If you run an e-commerce store, the heartbeat of your website is your product pages. People turn to each page to get details about the items they’re considering purchasing. Without stellar details, images and layout, you risk them bouncing away to a competitor’s site.
E-commerce sales account for about 14.1% of global retail sales. Statista predicts the number will reach 22% by 2023. With increased revenue comes more competition. You have to be on top of your game if you want a piece of the digital retail pie.
The best place to start is by redefining your product pages to match the brand image you’d like to project. Here are our favorite things to focus on to make sure yours are the best they can be. We also include a few examples of businesses with excellent ones. Here is what your product pages say about your business.
Stellar product pages don’t have a lot of unnecessary clutter taking up space. They offer only what the user needs to make a decision on whether or not they want the product. While there are elements that improve the shopping experience, there are some things you don’t need.
Hone in on the item you’re trying to sell. Put yourself in the shopper’s shoes. What information would you most need to make an informed decision? How can you best share those details with them?
Bjork and Berries is a Swedish hand and body cream company. On this product page for their White Forest hand cream, they list the price, ingredients and highlight key benefits such as organic and natural ingredients. They also include several relevant photos. Notice the abundance of white space around text and images for a streamlined look.
How quickly does your website load? The average person will only wait a few seconds before bouncing away. If you don’t focus on how fast your pages pull up, you risk telling your audience you don’t care about their frustrations.
Invest in the fastest web hosting you can afford. Optimize images and run tests through sites such as Pingdom to improve site speeds. Make changes until your product pages load in milliseconds.
Does your site give off the vibe that you care about how hard users must work to get to your products? Filters make it easier for them to navigate exactly where they need to go. An excellent product page only helps you make a sale if your site visitors can navigate to it easily.
Rvinyl does a fabulous job of helping users narrow down options by providing intuitive filters to direct them to the right products. Note how you can narrow down the choices by vehicle make, model and then year. Once you put in all the variables, you’re taken to the available options to make a selection.
Your headline is one of the first things customers see on your site. You have a chance to make an impression and confirm they’re in the correct location. Think about every word in your headings. Can you remove any without changing the meaning? Is there a more powerful verb to drive engagement?
Think about the subtle differences between two words. Is your product helpful or life-changing? You may even want to rearrange the wording and run A/B tests to see what resonates best with your customers.
Your product pages must grab the attention of your site visitors. Think about all the other things they could be doing rather than visiting your page. Not only are there online activities competing against you, such as social media and video streaming, but everyday life exists right past the computer screen.
Use animation, videos and relevant information to keep your users moving through your sales funnel. Think about what your competition isn’t doing and go a step beyond.
Lunya offers sleepwear. As you scroll through each product page, the site utilized parallax scrolling and some subtle animation effects to keep you engaged. If you hover over the call to action (CTA) to “Add to Bag,” the background changes color to grab your attention and encourage you to move forward.
People landing on your site may not have heard of you before. They may search for trust factors before choosing to place an order. Some of the things you can do to show you are trustworthy include adding reviews, testimonials, contact information and clear return and exchange policies.
You can also add badges for any organizations you belong to in your industry, links to awards you’ve won and your Better Business Bureau rating. Before a person clicks on the CTA, they want to know they’ll get what they’re promised.
Your product pages can also show consumers whether you are an expert in your industry or just throwing up a sign and taking online orders. The more authority you have, the more likely they’ll trust your recommendations.
There are a few ways to showcase your knowledge on product pages, such as linking to content on your blog or guest blogging and linking out. You can also add reviews that highlight why you’re the best choice when it comes to a particular product.
Maple From Canada has a unique take on showcasing their products. In addition to beautiful images and glowing descriptions, they add links to articles on each product, recipes and resources to teach kids about real maple.
You may be so familiar with your product pages you don’t get a clear picture of what they’re telling viewers. Ask for feedback on what works and what doesn’t. Have customers highlight what’s unclear so you can tweak the language. Add anything they feel is missing but don’t go overboard. Get feedback on your product pages so you can better meet the needs of your customers.
Eleanor Hecks is the editor of Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.
What do your customers want? Figuring out the answer to this question gives you an edge over the competition and develops an ongoing relationship with your clientele.
People like live chat more than other methods of reaching out for customer service. One study found 42 percent of users prefer live chat even over email communication.
However, if your live chat isn’t up to par, the customer experience suffers. Live chat is one way to improve your overall CX, but only if you offer a usable and functioning live chat. Here are eight key ways of creating optimal CX through a live chat that meets consumer needs.
