Make Your Ecommerce Website More Usable

Make Your Ecommerce Website More Usable

January 05, 2015

It has never been easier to build an ecommerce website. Alongside the multitude of Open Source solutions stand a wide range of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) websites that allow users to build customized websites without having any programming skills. Aside from that, it has probably never been easier to find a programmer or programming company that will produce a custom website exactly to your specifications. 

Regardless of the solution or platform or programmer you choose, ensuring your website is going to be used for its purpose is your goal. The bells and whistles should all add up to one thing - increased sales

What does it mean to make a website more 'usable'?
The purpose of an ecommerce website is to enable visitors to make a purchase. If your visitors can navigate your website design easily, and more of the visitors to your site make a purchase than do not, then your website design can be considered usable. If, on the other hand, visitors get lost when navigating your site, and, as a result, the bulk of visitors do not ultimately make a purchase, your website cannot really be considered usable. A usable ecommerce website helps convert visitors into customers.

What are the specifications of a good ecommerce website?
There is no particular matrix of specifications a good ecommerce website requires, rather a series of recommendations that, if adhered to, drive users to the 'BUY' button.

Intuitive design
Possibly the first of these is an intuitive design. There is really no point running promotions and having top quality products at rock bottom prices if you visitors can't find what they are looking for. Observe your customers using your site - do they know where they are going? Do they know when they have arrived?

Straightforward signup
If you hook a visitor and convert him or her into a customer, the first step is registration. If the registration process is long and complex, or requires visitors to reveal too much information, you might just put them off. Name and email address are really all an ecommerce site needs to operate. Consider also if it is absolutely necessary to have a signup process for your visitors. Yes, the data visitors leave behind after signup is great for your marketing, etc., but if your goal is a sale, consider carefully the advantages of gathering that data over a making an immediate sale.

Keep your 'Search Box' visible
The success of your site is dependent on people finding the products they are looking for, and regardless of how well organized your content is and how intuitive your design, research suggests that visitors to ecommerce websites often end up buying something they DIDN'T originally go to a site to purchase. This means that visitors act on impulse. Often things pop into their heads while they are using a site and a well-placed Search Box means that once this occurs, your visitors can follow their impulses to a completed transaction.

A well-designed search function
The 'Search Box' you always keep visible should be as simple a search function as possible. However, some visitors might arrive with a bag of requirements. Ensure that whatever they are searching for (clothes, telecommunications, etc.) a valid set of search criteria are available, particularly price ("Under £100", "Between £150 and £200", etc.).

A clear 'Call To Action'
Only too often ecommerce websites do not have a clear 'Call To Action', meaning a visitor goes through a site and can't figure out how to buy something. Clear and ever present labels ensure that when your visitors are ready to buy, they know how to do so. You need to spend a bit of time putting a 'Call To Action' in the right place - observe people using your design and listen to customer feedback. Be ready to experiment until the optimal position is found on each page.

Breadcrumbs with active links
'Breadcrumbs' are a navigational tool that shows someone where they have arrived. Usually they are at the top of the bottom of a page and look something like this:
Mobile phones > Android > Samsung > Galaxy > S6
As you can see, the sections leading to the page you are on are noted. Well-designed breadcrumbs will allow you to click on the separate components. For example, clicking on Samsung will allow you to see other Samsung mobiles, clicking on Android allow you to see other Android phones, and clicking on Mobile phones allow visitors to see all mobile phones available, regardless of OS.

Make it secure
Nobody feels 100% comfortable buying online, especially on a site they are using for the first time, so make people feel as secure as possible. First, if people are going to leave sensitive data, get an SSL certificate - Google likes them too. This adds a layer of security to your site. In addition, signup for services like SiteGuard to show that your site is free of viruses or malware.

Keep costs up front
Imagine going through the process to buy something and you hit the 'BUY' button and the final cost is MORE than you expected. People are rightly upset when this happens and some might even go so far as to think they are being scammed. Make sure taxes and service charges, etc. are FULLY explained along the way. Make sure there are no nasty surprises for your visitors.

Loss leaders
Everyone wants a bargain. Give your visitors some real bargains on a regular basis. Even if it appears on paper providing loss leaders will cost you money, weigh up the benefits of your site being recognized as a place where bargains exist.

Personalize browsing history 
To the extent possible, when a visitor comes back to your site, remind them of what they were looking at last time they visited. It might be they were distracted last time and never got to a sale. Personalized browsing history will guide visitors back to what they were previously looking for.

Add your contact info
Make sure ALL of your contact details are on your site - your address, your telephone number, your email address - everything. Nobody will buy from a website they can't contact if all goes wrong.

Speak to ClickseeDesign
ClickseeDesign's expertise extends to designing state-of-the-art ecommerce websites with a wide range of functionalities. Let ClickseeDesign help you to meet your ecommerce goals by designing a website the meets your exact requirements. Contact us today and speak to one of our representatives.