Improving Your E-Commerce Conversion Rate Through UX
Your E-Commerce conversion rate is the yardstick by which you can measure its growth and, arguably, the most important metric you should be tracking. While multiple factors affect conversion rates, a high-quality user experience has consistently proven to be one of the most important ones across all industries.
A good e-commerce conversion rate helps you determine how much you should be investing in Marketing to reach your revenue and ROI targets. It tells you whether your site is performing as well as it should.
What Is a Good E-Commerce Conversion Rate?
According to Unbounce, e-commerce landing pages have a median conversion rate of 3.5%. This number varies drastically across industries, so keep that in mind when adjusting your expectations.
It’s also worth mentioning that conversion rates are not exclusively dependent on your website’s user experience. Quality of traffic is just as important, and you should calibrate your marketing efforts to make sure you’re attracting the right type of eyes.
Assuming that you are getting the right type and amount of traffic, your e-commerce conversion rate should fall in your industry range.
If your conversion rate relative to your industry is on the lower side of the range or below, it’s almost sure that your site provides a poor user experience for its visitors.
If the number is above the average, congratulations! There’s always room for improvement.
Users & Your E-Commerce Conversion Rate
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know we always start with the user. Your e-commerce website will mostly have two types of them, casual browsers and buyers. You should aim to convert your buyers.
Casual e-commerce browsers are the online version of window shoppers. They are in an early exploration of the market before actually knowing what they want if anything at all.
Even though casual e-commerce browsers will very unlikely convert on their early visits, they must leave with a good impression. It’s a great idea to capture their email so you can send them offers. They’ll take you up on the offer once they feel ready to buy.
Buyers, unlike casual browsers, are at a later level in their decision cycle. They know what they want, have a budget, and are ready to purchase. Buyers drive your e-commerce conversion rate.
The UX of your e-commerce website should be optimized for your buyers.
Improving Your E-Commerce Conversion Rate Through UX
We already talked about how conversions are a result of the user experience of your buyers. While buyers’ interests vary a lot across industries, there are universal UX techniques you can apply to increase your conversion rate regardless of what you sell.
Users Don’t Like Choices
They may say they do, but it’s not true. They like to feel like they have choices, but they don’t actually like having to decide between too many options.
Having an abundant variety of products is good to attract a more comprehensive array of buyers, but making choices is mentally taxing. It consumes energy and makes people tired, which they perceive at the subconscious level as a negative experience, aka bad UX.
Instead of overwhelming the users with your impressive catalog, let them personalize their experience down to a few, highly-relevant options.
This is precisely what onboarding wizards and navigation filters do. They let the users hide those options that fall outside of what they’re looking for, allowing them to focus on the ones that match their preferences.
Low-Friction Checkout Form
The checkout flow is the most critical part of every e-commerce conversion funnel. It’s the last remaining step before a transaction occurs.
You should keep in mind the user already used most of their mental energy and patience while choosing the products they want to buy. While they are invested in the purchase, they are also in a low tolerance mental state. This is not the time to ask them a ton of questions.
One of the main tradeoffs of buying online versus IRL (In Real Life) is that you can’t touch the product, try it on, or pick it up.
Visuals play a significant role in our purchase decisions. We want to buy things that look good, whether it’s clothing items, Bluetooth speakers, or a Nespresso machine.
Looks is one of the most influential selling features. And one of the best ways to decide if we like the look of something is seeing it in context. This precisely the reason why showrooms exist. And if you’re reading this in the future, I hope Covid-19 is not a thing anymore, and showrooms are safe again.
While not perfect, you can emulate that physical experience to a degree through contextual images. As someone who’s been working remotely for several years, I like to see pictures of other people’s home offices, and more than once, I’ve ended up buying things because I thought it looked great on someone else’s desk.
Keychron uses Instagram pictures posted by users to show contextual images of their keyboards. Image by @jonnyhill_uk
Some folks like Apple leverage Augmented Reality (AR) to show representations of what products would look like in your living room and give you an idea of how much space they would take.
Contextual images can be an effective resource to improve your e-commerce conversion rate.
Buyers are qualified users that are ready to make a purchase. They drive your e-commerce conversion rate and, therefore, should optimize your UX for them. The easier it is for them to buy, the more revenue your site will generate.
Ed is the Head of Strategy at WANDR. His favorite part about design is its capacity to improve people's lives by enhancing their interaction with technology.
When he's not thinking about design, he's usually reading or playing guitar.