Author: Dylan Fitz Gerald, Experience Design Consultant, Revonic
In much the same way that brick and mortar stores are designed to make the shopping experience as frictionless (or as extravagant) as possible – the same design process needs to be accounted for in online shopping. Although, naturally, the points of focus and measurements for success need to be adjusted to suit the new medium accordingly.
To put this in perspective using the same comparison, think about how much your shopping experience varies when visiting the local supermarket versus stepping into a high-end fashion store. From the lighting, the smells, the flooring, the attentiveness of the staff members; the differences are immediate, apparent and most importantly, by design. These same variations are in eCommerce in the form of user experience (UX) design. Consider the below examples as reference:
One of these brands communicates all the relevant information as quickly as possible to help the user validate their choice. The other brand is enticing the user by using bold lifestyle imagery and minimal information to let the product speak for itself (no points for guessing, which is which).
Now that we understand the connection between a brand's physical store and its online appearance let's talk about some of their differences (and why it's good news for you).
While there are many different methods businesses can use to track the success of their physical stores, we will focus on how we can track the quality of UX design on an eCommerce website. Three tactical and efficient metrics at front and centre of any eCommerce UX enhancement project, to drive business performance, are:
The reason why these metrics are such a practical choice is because of how easily, effectively and accurately, they can be tracked through the implementation of the right web analytics tools.
When it comes to increasing revenue, it can be argued that improving your conversion rate is one of the most straightforward and effective areas to target. Taking a look at the global average conversion rate, it hovers at around 2-3%1.
Now, given the number of factors at play here, the objective should not always be to double or triple this number. Instead, imagine how much difference even one single additional shopper per 100 could make to your bottom line, especially when you consider the fact that the UAE represents one of the largest annual spends per online shopper at $1,648. Growth is also expected to continue up to 29.6% through the end of 20202, and potentially even higher amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
This will vary according to your website traffic, and in cases where traffic is lower, more significant gains in conversion rate can and should be targeted.
Now, when we account for the fact that some estimates suggest the standard user interface can have upwards of 40 flaws3, it's not difficult to foresee that addressing some of these could serve as an extremely significant and cost-effective method to boost your online performance.
You may have a beautiful website design, images you want to hang on your fridge, and copy that deserves an award, but what if your checkout process is confusing your customers or scaring them away? There are many reasons why this could be the case and remembering the analogy we used at the start of the article; these are typically very unique when it comes to online retail vs brick and mortar. Here are a few well-known factors that could deter customers:
Above is an example to show the reasons for dropoff based on the examples shared above.
Take the example of "Cash on Delivery" which is so often used by online retailers in the UAE and the wider Middle East. Why is this so common to see?
Think about how these customers might feel if that option wasn't available for them.
Another metric which can be targeted and measured, when it comes to improving the performance and revenue generated from your eCommerce website, is the average value per order. In other words, this is the average amount spent per order per user.
Before we talk about this in the context of eCommerce, lets again make the comparison against physical stores, and in this example, supermarkets and grocery stores. Have you ever wondered why these stores will almost always include a small shelf of "pick up and go" items next to the checkout counter? How about why product categories are shelved in the same areas (e.g. cleaning supplies).
For the latter of these examples, there are additional reasons. Still, in this context, we can see that the supermarkets try to upsell to its customers with the hopes that they might spot something they didn't realize they needed, or decide to grab a chocolate bar and throw it in the basket while their remaining items are being scanned. Ultimately, supermarkets use these tactics because they work.
When it comes to eCommerce, the implication is similar, although fortunately, we have the opportunity to introduce data-driven personalisation into the mix. Using an example from Amazon, who spent a record-breaking $22.6 billion on research in just one year5; we can see this principle in practice.
An example of how Amazon upsells products during check out.
Amazon attributes up to 35% of its revenue to both the "Frequently Bought Together" and "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" sections used throughout their website6.
There are many factors to consider and many more ways to measure success when it comes to the performance of your eCommerce website. Hopefully, this has given some level of introductory insight into the topic.
Although, it would carry an injustice if we didn't recognize that every brand is unique and therefore, so should be the experience it provides to its online customers.
What works for some eCommerce websites may not work as well for others. The topics covered in this article are just an introduction to the science. Nevertheless, these have been hand-picked to represent the tactical approach we take in projects of this nature. We aim to deliver significant, tangible results for your business through our UX services, using insights, ideation, design, testing and validation of these proposed solutions.
|Dylan Fitz Gerald|
Experience Design Consultant