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Ecommerce
2020-09-03

7 UX guidelines for e-commerce

Ana Gil
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The moment of truth in e-commerce is when the customer arrives at the page of the product they want to buy. Since the potential customer cannot touch, feel, or use the products before purchasing them, the product page and its content must turn the users into customers. This page should provide the customers with all the information they need so that they decide what to buy and where to buy it. 

According to Statista's 2019 report, only  2.58% of visits to e-commerce are converted into sales. This is due to the poor quality of the product pages, making the customer question the quality of the product.

To make your e-commerce business part of this percentage, you need to pay more attention to the UX  or also known as User Experience. UX, in short, focuses on all the elements in the system which the user interacts with. It provides the user with the information and motivation to become a customer. Thus, creating positive results for the business through improvements in the interface and the user experience. Here are 7 guidelines to improve your product page through the UX model. 

1. The importance of features

In the last year, the e-commerce industry has lost $756 million due to a lack of customization and basic features on websites. When you start designing the product page, it is important to differentiate between what is vital, what you could add, and what you would like to include. 

What is vital on a product page? The first thing to keep in mind is to have a good name for the product. This name should be descriptive, clear, and eye-catching, letting the potential customer know what to expect when clicking. If you have a great product, it needs to have a great description as well. The description must include price, shipping, availability, colors/sizes, and more. Here is where you can explain the specifications and what the customer can expect when the product arrives at their home.

Image: Toyota using a dynamic description for the new 2020 Corolla.

Another feature to consider is images, these play an important role in building the trust of the customer. The images must be of good quality and have multiple views of the product highlighting the added value of it. According to the BrightLocal survey, having content with good quality photos receives more than 94% of visits. 

Even more important than the features mentioned above, is the price. A product that has images and a good name is nothing without its price. This is the decisive part when purchasing a good or service reason why it must be on the product page. Specifying what the price includes could avoid future confusion in the customer when processing the payment.

What could be added to the product page? These are mainly expectations of users that almost every web site has, but are not needed on your e-commerce site. Such as customer reviews, recommendations of similar products, and having a wish list can help customize the UX. These are small changes that can be made once you have the essentials on the page.

On Amazon, they use wish lists for future purchases and even make gift lists.

Lastly, what do you want your e-commerce store to have? In this part, all your ideas and desires for your e-commerce must improve the life of the user who visits your website. Therefore these will work if and only if the user finds them useful and easy to use. Some ideas could be the use of VR to test and see how would be to have the product, the user's ability to filter the opinions of other customers, monthly subscriptions, and how-to videos of the products or services. It should be noted that these ideas do not fit all product types, so each idea must be implemented to a particular product. 

2. Anticipate and answer product questions

Customers that are visiting the product page, are looking for answers to any questions that may arise when buying online. According to Nielsen Norman Group’s research, potential customers who already had a product in mind instead of buying it automatically first checked the product page to make sure the product was meeting expectations.

Many e-commerce pages do not have enough information to reinforce the user's purchase decision. We know that it is impossible to answer all the questions that the potential customer may have, but over time there are recurring situations that can be dealt with on the product page. For any e-commerce, the return policies and the process involved are common questions from the customer’s side. So why not use this section to clarify the process and many other concerns the user may have when buying from an online store? 

In this image, we see a good example from Best Buy taking advantage of the user's questions to answer and clarify the deals of the day. 

According to Nielsen Norman Group statistics, potential customers read only  18% of the total text. Which is why these questions should be answered concisely and to the point. What leads us to think that another way to make the Q&A process easier and eye-catching is through video or images. The user appreciates websites that have multiple images, details, and videos to guarantee them confidence in the product and the store. 

3. Provide options when buying

Frequently, when making a purchase, potential customers will want to see other look-alike product options to purchase. This is part of the normal behavior of the e-commerce buyer. According to the Global Online Consumer Report,  65% of users compare prices on other pages while they are about to buy. To counter comparisons with the competition, it is necessary that these can be made within the same site.

For this reason, the customer must have options for the same product, like sizes, colors, flavors, among others. This favors the product page by giving the client options to choose from the same product. Note that if any specification changes when selecting the product in different colors or sizes, must be justified since it could create conflicts between the customer and the business. The variety in the products helps to increase the probability of purchase as the user encounters more options according to their taste and needs.

Pictured: Nike often include images of their entire collection of tennis shoes in different colors, on the same page.

E-commerce stores need to make it easier for the user to search for products by category. This includes similar products, whether from different brands or models. You could also use this chance to personalize the experience through suggestions associated with the soon to be purchased product, thus showing suggestions for new products that they could use. Each category must have recommendations based on customer behavior, however, many categories can flood the customer with information, distracting them from the initial purpose of the purchase. 

