Find out 8 vital usability ecommerce guidelines to apply for your website. These are general principles, so try to adapt them for your unique online business.
This is a guest post by Marinela Gheorghe, passionate of everything related to online marketing. She has experienced with SEO, Copywriting and Social Media. Online marketing is not only a job, but a hobby for her. She’s enjoying working in this domain, being fascinated by the always changing environment.
Why do you need usability for your website? And how important is this aspect for a long and happy life of your e-commerce business? Well, to make an idea, think that every visitor is like a guest in your house. If he likes what he sees and if he is well treated, he`ll come often. If not, he will not come again. Plus, he will say bad things about you everywhere.
That`s why you need usability, so let`s find out together 8 guidelines for a better user experience and a faster buying action.
1. Homepage – first impression matters
Homepage is the first thing your visitor sees. Even if he lands there with a specific product in mind or he just enters through the door to choose something, first impression is crucial. If homepage displays only a few products, the visitor will think that your website doesn`t have much to offer. Also, pay attention to products not available / not in stock. This kind of items should not appear on homepage. And it`s perfect if you present first offers and products with discount.
2. Navigation and breadcrumbs – nobody wants a maze
Bring an attractive web design and a relevant top menu for your users with simple navigation. If you test your users patience with complex commands and a complicated series of clicks, it`s very possible that they will close your website with anger and never return. Your site must provide with a simple navigation structure and minimum clicks for actions like comparing products / prices or making payments.
Also, your e-commerce website must have breadcrumbs. It helps your customers to orientate on the website and to return easily to category pages or homepage. If this option doesn`t exist, customers might feel lost due to so many pages and products.
3. Filtering products – ease your customers search
For every ecommerce website, it’s vital to offer the possibility of filtering the products. Using only a search bar or categorization wouldn`t be enough. Your customers want to find the products they’re looking for as easy and fast as possible, so it`s important to show them the most relevant items. Filtering must cover aspects like price, color, brand, type, measurements and others, according to product features.
4. Security and certifications – that`s how you build trust and credibility
People’s trust in ecommerce websites is raising due to marketers efforts, but fears still exist when it comes to online shopping. You need to gain their confidence. This can be done in two ways: strong security concerning personal information (privacy policies) and certification offered by an Internet trust organization. With these two warranties, customers feel safe to buy, because they know where their money are going. Moreover, you make sure that they feel safe about delivery – receiving the products on time.
5. Registration – keep it simple!
No one loves to complete a long registration field, but it needs to be done. Minimizing the amount of required information will lift conversions for sure. Smaller e-shops must be aware of the fact that users don`t usually return their products if they’re not satisfied; if the users are not encouraged to do that through a competitive returns policy they’ll either give up placing the order or they won’t ever buy from your website again in case they don’t like the product at delivery. So, shoppers who only want to order a product, will be certainly discouraged by long forms.
What about form required information? Well, every customer hates to complete it twice! Many ecommerce sites don`t save form information when a customer returns to the previous page or when he adds a new product to his cart. Guess what? He`ll abandon the buying process in the middle of it. And then you`ll find yourself asking why customers abandon their carts.
6. “Add to cart” button – creativity doesn’t work here
Call to action buttons have to be clear, so try to keep yourself away from metaphors and “smart” copy for your CTA buttons. The cart button is very important, although many e-shops don`t pay enough attention to it. There are cases where the button is not well designed or it`s placed in hidden positions. Elements like color, shape, call to action message and even font typography can decisive in the buying process. “Add to cart” button must be highlighted, in order to be sure that customers won`t miss it.
7. Transparent total costs – “cheating” will cost you more
Customers who have the intention to purchase want to know from the beginning the final cost. Don’t let them complete forms and go through the checkout process before knowing the final cost. They will be pissed off to find out they have to pay more in the end, because there are hidden taxes or the price is bigger than the one displayed. It`s important to be transparent and to show the real price from the beginning, otherwise customers won`t return, because they will feel disappointed and frustrated.
8. Paying the bill – let customers place the order
How easy it’s to pay the bill on your e-commerce website? Don`t ask for difficult information if it’s not necessary. Paying must be the easiest thing to do, because you just want to receive the money. That`s why it`s important to save information, so users don`t have to introduce all of the information again next time when they’ll return to buy. Also, provide a friendly design and clear messages in the paying process, in order to make the experience more comfortable.