Helpful suggestions to make your e-commerce website user-friendly

Jingle bells, Christmas sells… but only if your e-commerce website is up to the task and now’s the time for you to start planning and working towards having as good a peak sales season as you can. Unfortunately, all your preparation could be for nought if your site scares away your customers before they can get to that holy grail of button’s ‘complete purchase’.

We’re talking about what is commonly referred to as UX or the user experience and it’s the other secret factor that could be helping (or hurting!) your sales. There are some unwritten rules to navigating an e-commerce website that no amount of marketing can get around. A complicated or unfamiliar design could very well be causing some potential customers to give up on you – worse, they might think the whole site is a scam. People trust their gut when it comes to a website. If something about a site looks unprofessional or suspicious, they don’t stick around to find out if their suspicions are valid or not.

So that’s what to worry about, how do you fix it? Below are a few simple things to think about to make your e-commerce website a little more ‘user-friendly’.

Call a spade a spade; Product names and sales gains

Labelling products on your e-commerce website can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, things need to be searchable. It doesn’t do you any good calling labelling something a warming neck snake when your customers are searching the word ‘scarf’. On the other hand, you also don’t want to end up with something with all the allure of a barcode. So how do you find the right balance?

To start, call it what it is, but better. If you have a reasonable amount of marketing knowledge, you’ve probably heard of ‘features’ and ‘benefits’. A feature is something the product physically has as part of its makeup; a benefit is what that feature delivers to the customer. Like how having airconditioning in a car (feature) means you don’t have to drive around with the windows down in the scorching heat (benefit). In your product descriptions, you want to try to add in one word that either indicates a feature or a benefit, depending on which seems like the more google-able term for the product.

That’s the short version, by the way, if you really want to kill it on product pages, we have another blog on building product pages to help you out.

When it comes to your e-commerce website, people trust the colour blue

As much as we feel like we’ve got the marketing industry all figured out, our brains still can’t quite stop reacting to colours like we’re five years old drawing in crayons and insisting that flying square has to be the sun because it’s yellow.

In nature, something red is typically poisonous, in the rest of the world, it’s fast food – and with good reason. Colour theory suggests that red stimulates and can even evoke hunger, whilst yellow brings to mind cheerfulness and welcoming – a winning combination for a multi-national, fast-food giant. It’s not just those with arches that are harnessing the potential of visual stimulation. Microsoft, ANZ, Paypal, the two the things they have in common? Their branding is all blue and they’re all organisations that rely on customer trust. That’s not an accident! Research suggests that something about the colour blue actually fosters trust. It’s not going to save you from scandal by any means – but it might help get your foot in the door of your customer’s trust meter in some of the more volatile industries.

None of this is to say you can’t go outside the well-trodden selections of colour theorists, in some industries you might even get better traffic by being bold, but it is something to keep in mind if your finding people aren’t connecting with your UX.

Arrows, home, and tiny shopping carts in your e-commerce website 

Ever since the first prehistoric human ancestor took charcoal to a cave wall, humans have relied on symbols to communicate. Green light for go, a heart for love, a wave of the hand for ‘I’m sorry I cut you off in traffic’ – these are all symbols that immediately mean something to you. In terms of the UX, the symbols on your ecommerce website are hugely important. Whilst there are countless websites out there, most of them will bear the same hallmarks – and that’s a good thing. Your customers look for recognisable, familiar icons to indicate what they should do – and that your site was professionally designed.

Creativity is great and if you’re a creative person that should absolutely be reflected in your marketing strategy – but not at the expense of your UX.  When you’ve got what you want in your online cart, you don’t want to fuss around refreshing the page for 20 minutes because, instead of the universally understood tiny shopping cart icon, this site has decided you pay by clicking the tiny haversack symbol that more closely suits their brand. When your customers can’t figure out how to pay you – they won’t pay you.

With that said there are exceptions to every rule and getting millions of people around the world to forgo small, medium and large for tall, grande, venti is this one – the lesson? You can try to rewire people’s brains when you’re as big as Starbucks until then, stick with the shopping cart.

Once you’ve helped guide your customers through a great ecommerce website UX, you need all the logistics in place to ensure their delivery goes smoothly and they end up delighted – and singing (aka posting) your praises.

And simplifying your pick and pack, shipping and logistics is where we can help. You can always give us a call on +61 2 9828 0111 (Sydney), +61 3 9240 6300 (Melbourne) or +64 9 263 8855 (Auckland) or drop us a note via the form below. Alternatively, you can find a full list of available services here.

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