As mentioned above, prices are one of the most influential factors when making a purchase. About 62% of women who shop online pay attention to promotions, meanwhile only 57% of men take them into account, taken from Invesp's statistics.  Your business may or may not have discounts, but it is always important to give a price comparison to the one currently on the product page. Also, you can add the percentage of money saved to further incentivize potential customers. A good price plus other aggregated values can generate sales. 

Pictured: The Macy's website has an exclusive section that is constantly updated with promotions.

4. Build customer trust

Even the most complete product page may not answer all customer questions, causing the purchase to be uncertain. This way, by placing reviews from customers who have already purchased the product or experts on the subject, it is possible to create a human link between the potential customer and the comments. On average users take 13 minutes and 45 seconds reading reviews to make their decision, which is why it is indispensable for e-commerce to have reviews.

Walmart uses this system for each product, letting all customer reviews to be seen, and to improve the UX it gives an average of the number of stars a product has received.

Sometimes these comments may answer a particular doubt of the user, others can convince them of the quality of the product especially if it has 5 stars. Yet not all of the customers can be 100% satisfied, there will always be one bad review. But, instead of deleting it, use it at your advantage, changing the customer's perspective through the actions taken to improve the experience and reminding the potential customer that your business will be taking care of the purchase. This way customizing the UX and improving the trust that can be placed in your e-commerce. 

Another way to build trust is through secure payment. Today there is a wide variety of online payment platforms, however, there has been an increase in online fraud. According to YOTPO's report, 18% of potential customers abandoned their purchase because they did not feel safe on the page. The website must establish credibility with potential customers. This can be done by adding the official logos of these platforms, secure purchase messages, and adding trust stamps. 

In this image, you can see what the secure payment method looks like through PayPal, a well-known payment platform.

5. Facilitate the purchase process

The function of the product page is to complete the process leading the client into the shopping cart. The customer must know what variation of the product they want and where to select it. For this, all the information must be clear and available to the customer, so that their order can be completed.

At this point in the process, it is necessary to clarify the different availability according to the chosen product, since the customer should know from the beginning the product availability. When placing the notice of not available, there should be an option for the customer to leave their information for when this product is available and at the same time provide other alternatives to the desired product. With this, we can improve the UX and make sure the customer is satisfied despite the mishap. 

This message appears on the Amazon site when the product is not available.

Lastly, it is vital to remind the customer where the shopping cart is located so that the customer completes the transaction. In the e-commerce industry, 18 trillion dollars are lost a year due to shopping cart abandonment. Most of these lost sales were because the customer was unclear about where the product was. To avoid this, it is necessary to create a constant message within the website for the person to click and finish the transaction. Other pages, before adding the product to the cart, ask for your email, in case you do not complete the purchase, the business will be able to contact you via email to achieve the sale. Like these, there are many strategies to make the payment process simple for potential clients. 

6. Create user necessity through CTA

The CTA  or call to action allows us to attract the customer's attention to make the purchase. But for this to be decided, it is necessary to use the principle of necessity for some products. This principle is based on creating a sense of urgency for obtaining the desired product. For example, create a one-day offer or only 3 products are available, thus incentivizing the lead to transform their desire to action. 

At Macy's, to get the customer to make the purchase decision, they add the word Last Act at the product page a way to mention that is the last one available.

According to the JND article creating buttons for CTA increases the number of clicks to a certain link by 45%.  In addition to attracting the user's attention, it should be easy to recognize and have a particular function. For this reason, the color, typography, and words used should be taken into account, as these factors determine the success of the CTA. The color and words may vary depending on the culture and language in which the user is located because each country has different meanings for these variables, so you should be very careful when using them on the product page. 

7. Improve navigation between pages

1 in 5 users leaves the page before completing the purchase "because the process has taken too long". According to the Baymard Institute study, 21% of online shoppers in the United States have left sites for the same reason. If we want to give a complete experience to the customer we cannot neglect the website. 

Product pages must be instant and responsive to potential customers, otherwise, this can destroy the trust in the business. When applying the above tips it is necessary to not ignore the speed of the page. To provide a customer-focused UX, you can set aside ostentatious pages with recharged design, exchange them for simpler but effective ones. 

 Another way to facilitate the navigation of the page is by using breadcrumb navigation, a process that is responsible for guiding and informing the customer where on the page they are located and preventing the customer from leaving the online store. According to a study by  Hull, people who used breadcrumb completed the goals faster than those who did not. Using breadcrumb navigation not only facilitates user orientation but also reduces the time the lead takes on the process. 

This image illustrates the breadcrumb navegation of the Nestle website.

Applying all  the tips

The product page can be a success or failure in your website. It is up to you to provide UX that transforms users into customers. To achieve success in your e-commerce, you must understand the expectations and needs from the customer's point of view, which is why each e-commerce business is different, and the only way to improve conversion rate is by experimenting with these seven tips to know which one works best in your business. If you have other tips or are testing these on your website, let us know what has worked for you.

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