This is the most complete guide to improving your ecommerce store’s user experience.
So if you want to:
- Create an ecommerce store that converts SUPER well
- See examples of world’s best ecommerce UX designs
- Learn new user design tips that are working great right now
Then you’ll love the detailed strategies in today’s guide.
Let’s jump right in.
What is User Experience?
User experience, or UX, is the core of your brand and the products on your ecommerce store. UX is the design and functionality of your website that allows your customers to perform the exact actions they desire easily.
By definition, user experience refers to the quality of the user’s interaction with your website and their perception of how it made them feel.
With ecommerce user experience, it’s not all about how great your website looks but how well it works.
No matter how good your products are or how big a discount you’re offering, website visitors will inevitably bounce when faced with poor website functionality.
In fact, statistics show that 88% of online shoppers are unlikely to return to a website after facing a bad user experience.
Furthermore, studies show that 70% of online businesses fail because of bad usability.
Based on these statistics, it’s evident how necessary a good user experience is in ecommerce stores.
Why Is User Experience Important for Ecommerce Stores?
The 2020 pandemic caused a burst of growth to an already growing ecommerce industry.
In particular, all 32 national markets covered by emarketer experienced double-digit ecommerce growth in 2020.
Worldwide Ecommerce Sales Growth, by Region (% change):
- Latin America: +36.7%
- North America: +31.8%
- Central & Eastern Europe: +29.1%
- Asia-Pacific: +26.4%
- Western Europe: +26.3%
- Middle East & Africa: +19.8%
- Worldwide: +27.6%
Furthermore, global ecommerce sales in 2021 expect to reach $4.89 trillion compared to $4.28 trillion in 2020.
The goal of improving your ecommerce user experience is to capitalize on this drastic market growth. This is achieved by creating a user experience that converts more impulse purchases, satisfies each user’s need, reduces cart abandonment, and drives overall revenue higher.
You can bet your best dollar that the top brands in the world are investing millions of dollars into their website’s user experience.
Indeed, companies such as Amazon, Apple, and Nike owe much of their success to the user-centered design approach they’ve implemented.
Apple’s website is the holy grail of a modern and practical user experience. I recommend taking some time and analyzing how Apple optimized its website so well.
A recent study conducted by Forrester Research discovered that a well-designed user experience could increase conversions up to 400%.
So I recommend doing whatever you can to improve your own store’s user experience as well.
User experience is all about human engagement, knowing your user, and creating an unforgettable experience.
Luckily for you, I’ll be going over 80 essential UX tips you can implement immediately on your ecommerce store today.
What is the UX Design Process?
A user experience design process focuses entirely on the user and what their end goal is.
In truth, UX designers are experts in stepping into the shoes of others, understanding what their needs are, and creating journeys that will fulfill the users’ goals.
By pretending you’re an actual user, you’ll be able to optimize their experience based on how users expect to use the website.
UX designers are able to find opportunities for website improvement based on their ability to understand and relate to complex user problems.
Even if you’re not a professional UX designer, or even if you are, I’ll go over 80 crucial UX tips that you can implement on your ecommerce immediately.
Top 80 Tips To Optimize Your Ecommerce User Experience
Now, you should understand how critical a good user experience is for ecommerce stores.
Let’s dive into the best UX practices ecommerce store designers should implement today.
These tips are all separated by section, so it’s easier for you to follow.
The flow of your website is how fluidly everything comes together when a user is interacting with it. The movements from section to section and page to page should be smooth and consistent.
1. Put key information at the top of the page where users are most likely to notice it. Nike’s website is an excellent example because the first thing displayed on the homepage is the upcoming Black Friday sale.
2. Don’t overcomplicate your website patterns and interface. Users are disinterested in learning something new, so keep your website design simple and easy to understand.
3. Avoid having any dead-end pages on your ecommerce store. These are usually ‘About Us‘ or ‘Return Policy‘ pages that leave the user without suggestions of where to go next. So, make sure to include clear paths a user can follow on every page.
