2016 is the year to focus on user experience, or at least that’s what the businesses surveyed for Econsulancy’s 2016 Digital Trends report are saying.
When it comes to marketing opportunities, optimizing the customer experience is leading the pack (22 percent) of forecasted efforts, followed by creating compelling content (16 percent) and data-driven, individual-focused marketing (16 percent). With the competition renewing its dedication to the customer experience, now is the time to ask yourself what your customer experience is like — how’s the usability on your eCommerce website?
Keys to Usability
It’s not always easy to judge the usability of your own site. After all, you work it with constantly, so you know exactly where to find everything and you’re already used to the quirks of the site. The first step to improving your site experience is to get a new pair of eyes on it, be it a friend, an employee or a hired third-party. A little honest feedback will go a long way to speeding up loading times and making the site easier to navigate.
When it comes to design, there are several ways to improve the user experience, including:
Simplifying everything. Consider every extra word and nested menu system to ensure that they’re absolutely necessary. Most visitors won’t stay long if they’re confused and they’ll bounce if they can’t find what they want without exploring a maze of menus. Using headers, simple menus and filter functions can create a streamlined site that’s easier for new customers to navigate. Although having lots of product images is always helpful, thinning other visual elements to reduce distractions can also quiet a busy page.
Writing to your audience. There’s nothing more frustrating for a shopper than to find advice or product descriptions that are written in jargon and technical language they don’t understand. Unless your entire audience is at that level, forget the high level writing and instead write to the masses. Using language that customers can understand and doesn’t make them feel unqualified to buy from your store helps to increase sales. Plain language can also help reduce the amount of time your customers spend calling for customer service help for simple questions they could have answered with your website.
Keeping vital information nearby. It can be tempting to hide elements like the customer service page, blog links and links to elements like customer web portals, but burying these vitals or parking them on the front page alone is frustrating for everyone. Instead, build these and other important elements into the footer, which is a standing element on every page. This way they won’t interfere with the visual impact of your site, but they’re always handy for visitors who want to check your return policy, warranty information or clothing size charts.
Your eCommerce website can do even more with a usability make-over. Look at every element and consider them from your users’ eyes. Check your site on a mobile device, too, since an increasing number of users are logging on and making purchases with their Smartphones and tablets. After your update, you should continue to improve the performance of your site by providing regular surveys and opportunities for visitors to comment on what works and what doesn’t.