Designing a successful end–to–end Ecommerce customer experience can be just as complex as it sounds. There are many moving parts between driving visitors onto your site and making sure they leave with a smile on their faces.
With that in mind, this article will explore some fundamental UX principles for designing a great Ecommerce user experience.
What do customers expect online?
Just last year, Nielsen Norman group conducted research to understand changes in customer expectations for online retail sites. The research was summarised in six major themes. These themes are among the fundamental UX components that the big players in Ecommerce tend to be built on, and they provide a solid roadmap for anyone involved in an Ecommerce project.
Users expect to be able to buy online and return the same item in–store. This means you need to consider how you’re going to blend the on– and offline experience. If you sell products that lend themselves to regular repurchasing, it’s essential to research when and how your customers use these products, and to make sure your services are available when they may need more.
Contactless payment is increasingly becoming the norm in brick–and–mortar stores. This has an impact on our mental models as consumers; users expect speed, not only in terms of fast delivery, but within the ordering process. Streamlined workflows – like one–click purchasing – are likely to improve the user experience, at least for low–cost items.
Privacy and security assurance on Ecommerce sites is essential; customers want to know that sites have appropriate security measures in place to protect their data. They may already feel grieved by other sites that have been known to break user trust, such as social media sites misusing personal data. But likewise, even seemingly minor security issues can be enough to give users a horrible experience. Have you ever clicked the final ‘pay now’ button and been presented with a white screen, unsure if you should refresh or go back? Customers should feel equally confident that their purchase has been successful when they buy something online as they would in a physical shop.
Today’s shoppers expect precision in geolocation information, inventory data, order–status messages, pickup time frames, pricing, arrival dates, and user reviews. Online users will not like surcharges being added on at the last minute.
Putting the user in control to interact with your brand on their terms is important. Giving them options in terms of payment methods and how to get support through various channels is essential.
Screenshot retrieved from Specsavers.
Impressive and unique packaging, inspirational content, and even digital experiences that are extensions of physical ones, are all ways in which Ecommerce retailers can set themselves apart. Specsavers has created a virtual try–it–on service where users can try on frames and view how they look at different angles.
Get close to your customers
The concepts and themes above provide a good starting point for designing a user–centred Ecommerce site that encourages repeat business from your customers. To help understand what inspires and motivates your customers, get in front of them, listen to service desk enquiries, ask questions and make it a habit.
Flaherty, K. and Kaley, A. (2018) The New Ecommerce User Experience: Changes in Users’ Expectations. Available online at https://www.nngroup.com/articles/ecommerce-expectations/ [accessed 09.08.2019].