Ecommerce, or the act of buying and selling goods over the internet, has gone from a relatively niche pursuit to the mega industry we recognize it as today, with a total valuation of more than 5 trillion dollars. While there are many different ways to participate in the various value chains that make up the ecommerce industry, operating a website that sells a menu of related products is one of the most popular. This ecommerce strategy allows sellers to establish their own branding and market presence, whether that’s by selling custom car parts for vintage models in HK or becoming a leading website for where to buy sex toys in the Ph.
However, before you embark on your journey to ecommerce entrepreneurship, there are definitely a few things you need to take into consideration. Setting up and running an online store isn’t quite as simple as buying a domain name, setting up your hosting, and posting some nice pictures of your products. To really make the most of your site’s selling power, here are some user experience (UX) optimization tips taken from some of the foremost experts on the topic.
You’re Only as Good as Your Tech
When thinking about building a website specifically for ecommerce, one of the most important factors that will determine your site’s success or failure is the tech platform you choose for your site. This includes your domain, hosting, and content management system (CMS). For your site’s domain, try to stick with something that’s easy to call to mind, and will allow potential shoppers to associate your brand with the site they visit.
For hosting, make sure you partner with a hosting provider who will give you enough bandwidth for your site’s purposes. There are no hard and fast rules for this, and how much bandwidth you need may change over time, but there are some rules of thumb that will help you get started. If all your site is meant to do is showcase your products or services, then you probably won’t need the largest bandwidth package offered. However, if your site will be hosting its own videos of your products in action, or if your product is an overnight hit and millions of visitors flock to your site to buy your product, then you should definitely consider buying more bandwidth.
Finally, your site’s content management system needs to be easy to use and update, in case you want to make changes to your product catalog, update your content, modify its look, or add functionality. Most importantly, your CMS should be capable of responsive design, and should present your content flawlessly regardless of whether a user is accessing your site from a mobile device, tablet, or desktop PC.
Think Form AND Function
Great UX design is about more than just having nice colors and a cute font for your website. Each facet of UX design, from color palette, to choice of typeface, to shape placement, to photo manipulation and even negative space, must all be considered when designing a site. Given that the site being designed is an ecommerce site, each component must be optimized for how well it compels visitors to purchase products.
The trouble with this is different combinations of design elements might produce different results, so this leads to the next bit of UX advice.
A-B Testing is Critical
As mentioned above, UX design is an inexact science, in that the same combination of elements of a website might elicit different responses from users. This is why extensive A-B testing is very important in website optimization. By testing how different elements impact user experience, site owners can tune their site so that it yields optimal results.
Here’s a real-world example: site A is a website that sells high-end, custom jewelry. The site had seen abundant traffic and lots of inquiries from potential clientele, but had been relatively unsuccessful in closing sales. To try to boost the site’s conversion rate, its web designers implemented a number of changes, including changing the site’s checkout button from green to red. The result? Sales increased by 12%, and more importantly, cart abandonment rates decreased by half. It seems as though the color of the button blended in too well with the rest of the site’s color palette, resulting in users simply overlooking it and clicking away. By switching to a higher contrast color, users could more easily identify what to do next, and because the color red communicated a sense of urgency, users felt more compelled to purchase right away.
This was a simple example but it highlights the importance of constantly seeking new ways to improve website performance to ensure high conversion rates and satisfied visitors. While site templates and recommendations from other experts are a good starting point, only the site owners would be able to determine what works best for their market and their audience.