We’ve witnessed a steady increase in online shopping for years now, with 2020 emboldening its immediate value for B2C and B2B eCommerce companies worldwide. We’ve seen brick and mortar retail locations forced to close, while many consumers are spending much more time at home and online. Now more than ever, it’s become crucial for brands to fully embrace eCommerce and ensure their online presence is up to par. We’ve identified some less obvious principles and strategies to consider when striving to increase conversion on your site.
Before anything else, a successful online store needs to quickly load presentational content in order to maintain user engagement. A superbly executed design is worthless if the consumer never sees it. We must optimize site speeds as the first step to a frictionless experience.
Performance is crucial for both desktop and mobile, with mobile experiences much more likely to suffer the worst of consequences. There has been a steady increase in mobile traffic since the inception of the smartphone. Mobile devices now account for over 50% of total traffic, while desktop sits at around 30%. However, the mobile conversion rate (2.3%) is less than half that of the desktop rate (4.8%). This tells us most consumers still aren’t comfortable making purchases from a mobile device if the experience is clunky and frustrating to use.
Unfortunately, some platforms and themes have features that some sites will never need, causing unnecessary lag in performance. The emergence of native mobile eCommerce apps and PWA’s(Progressive Web Apps) have proven to convert at a 3x higher rate than a simple mobile responsive website. This approach allows us to extract only what we need from the platforms and integrations being leveraged to save big on load speeds.
In the U.S. alone, roughly 1 of 5 people suffer from some form of disability. Until recently, there wasn’t much effort to make accommodations for these groups in the digital space. Now, it’s recommended that websites and applications adhere to compliance guidelines provided by the ADA. This includes ensuring text and contrast levels pass a certain threshold for maximum legibility, implementing proper alt descriptions, and utilizing best practices surrounding media types.
There are plenty of eCommerce platforms to choose from. Many offer the ability for just about anyone to quickly create a fully functioning eCommerce store. However, most have varying degrees of restriction over crucial aspects of the user experience. Trust is often put in the hands of the platform when it comes to key interactions like checking out. Having full control over the UX is important to create a more intentional, personalized experience catered to a specific audience.
There are countless factors that can play into the psychology behind brand trust. In a digital setting, it can be even harder to define. One thing we know is that it only takes one bad shopping experience for a customer to lose trust. Not only that, but they’re also likely to share their distrust with other consumers online. A cluttered UX or incoherent UI can be enough to push someone away immediately.
The days of cramming an entire experience “above the fold” have faded. Trying to force every piece of information into a small space creates much more harm than good, causing user fatigue and frustration. Embracing the scroll and taking a more linear, storytelling approach to content presentation is key. Not only does this allow us to have more control over the order in which information is processed, we relieve the pressure of too many options in the viewport at one time.
Strong branding and a comprehensive design system are also crucial to creating a cohesive, trustworthy UI. Having set rules for when and where assets should be utilized allows us to provide a visual language to our users. Making it clear what elements are interactive, and what the next actionable step in their journey is.
At the end of the day, the target audience is who we should be listening to when it comes to design decision making. When provided with accurate analytics from an existing site, we can break down key data to narrow in on specific audience groups. This knowledge can be used to make educated design decisions. However, nothing is more telling than to analyze direct user behavior. Utilizing tools for A/B testing and heat mapping can help to clearly define what works and what doesn’t when it comes to conversion.
It’s important that these types of initiatives are well planned around your specific business goals. Having a thorough site audit conducted by an eCommerce professional is the best way to get a full understanding of specific conversion pain points. They can recommend solutions prioritized in order of importance and establish a plan for execution. The digital marketing consultants at Trellis can help you define a strategy and execute it every detail along the way.
About Andy Thayer
Aside from a completely underestimated addiction to Sriracha Hot Chile Sauce, you could say Andy is a real straight shooter. He holds a B.A. in Graphic Arts/Advertising and believes that almost any problem can be solved through good design. He got his start in the museum industry designing touch-based interactive exhibit kiosks, which dawned a true passion for user-experience. Outside of the office, you can catch Andy creating art out of molten rock(glassblowing), or cruising around town on a surfboard with wheels. As former Creative Director for Growth Spark, Andy brings more than a decade of experience to Trellis as a design leader in the agency space. Over the years, his work has received accolades in a number of disciplines across the web. Having worked with clients like Bose, Hasbro, Newbury Comics and Harvard University, his knowledge and expertise span a broad range of industries. Andy has the unique ability to look beyond the surface of a business problem, leveraging objective reasoning to drive any and all design decisions.