4. Use a consistent and straightforward web interface, so users can concentrate on the content and proceed along fluidly.
5. If you’ve ever been to an IKEA furniture store before, you’ve experienced the immersive store layout that makes shopping fun and convenient. IKEA makes it easy to find precisely what you’re looking for but also entices individuals into looking at many other products as well. The same needs to be done for the user experience on your ecommerce store. You need to create a design that transports users effortlessly from one section to another by understanding the users’ needs and goals.
It should be easy to scroll on your website on both desktop and mobile devices. Users expect a smooth transition as they scroll for more information.
6. Longer web pages decrease the chance of a user scrolling all the way to the bottom.
7. However, website users are likely to keep scrolling down as long as they know there is relevant and supplementary information below. So, make sure your longer web pages are filled with valuable information to the user. Morphe showcases great visual cues by showing the header ‘LIMITED TIME ONLY‘, which entices users to continue scrolling down the homepage.
8. There should be clear visual cues on your website of which direction the user is scrolling and if there is more information available below.
9. It’s important to remember that running web pages offer more convenience than clicking into new pages. However, as with everything, there’s a balance. So make sure your pages aren’t drastically long.
Contrast & Color
Your website’s colors define your brand and allow users to distinguish different information easily. For this reason, it’s essential to use colors that are both visually aesthetic and pair well together.
10. Only use one color on your ecommerce website for internal and external links. Having the link color elsewhere can be confusing for users.
11. Use warm and bright colors to bring out key information and cold, darker shades in the background. Asos does a fantastic job at using bright colors to highlight the most critical information on the page.
12. Check how your website colors look on a mobile device. Screen glare causes websites with massive contrast to become unreadable.
13. Only use one color for every call-to-action (CTA) on your ecommerce store. Avoid using the chosen color for anything other than the CTA.
14. Keep color blind users in mind when you’re designing your store. You can convert your designs to greyscale so that everyone can read the content.
Slow loading times are massive inhibitors for success in ecommerce stores. For this reason, your website must load quickly.
15. How fast your website feels in the users’ minds (their perception) is even more important than how fast it actually loads.
16. Load time, waiting times, load behavior, and smoothness of animations make up the perception of your website’s speed in the user’s mind. Skullcandy’s website features smooth animation transitions when you hover over a specific product.
17. Ensure that each user can complete their primary goal effortlessly and efficiently.
18. Delays that last for more than a few seconds will cause users to bounce.
Research shows that 72.9% of all ecommerce sales are generated with mobile devices. This is up 14% from 2017 as more users turn to their phones to make online purchases. For this reason, it’s critical to design a user experience that’s highly efficient on mobile devices.
19. Keep in mind whether users use one hand or two hands when using their mobile device. Most individuals either use their phone with one hand, so be sure your mobile website is optimized for these users.
20. It’s difficult for users to accurately tap different elements if they are too small or close together. Samsung showcases great spacing between clickable elements as well as an overall well-designed mobile experience.
21. If a user is using their pinky finger on your ecommerce website, this means that your mobile elements are too small.
22. Tablet users can easily access the bottom and sides of the screen with their thumbs.
23. Make sure vertical swiping is only used for standard website scrolling.
24. Avoid using double-taps for mobile users. Single touch is much more efficient for mobile users to interact with.
25. In terms of touch targets, the minimum size of these mobile elements should be at least 1cm x 1cm with proper padding.
The navigation menu of your ecommerce store is where users find the products they’re interested in.
26. Make sure there’s a clear and easy way to access your ecommerce store’s navigation menu. H&M offers a simple yet effective navigation menu that utilizes every UX navigation tip.
27. Users should be able to find whatever they’re looking for in a maximum of three clicks. So, if your website hierarchy is more than three layers deep, you should reconstruct your store’s navigation.
