Increase Sales Through UX and Design
eCommerce sales continue to grow exponentially, and they show no sign of slowing down anytime soon. For example, according to data from Bigcommerce:
- More than 50% of Americans now prefer shopping online to brick and mortar stores
- 96% of Americans have made an online purchase in their lifetime
- 95% of Americans shop online at least once a year, 80% at least monthly, 30% weekly, and 5% daily
- eCommerce is growing 23% year-over-year; still, almost half of American small businesses do not have a website
How to get on top of all those sales? Jess Thoms, brand strategist and founder of the conversation design studio, Xandra, highlights the critical importance of user experience to increased sales:
“It’s well documented that user experience design increases website retention and leads to sales. Good user experience increases conversions and avoids user frustration. Digital experiences that push a user towards a conversion goal need to be seamless and logical.”
It’s quite simple. A seamless design that pleases customers will experience excellent retention rates and increased sales.
Meet Customers Where They Are on the Buying Journey
For eCommerce marketers, the question isn’t whether to focus on improving user experience (UX) and design, but how best to do it. To create a UX that successfully positions your eCommerce business, it’s important to segment your target audience using key demographic and psychographic data, but you also need to know where they are in the buyer’s journey.
To state the obvious, most online shoppers don’t typically decide they want a given product, search for it online, click on the first search result they see and make a purchase. Rather, they go through a process, one which entails substantial research, comparing products, prices, warranties, shipping options, return policies, and more. The better you can meet their needs through the process, the more likely they’ll purchase from you rather than one of your competitors.
Admittedly, that sounds a little complicated, but you can simplify the process by thinking of the buyer’s journey as comprising the following 3 principal stages, and delivering a user experience which aligns seamlessly with each:
1. The Inspiration Stage
Customers at this stage are essentially “window shoppers.” They’re just looking at this point, trying to decide if they want to delve deeper into your website and your business. For example, a customer might be planning on buying a home appliance at some point in the future, but hasn’t yet decided what product they want, or when they’ll sign on the dotted line. For these customers, provide content which will inspire a future purchase. This could include things like buying guides, product showcases, educational blogs, and look books.
Your conversion goal at the inspiration stage is to ensure subsequent contacts. This could be persuading them to provide their contact information (in exchange for valuable content) to nurture them through a series of targeted emails, or convincing them to follow your brand on social media.
2. The Information Stage
These customers are “browsing,” ready now to dive a bit deeper, looking for example product options and buying criteria. They might have decided they want a new dishwasher, but don’t yet know what features they need or what brand or company best meets their needs.
Because they’re gathering relevant information, you need to educate the customer. Provide features that filter, sort and compare products, as well as explain payment, shipping and return policies. Your conversion goal at this stage is (if not an outright purchase) that the customer will at least add one of your products to a wish list, share it with a friend or, again, join your mailing list if they haven’t already done so.
3. The Intention Stage
This is the stage where the rubber meets the road. Customers have completed necessary research and are close to making a purchasing decision. They might have decided what kind of dishwasher they want, but are looking for final reassurance that your business is the one from which they want to buy.
You can build trust and confidence at this stage by delivering a superior experience on your website, as well as stellar customer service. You might, for example, provide advanced search tools so they can get to the right product easily and quickly. You should also attempt to counter any potential purchasing objections and remove any barriers which stand between you and the customer. This could include things like the option to try a product for a period before buying, customer-friendly return policies, discounts for bulk purchases and loyalty reward programs.
Needless to say, your conversion goal at this stage is a purchase. Additionally, think about more than this single sale. Your larger goal is to create loyal customers who will return to your eCommerce site over and over again. That means unfailingly delivering on your promises and offering outstanding customer service, particularly when customers encounter problems post-purchase.
Create meaningful experiences
As noted above, eCommerce continues to grow, but it’s also continually changing as forward-thinking eCommerce merchants find new and innovative ways to deliver the kind of UX that builds consumer confidence and drives sales. To ensure the success of your eCommerce business, it’s important to partner with designers and developers who have deep experience creating stellar eCommerce design and UX.
To learn more about the ways our Magento eCommerce site design, development and maintenance services can help you provide your customers with the kind of UX that will optimize your online sales, contact us today.