Peter VanRysdam / Digital Strategy / February 11th, 2014

User Experience Holds the Key to eCommerce Success

As our own usability guru Krissy pointed out late last year, we’re seeing a monumental shift in the way we think about interaction and product design online. While every website can benefit from enhancing the overall user experience, this is arguably most important for e-commerce sites where every interaction can lead directly to a transaction.

This week, we’re at the IRCE Focus: Web Design + Mobile Commerce event in Orlando. While the conference is heavily focused on design and mobile strategies for e-commerce, I wanted to take a look at some of the recent research related to usability and user experience best practices for e-commerce sites. Since many business may overlook the UX side of their new website design,  I wanted to share some of the highlights of what I’ve found to save you the trouble of searching.

The average cart abandonment rate is 68 percent according to a 2013 average of 24 different studies compiled by the Baymard Institute.  That’s a ton of money left on the table. Some of these other numbers may offer some insight in to why users aren’t making it all the way through the process. For example…

Even online checkout lines can be a little too long.
Even online checkout lines can be a little too long.

There is an average of 5 steps in the checkout process according to a review of the top 100 grossing e-commerce sites, also by the Baymard Institute.  This could be because pages are wasted on getting users to create an account (24 percent require an account to complete a purchase), register for their newsletter (81 percent opt you in automatically for their newsletter), or to promote complementary products. While all those things are great for retailers, if the result is a more cumbersome process that ends up deterring buyers, it may be time to reprioritize. In fact…

50 percent of sites ask for the same information more than once. 50 percent of sites ask for the same information more than once. See how annoying that is? Why do I have to give you my billing address if it’s the same as my shipping information? The answer is you don’t. I’ll just go to Amazon where they get it right. Or maybe the mall, because as it turns out…

Only 39 percent of visitors intend to buy, according to a 2009 iPerceptions study on retail and ecommerce cited on the Web Usability Blog. And here I thought people went to the mail to try stuff on only to buy online. Worse still is that 38.5 percent that are coming with the intent to buy still leave empty handed. Poor usability could certainly be the culprit. Especially on mobile browsers…

Adding a responsive design can increased mobile conversations by 54 percent for the beauty brand Nars, according to a recent blog post. Forrester sees mobile sales continuing to go up, and having a site that works just as well on the go can help your brand grab a piece of the pie. 46 percent of the top 500 mobile retailers are using HTML5 already, up from 36 percent the year before.  Seems to work for them.

Keep in mind there is no magic bullet. Each site requires its own solutions, and the best way to figure out what to do is to listen to your users.  Check out our own Design Director Pete Bernardo’s tips for implementing a feedback strategy through iterative research.  Start listening to your customers, then implement the appropriate changes, then start swimming in cash ala Scrooge McDuck.

scrooge

  • Jon Dunn

    Thanks for the article and tackling this subject- I think it is very current because we are seeing Google move away from inbound links as the strongest ranking factor and moving towards engagement metrics. If you are not optimising user expereicne for the very valid CRO reasons above you should at least be for doing it for traffic generation (SEO).

    I was reading about cart abandonment in an article earlier, it’s well worth a read: http://www.evosite.co.uk/blog/maximising-ecommerce-roi-10-vital-lessons-from-our-10-years-in-the-business .

    Cheers