User Experience / How to Improve Your Website with Ecommerce UX Research

How to Improve Your Website with Ecommerce UX Research

Andy Thorne
scientist looking through a microscope

UX research is crucial in understanding the problems and opportunities for improvement within your web site. Implementing the findings from UX research can improve ecommerce conversion rates by up to 400%.

In this article, we outline how UX research helps you find answers based on real user behavior rather than guesswork, and unlocks opportunities for improvement and growth.

Where to Start with Ecommerce UX Research – Find Your Average Add-to-Basket Rate

Head to Google Analytics to find out your Average ATB rate.

The first step in conducting Ecommerce UX research is to establish your average ATB (Add-to-Basket) rate. 

ATB (Add-to-Basket) rate is the percentage of users who visit a product page on your site, who then go on to add that product to their basket. 

To discover your ATB rate, head to the Google Analytics profile for your site and find it by heading to Google Analytics > Conversions > eCommerce > Product.

Your Target Add-to-Basket Rate

Ideally, your target ATB rate should be at least 11% to put you in the top 10% of ecommerce stores.

Once You Know Your Average Add-to-Basket Rate, Find the Worst Performers that Drag Down the Average

Find out your Top 10 Worst Performing Products to establish which are costing your business money, and where you can increase profitability.

Now you’ve established the average ATB rate, you need to establish the worst performing products that are bringing the average down. 

It’s vital to find out what your Worst Performing Products are as they are costing your business money. By optimising the products that are performing badly, you can increase profitability.

Using Google Analytics, find the Top 10 Worst Performing Products based on their Add-to-Basket rate. 

Head back to Google Analytics > Conversions > eCommerce > Product Performance. 

The data needs to be statistically relevant, so if a product page has only had 1 visitor in 3 months, the ATB rate won’t be relevant. So be sure to give yourself a date range of 3-6 months. 

To export the data for the Top 10 Worst Performing Products, sort the Basket-to-Detail rate to show by worst performing first and use the drop down at the bottom of the page to show 10 rows. 

We recommend exporting to Google Sheets using the export button in the top right of the page. Make sure to add the date range that the data is from, to make it easier when you compare with data after implementing changes based on your research.

Once You Understand Your Worst Performing Products, Find Out Why!

Although it isn’t perfect, Glossier have a great product page design that meets the users expectations, is clear and doesn’t create much friction.

A Good Method for Discovering ‘The Why’

Understanding what’s working is the first step in your ecommerce ux research. The 2nd step is to dig deeper and find out why it’s not working.

Google Analytics will show you the ‘what’, but it won’t give you the ‘why’.

For example, using Google Analytics, you’ve found out what 10 products have the lowest (worst) ATB rate, but it doesn’t tell you why.

By identifying the ‘why’, you can start to define actionable steps that will help to improve the UX of your ecommerce site. 

In contrast, Boots’ product page for a similar product doesn’t offer the same value and causes some friction for users.

A Heuristic Analysis is one of the best UX research methods that help to find the ‘why’. 

A Heuristic Analysis or Heuristic Evaluation is an in-depth process where you use UX best principles such as ‘Friction’ to measure the usability of your ecommerce website and report issues.

Taking an in-depth and considered look at your products with poor ATB rates  whilst using l UX principles to guide you  helps to establish the why and helps you build a list of opportunities to improve the page and increase the ATB rate.

How to Run a Heuristic Analysis

Use our 5 point scoring system to identify why your page is performing well or poorly.

Our UX Analysis uses a 5 Point Scoring System to identify why the page is performing well and where it is performing poorly. 

The 5 point scoring system is based on 5 UX principles and they are:

  1. Relevancy – does the page meet user expectation – both in terms of content and design? How can it match what they want even more?
    Clarity – Is the content/offer on this page as clear as possible? How can we make it clearer / simpler?
  2. Value – is it communicating value to the user? Can we do better? Can we increase user motivation?
  3. Friction – what on this page is causing doubts, hesitations and uncertainties? What makes the process difficult? How can we simplify? We can’t reduce friction entirely, we can only minimize it.
  4. Distraction – what’s on the page that is not helping the user take action? Is anything unnecessarily drawing attention? If it’s not motivation, it’s a distraction – and thus it might be a good idea to get rid of it.

As well as using the 5 points defined above, it’s also important to check the page load speed to see whether that could be contributing to the poor ATB rate.

Review every page in question (that you identified within Google Analytics), and use each of the 5 points to identify what is potentially making the experience bad for your users.

Use our Heuristic Analysis template to help you record your findings, making notes under each point about what meets the expectations of the users, and what doesn’t. 

Give each section a rating out of 5. Average the rating out of 5 and add the score at the bottom of the page to help you quickly identify which page has the lowest score. This helps you to prioritise what to work on first. 

Add a screenshot of the page you are reviewing for reference (desktop and mobile versions), and make points on the screenshots, if there’s anything interesting that needs to be highlighted. This makes it easier to review when you run back through the research later on. 

Now You Have Insights, It’s Time to Test

Make improvements to your site based on key observations and review the worst performing products after a reasonable amount of time to see whether the ATB rate has improved.

User Experience research is important, but unless the insights are being tested, it’s been a pointless waste of time. 

Based on your observations, identify changes you can make to improve the page. 

For example, if there was only 1 image for the product, get more images on there to provide the user with the 7 key image types they need to help inform them of what the product looks like, feels like, etc

Make improvements to the site based on your key observations. 

After 4 weeks (or 2 weeks if your site experiences a high level of traffic) review the Top 10 Worst Performing Products that you identified and optimised to see whether the ATB rate has improved since you made changes.

UX Research and Optimisation is a Continual Process that Provides Results Now and in the Future

This process of research and optimisation is the continual cycle of UX practices known as CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) and is a sure fire way to improve and keep on improving the user experience of your online.

Continual improvement helps satisfy the needs of your users driving more online revenue and building a loyal customer base.

Boots and Glossier – UX Heuristic Analysis