First, you must understand the reasons consumers like live chat. A recent study showed over 80 percent of people are satisfied with live chat as a form of customer service. Live chat offers an instant and personal level of communication not available via email. People hate using phone-in customer service, though, because they inevitably wind up going through multiple computerized prompts or reaching someone challenging to understand or not informed about customer service policies.
Live chat offers an opportunity for instant answers and a resolution to a problem without the aggravation of telephone prompts or the wait time of email correspondence.
Xfinity, which is owned by Comcast, offers live chat via its website. One thing it does that’s effective is offering different categories, depending upon what you need help with. Categorizing questions allows the company to guide consumers to an agent who can be of help, such as tech support for new customers trying to hook up equipment.
You have a few short seconds when a visitor lands on your page to grab their interest and keep it. If the visitor lands on your page with a question and can’t find an easy answer, you risk losing them to a competitor. Place your live chat in an area that is easy to find and draws the eye. Most sites place the chat feature in the lower right or over in the sidebar, so this is a natural place for customers to look for help.
Consider the other elements surrounding your live chat button, too. Is there enough white space, so the live chat feature stands out? Make sure the color pops, highlighting the feature and drawing the eye.
Even if you use a chatbot, make sure you create a personalized experience for the user. If a live agent answers questions, give that person a name, and if possible, share a photo. Greet the person by name if possible and personalize the experience by repeating the question back and using the name and details for that specific customer.
KBG Injury Law offers a live chat on its main screen with an image of one of the lawyers. The button lives in the lower right of the screen above the fold. When you click on the live chat, a box pops up, and you learn the name of the agent you’re speaking with and are greeted immediately.
About 51 percent of consumers expect businesses to answer questions around the clock. Live chat gives you an opportunity for meeting this need, but only if you have well-trained agents that can answer basic questions and solve problems. Even though availability is important, poor experience with customer service in any form isn’t acceptable. If you can’t adequately staff your live chat 24/7, then only offer it during business hours.
Identify your typical audience’s pain points. For example, one consumer might need one solution and a different consumer another. Separate your live chat channels and the agents who cover them accordingly, so customer service reps are trained sufficiently in the area they cover.
Fitbit separates its live chat sections according to issues its customers might experience, which gives it an opportunity to thoroughly verse live agents on those topics. Well-trained agents have an immediate answer for potential and current customers, improving the user experience. They ask you to choose a product and an issue. They then route your chat session to the agent best trained in how to help you solve your problem.
Studies show that a live chat improves customer satisfaction. In one survey, researchers found phone-in customers had only a 44 percent satisfaction rate, but live chat customers had a 73 percent satisfaction rate. Of course, this varies depending upon how well your live chat meets customers’ needs and hits the other points in this article. However, simply adding a live chat improves customer experiences.
People expect an immediate response via live chat. Imagine you’re a customer and you land on a business website. You have a question before you place an order. You don’t want to wait days for a response or bother with picking up a telephone. Instead, you just hop onto live chat and ask your question.
Businesses can nail user experience at that moment by offering fast and thorough help via the live screen. Users shouldn’t have to wait for a response but get an immediate answer. A bot answers basic questions that get asked frequently, and customer service reps answer everything else. Even if you have a 24/7 live chat, users grow frustrated if they have to wait a long time before connecting to a live agent.
Federal Student Aid offers live chat and does something a bit different that is very user-friendly. It starts a countdown timer of how long it will be before your chat agent appears. It also asks basic questions while you’re waiting, such as what your name is. This gives the agent a moment to prepare for the chat session but seems like an immediate response to the user.
Test your live chat frequently, measuring the time it takes to respond, how on-target responses are and the performance of live agents. Internal analytics show how many customers who engage with live chat wind up making a purchase, but also poll regular customers and find out if there are any areas in your live chat you should improve.
Strong CX makes your site stand out and keep loyal customers returning time and time again. While you might not be able to implement every technique at one time, strive for small improvements to your live chat. Make one or two changes and see how those elements work before moving on.
Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner
Just as it’s important to focus your efforts on the things that make good web design better – informative content, high-quality photos, and an easy-to-use interface, it’s also important to think about the things your website visitors don’t want to see. If your bounce rate seems higher than it should be, but you can’t figure out why, there’s a good possibility that your website contains one or more of the five faux pas below.
