“I love buying stuff from sites that make me click seven times to add an item to my cart, create an account, and fill out the same information for billing and shipping.” Said no one ever.
Is navigating your ecommerce site a frustrating experience for users? If sales aren’t what they should be, maybe it’s time to rethink your design. Here are six UX problems your customers will never thank you for:
1. Having no products on your home page
You don’t need a landing page with a welcome message or an “About us” story. Don’t hide a tiny “shop” button somewhere in your site’s header or bury a list of products in your site’s footer.
If you sell stuff, let people buy stuff, even on the homepage. Make it obvious that you’re a store. When you walk into a brick-and-mortar store, the first thing you see is stuff you can buy. There might be a display of top sellers or featured items or whatever the store is pushing that week. Do the same thing on your ecommerce site. Put some products and maybe a video on your homepage and let people start giving you their money.
2. Burying key content way down the page
Put important stuff near the top. A persistent myth is that everything “above the fold” on a website will be seen, while anything relegated to “below the fold” will not. This is a holdover from the newspaper world and has no actual relevance to the web, particularly when people could be viewing your site on anything from a 27-inch desktop monitor to a four-inch smartphone screen. People will scroll down a bit, but do yourself a favor and put your products front and center. Up near the top. You know, where people can actually see them.
3. Omitting key selling points or features
Make sure your customers know why you’re a good deal. “Free shipping” can be an effective marketing message if people would otherwise expect to pay for shipping. (If what you sell can be downloaded digitally, never mind.) If you ship to countries that your competitors do not, that might be worth noting.
You also have to make it easy for people to find what they’re looking for. If you only have 10 products, a search is pointless. But if you have 10,000 products, the search should be the primary thing on your site. People can’t buy what they can’t find.
4. Making it hard to buy stuff
Don’t introduce your products on one page and make customers click on another page to actually buy them. If you have lots of product information, put it in tabs that people can move between, but always have the “buy” option right there.
And do NOT make people create an account or login before they can check out. Yes, you need to track orders, but they’ll give you all that information when they check out, and you can create an account in the background. Match users through passwords or email addresses. Keep it as simple as possible.
5. Showing irrelevant “related” products
A monkey and a dolphin are both carbon-based forms of life. If that’s the closest connection your “related products” have, you’re doing it wrong. Take the time to go through and assign actual related products to the items you sell. Maybe one of your products has accessories. Do You sell TVs? Maybe people need a stand or a cabinet to go with it. Highlight things that make sense.
6. Having nine checkout steps when two will do
Use a few steps as possible. Don’t put billing info on one page and shipping info on another. Spreading out the steps just makes the whole process slower. It’s OK to have payment information on a separate page, especially if you ask for shipping details first so people can see shipping costs before they buy. But try to limit the number of “next” buttons.
To learn more about how to improve your UX design, check out our High Five episode “Does Your Ecommerce Site Suffer From Bad UX?”