28. If your ecommerce store’s homepage runs long, you should consider using a sticky navigation menu that stays on the screen while users scroll down.
29. Keep your navigation design consistent. It should look the same on each page because a changing navigation menu will confuse users and deter them away.
30. A well-designed navigation menu is easy to access and use but also fades into the background.
31. Leave breadcrumbs on each page so that the user always understands where they are.
32. Use specific navigation labels with only 2 to 3 words each.
33. For your website’s mobile navigation, only show the most regularly used options and conceal the other options under a hamburger menu.
34. However, don’t use hamburger menus on your website’s desktop navigation since they’re more confusing to users.
35. Make sure the menu dropdowns are vertical and not horizontal. Scrolling horizontally is much more difficult and inconvenient for users.
For ecommerce stores, forms are typically seen on newsletter pop-ups and checkout pages.
36. Enable autofill and autocorrect on your checkout pages. When these features are enabled, it’s much easier for users to fill in the correct information on desktop and mobile devices. Users should be able to tap the first entry and select their pre-filled information as shown below.
37. Avoid requiring any unnecessary information on your ecommerce website’s forms. You should only request information that’s important and going to be used. This avoids confusion by having too much information and allows users to complete the form quickly.
38. Use a single-column layout for your form designs. By using only one column instead of multiple, your users will be able to navigate through the form more comfortably.
39. Don’t forget to check what your website form looks like on mobile devices. Each text box on your form should be easy to type in and access.
40. If there’s an entry box on your form that requires a long-form answer, make sure to provide an input constraint. This will prevent excessively long responses and allow users to understand what’s expected from them.
41. Make sure all error-causing are shown at the same time. Furthermore, ensure that the error is displayed next to each problematic field, so the user understands which entry is causing the issue.
42. For ecommerce websites, it’s important to use multi-step forms when necessary. For example, checkout pages typically require different categories of information such as ‘Personal‘, ‘Shipping Address‘, ‘Billing Address‘, and ‘Payment‘. So, make sure your forms are organized in a way that’s easily understandable to the user.
43. Provide crystal clear CTA buttons on your website’s forms. CTA buttons are what allows your users to submit a form or move on to the next step. For this reason, your action buttons should be easy to see.
44. The field labels on your form should be outside of the text field. Inline field labels can potentially cause users to forget what they’re supposed to type in.
Website links allow users to reach key pages without any inconvenience.
45. Every internal or external link on your ecommerce website should stand out. I recommend using blue text and/or underling each link to indicate hyperlinks. Keep the color of the links consistent throughout your website. Furthermore, don’t use the same color for any non-linking text on your website. You can also design your links to change color when hovered, as Bungie Store displayed below.
46. The link text should clearly indicate where the user will be directed to. Don’t force users to click on the link in order to find out where it goes.
47. Once a user clicks a link, make sure that the link’s text is shown in a different color, so the user remembers they visited that link already.
48. If you’re referencing a full URL somewhere on your ecommerce website, make sure the link goes directly to that specific URL.
49. Users expect to be able to click specific ecommerce website elements such as product images and reviews.
The buttons on your ecommerce store are used by users to perform essential actions as they interact with your website.
50. Every button on your ecommerce website should look clickable and offer enough space for users to click or tap effortlessly. Although FashionNova has buttons that say ‘Hoodies & Sweats‘ and ‘Essentials‘, the entire images are actually clickable. This makes it easy for users to dive into the collections they want.
51. For mobile devices, buttons that change or delete input data should be harder to tap to prevent accidental touches.
52. Your ecommerce store should clearly indicate that a button was clicked within 0.1 seconds of the interaction.
53. If your website features a flat design, make sure the action buttons are clearly visible and labeled, so it’s easy for the user to understand their purpose.
54. Use contrasting background colors and borders as well as an action-oriental label on your action buttons, so users understand they’re clickable.
55. Frequently used action buttons on your website should be large and put in easy-to-access locations.
Search functionality allows users to find specific products or information.