Once upon a time, getting to the first page of Google search results was as simple as inserting a few keywords into your website content. These days, though, things are far more complex. In fact, Google will rank your website based on its overall design – and so will your visitors. There are several things that might add to a bad design, and they include:
It’s easy to get wrapped up in your website content’s quality while forgetting about its overall design. The biggest goal here is to make sure that it welcomes visitors without overwhelming them.
In today’s world of fast internet and instant digital gratification, ensuring that your website operates the way it should is crucial. If a visitor can’t get to the information he or she needs within three clicks, it could be a deal-breaker. After all, why should visitors search endlessly for information on your website when they can easily find it from one of your competitors?
To combat this, make sure your website is easy to navigate and that users can get virtually anywhere in three clicks or less. Make sure photos and banners do not mislead your visitors, and clearly label your buttons with instructions like “Click Here” or “Buy Now”. Finally, be sure that your main navigation links are tucked neatly inside a menu rather than scattered across the website.
Content is still king when it comes to creating an excellent website that visitors will love. Unfortunately, many people continue to make simple mistakes that are causing their visitors to bounce and affecting their overall rankings. In order to ensure that your content is structured as optimally as possible, make sure that you avoid the following:
Statistics show that companies can lose up to 60% of their sales when visitors struggle to find what they were originally looking for. Keeping your content properly structured will help you avoid this.
When people visit your site, they want to be in control of their experience, so if you’ve considered the idea of videos set to auto-play or background music to help set a tone, you may want to think again. People find it aggravating when they are searching for information only to be interrupted by a video or background music they don’t like. If you’re going to use videos, allow the visitor to decide whether they want to watch it – don’t force it on them.
Photos are a great alternative to videos in many cases, and they load far faster, which improves your site’s response time – especially on mobile devices. If your site’s visuals are well-designed and appropriately placed (and sized!) they can go a long way toward giving your visitors a pleasant, memorable experience without the need for background music or videos set to auto-play.
Getting a small business off the ground can be tough, and online ads are indeed a phenomenal way to help you generate a little extra income to keep things moving forward. Though there’s nothing inherently wrong with having an ad on your site here and there, there is a limit. Everyone finds ads annoying to a degree, but if they are intrusive and interfere with your visitors’ experiences on your site, your bounce rate will undoubtedly skyrocket.
To combat this, make certain that your visitor does not see an ad before anything else on your site. Avoid pop-up ads where possible, and if you choose to use them, make sure they are easy enough for your visitors to close. Finally, if you have an entire sidebar filled with advertisements, there’s a pop-up on every single page, or there’s more than one pop up on any given page, there are far too many ads on your site and your visitors are almost certainly frustrated.
Focusing on good web design is crucial, and part of that involves truly critiquing your site to discover what might be putting users off. By going over your site carefully and keeping these five common mistakes in mind, you can discover what’s been increasing your bounce rate, resolve it, and start climbing the rankings once again.
Once upon a time, back when Google’s algorithms were simpler, search engine optimization was as easy as using the right keywords at the right density. These days, though, Google demands much more than keywords. Today, you need relevant content, images, and videos alongside desktop and mobile sites that provide an outstanding user experience. If the user experience sucks, no amount of marketing will help you succeed. Here’s why.
Just like you, Google has a goal to be the very best among its competitors. In order to do this, it has to satisfy its users’ demand for search results that are relevant to the search terms they use. For this reason, Google considers many different things when it ranks websites, including the relevancy of the content, the frequency at which you update the content, bounce rates, conversion rates, backlinks, website speed, mobile responsiveness, and more. In fact, Google regularly researches user experience and tweaks its algorithms to provide exactly what its users want.
A couple of great examples of user experience:
It’s pretty clear that Rover.com 100% understands user experience. I recently had a chance to really use this site and it made me wanting to come back. That’s success.
Transferwise is another site that we’ve been using lately. Similar to PayPal the user experience is really flawless. The front end and back end are both very smooth and easy to use. Probably why
HeyOrca is a new social media platform that takes the guessing out of social media. The front end and back are extremely user friendly which is not the case for all social media platforms.
All of these things ultimately provide the user with a good experience or a bad one depending on your site’s design. Failing to provide a solid user experience (UX) has serious consequences, as well.
If you don’t know how your website ranks when it comes to the user experience, there are some key characteristics of an overall bad UX that you should consider.
