3 Reasons Your Ecommerce User Experience Matters
Running an ecommerce site often feels like a race to increase conversion, retention, and sign-ups. But if you’re too focused on capturing people, you might not be thinking enough about the ecommerce user experience.
If you’re not sure what user experience (sometimes abbreviated as UX) means, this article will show you the basics and give you the tools to learn more. Your ecommerce user experience isn’t a nice-to-have. Done right, it can be a huge growth driver for your business.
What is ecommerce user experience?
“User experience” refers to how a customer feels while interacting with your website. The definition is inherently broad, because user experience can include anything from functionality to aesthetics. You can think about ecommerce user experience from a broad level—What’s the user flow? How do we get users from one product to the next? How do we keep users engaged throughout the checkout process?—to the narrow—What does the user feel when this button on the product page does that after they press it?
If you’re designing by your gut and your eye, you can only get so far. The best user experiences are built on in-depth user research. Without feedback from how your users engage with your site, you’ll be flying blind.
User experience also refers to ease of use and efficiency. If your website causes your customers to feel frustrated or confused, your ecommerce user experience will push them away.
Here are three reasons to invest in user research and improve the ecommerce user experience.
1. Poor ecommerce UX will drive away customers
Consumers have nearly infinite options for buying products and services online. Even momentary frustration from your website can convince them you’re wasting their time and that they should buy from someone else. If they came to your site from Google, it’s as easy as hitting the back button to find a different option. Your ecommerce user experience is on the front lines of retention.
This is especially true when customers are online shopping from a mobile device. According to data from Think With Google, “If a website isn’t mobile-friendly, 50% of users will use it less even if they like the business.” Smartphones have long since become the norm, which means customers’ patience for slow load times, clumsy shopping carts, and badly laid-out sites will be minimal.
Don’t make your customers work to give you money.
2. Good UX Will Set You Apart from the Competition
Good ecommerce user experience is the difference between some store online and your favorite place to shop.
According to Skyhook, “Only 55% of companies are currently conducting any user experience testing.” Chances are, your competitors aren’t testing their ecommerce websites, especially if they’re small businesses that can’t afford to hire a UX specialist. They’re likely assuming their prices or the quality of their products will be all they need. Unfortunately for them—and fortunately for you—customers see the user experience first and make major decisions from that experience alone.
Customers may be leaving your competitors’ sites and coming to you—are you prepared? Make an investment in UX by hiring a staff web developer who specializes in it, outsourcing to a UX expert, or finding the right services to improve site speed and usability.
Look at the results MyCreativeShop, a brochure and flyer store, got with Algolia. The founder reported that UX improvements helped convert visitors who landed on their product catalog to paying customers at a 38% higher rate and increased pages viewed per session by over 200%. The numbers don’t lie—UX can be a game-changer.
3. Ecommerce UX best practices will save you money
If you can identify potential ecommerce UX problems before they cause you to lose customers, you’ll save money. Design problems are much easier and less costly to fix before a site is launched.
For example, according to eConsultancy, “Slow-loading websites cost retailers $2.6 billion in lost sales each year.” If you’re too focused on customer acquisition, you won’t build the customer retention engine that’ll keep your business running, and profiting, for years to come. Driving traffic to a less than stellar website is as unproductive as filling a leaky bucket. You’ll be more successful filling the holes than searching for more sources of water.
Improving your website’s UX may take time, extra effort, and a monetary investment, but ignoring ecommerce user experience will end up costing you in the long run. Stand out—be the ecommerce business that cares about its customers’ experiences.