Most common mistakes in e-commerce design
Here’s a quick guide to come of the biggest e-commerce no-nos that still pervade the marketplace today – whether you’re a small business in Portsmouth or a giant multinational, the same rules still apply.
If someone has reached your website looking for something, or come back to look up something they’ve seen before, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to find what they are looking for. Offering search-by-product-id can make looking up products a second time a doddle. Offering search-as-you-type in the search box, ready-categorized for the user to select in the dropdown, can bring a product search down to just a handful of characters.
Finally, it’s important to cover those cases where a user knows that they have seen something on your site but can’t remember what it’s called – so allowing users to browse and filter as specifically as possible will help them find what they are looking for.
Poor-quality product descriptions
Whether you are running a niche e-commerce site or dealing in high volume commodity items, it’s crucially important for customers to be able to tell that what you’re selling is what they want – the alternative is abandoned orders or returned goods. Great companies go the extra mile in their web shops to give customers not just one product image but multiple, hi-res images of different views of the product, and all the relevant dimensions and technical specs. Even things like the packaging size can be important for some users as they search for exactly the item they are looking for.
Complex checkout path
Once a customer has chosen to buy, get them to the checkout as fast as possible. Make sure that they can pay with as many different options as you can, so they don’t give up because they have the wrong card to hand. There is no need to lose a sale simply because you don’t take AMEX when there are so many new e-wallets like Google Wallet and Paypal available that can do the actual payment processing for you.
It’s also important that users aren’t impeded on their way to the checkout, either through things like mandatory account creation, specifying shipping information for virtual products, or through a clunky cart experience that hinders them adding everything they want to their order.
Inadequate store information
People really want to know who they are buying from when they use an e-commerce site so that they know that they are dealing with a trustworthy organization. Be as transparent and complete as possible. If you have an e-commerce store, plus two physical stores in Portsmouth and Brighton, for instance, list both their addresses and put in a map and contact details for each. Even if you don’t have a high street presence, listing a contact address along with a contact form can give people confidence. It all adds up to the reassurance that a customer needs to be able to press that ‘buy’ button.
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