Though the elements above are some of the most common issues affecting the overall user experience, these days, Google is putting far more emphasis on the UX as it applies to mobile users. In 2015, for the first time in US history, more Google searches originated from mobile devices than desktops. For the last three years, the search engine giant has worked tirelessly to improve search results relevancy based on this fact. This is evident with the recent announcement of mobile-first indexing, which will rank pages with responsive mobile sites higher than their non-mobile counterparts on searches conducted via mobile devices.
One of the absolute worst things you can do to bring down the overall user experience for your website involves failing to optimize your site for mobile users. Your site should display on a smartphone or tablet in much the same way as it displays on a computer. All the elements need to be present, navigation needs to be a breeze, and visitors should not have to pinch or zoom in order to read text or see images clearly. If you have not yet optimized your site for mobile responsiveness, now is the time. Failing to do so could leave you scrambling to climb the ranking ladder.
Many companies out there believe that they can overcome a less-than-stellar website with mass marketing. After all, it’s just a website. This is absolutely not the case. These days, people rely on information they find online, and they form opinions of your brand based on your website. If your UX sucks because your site is a jumbled mess, or because it doesn’t display properly on their smartphones, or because they have to wait 10 seconds between pages, that reflects negatively on your entire brand.
No amount of innovative marketing, and no amount of marketing dollars, can overcome a poor user experience. In fact, by investing some of that marketing money back into your website to improve the UX, you can actually see a significant return and perhaps even save money on future marketing campaigns. Earning a high ranking via Google is arguably the world’s best marketing strategy, so be sure to consider your site’s UX and make changes accordingly.
Your website is the most powerful tool you have at your disposal. If it’s not designed well — or working well — your visitors will never convert to paying customers.
Appearance and design are important, but it’s the user experience most people will remember:
If the user experience is poor, then people are simply going to leave, almost as soon as they arrive. But how do you know if a website delivers a good experience? Is there a way to measure?
Believe it or not, there are several ways you can measure your site’s user experience, and that’s what we’re going to talk about.
Ever heard of something called a heatmap? It’s a unique analytics feature that allows you to see where people have engaged or interacted most with your page. You can see what elements visitors are clicking on and which ones are being ignored. This allows you to gauge whether or not your CTA is effective.
You can also visualize where people are spending most of their time. Are they scrolling down the page and reading your content, or are they looking away as soon as they arrive? Are they interested in all of your products or only a couple? Is the site layout or design directing attention somewhere you don’t want it to?
These are all things you can figure out with a heatmap. It displays where people engage most by highlighting the area in blue or green, similar to thermal imaging.
You’ll know a lot more about the user experience on your site by exploring interaction levels.
Website speed is important. If customers land on a page that’s taking too long to load, they’ll get frustrated and either backtrack or leave completely. According to research, the maximum amount of time you can expect your visitors to wait for a site to load is 3 seconds.
You can either manually check the loading times or you can use a tool like Google’s PageSpeed Insights. Google’s tool is more effective because it will show you which pages could be improved and what might be the cause of a delay. Similar tools include Web Page Test, GTmetrix and Pingdom Tools.
More often than not, image sizes play a role in performance. It’s possible to compress or decrease the size of images on your site, with little to no quality loss.
One of the reasons why projects or sites fail is because of a disconnect in communication between customers and developers. You can bridge this gap by conducting usability tests for your site and then giving feedback to your developers.
Usability testing is when you recruit people to try out your product, which, in this case, would be your website. You can either hire a third party to do this or you can have your employees, friends or relatives take a look at your site.
During testing, it’s important those participating try everything on your site, including:
Every interaction a potential visitor could make, your testers should be trying out.
Then, get their feedback. You’ll be able to tell pretty fast if a certain part of your site isn’t optimized or working correctly.
Visitors will come and go in waves, but not everyone will purchase a product or make it to the end of your conversion process. One great way to measure user experience is to see where in the pipeline visitors are jumping ship.
For example, did they add products to their cart and decide the checkout process was too involved for their liking? Did they see something before checkout that made them leave? Did they even get there?
Google Analytics offers a Checkout Behavior Analysis report that is handy for figuring out this sort of thing. It will tell you at what step in your checkout process users abandoned your site. This should help you discern any problems that need to be addressed — user experience-related or not.
Visitors will spend a lot of time interacting with forms on your site. They may be signing up for an email newsletter, sending in contact details, submitting billing info and more. If the forms are asking for too much information or they just perform poorly, your visitors will be wasting a lot of time. They may not even get to the end, choosing to leave before they are finished submitting their information.
