The Pressure of Digital Performance: How eCommerce Design Aids Shopper Experience

Ruthie Careyby Ruthie Carey

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Over the last several years, eCommerce has been growing at an unprecedented pace. In 2020, the progress sped up even faster.

As a result, online retailers have more competition than ever before, which means that it is necessary to improve site performance to stand out from the crowd.

The reality of the situation is that sellers must focus on tactics that will create a quicker eCommerce experience. This doesn’t just mean load times, but also site navigation, content consumption, checkout processes, and the like.

The reason why this is so important is that as Sitecore reports:

“A whopping 70 percent of consumers will navigate away from a site and choose an alternative if they can’t find what they need in just a few clicks. Most consumers (65 percent) have less patience with slow or poorly functioning websites since the pandemic.”

Therefore, if merchants want to succeed in today’s hyper-competitive eCommerce arena, implementing the means to create a quicker eCommerce experience and improve site performance overall is critical.

To help merchants achieve this aim, today, we are going to cover precisely how design aids the shopping experience and tactics merchants can use to entice visitors with web design.

Let’s get started.

How eCommerce Design Aids Shopper Experience 

When it comes to how eCommerce design impacts the overall user experience, merchants must understand that there are a variety of factors at play.

Some of the most significant of those elements include:

Create a Good First Impression

We all know that making a good first impression is vital to cultivating trust and forming a relationship.

This is true of websites as well. In fact, as PR Newswire reported on poorly designed websites:

“According to the findings of the survey, 85.8 percent of all respondents indicated that they wouldn’t buy from a company that has a poorly designed, hard to navigate or outdated website. Interestingly, when demographic filters were applied to the results specifically targeting females, the percentage skyrocketed to 90.1 percent.”

This means that if sellers don’t make a stellar first impression on visitors, they can pretty much guarantee that person won’t buy from the brand.

Ever.

Therefore, implementing the means to create a quicker eCommerce experience and improve site performance is vital for consumers to even consider engaging with a site.

Reduced Bounce Rates

High bounce rates can wreak havoc on a company’s SEO performance. While many factors contribute to a site’s bounce rates, one of the leading causes is poor website design.

The fact of the matter is that taking measures that improve site performance means that consumers will then land on a page that appears more professional and trustworthy.

Without these two ingredients in play, consumers are far more likely to bounce from a seller’s site, thereby harming conversion rates and SERP visibility.

That said, if sellers present shoppers with an engaging user experience from the moment they arrive, those folks are likely to poke around the site for a while and could possibly complete a purchase.

Higher Conversion Rates

Enhancing the user experience to increase sales is a common tactic among eCommerce retailers. This is because many are privy to how working to create a quicker eCommerce experience and better on-site interactions positively impacts conversion rates.

Here’s the thing: If merchants haven’t taken the time to utilize UX design to optimize their site’s checkout process, it is almost a given that they are losing sales.

By implementing conversion-centric elements, retailers can successfully use website design to guide consumers from the first click to conversion. In fact, this is the entire idea behind hiring conversion rate optimization experts, as these folks understand how to design a website to drive such actions.

A More Secure Site

While this may not seem like an obvious eCommerce design byproduct, more secure websites often come about during website redesigns.

The truth of the matter is that consumers will not purchase from a site that they do not feel is secure. In fact, cart abandonment research from the Baymard Institute shows that nearly a fifth of consumers ditch their order because they didn’t trust the site with their credit card information.

Therefore, in addition to actually taking measures to make a site more secure, retailers will want to display trust badges in prominent places throughout their site, including the shopping cart.

However, it is important to stress that this is more than just a design choice, as sellers do have to elevate their level of site security to display these kinds of badges ethically.

With these benefits out of the way, let’s take a look at some strategies that sellers can use to create a quicker eCommerce experience and improve site performance overall.

How to Improve Site Performance

Given how massive the benefits of elevating the eCommerce shopping experience through design implementations can be, it is critical for merchants to understand how to take their eCommerce design to the next level.

Some of those tactics include:

Develop a PWA

Going big right out of the gate.

When it comes to eCommerce design, developing a PWA is one of the best things that merchants can do to carry their company into the next iteration of online retail.

The plain fact of the matter is that PWAs are a game-changer for eCommerce brands as they are faster, more engaging, capable of taking advantage of device-specific features, more secure, generate more conversions, and so forth.

For all of these reasons and more, many are proclaiming PWAs to be the future of both mobile and eCommerce.

Without diving fully down the PWA rabbit hole, when it comes to ways to create a quicker eCommerce experience and improve site performance, PWAs are simply second to none.

That said, if retailers do decide that implementing a PWA is the right decision for their company, it is imperative to partner with a skilled PWA development team to ensure the brand gets the most out of their progressive solution.

Eliminate Forced Account Creation

There are scores of eCommerce websites out there that ask users to create an account prior to making a purchase.

Frankly, this is a shortsighted concept as it merely places a barrier between the customer and their purchase.

Going back to the previously referenced cart abandonment data from the Baymard Institute, forced account creation drives nearly 25 percent of consumers to desert their potential purchase.

Additionally, the reason that many retailers require an account to be created prior to purchase is that this setup will allow them to harvest consumer data and potentially grow their email list.

However, enabling guest checkout and asking customers if they want to create an account after their order has been placed is a much better approach. Through this setup, sellers will drive more purchases and still get the shopper’s email address.

The bottom line here is that implementing guest checkout is a great way to increase conversions and create a quicker eCommerce experience.

