Customers are more apt to buy it’s easy to see products, browse your store, and find the perfect thing in your online shop. The user experience and interface can go a long way to making shopping enjoyable and rewarding for you and your customers. Or it can cause the whole thing to go bust.
If you’re experiencing more bust and fewer digital cash register dings than you would like, it might be time to refresh your online shop design. When done right, UI and UX not only get out of the way, but they also encourage sales.
Thankfully, WordPress makes it easy to adjust your site quickly and plugins can simplify the process of adapting many best practices. Let’s look at five ways you can ensure your user focus is on the right track.
Small Note on Online Shop Design and Sales
Website design can impact your eCommerce conversion rate for good or bad. Having a site that’s easy to use, features clear images, and simplifies the sales process can encourage shoppers to buy from you and come back again.
Poor design can break the experience and send them to competitors, whether that’s because links and pages are broken or your site doesn’t look trustworthy when it comes to the checkout screen.
The first impression your brand makes will be with the website’s design. It’s essential that you make that impression positive to build trust and push customers where you want them. Draw people in with compelling photos and video, clean up your copy to make shopping by category easy, and then get out of the way.
Your design can improve sales if you help the customer shop or provide inspiration for what they can do with your products. Now, let’s look at some adjustments that can pay off when it comes to conversions.
5 Best Tweaks For Online Shop Design
- Reduce checkout pages and elements
- Let people see their cart on any page
- Start with professional photos, but UGC is excellent too
- Focus on the above fold
- Don’t hide anything from users
So. let’s start.
1. Reduce checkout pages and elements
One of the first goals for site improvement should be to make things easier for your customers. You want the sales and checkout process to be as streamlined as possible, so there’s less potential to interrupt the customer or cause them to abandon the sale.
Start this improvement journey by getting out of their way.
The best place to begin is your checkout process. Review the fields that your current forms have and see if you need them all. Take a hard look and ask multiple questions about each thing you require. For example:
- Is a phone number relevant if your primary communications are via email?
- When was the last time you called a customer?
- Did you email them first anyway?
As you streamline, adjust how people see your form too. One study found that people complete single-column forms significantly faster than multi-column layouts. Faster generally means easier and with less friction. That’ll help your customers complete the checkout process quickly and reduce reasons for them to abandon carts.
WordPress offers flexibility for you to create your own slimmed-down checkout pages and options, or you can look at eCommerce tools that integrate with your site. For example, WooCommerce has its own One Page Checkout enhancement that both simplifies the checkout process and can turn any sales page into a checkout page.
You’ll turn “Add to order” buttons from redirecting to a checkout page to a cart itself
Trim the other fat from checkout pages, too. Get rid of upsells that don’t work, excess information, and anything not related to your sales, shipping, or returns processes.
Instead of having that irrelevant information, put shipping costs, date estimates, taxes, and other shipping elements on your checkout pages as soon as possible. It’ll help avoid sticker shock and keep customers around.
2. Let people see their cart on any page
Let’s stick with avoiding shopping cart abandons because they’re a big problem for eCommerce stores.
You can encourage spending and remind customers to start the checkout process to have the shopping cart on every page you offer. If someone has a personal spending limit, this will help them avoid going over, causing them to halt checkout instead of spending what they have with you.
Showing shopping carts and items, plus elements like estimated tax or shipping, can help people feel like you’re honest about pricing. It’s okay to ask for information here to estimate shipping (such as a ZIP code) or to note that tax relies on location so that information is provided at checkout.
Including these elements also gives you a perfect place to remind customers of a discount they’re getting, free shipping, or other promos applied to their cart.
Many eCommerce companies use this space to remind customers of other potential savings. You might be able to increase someone’s order value if the cart and total are visible while that user can still see the header that shows “free shipping for orders of $25 or more.”
Many of today’s carts are designed with WordPress integration in mind
Match your WordPress capabilities with the customization options available in the cart service you choose. Personalization enables you to quickly include and design the most crucial elements for your customers, and ultimately you can A/B test to find the perfect fit. Including payment info, such as a PayPal button, also helps encourage customers to buy from you.
3. Highlight your customers
People trust reviews, and they read them constantly. BrightLocal, which conducts annual trust surveys around online reviews, found that reviews significantly improve how people think about your brand, products, and trustworthiness.
In particular, it notes that the chance of someone buying a product with five reviews is 270% higher than a product with no reviews.
Consumers tend to read at least five reviews before they buy, but it takes closer to 10 reviews before they feel like they trust you. Ecommerce shops should highlight customer reviews to help capitalize and add proof of the claims you make.
