UX Optimization: 3 Pillars of an Unparalleled User Experience
Learn how to achieve an optimal user experience on your ecommerce website to ultimately increase conversions, improve brand reputation and attract lifelong customers.
April 12, 2023
A brand is only as good as its products, but an ecommerce brand is only as good as its products and website. And at the core of website functionality is the user experience.
The user experience, or UX, is how website visitors experience your online store — from landing on your homepage, to completing checkout and finally, to receiving payment confirmation and purchase updates. The main elements of UX are convenience, ease of use and efficiency. As online shopping grows more common and ecommerce competition tightens, offering customers a simple and enjoyable path to meet their needs or solve their pain points is especially important.
On the other hand, a mediocre UX can cost you. In fact, 88% of online shoppers say they wouldn’t return to a website after having a bad user experience according to Amazon Web Services. But, with all the factors that go into UX, it’s hard to know where to start when giving your website a facelift. Fortunately, we’ve broken the subject down into three important pillars and how to optimize each one.
How To Establish an Optimal UX
The user interface (UI) is at the center of your user experience. This is everything website visitors see and interact with when using your website. The goal is to make the UI as simple as possible to lead customers through checkout. A user-friendly UI includes:
Intuitive Navigation: Users should be able to easily find what they're looking for on your website. Make sure your website has clear and organized navigation that's easy to follow, with categories and subcategories that make sense. For example, subscription flower delivery service UrbanStems separates its products by plant category, occasion and assorted collections to help users more easily find their perfect pick.
Simple Checkout: A complicated checkout can lead to cart abandonment, so make sure the process is simple and straightforward. Reduce the number of steps required to complete a purchase and provide clear instructions at every stage. While you may want each shopper to create an account, this can lead to high cart abandonment rates. Instead, give users the option to check out as a guest for a quicker transaction.
Fast Load Times: Users expect a website to load quickly, and slow load times can cause frustration and lead to bounce rates. Ensure that your website is optimized for speed with compressed images, optimized code and minimal third-party scripts. Slow-loading websites cost business owners $6.8 billion per year — you don’t want to contribute to that statistic.
As you can see, UX is all about creating a unique and seamless interface, which means you’ll need the ability to easily edit your website as trends change and new innovations become available. For this reason, we recommend using a headless commerce website to easily make edits to the frontend without touching your complicated backend.
Personalization, Flexibility and Trust
Virtual shopping interactions may be more common than ever, but don’t forget your shoppers are still human! This means they expect genuine experiences with product suggestions, personalized offers and other tools that help build a relationship with your customers rather than simply complete transactions. This includes:
Flexible Payment Options: When it comes to consumers’ payment options, it’s their way or the highway. 82% of consumers will consider abandoning checkout if their payment option isn’t offered. Try your best to offer a variety of payment methods like credit cards, PayPal or other payment gateways, and give shoppers flexible subscription billing options, such as monthly, quarterly or annual. This can help increase customer satisfaction, reduce churn and attract more shoppers in the long run.
Personalization: More than half of consumers expect offers to always be personalized. Not only is personalization important to meet growing expectations, it also increases engagement and encourages shoppers to add more items to their carts. Use data to personalize product recommendations and provide relevant offers based on a user's browsing and purchase history.
Trust Signals: With consumers growing wearier of online shopping security, you want users to trust your website and feel confident in making purchases. Provide trust signals such as customer reviews, secure payment options, clear return policies and accurate shipment estimates.
Clear Pricing and Plans: There’s nothing more frustrating than hidden fees. Provide clear and concise pricing and plan options that are easy to understand. Avoid any surprises that can cause frustration and lead to chargebacks.
Easy Subscription Management: If you offer subscriptions, make it easy for customers to manage their orders, including changing plans, updating payment information and canceling their subscriptions if necessary. Providing a simple and transparent process can help build trust and even reduce churn.
Customer Support and Community
As real people, your shoppers will likely have questions, concerns and desires that technology can’t address. Encourage a sense of community with these tools:
Communication: Keep users informed of any changes to your service, and provide regular updates on new features, promotions and events. Make your life easier by integrating with an email marketing platform to automate billing notifications and easily send out mass emails or targeted campaigns.
Customer Support: Excellent customer support is crucial in retaining users. Make it easy for shoppers to get in touch with your support team, and respond promptly to any inquiries or issues.
Community: Building a community around your products can help create a sense of belonging and keep users engaged. Consider creating a forum or a social media group where users can connect with each other and share their experiences. On that same note, the membership model is more popular than ever, allowing merchants to share exclusive products, experiences and discounts with members. The more special and included your shoppers feel, the more likely they’ll stick around.
Don’t Overlook UX Optimization
As you can see, UX is multifaceted and majorly important to attract and retain customers.
A large part of UX design is understanding the shoppers themselves through user research. Each ecommerce business is different, and each business’s customers have unique and ever-changing expectations of what the user experience should feel like.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the user experience, using a headless commerce platform allows you to easily make edits to your user experience without technical backend knowledge. It allows you to stay adaptable and maintain an attractive and functional website design in an increasingly competitive market.