You’ve built your brand new e-commerce website, but so have others – new direct-to-consumer and technology-driven brands just keep popping up every week, on every street corner, on every phone. To say that online competition is getting increasingly fierce would be an understatement at this point. That’s why the majority of companies are in constant search for ways to get ahead. There are a lot of website elements able to boost your sales such as the creation of new forms of sales-focused content, but taking care of them all by yourself is both expensive and time-consuming. That’s why you need to be smart and utilize your most powerful resource – your customers.
No matter how hard you’ve worked on your UX, you should never make the mistake of considering it perfect – it is the area where all the details matter. You should always test your site, take and analyze feedback, and continue the search for ways which will provide a smoother customer experience. The fundaments of user experience may haven’t changed that much, but the ways in which we approach them certainly did. The standard of e-commerce UX has become more sophisticated and slicker over the last couple of years, and in 2019 this will only continue. Especially when we consider technological advancements which are making way for some monumental changes.
Since this leap of technology has a growing role in our everyday life, commerce has developed hundreds of new ways to reach customers over the last decade. As more and more buyers are choosing the experience of shopping online, more and more sellers are starting new channels and developing new methods to respond to this rising trend. That’s why we’ve picked out some e-commerce consumer-based trends we’ll be seeing more in the future due to their potential impact on the user experience. These trends are not necessarily new, as much as they’re a continuation of development which has the potential to become much bigger.
Bring Your Reviews to More Intimate Level
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Customer feedback is definitely not a new trend. Personal recommendations were one of the most powerful decision makers for the majority of consumers even before the internet. The online revolution has just brought us to the stage where we don’t have to rely on individuals any longer. Now we’re able to scan feedback all across the globe, from hundreds of customers. Some businesses have actually made this their main strategy for selling their products and services, Airbnb being the best example.
It’s undeniable that reviews are becoming increasingly important, just think about your own online shopping method – the chances you’ll settle for anything less than 4 stars on Amazon are pretty slim, right? That’s why it’s important to bring them to a more intimate level, meaning that you need to focus on the finer details. This requires collecting more information than ever before – this way consumers will be able to fine-tune their reviews in search of customer profiles which are most like their own.
Utilize Tribal Recommendations
Reviews are not the only way to bring customer content into your product pages. Humans have always been social animals, and the online world with the growing network of friends has just made our ʽtribesʼ bigger. This is why even the words of complete strangers can influence our decisions if they’re like-minded individuals. Our tribes have become fluid so they can easily accommodate other shoppers in any e-commerce store.
This is how tribal recommendations can be born and used as powerful drivers for increasing customer conversion. All you have to do it to encourage your consumers to talk to one another and provide them with means to accomplish that. They need to be able to ask the active online shopping public any questions they might have, but also to help other indecisive shoppers in need. Just keep in mind that your official customer service still needs to be one click away if they need it.
You can additionally boost this chat system which focuses on specific needs by taking a more broad approach. Just encourage your consumers to post the longer form of content – there’s nothing more engaging than real people sharing their own real stories. As SEO professionals from Brisbane company constantly point out, the first step for increased traffic and higher conversion rate lies in targeting the right audience. And what can be more precise than consumer-written content? All you need is a community of members ready to share their experience. Glossier is a great example, where the members of their community share their personal beauty regimes with focus on the part their products play in it. Of course, some of those members are their partners, but there are also many loyal paying customers.
Step Out of Photography Studio
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Not only written content can be consumer-made. Photography has always been a powerful tool of any e-commerce business, and crowdsourcing it through Instagram is an increasingly growing trend. This is the most obvious when it comes to athleisure and sportswear brands – more and more of them are showing their products on the bodies of ʽordinaryʼ athletes – everyday people like you and me. The consumers are far more likely to connect with products out there in the world where they truly belong, far away from the fake environments of photography studios.
The advantage of this approach is mutual. On one hand, this kind of social proof gives your potential customers a very convincing nudge towards the sale. On the other, existing consumers are at the same time offered an avenue to participate. The opportunity to give back to the brands they feel loyal to is not their only motivation – the possibility of having your photo featured on some major company’s website is also quite thrilling. In other words, it’s a pretty clever hook that’s able to bring the consumers back to the site even when they’re not thinking about buying.
Precise Details And Relevant Options
A recent study has clearly shown that users’ expectations are changing. These expectations, especially when it comes to UX, are shaped by best and biggest sites. It’s time to face the fact – most of the time they spend on other sites, not yours. So everything they see on those presentable big sites is what drives their expectations in terms of UX. It is not easy to keep up with all that, but there are things in e-commerce user experience that are most important to consumers.
