Better Business By Design: Ecommerce Optimization

by Sophic Synergistics
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Tis the season when businesses welcome the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers and a boost to their bottom lines!

The world of cyber shoppers has leveled the playing field by helping smaller businesses to better compete with the big box stores. Especially now that online e-commerce site services are more accessible than ever! However, the design of your e-commerce site can make or break your business if you do not design for your customer and work hard to deliver the best experience possible. Specifically, you must intimately understand how your customer will want to use your website and what they expect when they interact and experience your products and services.  Whether you already have a website or are planning to build a new, utilizing human-centered design techniques can improve your ability to compete and deliver exceptional experiences. A customer friendly website will prevent confusion when users visit your site, create an interface that is easy to use, and allow customers to locate items quickly and efficiently! Here are a few tips about e-commerce website optimization to get you started!

Your customers shouldn’t need a compass to find exactly what they are looking for (or to find what they didn’t know they needed!). When your customers arrive at your web doorstep, do they immediately know where to go to find what they are looking for? If they don’t know what they are looking for, does your site give them the right information, in the right places, and in an effective way to find the items they may want to buy? These are some of the many scenarios you must consider when you are organizing your site to encourage customers to interact and browse products from your online store. Here are our tips for successful site navigation creation:

Less is always more!
Less scrolling, less searching, just less stuff!

Navigation Tools
Make sure your navigation bars and drop-down menus are grouped in a manner that contains items that have a natural connection with one another.

Include menu headers that match the items to be listed based on your customers’ expectations.

Search Function
Make sure to include a search function in case your headers or menu groupings don’t match user expectations and they are unable to find what they are looking for.

Make it easy to contact you!
Customers should be able to contact you directly or connect with you via social media with an easy click!

Easy Breezy
The more you make a customer work, the less likely they will continue to be a customer on your site. Make it all as easy as possible.

Another major pitfall is including too many “bells and whistles”. Think critically about how best to position your brand and what will naturally highlight your products or services. Customers are easily overwhelmed and become impatient with flashy graphics, too many/conflicting colors, unreadable font sizes, and long load times for content. You can lose a potential customer within 3-6 seconds if their immediate experience is not easy (that’s short)! Here’s what we recommend to help avoid a cluttered situation:

Images & Text
Avoid layering fonts on images, this is very difficult to read and can often cause users to miss items they are looking to buy.

Use Color Strategically
Minimize the nuber of different colors used on the website. Ensure that the colors chosen contrast well with each other. For example, you can use black on white or blue on white.

Don’t Make Users Zoom In
Do not use font sizes that are too small. A 10 pont or larger font works best.

Relevant Content Makes for More Sales
Make sure images match the products or servics and that videos are relevant to content and not used as fillers. You want to draw attention to the products and servcies, not distract from them.

User Experience And Successful Shopping

Your customers have arrived at your virtual Candy Shoppe in search of your best-selling fudge featured on the “Must Buy” Christmas list of 2016. When they arrive to your site, they land on an amazing video about how to make a simple 4-ingredient fudge. They click on the link, but nothing happens. The customer tries again, and now the site freezes. In less than 10 seconds, the customer becomes annoyed, leaves the site for a competitor, never buys the fudge they wanted and, worst of all, will never return. This is a business’s worst nightmare and the most catastrophic customer experience. Not only did your website design lose the sale, but you lost a new and potentially repeat customer. What can you do to avoid this?

Make sure your customers enter your site at a location that brings them to what they are looking for without distractions.

Featured Items
If you have a best-selling item, it should be featured front and center on your home page and be “findable” no matter where they are on your site.

Feedback, Feedback, Feedback
For every action your customer takes with your site, there should be immediate feedback to let them know that their action yielded the expected result. For example, after going through the checkout process, the website should provide immediate notification that their order was received successfully.

Quick & Easy
Make the entire experience easy with the least number of steps possible to browse, find, purchase, love your products or services, and come back again!

Incorporating a human centered design approach to all aspects of your business and customer experience will drive higher revenues and encourage repeat patronage every time!

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