information architecture (IA), accessibility, human-computer interaction (HCI), data analytics, and even anthropology, psychology and neuroscience.
The user experience can be analyzed at different levels. An omni-channel view might examine user touchpoints and UI paths across multiple digital platforms, whereas a more focused, or targeted, view could examine how a user interacts with a single button or link.
UX for Ecommerce
Ecommerce UX applies the same user-focused approach to the more specialized ecommerce space. Ecommerce is transactional, not purely informational, and has unique requirements (pricing, product variants, subscriptions, returns, shipping, reviews, etc.).
From those unique requirements come specialized interfaces (shopping carts, product listing pages, product detail pages, checkouts, etc.).
As commerce has moved online, opportunities to engage with customers have flourished. In the past, a user’s brand experience may have been limited to things like the physical store, staff, print advertising, word of mouth, and the product itself. Today, those touchpoints are augmented by an ever growing list of digital engagements: personalized email, SMS, social media, online chat, apps, product reviews, unboxing videos, search results, sponsored ads, and more.
As the list of customer touchpoints continue to grow, so too will the complexity of user experience, making good UX design even more important for converting visitors into customers and brand advocates.
User segments, like new visitors, returning visitors, and current customers each have unique needs that must be considered. It's also important to keep in mind that the total user experience extends beyond your website. What other touchpoints do customers interact with: email, SMS, social, ads, customer service? Is there a consistent level of support and a fluid user experience when users move between channels?
Why it Matters
At its core, ecommerce relies on ‘conversion.’ Conversion is the completion of an action you want users to undertake, things like upgrading a service, subscribing to an email list, or making a purchase.
The percentage of users who convert is known as the conversion rate, or CR. Increasing the conversion rate is crucial to growth and success hence the evolution of what we call conversion rate optimization, or CRO.
According to the Baymard Institute:
“E-Commerce Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the process of improving your e-commerce conversion rate by making small, incremental improvements.”
They add, “a better user experience (UX) on your site naturally leads to more conversions, so UX and CRO are closely linked.”
Focusing on and supporting user needs with UX design has significant benefits. For your customer, it allows them to find what they're looking for as quickly as possible. They solve their problem, and as a result user satisfaction increases, as does brand loyalty. For businesses and organizations, good UX will improve the bottom line by upping conversion rates and maybe even average order value (AOV).
There are other benefits too: a more performant (fast) website or app, content that is easier to maintain, create and scale, higher ranking in search results (SEO), and increased accessibility.
The thing about good UX design is that it often goes unnoticed. The experience feels intuitive. Progress along the customer journey is smooth. Everything required is at hand and feedback is clear. There is no friction or ambiguity, so the user stays ‘in the flow.’ The user accomplishes their goal and is satisfied. They don’t ask why.
Bad UX design, on the other hand, is immediately noticeable and results in rage clicks, customer support calls, negative feedback on social media, and abandoned carts.
Customer relationships are fragile and more work will be required to repair a relationship - if that’s even possible - than to maintain it.
Good UX design will increase a potential customer's confidence in your brand and make it easy for them to browse, order, and eventually re-order your products.