User Experience / UX to Boost Sales: How eCommerce businesses can improve their user experience

UX to Boost Sales: How eCommerce businesses can improve their user experience

Andy Thorne
women holding a can of hair spray

The three things consumers demand when shopping online are convenience, speed and personalised interaction. How can you deliver on these, and use UX to boost sales?

While traditional high street retail suffered irreparable damage, 2020 was a year of growth for eCommerce in the UK. It’s estimated that British consumers spent a colossal £141.33 billion online, which represents a 34.7% increase on 2019.

In fact, the pandemic served to accelerate an already substantial change in buying habits. There were already more and more people using online shops – to buy more things!

So, of course, this should be a boom time for eCommerce ventures, especially those who are confident they’re stocking the items consumers genuinely want or need. So why do some online shops have disappointing sales figures?

The answer lies primarily in their website design and offering poor user experience (UX). This can also extend to poor customer service in general.

If you get your UX wrong, you can offer the best products at keen prices – and spend a fortune driving traffic to your website – only to see poor lead conversions rates.

What does good UX look like?

To understand the power of UX, you first need to understand your website’s ideal user, and how they interact with your site.

Know your consumer!

To understand the power UX has to influence your sales outcomes you first need to understand your website’s ideal user, and how they interact with your site (or competitors’ sites).

There are various tools that help you to research your UX, or you could find an agency that specialises in UX research for ecommerce.

The basic level is Google analytics and drilling down on buyer behaviour on your site’s pages. You can find where page visitors linger, and where users click away in worrying numbers. At what point in the transactional process do you record most abandoned shopping carts?

A more advanced UX research project by a professional agency can movements and create behavioural heat maps, as well as organising focus groups and other consumer feedback projects.

Checking usability

Modern consumers shop online because it’s far quicker and easier to fit into their busy days, compared to going to physical stores. Yet some eCommerce ventures woefully underestimate how important speed and ease are.

A detailed understanding of your target customers’ buying behaviours and decision-making processes helps you to develop website usability. This involves strategic development of your site’s architecture and content.

If your eCommerce pages have good usability, then naturally they provide good UX.

That covers such factors as load speed, how easy navigation is, and the use of logical menus. You also need easy search methods and strong product descriptions and images. It especially requires a seamless transition to your checkout page.

Making eCommerce Checkout process improvements

It’s poor UX to make registration mandatory before they buy.

This is where focusing on UX to boost sales becomes commercially crucial. A large proportion of abandoned shopping carts occur just before payment! Demonstrating how many online retailers get their checkout systems wrong.

This can be everything from a poor choice of payment options, to overcomplicated fields to fill in. Also, it’s poor UX to make registration mandatory before they buy.

Hitting users with out of stock notifications at this stage is a massive turn off too, as is the appearance of unexpected charges or longer than standard delivery timescales.

Improving eCommerce UX at checkout simply involves making it as easy as possible to complete the transaction securely, with confidence in your customer service. Get that wrong, and you don’t just lose that sale, but future purchases too.

Mobile optimisation

Over half of all online purchases take place on smartphones.

Ecommerce UX to boost sales also hinges on how well your website performs on mobile devices.

More than half of all online purchases take place on smartphones. A figure that’s growing. Making optimised websites a basic driver of eCommerce growth.

Consumers can make purchases swiftly, while on the move or snatching five minutes of ‘me time’. It suits one of the other fundamental behaviours of modern consumers. Clicking from search results to eCommerce sites then to payment pages satisfies their short attention spans!

Now put that into the context of user experience on your website.

Does your online shop perform smoothly on mobile devices, and have you done enough to engage user attention and transition them effortlessly to your payment page, on a small screen?

First step to improve user experience on eCommerce sites

If your sales figures are lower than you would like, then re-evaluating your eCommerce UX and making design improvements is commercial common sense. Think about constructive ideas for better design and evaluate your UX UX to boost sales.