If you are thinking of starting an online store or have an existing store then you want to look into UX Design. UX design is one of the most important areas of your online presence and helps you set yourself apart from the competition.
What is UX Design?
The following definition will help in context to an online store:
How people interact with the site that creates a positive experience about the products.
UX design is not simply looking at the visuals of the store or website. It goes beyond that as the definition shows. Here are a few questions that will help review your site in line with UX Design principles:
- How fast does the site load?
- Is the site easy to navigate?
- Can customers find the products easily?
- What is the first impression people get from your site?
- Is design in sync with the copy?
UX Design Guidelines for Ecommerce
Checkout our guidelines on UX Design particularly adapted for an ecommerce website:
- Function over form
- Customer-centric design
- Copy leads design
- Intuitive Navigation
- Mobile UX
- Lead Generation
- Customer Retention
- Credibility and Customer Retention
- Customer Service
1 – Function Over Form
Steve Jobs was a big advocate of function over form and made sure that not only his products but the packaging was also designed to provide a particular user experience to his customers. In fact, in his autobiography it is mentioned how he decided to simplify the design of the first iPod to not have digital radio or any other feature built in. Learning from that, our philosophy in design is to prioritise the functionality and the purpose a particular design is to serve. There are a lot of themes out there with complex design features that look great but at the same time slow down the site and at times divert customer’s attention from what’s really important.
Watch out for the following features by theme developers which may look good but can slow your site down:
- Video background
- Fancy code
2 – Customer Centric Design
We are living in an era where people don’t go to the high street first when they are looking for something to buy, they go on Amazon, Ebay and other similar market places. Does that really provide you with a platform to stand apart from competition? The answer is no. Market places are suitable for price sensitive customers buying generic products. If you want to differentiate your products, ordering process, customer service and how customers engage with your products, then the market places are not for you, you then need a bespoke ecommerce site which allows you to directly engage with your customers and build your own bespoke ordering system.
Single Page Subscription Form for Little Magic Box
Little Magic Box is an example of customer centric design. Visit the subscription page to see how we built a bespoke subscription page which allows customers to select a mystery box, enter details of their child and then subscribe to it on monthly basis. This type of process not only builds recurring monthly income for the business but also creates a unique experience for the customer which they cannot receive by visiting market places.
My experience with Tabaq Technologies has been excellent. They are excellent at what they do and provide a great Customer Service and have been more than helpful!. The team Tabaq worked hard to work with my requirements to give me the website I wanted to start my e-commerce store with. The team is quick is respond, always there to give me professional advice and would go out of their way to help me solve any issues. I’m very happy with their service and will definitely recommend it to anyone who will need a Shopify expert!
-Director, Little Magic Box
Here are some companies that chose not to sell on market places but instead opted to develop their own customer centric websites:
3 – Copy Leads Design
For UX Design, it is really important that the visuals designs and media used on the website is based on the copy. Our client, Kitzini is a great example of that. Kitzini sells kitchen products to the US and EU markets and needed their website to deliver the right content to their audiences. Based on their unique content for both regions, we created two websites, one for US and another for the EU market. Both sites use different units of measurement (Centigrade or Farhenheit), lingo, jargons and phrases which people are familiar with. Visit the two sites here:
Tabaq have been great at advising and trouble shooting a relatively complex multi-country project. From the first brief we were impressed with their grasp of our objectives and challenges and with their advice. The final store is just what we are l ooking for and we are excited to continue working with them to drive increased traffic to our new store.
-Vanessa Burrow, Kitzini
4 – Intuitive Navigation
Most eCommerce sites tend to navigate the same way but what if you want to optimise the customer journey and provide a unique experience to your customers based on your business processes and USPs. Wiltshire Farm Foods did just that. They have dedicated drivers for a particular area who know their customers by first name. When you order something from their store, they take your post code first and check availability of products in that area. Through custom developed ordering system on the site, they are able to deliver a unique experience to their customers which would not have been possible through market places.
Our client Hotbox Storage is another example where bespoke product page designs were created to facilitate selection of products, their respective accessories and supportive media to aid with the selection process.
See how we started off by designing the product page wireframe below:
5 – Mobile UX
Almost 50% of users on average use mobile devices to access online sites. In some cases it’s more than 50% percent. If your mobile site is not optimised to deliver the same customer experience as the desktop site, then 50% of your potential customers are losing out without you even being aware of it.
Whether it’s the location of the search bar, bespoke order process or placement of product reviews, review your mobile site to make sure it is responsive and delivers a high level of customer experience.
6 – Lead Generation
Lead generation is great way of building leads from your website and creating opportunities for engaging with your potential customers. For example, for Kitzini, we built an automated lead capture system that allows customers to download recipe ebooks from the site and in return they leave their contact details behind. The lead information is automatically segmented on the basis of products customer has show interest in which allows Kitzini to send automated discounts, newsletters and offers to potential customers. A great way to increase your conversions, don’t you think?
7 – Credibility and Customer Retention
UX Design builds credibility for the website and helps with customer retention. Enhanced business processes such as the subscription page for Little Magic Box, free downloadable recipe ebooks for Kitzini and customised product selectors for Hotbox ensure the customers enjoy the experience every time they interact with the site.
8 – Customer Service
Customer service is vital when it comes to high street retail. Can you walk in to a high street store and imagine no one approaches you, answers your questions, solve your issues and completely ignore you? Would you buy from that store? Well, the same applies to online stores. The level of customer service you can provide through your site depends on your business model and the products you sell. Take the example of Liberty Games, they only sell through their website because they want to make sure customers get the best of service. Their drivers are trained to install all the products they sell.
Think about what your customers may need on your site. Do they need to speak to someone by phone? Would they rather chat with someone online? Can you provide tooltips and help popups that can educate your clients about the tech, materials or options you provide with your products?
All of the above will help you develop a level of customer service on your website which will enhance the user experience and will differentiate you from your competition.
9 – What can you do for your site?
I have listed the following points that you can use to analyse your website:
- KYC – Know Your Customer
- Google Analytics
- Site Audit
- Usability testing
- Test Cases
- A/B testing
- Heat maps
- Workflow / funnel
- Drop off points
The above points will be covered in detail in another blog, so stay tuned.