First impressions matter, both for in-store and online shopping experiences. Because of this, you need to design your site to be aesthetically pleasing and to make a positive impact from the get-go, otherwise you’ll lose a large portion of your customers before they even start browsing your product pages. However, if you don’t also have an intuitive, easy-to-use layout, you’ll quickly lose your remaining customers.
This post will cover several areas where these improvements can lead to big wins for your business. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, a good user experience is imperative to staying ahead of your competition.
Users tend to be impatient, and if your site doesn’t load quickly enough, there’s a high chance that people will navigate elsewhere before they even see your page. This is why it’s so important to optimize your performance so that your site loads for the user as quickly as possible. If this is not the case, nothing else you do will matter, since you won’t have the customer’s attention anymore.
Presentation and Design
Your viewers begin forming their opinions of your business based on your site from the moment they see it, and it takes only 2.6 seconds for their eyes to land on whatever feature it is that will most influence their opinion of you. When asked for site-related feedback, most people commented about the site’s design: busy layouts, lack of navigation aids, hard-to-read text, and so on.
Users indicated that they mistrusted and rejected a website with poor design. If there is something that stood out to them immediately in a negative way, there was a high chance they navigated to another site rather than explore deeper. Luckily, good design need not be complicated. Simplicity, consistency, and a well-defined hierarchy are big factors in whether a user responds positively to a site or not.
Users want to be able to find what they need quickly. Whether they do so using your menus or by searching, your site should present the user with what they want to see almost instantaneously.
Give your users lots of options for finding what they want.
Furthermore, your customers probably have a goal in mind when they land on your website. Be sure to consider the whole user experience and guide the user through the task they want to complete. For example, if you’re selling something, make it easy for the user to find products, add them to the cart, and go through the check-out process. The user shouldn’t have to search for a link to their shopping cart or struggle to provide their billing information because the form wasn’t designed well.
Additionally, the whole transaction process likely consists of a lot of steps. If the user has issues completing any of them, they’re likely to abandon their cart and not finalize the purchase. This is one area where API monitoring can help you identify any issues quickly and resolve them before they impact your users. Not only should you be monitoring each step to ensure that the appropriate calls are made and the correct data is transmitted, you should make sure than any third-party tools, such as payment processes or authentication widgets, are up and functioning as well. With timely access to the data you need, your customers will see fewer issues when they make purchases.
When done well, however, your navigation can encourage the user to make a purchase. It should guide the user fluidly through the steps they need to take to complete the purchase without hiccuping or throwing errors seen by the user. There are a lot of steps required to complete a transaction, so don’t force the user to do something more than once. If you do, the visitor might very well just abandon their cart.
Well-Written Descriptions and Quality Visual Aids
One of the reasons people prefer shopping in traditional, brick-and-mortar stores is that ability to see for themselves what a product is like. They can pick it up, examine it, and, in some cases, use the product to see if it meets their needs. With online shopping, users don’t have these options, so it’s important for you to compensate for this lack of sensory experience with well-written descriptions and quality visual aids.
42% of shoppers indicate that they’ve abandoned an online shopping cart due to insufficient product information. People want to know exactly what it is they’re getting, and if they’re left to make guesses about a product’s features, they won’t make the purchase. You don’t have to write extremely long pieces describing the product, but you should aim for more, not less. As an aside, you can also see users’ desire for product information by looking at what’s offered by the more successful retailers — for example, Amazon.com has extensive product descriptions and lots of user reviews offering detailed information.
Videos give your shoppers information photos don’t.
You probably know that lots of high quality images are a great thing to have on your product pages, but if you can include videos, that’s even better. Not only do videos provide product information over and above that provided by images, they encourage users to stay on your page longer. The average user spends just six seconds on a page, so any encouragement you can offer to the user to stay longer increases the likelihood they’ll convert.
Visual aids are important, but be sure that they don’t slow your site down. Images and videos tend to be large files, and you’re likely to have many of these types of files on your site. Be sure to optimize both so that your page load speeds remain fast. With images, be sure to choose the correct format and compress them appropriately. With videos, consider hosting them elsewhere and simply embedding a video player onto your site. Your user will still have to wait for the video to load, but it won’t be a resource that your web server has to handle. Regardless, you should optimize your videos as well to ensure they aren’t dragging down your site load speeds.
The online marketplace is growing rapidly, and profit margins get slimmer and slimmer. As such, it’s important that you build a web presence that resonates positively with your user, since customer satisfaction with your site directly leads to increased conversion rates. To do this, you’ll want to prioritize these four areas, since improvements to any can lead to big wins for your business:
- Site performance
- Site design
- User navigation
- Quality descriptions and visual aids
Notice that site performance is the first area we mention. It is of utmost importance that your site is as speedy as possible. Without quick page loads, little else matters. For additional information on how Rigor Monitoring and Optimization can help you get your site in tip-top shape and keep it there, contact us today!
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