Published on April 22nd, 2012 | by Amy Edwards0
Top 5 usability tips for e-commerce sites
So, you’ve built a super-duper, all-singing, all-dancing e-commerce site which you’ve spent years dreaming about but your conversion rate is well… not as great as you’d hoped. The problem could be your site’s usability and design.
OK so your home page might feature an amazing design, flipping images and a cheesy picture of your family (don’t laugh, this is the done thing on super-local US sites!) but have you thought about how easy it is for you your customers to find your products and place an order? Thought not!
Being an SEO and content specialist, usability isn’t my strongest suite, however after working in the online industry for nearly three years I think I’ve picked up a few usability tips which could help to turn your site’s fortunes around.
1. The first thing to think about is where the phone number is placed on your site. Hiding on the Contact Us page? Mistake number 1! If you’re selling a complicated product ie. specialist high-value products, you need to make it as easy as possible for customers to contact you with any questions they might have. Similarly if you’re selling a service that requires an initial enquiry followed by a quote, your phone number needs to be clear and eye catching so customers have no excuse not to contact you. Research has proven that the top left hand side of your site is the perfect place to display your phone number as that’s where the eye is naturally drawn to on a website.
2. Your site’s shopping cart is another key piece of the puzzle. After a customer has added products to their cart, how easy for them is it a. to keep shopping? and b. to check out? It’s a good idea to design your site so the customer can see their shopping cart total at all times – this lets them know exactly what they’ve added and how much they’ve potentially spent on your site so far.
3. Do you find that you have a large number of drop outs when it comes to the payment process? Your payment process could be too long and complicated. The trick is to make the process quick, easy and as transparent as possible. My advice? Try to stick to a process which takes no longer than four steps and try to make it clear exactly where they are in the process.
4. If you make every customer fill in their full address every time they place an order then you could be missing a trick. Ever heard of a UK address finder? This clever little tool can be installed into the back end of your website so whenever anyone needs to enter their address, all they have to do is type in their postcode and the tool will fill in the rest of the address. This might not sound like a big deal but remember, it’s all about making things as easy as possible for your customers! You will need to pay a small fee (we’re talking pennies here) every time you use it but it can make a big difference.
5. The last e-commerce usability tip I have for you is to include as many ‘trust signals’ on your site as possible. ‘Trust signals’ are simply small images which signify that your site is trustworthy and authentic. Examples of ‘trust signal’ images include approved payment methods such as Visa, PayPal and MasterCard.