It’s all about customer experience! After all, the customer is the king, isn’t it? While there are so many e-commerce sites now, very few do well to hit the mark and be successful. Read more on 5 Common Pitfalls While Designing an E-commerce Website
Maintaining an e-commerce business can be challenging in terms of logistics, planning, demand forecasting, quality, etc. And there are several things that can go wrong to spoil customer experience and expectations. Probably the simplest one could be a badly designed e-commerce website. Let’s not let a poorly designed website become an elephant in the room.
Here, 5 Common Pitfalls While Designing an E-commerce Website that can immensely impact your business
1. Confusing users with no clear actionable path
Keep your design simple with the objective that anyone can easily make a purchase. For that, a user should be able to understand what you sell. Avoid the following things with your website:
At all times, users like to be aware of the entire process of checkout. Avoid surprises and keep it simple! Having a highlighted CTA on each page gives them directions on how to proceed with their order. Unclear CTAs or too many CTA buttons can confuse users. There is no dearth of examples for this. See below which shows 2 CTAs.
No value proposition
You need to highlight your USPs so that users can select you over your competitors. This is a must! What is that one thing that makes you better over them? Spend a good amount of time at arriving at this.
Once you know your USP(s) make it a point to highlight them on your website. Also ensure that when a visitor hits any page on your site, they understand what your business is about. Consider as it as an opportunity to make your first impression. Only if they find it interesting, will they be willing to spend some time or browse your website further?
With so many e-commerce websites and shorter attention spans, it can’t be emphasized enough that your value proposition must be conveyed quickly. Consider the following points when creating a value proposition:
- What differentiates you from your competitors? Why should anyone choose you over competitors?
- How does your business provide a solution/solve a problem that the customer has?
Too many distractions
Having too many things on each page can create distractions for users. Avoid too many colors, fonts, flashy carousels, etc. Space out all elements on your web page to create a neat design and layout. Also, have too much information with long blocks of text can be counter-productive.
2. Users can’t find stuff easily
Users must be able to get what from your site easily and quickly, period! Make this your mantra. Ensure quick page load speeds on all devices. The more the time a user spends in searching for something on your website, the more he/she will be frustrated with it.
Bad site navigation/categorization of products
Make sure to categorize your products correctly with good navigation and breadcrumb structure so that users can find products easily. You must also have a sitemap on your website that helps for SEO as well.
Look at how nicely Amazon summarizes all its categories and also how each page has a great breadcrumb structure.
Having a great search engine is very valuable to your site. Even if your site doesn’t have a detailed navigation, if the search works well, half the battle is won. Equally important are the sorting features when a search result is displayed. You must include as many sorting/filtering options for the convenience of users so that they can eliminate the unnecessary searches easily.
Another crucial aspect is that many users can type different variations of the same word. You must optimize your search to show results for all. For example, in the site below, when you searched for “keychain” or “key chain” its
shows the same kind of products
Can’t contact you easily
Place your contact information on each page, preferably in the same location for ease of availability. Most sites place it at the top right. Users/customers feel assured when they can contact you for any questions, issues, etc. This builds trust for your brand.
Can’t find policies easily
Amazon shows a small bit of its return policy on each item, followed by a link with detailed information. This is a best practice that you can follow. All your return, shipping, exchange policies, etc. should be shown to customers upfront while making a purchase. The key is to be transparent.
3. Website not optimized for all devices and browsers
There can be no major sin than this! In today’s ‘mobile first’ age, it might, in fact, be more meaningful to have your website up and running on mobile than on desktop. Slow loading speeds on mobiles can directly and instantly hamper your business. As per a Google survey, 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load.
4. Bad user experience
Ensure that some basics are in place for a good user experience. Steer clear of the following mistakes:
Not providing enough images, videos and product dimensions
Fewer or smaller images can be misleading and ineffective. Many e-commerce sites provide product videos as well as product descriptions, wherever possible.
Provide zoom button on all images so that they can be enlarged. All images and videos must be high resolution so that they are clear. They must also capture the product from all angles. In addition, you must provide detailed product specifications. The product below is a bad example since it doesn’t even show a single image of the actual product.
No reviews for products
Although many products on your site may not have reviews owing to no purchases yet, be sure to build a review mechanism for everything.
Most e-commerce stores send a reminder email to their customers few days after the purchase of an item to drop their reviews. You can establish a reward system based on reviews so that there is a constant stream of reviews for all purchased products.
When users see unbiased reviews for products on your site, they feel confident and trustworthy about you.
No clear information on shipping rates
As per Kissmetrics, 28% of shoppers will abandon their shopping cart if presented with unexpected shipping rates and it is the highest source of abandonment. Everyone loves surprises but please avoid keep shipping rates as the unexpected element in your checkout process.
It would be a good practice to in fact provide users with a shipping rate calculator so that they can gauge their entire cost while making a purchase.
This is how IKEA’s shipping calculator for the U.S. looks like:
These are hazardous for your website. Broken links can impact your search engine rankings apart from providing a bad user experience. Do regular site checks for broken links. While the best solution is to have no broken links, that could be a tedious task. In addition to keeping these links minimum, you can go creative with your 404 error page. Freshdesk has a very creative and spooky 404 page-
5. Fewer payment options
Support as many payment solutions as you can to get a wide array of customers. BI Intelligence estimates that U.S. consumers will spend around $632 billion online in 2020. As the number of online shoppers is going up globally, the number of online transactions is also rising. There is no reason why you should only provide selected online payment solutions on your website. The more the online payment solutions, the broader is the customer base.
While a lot can be done to design your e-commerce site better, users understand prefer sites where a thought process has gone into building them and that you care about the users. Most sites lay a huge emphasis on aesthetics while designing often ignoring the softer elements that users care more about. You must continuously audit your site to make it exceptional with changing times.