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E-commerce UX: How to increase your sales

ecommerce
(Image credit: Image Credit: Snowing / Freepik)

E-commerce sales continue to break new records, with over 2 billion buyers opting to make purchases online rather than in stores in 2021. An e-Commerce store owner needs to do all they can to boost their sales and stand out from the competition.

While branding and marketing are two of the most essential parts of building your business, there are other ways to boost sales, including user experience.

UX is a vital part of every e-Commerce store because it is how your consumers interact with your store. If your UX is lacking, your highly targeted leads may quickly go to your competitors. However, there are quick and easy ways to:

  • Increase sales
  • Boost conversion rates
  • Improve customer experience

A few of the tactics used to increase sales by focusing on your e-Commerce UX are:

1. Smart Search and Usable Navigation

When optimizing your UX, it's imperative to go back to the basics and focus on the usable navigation on your store. Many store owners try new navigation elements or try to be different with their store's interface, but this is a major mistake that can lead to lost sales.

Optimizing your usable navigation is a tedious process that should include:

Categories. Create logical categories for your e-Commerce store that enable your customers to begin making purchases quickly. When you create categories, you're opting to allow potential buyers to find similar products by category if they don't find the product they want quickly.

Usage. Sometimes, categories aren't enough to fully understand the use of an item. This is an excellent option for larger stores, where it can be challenging to solve problems and you want to make it easier to present the right products for the correct problem.

You can further break down product categories to make finding the right products as simple as possible for your audience.

But what if your store has thousands of products across multiple categories?

If you offer a variety of products, it may be best to use smart search features to help customers find the items they want or need. You can implement a basic search function, but smart search features use:

  • AI to find similar products
  • AI to find similar features

Autofill queries to make the search easier

When you make your UX intuitive, easy and smart, it can increase sales.

2. Real-time Support Options

When customers have a question, they want immediate answers to make an intelligent purchasing decision.

The idea behind live chat is to help convert a potential buyer who is in the last stage of the buyer's journey.

You have two options here:

1. True live chat that leads to a customer service agent who can answer questions. You can hire out the customer service to a third party that uses a database you provide to answer questions as accurately as possible.

2. Chatbots, which also use a database to answer questions. The chatbot can answer easy questions while sending complicated questions to a real agent who can answer the question.

Chatbots are growing in popularity because they allow stores to improve customer service while still reducing the demand on their physical customer service agents.

3. Optimize Your Product Pages

You might funnel a lot of traffic to your product page, but if the layout or copy is lacking, you'll lose sales. Of course, it's impossible to pinpoint what's wrong with your product pages without an in-depth analysis, but a few hints that can help improve your product pages are:

Add in professional photos and videos so that the online shopper can view the product and all of its fine details. Videos can be used to demonstrate products and are ideal when you need to show the fine details of a product.

Tell the customer what to do. Sometimes, customers need a nudge in the right direction to know what actions to take next. You should have a call-to-action, whether it be to pick up the phone and call you or to place an order.

When creating product pages, be sure to have clear headings, easily readable CTAs, and experiment with your page's copy. A/B testing (more on that below) is a good option when testing the copy on a long-form copy.

4. Exit Popups and Special Deals

If someone lands on your store, they're interested in your offerings. When they leave the page, something stopped them from making the purchase. The issue may have been pricing, copy, or simply not finding the product that they wanted.

You might want to add in an exit popup to:

  • Offer the visitor a special deal
  • Invite the user to join your newsletter
  • Provide real-time assistance

When you add in exit popups, you'll find that you can convert a lot of potential customers.

5. Speed Up Your Website

An e-Commerce store must be snappy, and if it's not, consumers will leave. Studies show that the average website visitor won't wait longer than a few seconds before leaving your site. For example, Google reports that if a load time goes from 1 second to 3 seconds, 32% of visitors will leave.

You should run a tool, such as Google's Page Speed Insights, to delve deeper into your store's main issues with load times.

Be sure to examine the load time of key product pages rather than on homepages or less important pages. A few of the most common recommendations to make a site faster are:

  • Put images on a CDN
  • Add in a caching system
  • Reduce requests
  • Optimize images and videos

Small, incremental changes make a big difference when trying to make a site faster. Follow the recommendations on Page Speed Insights to continue tweaking your site's speed.

6. Allow for Guest Purchases

Some e-Commerce stores require consumers to sign up for an account to make a purchase. The issue is that some people want to make fast purchases without needing to create an account. You should spend the time to implement guest purchasing.

The fewer roadblocks that a potential buyer has in their way before making a purchase, the better the chance you have at converting them.

In fact, you need to go through the entire checkout process and find ways to optimize it. You want to gather as much information as possible while also reducing the number of steps taken before a sale.

A/B Testing for success

UX changes are a part of every e-Commerce store's natural evolution. Product categories or types are added or removed, and at some point, you'll need to make UX changes. What you don't want to do is make changes with the hope of increasing sales only for the exact opposite to occur.

One way to help lower the risk of losing sales is to use A/B testing.

What is A/B testing?

A/B testing allows you to use control and a variable to see what difference they make in a scenario. For example:

A) May be your current layout and navigation.

B) May be your proposed changes.

You'll send 50% of traffic to A and 50% to B. Since you're testing these changes, you'll want to gather data over a week or for a certain number of visitors and see which page converts better. A/B testing may find that your original page boasts a better conversion rate than your new navigation.

In this case, you'll revert back to your normal navigation.

One critical mistake that store owners tend to make during A/B testing is that they implement multiple changes at once. You should be making one or two changes at most so that you can single out which ones are working and which ones are not working as intended.

Conclusion 

All e-Commerce stores should take steps to maximize their sales using current marketing techniques and traffic. When you focus on elements in your control, such as your UX, you're creating a foundation for your store that will increase sales today and in the future.

Preparation and a little testing can go a long way in increasing your store's sales.

Remember to take UX changes slowly rather than bombarding your visitors with multiple changes at once. Instead, implement changes incrementally so that you can better track what's working and what's not working while also ensuring that you're not making changes that cause you to lose customers.

Alice Bailey, senior business development manager, Redwerk

Alice Bailey is a senior business development manager at Redwerk, a software development company that offers a wide range of services.