Small Changes for Happier Customers
We asked Senior Drupal/UX Developer Andrew Chernauskas to put together a few words for us about the importance of user-friendly shopping cards from a UI-UX and user perspective. Read on for his thoughts on how to effectively put the power in the hands of the user and encourage purchase from home page to check out.
My wife and I had some extra time before our dinner downtown this past weekend, so we decided to pick up a few things we needed at a nearby store. Some windowshopping could have been a great addition to our date night. But the parking lot was a pain to navigate, the store was dimly lit and not laid out into clear sections, and the checkout line moved at a snail’s pace. We made the most of it, but I quickly remembered why I do most of my shopping online.
But these problems are not unique to physical retail! Too often, online stores can fall into similar blunders that add friction to the shopping experience and ultimately users abandon their cart without making a purchase. This can be up to 69% of our site’s visitors, according to research from the Baymard Institute. Buying something online shouldn’t be like completing an obstacle course!
There are a lot of small signals we pick up on when trying to discern credibility. Improvements to build trust and confidence in your site is a great place to start because it begins with content changes. Adding your customer support phone number and a clear link to your return policy on every page will reassure customers.
Clear, concise language goes a long way make the decision to buy simpler. For example, say when your shipment will arrive—instead of how long it’ll take—to avoid that extra mental math. Don’t forget the checkout complete page, where a helpful video tutorial about their new purchase will go a long way to increasing satisfaction in the purchase.
On the technical side, a secure certificate (https://) is a must-have in 2018 or customers will increasingly see “insecure site” warnings in their web browsers.
Whenever I’m building a site, it’s usually a juggling act to try to fit in everyone’s ideas. We’ve got to get users to sign up for our newsletter! Can we entice them with a discount? Better make sure they create an account! While providing a clear call-to-action is always a good idea, popping up windows and registration prompts will simply annoy customers.
Don’t be afraid to streamline! Are these dialogs important enough to prevent a purchase? Try integrating them as footers on the page or moving some to after checkout as helpful next steps instead of interruptions.
Nobody likes filling out forms
Speaking of interruptions, who loves doing their taxes? Then why do some checkouts feel like I’m filing with the IRS? Remove any unnecessary fields, default the billing address to be the same as shipping, and use ZIP code to pre-populate City and State fields. Even optional fields add clutter, so remove them or consider placing less important fields behind links or in accordion drawers.
The visual appearance of a form can speed things along. Always group similar elements together and left-align form fields on the page to make them easier to scan. Provide placeholder or mask text so phone number and credit card fields look like the numbers they represent. Be flexible to allow spaces and hyphens in these fields too; your software should clean those up, not the customer.
Don’t make assumptions about how your customers shop
Too often, designers and developers can build sites that match the way they would use them. While I’m usually using a laptop, most online sales are done using smartphones now. Make sure to design your catalog to scale down to smaller screens. While a shopping cart menu icon might be in the top right header on a desktop site, try moving it to the bottom of the screen to be within thumb’s reach on mobile.
Focusing development time to improve search will help shoppers who have done research elsewhere and know exactly which product they want. But spending time to improve catalog filters and categories, such as color or trend, will help those who prefer to browse. Think about how to serve those who prefer a “buffet style” of abundant options as well as those who prefer a “boutique” curated experience.
Simplicity and empathy
Making a site simple is actually not a simple thing at all! It’s tough to unite the needs of credit card processors, shipping providers, fulfillment requirements and more. But the best stores manage that complexity to provide simple storefronts and delightful shopping experiences. Taking the time to put yourself in your customers’ shoes will make them happier and less stressed—two things that every person is looking for more than any product.