When it comes to ecommerce, the minor details relate to major consequences. The whole existence of these sites relies on their customers, their visitors. Ensuring these visitors not only convert, but continually return to convert is key to their business. Conversion rates are the key metric through which an ecommerce site can gauge their success. Maintaining these are as high as possible are key to happy customer and a happy company. Affected by all manner of adjustments to layout, process and speed; it is essential to find which of these issues are holding back the website, and fix them pronto.
So, what’s the best way to find out what adjustments you should make to your ecommerce site? The answer is simple: just ask your users! After all, they are also your customers. They know what they want, so it is probably worth listening to them.
There is no better way to find out how visitors behave on your site and what makes them convert at a higher rate, than through user experience (UX) tests.
Whilst we could put together a long list of elements to test, here are the top three for which you should begin testing today to increase revenue for your online shop:
1. Your Checkout Process
Streamlining the checkout process on your ecommerce website should be at the top of your priority list. A checkout process that is quick and easy will lead to happy customers and more sales. Did you know that the average shopping cart abandonment rate is over 66%?
Here are the top 14 reasons why people abandon their e-commerce shopping carts:
(Image Credit: Shopify)
Eight of the 14 reasons listed in the study above could be resolved with proper UX testing:
- Presented with unexpected costs
- Website navigation was too complicated
- Website crashed
- Process was taking too long
- Excessive payment security checks
- Concerns about payment security
- Website timeout
- Price presented in a foreign currency
Through listening to the visitors, and directly finding their needs and wants, many of these issues can easily be eradicated. And how do we ask them? Through simple UX testing methods.
While we cannot prevent consumers from browsing or having their credit cards declined, we can ensure they have a seamless checkout experience.
To hit the root of the problem, consider asking the following questions when running a UX test on your website:
- Was the final cost what you expected it to be? Why or why not?
- Did you feel the website was fast, slow or about average?
- Did you think the checkout process was long, short or about right?
- Did you feel secure entering your payment information?
- At any time did the website crash or timeout?
- Was the price in the currency you expected it to be?
Here is an example of a well optimised checkout process:
The Crocs checkout page does a lot of things really well including labelling the number of steps for checkout and integrating a live chat option. The site loads fast and did not crash when tested.
When conducting internal usability studies, employees are often too close to the website to be objective. For example, if a colleague is used to your website running a little slow he or she may not indicate that the site feels sluggish at times because that is the norm.
By asking your site’s own visitors, or even an external source that has never touched the site, your feedback can be much more relevant and impartial. This is a much more objective way to get UX feedback that will help you make significant improvements to your checkout process.
Through improving the usability of your checkout process, you directly help reduce shopping cart abandonment rates and increase those conversion rates!
2. Product Descriptions
An ecommerce store is at a significant disadvantage when compared to a physical retailer. Shoppers cannot experience a product first-hand before purchasing, they can’t just go to the changing room and try something on.
This means that product descriptions must be top notch. They have to relay the product through image, text and video and effectively as possible.
Here’s an example from eyeglass e-commerce site Warby Parker:
The first thing you see on this product page is a big, high-quality photo with four different views.
Immediately under the image are the specifications for the glasses, which are very important to consumers looking for a good fit for their face. The visitor can’t try them on, so relaying size information is the next best alternative.
Under the specs is a movable image that allows you to see the product on an actual person from many different views.
As a bonus touch, Warby Parker also allows you to upload a photo and try the glasses on virtually to see what you will (more or less) look like when you wear a particular frame!
Finally, under that information is even more technical information about the quality of the lenses and frames.
Including this information is important since some shoppers will be mainly concerned with style, others with function along with a number of people interested in both.
If your online store has been open for a while, you will probably have a pretty good indication of what information most consumers ask about. That information should be displayed prominently.
It’s important to test the layout of your product descriptions on the page. For instance, this Warby Parker product page contains a lot of information but it never feels overwhelming or cluttered because of the way it is laid out.
You may need to conduct a/b or multivariate testing on top of your standard UX testing to determine the exact layout that will yield the most conversions for your e-commerce store.
When conducting your UX or Usability test, here are some key points you should ask:
- If the user is left with any questions about the product
- If the images provided a full enough experience to encourage a purchase
- If the call-to-action is clear and easily findable
- What if anything the person would add or remove from the page
UX testing on product pages will help you get more people into your shopping cart funnel. If you’ve thoroughly tested and optimized your checkout process, this should mean more sales!
3. Locating Important Information
There is certain information that many visitors to your site will look for. Some of this information will calm the shopper’s worries about making a purchase online and others will simply help them make an informed purchase.
Here is a list of information that should be easily findable on your site:
- Shipping policy
- Return/Exchange policy
- FAQ page
- Contact information (including phone number)
If any of this information is hidden in layers of navigation or purposely removed from your store navigation, you should make changes immediately so that it is findable in your top-level navigation.
Many online shoppers feel more comfortable making a purchase from an ecommerce store when the shipping and return policy information is clearly available. So at the very least, make this information easily findable.
Consumers want to know about how long they should expect to wait for a product before becoming concerned that something went wrong with the order. They also want to feel assured that if the product is not as advertised or does not meet their needs that it can be easily returned.
If you do not make these two pieces of information available, you are pushing the shopper off of your site and into the arms of a brick-and-mortar store where these two things are not likely to be a barrier to purchase.
Additionally, it is important to make your contact/customer service information easily findable. This tells the shopper that if there is a problem with their order and/or product someone will be available to help.
A study by e-consultancy found that over 46% of people trust a site that prominently displays contact info:
(Image Credit: eConsultancy)
One thing that I did not include in the list above that should also be easily findable are your trust badges.
Trust badges like the Verified badge and the Truste badge are conversion enablers. They tell a consumer that your site is safe to do business with. That they should feel safe providing their personal credit card and shipping information to you.
An a/b test conducted by Atcore for House of Kids found that when a trust badge was added to a website, conversions increased by 32%!
Here is an image of the trust badge on the site — you can see it is prominently displayed.
(Image Credit: Visual Website Optimizer)
The nonprofit, House of Kids, displays a trust badge in the top banner of their website in an effort to improve the UX of their site and increase conversions.
And here is a screenshot of the results:
(Image Credit: Visual Website Optimizer)
The results indicate that by adding the trust badge, House of Kids’ conversion rates saw a 32.3% improvement!
These results are not uncommon. If you are on the fence about using trust badges because they take up screen real estate that you might like to use showcasing something else – please a/b test it like Atcore did for House of Kids.
You can also conduct a UX test and ask the following questions to visitors:
- Did you notice a trust badge on the website?
- Did the presence of the badge make you feel more or less comfortable making a purchase through the site?
When you display important information such as shipping/return and contact information along with trust badges you can dramatically improve your conversion rates without spending more money on customer acquisition channels. That’s always a good thing!
Do you have any questions about anything in this post? Are there other e-commerce site elements that you feel should have made this top 3 list? Leave a comment below and share your experiences with us!