UX and its importance in e-commerce
Two days ago I had to buy a gift for my parents on their anniversary and I was too occupied to roam around in the market or to go and shop in a mall. I quickly checked some cool dresses online for them and got it delivered on that day. It was so easy and the entire process was done in just a few clicks.This is the power of e-commerce. In most straightforward terms, e-commerce is buying and selling of goods or services online. It includes the entire selection process, buying/selling and online transaction for payments. We all are using e-commerce, whether we book flight/train tickets online, buy products online, buy holiday packages online, etc.
E-commerce, in its initial days, was just a complementary medium. But due to its broad reach and open marketplace, it boomed in no time. In the last decade, e-commerce has evolved as a medium not only for e-trade but also for e-banking, e-wallets and diverse form of e-marketing. Now to attract customers and retain their loyalty, companies need to focus on each of their customers and provide them with smooth user experience.
UX (User Experience) is the process of creating a meaningful and relevant experience to the users for selling products and services.
Companies nowadays do a lot of analysis and experiments to ensure that the user gets what they want in minimum time spent on the website/App. As e-commerce is growing, the competition in e-marketplace is also increasing. Nowadays, UX has become the crux of successful e-commerce websites/apps.
The early birdies like me, who have started using online ticket booking, net banking, shopping and other things in its initial days, would certainly know the difference between then and now. So much has been done to improve the user experience. If we study the e-commerce websites, we will get to know the keys where the focus has been shifted to improve UX. Some of which are mentioned below-
Keys to improving UX
- Efficient Search- The essential requirement for e-commerce to be successful is how efficiently it can search for the given product. Search should be fast, relevant and should show other related products if there is no result for the searched item.
It should be optimized in such a way that the user drop rate is minimum to zero.
- Social Feedbacks and customer Reviews- Consider a situation where you have to buy a good cell phone. Most of us would ask reviews of different cell phones from our friends and other sources. This is the most significant factor in decision making. E-commerce companies have studied this factor and are provide social proofs to support the user in decision making.Amazon, Flipkart and many other websites provide customer reviews for each of their products.
- Personalization- Websites now use a lot of historical data to analyze what the customer is looking for. Many websites provide “recommended products” to help customers choose wisely. In the backend there is a lot of data analysis done to give the user the choices, they are looking for.
Many of you would have noticed that when we search something on a particular e-commerce website/app and then close it without buying anything, the next time you browse that website, it shows products related to the previous search. This is personalization. To remember its customer’s choices and use that for optimizing user experience is personalization.
- Guidance- This is a recent development in UX. Most of the e-commerce websites/apps are now guiding the customers based on their requirements. Customers have to give answers to some simple questions and companies provide results based on that.Consider an example of Myntra.com, which is an online apparel selling website. It gives style suggestions to the customers for the product they are looking in.
As seen in the above image, it gives different looks options to the customers to guide them in their purchase.
- Trending- In almost all the e-commerce websites/apps, we can see the trending section where the most popular products are listed. Customers can easily go through the recent trends and make a decision.
- Upsell and cross-sell- Upsell is the practice of encouraging customers to buy a high-end product than the one which they are looking for. Cross-sell is a practice to invite customers the related or complementary product.
For e.g.,- If you are buying a mobile phone, the websites show you the phone covers and other related accessories before checkout. This is cross-selling. While upsell is when you are purchasing an old school phone and websites show you the latest smartphones.
- Categorization- One of the crucial aspects of selling products online is to categorize them right so that it will be easy for customers to find the products. It saves time and also provides a listing of products of the same categories to compare.
- Customer feedback- Customer feedback gives insight for the improvement of product and overall business. Almost every website gives its customers a feedback form after their purchase. This would give them insights about customer experience.
Customers who have a positive experience are more likely to become repeat customers and it also builds trust between the customer and the company.
- Trust and transparency- Trust is the most critical factor to build a loyal customer base for any business. Trust can be achieved through transparency. A business should be transparent in their offerings.This holds good for the entire supply chain. E-commerce success highly depends on the trust between partners and keeps the whole network to be responsible, which eventually reduces business risk. Transparency leads to integrity, loyalty, and sustainability.
- Engage re-engage and awards- Engagement of customers is as important as building the customer base. E-commerce websites offer many reward points for purchases as well as many loyalty programs.For e.g.,- Uber, which is an online cab booking company, offers credits to their customers for referring their app to other customers.Re-engage is re-targeting of customers by showing them products of their interest. Customer engagement, re-engagement can be achieved in various ways-
- Offer loyalty programs to the customers through rewards.
- Immediately Engage unhappy customers by resolving their issues. Sometimes business follows the strategy of instant gratification to avoid any possible customer drop.
- Use all the social mediums to interact directly with the customers. For e.g.,-Nowadays the majority of e-commerce businesses have their twitter handles open to accept customer’s feedback and resolving their conflicts.
- Keeping track of important days of each of their customers like anniversaries, birthdays and other special days. This kind of personalization is fantastic for customer engagement as it gives them a vibe of being treated individually.
- Offer loyalty programs to the customers through rewards.
Apart from the strategies mentioned above, e-commerce companies are now focusing more on easy to use interface and information processing. A very fundamental thing is to take customers through the entire flow in minimum clicks. They should get what they want in the minimum amount of time. Few notable points are-
competitorApart from the strategies mentioned above, e-commerce companies are now focusing more on easy to use interface and information processing. A very fundamental thing is to take customers through the entire flow in minimum clicks. They should get what they want in the minimum amount of time. Few notable points are-
- Usability- defines how easy the customer’s journey is without any unnecessary clicks and flows, time lost in page load, etc.
- Intuitive Navigation- The success of an e-commerce website depends upon how well the company can provide the relevant information, brand image to the users at each step. They should know at each page how to go back, forward, the home page, main menu, etc.
- Presentation- Presentation of items should be effective. It should have clear images, product descriptions, customer reviews, etc. Check out the presentation of the famous jewelry selling app. It has clear information with an attractive presentation.
4) Accessibility- This is to take care of different categories of customers like customers with disabilities or with low literacy.
In a nutshell, e-commerce is a lot more than only selling and buying products and services. It is the overall customer’s experience and journey with the business.
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