You’ve probably seen this in your own shopping when you browse Amazon or other marketplace reviews to see if clothes fit, how people like the color of something, or if a product lasted.
For online stores, one of your best options is to put reviews on product pages. This shows customers the products in action and helps them get answers right within the page itself.
They don’t need to head to social channels or search on Google to find reviews of your product. Consider adding tags and search functionality to user reviews to make it even easier for potential customers to find the answers they need.
Consider options that demonstrate how they work within WordPress
Star ratings are a good place to start, but you’ll want to eventually expand to support text and photos, or even video, to help satisfied customers share the love.
An added bonus is that great reviews can be used as social content and ad content, with click-throughs landing right on those product pages. You’re able to target relevant terms and maximize your SEO efforts.
3. Start with professional photos, but UGC is excellent too
Lists of “top eCommerce design tips” often say you must only use professional-quality photos. That’s a smart place to start but not the whole story. Just like when they read reviews, users want to see themselves with your products.
In many cases, professional photos won’t do this, and user-generated content (UGC) can be found on your product pages or within reviews.
Consider asking people on social media to share what they love about your product and use a specific hashtag.
Screenshot or embed those posts directly on your pages to help highlight the real people who love what you offer. It opens the door to many deeper levels of engagement with your customers.
4. Focus on above the fold
You might’ve heard that people scroll more on websites now than they used to, but while this is generally true, consumers still spend most of their time at the top of your content and pages. The Nielsen Norman Group, which has ongoing surveys that track user scrolling and attention, says your shoppers spend more than 50% above the fold and nearly 75% of their time the first two screenfuls of content.
Capitalize on their attention to this space by putting your most valuable content at the top:
- Showcase products and main selling points, pricing, and buy buttons above the fold when possible.
- Consider moving your categories and other information to a sidebar instead of having it sit atop content.
- Use color blocking to associate groups of content together, so customers view it all.
- Headers, bold text, and italics can guide people where you want them to look but aren’t necessarily strong enough to push someone below the fold.
- Ensure elements look continuous if you have more details or buy buttons below the fold, or else a false sense of a content bottom will stop people from continuing to scroll.
- Provide context and desired information, either in graphics, links, or text, in the first two screenfuls. This should include links to refunds, returns, and other common policies.
- Treat the top of every page as the most important part.
HotJat’s heat map examples show where user look (left) and click (right)
As people scroll down, elements should slowly become less associated with buying motivation and the overall sale for a specific product. You should also test with users to understand what content doesn’t generate sales.
If you learn a specific element, such as corporate policy, doesn’t induce sales. Still, you do want it included, consider shifting it to the bottom and keeping it under product recommendations and suggestions that would cause people to navigate to a new page.
5. Don’t hide anything
Your customers might have finally realized what a hamburger menu icon is and will click it if they really want to learn more, but that’s work. Not everyone is going to do that work. For your store, reduce any elements that hide content or make things difficult to find.
Big, clear buttons are a good start. You might also want to look into menus that open automatically, without the user needing to click. This turns dropdowns into useful tools and avoids someone clicking on the wrong section or product.
Create menus and dropdowns that you would want to see on other sites
At the same time, you’ll want to minimize complexity within menus or those that make it hard to get to essential information because of their tiers. Get people to test your design and see what they like versus what they find hard to use. Your audience might not like hover text for elements or links or could find that your current FAQ is hard to use.
Keep things like return policies simple, and you’ll not only help people find what they need but could also improve your overall sales potential.
Continually Look for Visualization Opportunities in Your Online Shop Design
Modern shoppers are visual, which impacts a lot of the buying process that isn’t directly associated with your products. Continually look for bottlenecks and areas of confusion to see where you can visualize a policy or process.
For example, saying that your returns and refunds are easy is direct but not as compelling as a short visual highlighting the steps. Creating simple but clear images and graphics to walk people through a few steps can keep them engaged and make your policies feel as easy as they are.
You want to encourage people to trust you and demonstrating what you say is a core component of trust. Help potential customers see themselves buy from you, return goods, use chat support, and anything else you want to encourage. It builds trust and will set you apart from many of your smaller eCommerce stores.
If 2020 taught eCommerce businesses anything, it’s that the world can change in the blink of an eye. You’ll want to continually put best practices in place to encourage repeat purchases from existing customers and to make the sale to any new person who lands on your store.
Visualizations and the efforts behind them can be a smart way to keep your brand and website engaged with customers so that they’re more likely to buy from you again and again.
This is a guest post by Jake Rheude, he is the Director of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an eCommerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of eCommerce. He has years of experience in eCommerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.