20 usability tips for e-Commerce websites

20 usability tips for e-Commerce websites

An impressive number of new e-Commerce websites appear every day. Sometimes their owners are faced with the situation when there’s a lot of visitors at the website, but only few make purchases. So what’s the problem? The reason of such user behavior is in bad usability. In this article, we will review the most common mistakes occurring in e-shops.

1. Loading time

It is an important ranking factor. Users (and the search systems) like fast websites — they won’t be waiting for the page to load for too long. They would just leave and go to another store to make a purchase. According to Kiss Metrics’ investigation, 40% of visitors leave the page, if its loading time exceeds 3 seconds, which influences behavioral factors. You can check the page loading speed with this service.

2. Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs is a text navigation, indicating user’s current location on the website. If your e-Commerce website doesn’t include it, the user may feel discomfort. The customer would find himself lost in the links labyrinth and leave the page, not being able to figure out in which section of the website is he now.

3. Website’s mobile version

Despite active evolution of mobile devices, the resolution of their screens is still less than the resolution of PC screens’ resolution. That’s why adapting the websites for display on mobile devices would be a wise decision. This would be essential if there’s a lot of comparison elements or technical information on your website. You can check out how does your website look like on mobile devices with such services:

4. Similar goods

Almost all products have complements, alternatives, related products or new goods. You can present them to users with recommendation block. Giving the user possibility to take a look at such goods, you would make the website more convenient and help customer to make a purchase, as it would be easier to choose the products.

5. Product description

Detailed product description is an important element of usability. The description of the product on the page is like a sales assistant in a real store. The more information customer would be able to get on the website, the better it is. Provide the user with the information he needs on one single page: product name, images, short description, price, product availability, the means and cost of shipping, payment options etc.

6. Dead links

You should regularly check if there are any dead links on your website. Such links irritate customers so that they leave the resource. Moreover, you’ll get reputation of site owner with casual attitude to your website.

7. Font readability

Right combination of colors, font size and its color guarantees that the customer won’t be faced with a problem of reading the detailed information about the product and that they would find needed information as soon as possible. Make the reception of text as easy and comfortable, as it is possible.

8. Social media

There’s no doubt that the e-shop selling chipping is unlikely to attract many fans in social media. Nevertheless, this variant should still be considered, first of all for SEO reasons. It may be quite difficult to place social media icons on the website — this block should not attract too much attention, but still remain visible for customers. Having placed social media buttons on your website, you’ll get social activity and a possibility to gain vaster audience.

9. Product images

Probably every usability expert evaluates the importance of images. In fact, people rely on what they see while making the purchase. That’s why you should ensure the high quality of images. The customer should feel that he sees the product for real. If you have a possibility to create 3D, video or include more photos, just do it. Don’t forget to include the Alt and Title elements while uploading the images. That would attract search traffic being a right image optimization.

10. Navigation

The biggest mistake of e-Commerce websites is in complicated navigation. Website navigation should allow user to explore the site easily. This would encourage users to spend more time on the website and visit it again, making them regular customers. You should guarantee that user finds the information he needs (contacts, products, shipping), compare the products and perform payment easily. That’s important for SEO.

11. Feedback

Feedback are very important for any e-Commerce website, giving customer better understanding of the product. Feedback answers many questions about the product — they were written by the consumers of the product, who have tried how it works. Moreover, feedback is free and unique content, which is very important for the website.

12. Visible contact information

Visible contact information is very useful for e-Commerce websites. Customers might have questions about the products, shipping or some other matters. Include your email, phone number or postal address. Would be great, if your website had an online sales assistant, the window of online communication with manager. In such a way, your website would gain more trust, as the users would be sure they get an instant reply for their queries.

13. Promotions and discounts

An e-Commerce website would always make deals. But would be great if they are more profitable, right? Promotions, special offers and discounts will attract users and encourage them to purchase the product. But you shouldn’t hide such offers from the customer! Better to show them on the homepage.

14. Important information in the first screen

The vast majority of users do not scroll the page down, paying attention just to the content on the first screen of the website. You should not put all the information there, just the most important data.

15. Search field

The website should have search options to enable the user to find the information he needs. That’s why you should make the search field visible. It should output the result in any case (it should show related goods even if nothing is found).

16. Use email instead of username

People usually have less email accounts than usual usernames, so it's easier to remember them. Moreover, email address is unique, so it's a perfect substitution for usernames.

17. Visible cart

“Add to cart” button is a call to action, that’s why it should be visible among other blocks and elements. It should be developed in such a way to draw the attention of a potential customer. The right color, font and the contents of the button encourage the user to make a purchase, that’s why ensure its visibility among other elements of the website.

18. Customer’s trust

The principle of customer’s trust is fundamental for e-Commerce websites. Even if customers have found the product they need for an attractive price, they could just leave without purchasing it. They’re afraid of fraud. That’s why the customer’s trust is essential. And that’s how you can do it: include your full contact information; tell about your e-shop in details; describe all stages of shipping process; outline the return and privacy policies. This information would automatically answer the questions of your website’s visitors.

19. Clean pages

No one likes shopping in the dirty stores. This statement is true for online stores as well. Don’t overload the category pages with unnecessary elements. Include only essential blocks. Consider integrity of every page and avoid significant differences between the pages.

20. Clear process of making an order

Every customer wants to see in the cart the amount and total cost of the products he wants to buy. It’s very irritating to discover the shipping cost right in a post office. That’s why the estimated shipping cost must be included into the cart. You can create the same rate of product shipping for all territories or offer free shipping. You also should include the possibility to edit the cart (change the amount of products or remove them from cart). It all will surely make your e-Commerce website more profitable.

Web design and web usability is a matter of great importance for e-Commerce websites nowadays. You should consider the needs of your customers and make your website simple. It would increase the conversion rate, but also help to maintain the trust. And if the customer trusts you, he will surely come back in the future, increasing the profit from e-store.

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