4 ways to improve eCommerce web sites

We visit every web site for a purpose. Examples include: to gain knowledge; to check for an update; to show loyalty and support towards a specific organisation’s web site or, in the case of eCommerce web sites, to buy products. This post examines how eCommerce web sites can improve the overall user experience and therefore become more profitable.

eCommerce improvement tips

Increase trust and professionalism
Privacy statements, order tracking and third party certificates are cognitive cues that increase trustworthiness and professionalism of eCommerce web sites: Cognition and decision making go hand-in-hand so positively influencing cognition with trust and a professional outlook affects user interaction including, for example, if a browser turns into a buyer on your website. Include Cognitive cues to improve your eCommerce web site.
Professional and aesthetically pleasing interfaces enhance cognitive cues because their design is simpler and clearer. eCommerce web sites can be improved by creating effective interfaces.
Create and revisit personas
Think about your audience to know who you should target. Useful resources, for example analysing the types of eCommerce shoppers, encourage creative thinking which improves customer understanding. Knowing your audience, as well as, their online behaviour allows you to improve your eCommerce web site.
Use emotional designs
Emotional designs fully engage the human brain which allows users to become more focused. Focused users attentively process information. Emotional designs allow your users to actually notice and ‘get’ your product range which, in turn, improves your eCommerce web site.
Think information
Include a well tested site search system in order for people to find and buy products online.
Use information retrieval viewpoints to critically analyse how people find information. Depending upon the specific web site it is a good idea to include more than one site search system, such as, using faceted search alongside ranked retrieval.
Think about information architecture by grouping, labelling and displaying results to improve your eCommerce web site. Information architecture improves user experience.
A site map groups pages into categories.

Site maps and information architecture go hand in hand. Source: David King.

eCommerce checkout and photos

Whilst the 4 points above will improve your eCommerce web site it is also a good idea to focus on the commercial activities of your site too. The checkout process and, for example, your product range will need to be revised. Is the checkout process easy to use? Are there good images of your product range? eCommerce web sites are all about browsing and purchasing products. Finding products and being able to easily buy products is paramount.

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References

  1. Egger, F. N. (2001). Affective Design of E-Commerce User Interfaces: How to maximise perceived trustworthiness. In Helander, M, Khalid, H. M., and Tham (Eds.). Proceedings of CAHD: Conference on Affective Human Factors Design. June 27-29, Singapore, pp. 317-324.
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