56. Unless you have a one-product ecommerce store or a website with shallow content, always implement a search function.
57. As users are typing in a search query, the search field needs to be wide enough to see all of their text. Glorious PC Gaming Race offers an easy-to-find search function with a wide text box.
58. Make sure the search function is easy for users to find. Typically, users expect it to be in the top-right corner of your website.
59. For desktop users, the search function should appear like a text box. For mobile users, using a search icon instead of a text box saves space and is easy to locate.
Carousel images are when images are rotated between a small set of different pictures.
60. You should avoid using carousels on ecommerce stores because each new slide presents even more information that the user has to remember. Typically, only 1% of users click on carousel slides, so it’s an ineffective way of introducing offers. Rather than using carousel images, it’s more effective to separate the hero image into different images.
61. When using carousels, it isn’t easy to see the dots on mobile devices. For this reason, use images that peak from both the right and left-hand sides. Furthermore, it would help if you used descriptive labels instead of carousel navigation arrows, so the user understands what to expect.
62. Carousels that automatically change images should be changed to manual configuration once a user interacts with the carousel.
Accordions are used to hide lengthy or supplementary text.
63. Accordions are great at squashing lengthy information on mobile ecommerce websites.
64. If you’re using accordions on your website, make sure there’s an option for users to collapse the information once they’ve finished reading it. Allbirds showcases an effective accordion that displays helpful information for individuals wanting to learn more about the product.
65. Accordions should be used on an as-needed basis. The benefit of accordions on mobile websites is that they’re more convenient than in-page jump links. However, the disadvantage of using accordions on mobile websites is that they cause an increased interaction cost.
User Hints & Help
Hints and help features on your ecommerce improve user experience by offering critical advice.
66. Specific instructions and tips on your ecommerce store should be concise and graphically different from other elements on your website.
67. Only use help sections and FAQs when appropriate. Users are usually unwilling to use any help features on websites. Raycon displays an effective FAQ section because the FAQ section provides genuinely helpful answers to common questions.
Icons can be used on your ecommerce store to enhance the visual aesthetic and to provide additional value.
68. If you’re using icons on your ecommerce website, they should visually describe their purpose. Keep your icons memorable, meaningful, and straightforward.
69. Only use icons when completely necessary, and don’t overuse icons on your website. For ecommerce stores, icons come in the form of social media icons and trust badges used on product pages and checkout pages.
The content on your website should be fully valuable without any fluff or unnecessary information.
70. Straightforward and concise terms are more convenient than industry jargon or trendy slang for website navigation.
71. The most essential information on your ecommerce website should always visually stick out. So, put the important information at the top of your web page. Gymshark’s website is entirely void of fluff and uses a few words and images to get its main message across.
72. Use contrasting colors and size differences to diversify essential information from supporting content.
Ecommerce Store Readability
Users must be able to read everything on your website.
73. Users typically scan text first before actually reading. So, use short and effective statements as well as different visual elements to make scanning more convenient. Raycon uses powerful and concise copywriting to describe the various products offered.
74. Remember, readability is all about whether users want to read something. For this reason, use effective copywriting that hits on the users’ key pain points.
75. To increase website readability, use wider line spacing between bulleted lists, lines, and paragraphs. You should go through your website yourself and see if there are ways to improve readability.
76. Use popular and easy-to-read fonts and font sizes on your ecommerce website.
77. Avoid small fonts and long paragraphs on all devices.
78. Make sure the font size for mobile devices is scaled to the user’s screen size.
79. Avoid using ALL CAPS in your product descriptions.
80. Steer clear of italicized text as it’s harder to read for users.
I hope you enjoyed my definitive guide to improving ecommerce user experience.
Now I’d like to hear from you: which tips from today’s in-depth guide will you implement today?
Are you well on your way to fully optimizing your ecommerce store’s UX?
Are there any essential tips I forgot to mention?
At any rate, let me know by leaving a quick comment below.