Number one expectation lies in precise details – total prices, delivery timescales, order-status messages, inventory data, etc. Since Amazon has all this worked out, people will expect nothing less and will be wondering why others can’t provide the information they require. But the accuracy of information is not everything. You can have it all set up, but if it’s not organized in a consumer-based way, that will interrupt their flow. That’s why all your information needs to have clarity and to be presented in a user-friendly way. Maybe not all the information can be presented on product pages without interrupting the user flow, but you need to make sure key information – price, availability, and delivery – are communicated.
The second important expectation is all about relevant options. People are used to seeing certain options on big sites we’ve mentioned above, so they want to see them everywhere and to be able to select the one which suits them the best. This mostly goes for delivery options and return policies. This information should be well communicated to consumers and easy to find, but it’s equally important to provide all the options they’re searching for. These are the things which can make or break the sale. If they want a product really quick and there’s not an option for that (or if they can’t find it right away), they’ll immediately go look elsewhere. That’s why it’s important to know what others are offering – if it’s cheap and flexible delivery options such as ʽnext dayʼ, consumers will expect it on your site, too.
Design From The UX Perspective
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Website design has also evolved into a powerful consumer-based trend. By now you should be acquainted with modern psychology behind UX design, but there’s more than consumer emotions to it. The key to selling goods via the website or mobile applications lies in the minimal program of actions. Your most important goal is to have your consumers buying through your app or website again and again. This consumer retention is the number one condition of growing profits.
This is where design tweaks can make all the difference with their impact on usability, accessibility, and desirability. It should be used to make the customer journey easy and clear, without the frustration of missing feedbacks, lost loading time due to the inconvenient menu or overloaded pages, unnecessary clicks, etc. You should also be pay attention that your design can easily be used by every category of consumers, for example, the ones with the low level of tech literacy or the ones with disabilities such as color-blindness or dyslexia. And there is, of course, the need for your app to feel and look good in order to make an enjoyable experience and make consumers wish to get back again. These core aspects of the consumer-based design approach deserve more in-depth observation.
Complete Purchases Instead of Wows
Breathtaking images and trendy and stylish design can put together an amazing website, but its success won’t be measured in a number of ʽwowsʼ it’ll bring out. The real measure for efficiency is the number of complete purchases. Design turns into nothing more than a pretty picture if users don’t buy and you’re losing money. This is why intuitive navigation is crucial, providing perfect understanding at each step of interaction.
Consumers are asking themselves a lot of simple things along the way – how they can see reviews and ratings, how they can contact the seller, how can they save items to check later, how they can choose between options for the same item, how they can see detailed information, how they can pay for an item, how long is the page loading process, where are the search filters, how to get back to catalog or home page, where’s the menu, what page are they at, etc.
As you can see, there are many questions, meaning that every link and every button can change the conversion significantly and therefore plays a crucial role. And, most importantly, you should keep in mind that consumers are not willing to wait and waste their time on unnecessary operations. If you don’t provide them with an experience which is more convenient, easier, and faster compared to going to the actual store, they’ll immediately look for it elsewhere.
Know The Stages of Your Sales Funnel
The goal of the sales funnel technique is to move consumers through several stages of involvement providing them with necessary information about the product and its benefits and therefore persuading them to make the purchase.
In order to make this technique successful, you need to be aware of its stages.
- The first one is the introductions stage which needs to build awareness. This means initial information about your products such as their nature and brand name. It is basically a stage where the consumer learns that your products or services exist on the market.
- The second is the education stage which needs to build interest. This is where more detailed information is needed, such as benefits and features of the product. Keep in mind that the focus for potential interest needs to be aimed at solving their problems.
- The third is the evaluation stage which needs to offer analysis. This means that consumers need to be able to compare your offers with the ones of competitors so they can obtain the information about USPs regarding the offered products and services.
- The fourth is the decision stage which needs to produce engagement. It is where you provide consumers with final vital arguments which will engage them to make a decision. These arguments can come in the form of an explanation of the purchase process, engaging CTAs, data about special offers or additional bonuses, or a short summing-up of the core benefits of a certain offer.
- The fifth is the purchase stage where the consumer makes a decision to make the purchase and the sale is done.
- The last is the retaining stage which needs to create a wish to repeat the experience. This is where you need to enable consumers to subscribe to updates, obtain additional contacts, leave feedback – in other words, to provide them with a chance to repeat the purchase easily.
Being aware of these stages of the sales funnel will provide you with engaging, informative, and consumer-centric design solutions.
If you’ve expected rising trends such as voice search, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality, these are promising for e-commerce UX, but they’re far too young to be consumer-based. On the other hand, trends represented here have been around long enough to gather enough information about consumer behavior and make the necessary tweaks. Reviews have become more intimate, consumer chat has turned into stories, photos have left the studio. Information has grown a lot more precise and adapted to the user flow, while the design has taken the UX perspective in order to follow the stages of the sales funnel and boost the number of complete purchases.