Luckily, there are tools to measure this, such as Hotjar.
Check to be sure your visitors are not experiencing a bottleneck with one of your forms. You can address problems by removing fields you don’t need, improving performance, or doing away with the form completely.
Ask your customers directly what they think of your site. There are plenty of tools to do this and you can easily create a questionnaire that tells you everything you need to know. More than likely, they will have plenty to say about the experience your site offers, especially if it’s lacking.
This is a great way to get feedback from the people who matter most, your loyal customers. You can do things like filter the surveys to show only when a customer is logged in to get feedback just from regulars. Or you can allow anyone to take a survey. It’s up to you.
Hopefully you’ve gained some valuable insights that will help you measure the user experience rating of your site. Remember, there’s plenty you can do to improve the experience, and if you follow these tips you’re on the right track.
Owning and operating a store is all about keeping the customer at the forefront of your business. This is an axiom that holds true for brick and mortar stores as well as for online storefronts. Helping your customers throughout their time with you and keeping them happy in the weeks and months to come are keys to securing and maintaining their patronage.
This is where user experience (UX) and customer service come in. Together, they will take care of your customer as they shop with you, and follow through with this contentment for a long time after the purchasing decision. Let’s take a look at each of them and see how they can help you and your business.
User experience, commonly abbreviated UX, represents the entirety of your service from the point of view of your customer. This pretty much refers to how your customer interacts with your website, mobile platform, and the shopping experience. It involves aspects like your design, visual cues, and functional elements of your online store.
UX is important to your ecommerce website because, let’s face it, you’re up against a lot of competition on the Internet. Smaller online stores like yours are not only competing against giants like Amazon, but against your peers as well.
How do you stand out? You use UX. A virtual experience that can hardly be matched, one that is convenient and easy to use, will easily be remembered. And the benefits are immediately tangible, too—with great UX, you’re essentially making it as simple as possible for customers to spend money on your site.
Crafting a fantastic UX for your ecommerce website is long and intensive work, but there are some ways to easily jump start this process.
This might seem obvious, but you really don’t want your customers navigating away from your product pages when they decide to purchase something. That would be akin to having shoppers at a grocery store going to the front counter every time they took a can of beans from the shelves.
Few feelings are worse than when a customer looks for an item (one that you know that you have) using your built-in search, and then it fails to show up. That is a lost customer. Creating a better search is integral to your site, especially if you have a large inventory. See if you can improve your item indexing to result in subsequently improved search. Or better yet, use a Google Custom Search for your website.
Once you have your customers at checkout, it’s a shame to have them leave because you won’t let them pay in their preferred method. With the proliferation of online shopping, there are now numerous ways to pay. There’s the more traditional credit or debit card, plus payment processors such as Paypal, Amazon, and Google. There’s also the all-digital currency Bitcoin, which is making waves. Keep your customers’ options open.
Customer service is the act of helping the customer throughout their shopping experience, but commonly in the afterglow of their purchase. As such, it goes hand-in-hand with UX, but involves a more human element.
Customer service is essential to your business because of word of mouth. How many times have you or your friends complained on social media about how terrible the service was at a certain restaurant or store? Conversely, positive customer service results in positive word of mouth. If your potential customers know that they’ll be treated right, they will be more likely to shop with you.
The key element about customer service is its presence. Customers like knowing that you are always there for them, ready and willing to address questions and concerns.
Set up a support desk on your site, and have someone there at all hours of the day—the Internet is global, after all, and it never sleeps. Have a live chat service ready for your support team to field customer requests, and provide an FAQ for the most common issues.
Sending out email newsletters has a double effect: it lets your customers know that you are thinking of them, and informs your customers of your newest products and services. In these newsletters, you can also provide special promotions and discounts for your loyal customers.
The best businesses are those that constantly strive to improve, and critiques are important to that process. Send out surveys to your customers, and ask about your store’s strengths and weaknesses. Be open to any criticism, and see whether they are valid and how they can be rectified. If the customer sees that the improvements they suggested have been applied, it imparts to them that you know how to listen.
Customers are the lifeblood of any company. Take the dual tenets of UX and customer service to heart, and you’ll be remembered amongst the sea of startup online stores. How have these techniques helped you in your business? Let us know in the comments below.
Vincent Sevilla is a professional graphic designer and content marketing specialist. He also loves to learn more about photography.