Minimize Data Input Fields

Conversions are not synonymous with sales, as some folks believe. For those who are still trapped by this misconception, WordStream gives an excellent definition:

“A conversion occurs when a visitor to your website completes a desired goal, such as filling out a form or making a purchase.”

As discussed earlier, optimizing website design is a great way to increase conversions. Understanding that, it is critical for sellers to minimize data input fields to maximize conversion rates.

Truthfully, no one enjoys filling out signup forms. As a result, the more data that merchants ask for, the more likely consumers are to skip it altogether.

Therefore, if sellers want to create a quicker eCommerce experience and improve site performance, it is necessary to minimize signup forms to the bare minimum.

By only asking for, say, a person’s first name and email address, retailers can get them to convert successfully. Later on, merchants can go back to try and get them to provide more information about themselves.

Moreover, when speaking to checkout flow optimization tactics, retailers can utilize pre-filling form fields with smart defaults.

Streamline Site Navigation

In order for consumers to feel comfortable moving their way through a retailer’s site, a streamlined navigation process is essential.

Plainly put, if merchants attempt to cram all of their categories, subcategories and so forth into their navigation menu, there is a considerable chance that shoppers will opt to leave rather than sift through the clutter.

Therefore, when seeking ways to improve website navigation to create a quicker eCommerce experience, retailers should aim to provide a high-level tiered structure with just the main categories at the top level.

Depending on how deep a seller’s site goes, it is also acceptable to utilize expanding drop-down menus to reveal additional options. Just don’t let things get out of hand.

Aside from the main categories and subcategories, retailers will want to implement product filters to help consumers find the items they are seeking. This approach will allow retailers to keep their navigation menus clean while also providing consumers the tools to locate the things they desire quickly.

However, filters aren’t the only option to help create a quicker eCommerce experience.

Implement a Search Bar

Search bars are one of the best ways to streamline the on-site experience, as this will help take consumers to where they want to go the quickest.

There really isn’t much to say here other than that search bars can significantly improve site performance, usability, reduce abandonment rates and increase conversions.

This is one feature that all eCommerce stores should possess.

Use Creative 404 Pages

It’s never fun for users when they click on a link and are taken to a 404 page, as this likely means that the page they wanted no longer exists. While this is a great way to deal with discontinued product pages, users can still become frustrated seeing this message.

Therefore, sellers might want to try and soften the blow by coming up with a fun, humorous or otherwise creative way to tell users that the page is not available. For instance, Amazon is fond of depicting the dogs of its employees.

I mean, who can get mad seeing a smiling pup?

At the same time, sellers can also include some links below their creative graphic to similar pages to the one that the visitor was attempting to reach. This way, they might go check out another destination instead of leaving the site.

Write Shorter Paragraphs

Taking a moment to speak to content creation, it should be readily apparent that no one wants to read a wall of text.

Plainly put, short paragraphs are easier to read and digest than long ones. Long paragraphs can make readers feel overwhelmed, thus causing them to disengage.

Therefore, wise merchants will post content composed of short, concise paragraphs that clearly make their point. This is particularly important for those marketing to Gen Z as brevity is key with today’s youngsters.

Optimize Product Pages

Product pages are an eCommerce site’s bread and butter. Therefore, establishing the means to create a quicker eCommerce experience and build better product pages is imperative to success.

The biggest hurdle here is that when shopping online, consumers cannot touch, feel or try on a product. Instead, all of the information they gather is dependent on what sellers present to them through their product pages and whatever else they can find online.

This is precisely why featuring stunning product images and item videos that clearly highlight the various aspects of a product is so crucial.

Therefore, when aiming to produce product pages that elevate the user experience and improve site performance, merchants will want to:

  • Use large, high-quality images: Images are what sell a product. Understanding this, it is important for merchants to feature incredibly high-quality, zoomable product images that grab a shopper’s eye.
  • Use a white background: The background of an image should not distract from the product itself. Therefore, it is best to use a plain, crisp white background to allow the product to be the center of attention.
  • Employ a variety of images: Sellers should display products from a multitude of angles and include close-up shots of essential features or details. Moreover, a 360-degree image that allows consumers to move the product around is a great way to enhance the user experience.
  • Include videos: Consumers love video content. There is no getting around this fact. That said, sellers should utilize videos to show products in use, helping to showcase their functionality.

Showcase Related and Recommended Products

Another key strategy for improving site performance and enhancing product pages is to display similar products that shoppers are likely to enjoy or those that are related to the one that they are viewing.

These sorts of recommendations are best suited for product pages, though they can be integrated into other areas of the site, such as in the shopping cart.

When it comes to increasing revenue with related items, this approach is one that cannot be neglected.

Final Thoughts

In a time when eCommerce is more competitive than ever, and consumers have more options at their disposal than at any time in history, it is critical for retailers to create a quicker eCommerce experience and improve site performance overall.

Fortunately, there are a myriad of different strategies at merchants’ disposal for achieving this aim, as has been detailed above.

However, implementing these design changes in a way that drives conversions is often easier said than done.

If your brand wants to elevate its eCommerce design and site performance to previously unseen heights of excellence, reach out to Visiture’s web design experts.

Our team of award-winning designers can help to create a tailored, sophisticated design for your store that is not only visually appealing but functionally effective in driving more eCommerce conversions.

Join 150+ Leading eCommerce Brands

And see how Visiture can grow your revenue online through award-winning transactional focused marketing services.

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