First, we saw many consumers abandoning the High Street and switching to online shopping. Now, ecommerce is moving from the web onto mobile apps, bypassing the web browsing experience entirely.
Nailing down all the possible minute variables that contribute to a high conversion rate can be a long and never-ending process – and it should be. This will be a persistent challenge for ecommerce websites and apps as long as user expectations keep evolving at such a rapid rate.
But, for those just starting to explore user experience (UX) and conversion rate optimisation (CRO), we want to give you a head start, so here are some vital do-nots, that you should avoid on your ecommerce store:
Poor device performance
Along with the shift from High Street to web, and web to app, mobile devices have become the primary way to access ecommerce stores, overtaking desktop computers in recent years, as predicted by analyst Mary Meeker in 2008.
Nobody should be neglecting entire device categories in this day and age, with all the buzz around responsive web design, but still some fail to dig deeper and look at performance on particular screen sizes and software: you can find this information in the device report, in your Google Analytics account. Make use of as many primary dimensions as you can – screen resolution might be hiding under ‘other’ primary dimensions:
Make sure you review device performance regularly, and if you catch a particular device, browser, or operating system slipping behind, try to determine which specific parts of the user journey need to be addressed. You might discover simple bugs that, when fixed, bring a large portion of your audience back into the game and ready to convert.
Further to this, you should use this device information as a secondary dimension in your page speed reports to delve into more granular data:
Nobody likes nasty surprises, especially when it comes to money. But also, potential customers shouldn’t be made to work to obtain vital information necessary to making a purchase, such as the price of the item. Here’s an example of a website that forces users to open individual product pages before displaying pricing, making us do the work.
Internet users are already impatient, impulsive, lazy and fickle, therefore a click from a user should be treated by marketers as a huge investment of a user’s time and energy. It’s our job to make that click as meaningful as possible. A high-converting site will give those users the minimum amount of information needed to browse products and click with discretion.
Adding a shipping cost late in the checkout process can be jarring. Try to show shipping costs as early as possible, even if it’s with a general statement about delivery in the header of the site, or below the ‘add to cart’ button.
No third-party reviews
In the world of ecommerce, most websites will be competing with the big names in online shopping. Competitors whose brand recognition is so strong that they become the default stores for just about every type of product, and they don’t have to prove to customers that they are trustworthy.
That’s why it’s vital to establish brand identity and a high level of trustworthiness if you’re trying to stay in the game. There are a few main ways to show this:
- Third-party accreditation
- Show willingness
- Customer reviews
Third-party accreditations are good to display; however, this doesn’t mean customers will believe you live up to these logos.
You can show willingness by displaying customer service contact details, offering to check progress on orders, giving guarantees. Here, you can see guarantees immediately supported by a high Feefo rating:
Customer reviews are the single most effective way to have these claims backed up, both the quality of the product and the quality of service. If you’re just starting out, you probably don’t have the most active customer base, in which case it’s okay to contact your customers by email and ask them to leave a review.
Poor Continuity – Part 1
Recent changes to social media feeds mean that company pages will be more reliant on paid social media advertising to be seen at all. There’s no longer any room for sloppy advertising and yet, anecdotally, incorrect links seem to appear in product ads all the time! For example, this fashion brand’s social ad for shoes links to…
This is most likely a mistake. However, there’s a broader point to be made about continuity. If the destination pages of your ads are not perfectly clear, or are linking to a category page from a product image, then you’re making your customer work. By not keeping on top of this, you can expect a low number of conversions and a terrible return on investment ROI from your social media campaigns.
Poor Continuity – Part 2
A more nuanced example of poor continuity can be found in the misuse or mistiming of pop-ups. It’s a common mistake to show pop-ups as soon as the page loads, however this, in combination with pay per click PPC advertising, could be a mistake.
Let’s imagine you’re running a 15% discount promotion via paid advertising, and your site displays a universal pop-up offering a different kind of discount, for instance 10% off for signing up to the newsletter. If the user becomes confused, then what they’ve experienced is a downgraded offer once they’ve landed on the site. That is most likely going to cause them to bounce instead of convert.
Context is possibly the most under-appreciated element of good web design. ‘Bad context’ is not giving sufficient clues to allow the user to continue using the site with confidence and possibly cause them to leave.
‘Good context’ will allow a user to immediately orient themselves when they land several pages deep in the standard user journey and move ‘forward’ or ‘backward’ according to how ready they feel to convert.
Landmarking is the name we give to features that tell the user where they are. The website header should clearly describe what the page is about. Breadcrumbs show where we are in a series of pages, sub-headers break up content in a logical way, and sometimes there’s even a back button to take us ‘up a level’ if we feel too confined.
Signposting is how we clearly show where the user can or should go. This is done through conformity of calls to action, design, consistency in navigational features like hyperlinks and drawing attention to forward-steps using visual hierarchy.
In the example below, you can see that Red Bubble organise their products first by Collection > Home Décor, and then below this, the repetition of the headings and carousels shows that there are still more ways to refine the selection of products. The arrows above the images are a good example of basic signposting to show that this section has more to offer:
If you need help with conversion rate optimisation or would like an ecommerce website built, contact Receptional using the form below.