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Simplicity and Customer Experience: A Recipe for eCommerce Success

simple design

Website visitors want simple experiences. Period.

Think about it: If you had to choose between two processes, one simple, one complex, which would you choose? Probably the simple one. It’s faster, easier to understand, and involves less friction.

In an eCommerce setting, this is especially true. There’s nothing worse than trying to complete a checkout process that requires long forms to be completed, that has glitches during a page refresh, and that announces unexpected additional costs when you finally reach the last screen. Now that is annoying.

So why do so many websites still have complicated design features and processes that upset visitors?

Because they don’t even realize what’s happening. In this post, we’re going to look at some of the common friction points that aggravate site visitors as well as how to fix them.

Enemies to eCommerce Simplicity

When shoppers visit your online store, they come with a purpose: To browse, and to potentially purchase something. Your website’s job, then, is to make it as easy as possible for that conversion to happen.

But data from Statista show that there are some major roadblocks along this path–and that “not being ready to buy” is only one issue that keeps a customer from checking out.

 

reasons for leaving website in graph

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Unexpected costs presented during the checkout process are the reason as much as 56% of shoppers abandon their carts. But another 25% left because the website navigation was too complicated, while 24% left after a site crash. That’s one-fourth of customers leaving due to poor website performance–a major problem.

These instances are enemies to eCommerce simplicity, and more importantly, they eat away at your business’s bottom line. But without the right tools to help you diagnose these issues on your own site, you might not even realize your sales funnel is leaking customers.

Tools for Spotting Website Complexities

Before you start blindly implementing changes to your site, you need to pinpoint which areas are causing issues for customers. Is it the checkout process? A broken CTA button? Are customers getting lost in navigational tools?

Using a few simple website add-ons, you can spot these problems before they become major, costly errors. Consider using some of the following resources to identify website complexities:

With these tools, you can see the areas for improvement, and then take a strategic approach to improving your site’s simplicity and user-friendliness.

Making Your Site Simpler

Site simplicity can happen in a number of ways, but we’re going to look at a few that are highly effective. To start, let’s look at speeding up processes so users don’t have to make such a significant time investment to achieve their desired end result.

Faster Forms

If your site is missing a guest checkout option and you’re requiring each and every shopper to create an account with you, it’s probably costing you customers. Implementing a guest checkout not only speeds up the process, but reduces the number of required form fields for the user.

Here’s a good example of a fast, easy form with no unnecessary fields from eCommerce retailer Ugmonk:

Example of easy form to fill in

Intuitive Features

Make sure site visitors are getting the most out of their visit by leveraging microcopy. Microcopy is the gray or hover text that populates a form explaining what data needs inserted within the field. This reduces uncertainty and encourages shoppers to use site features like a search bar, as seen in this example.

 

Campaign Monitor help form

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Package in Additional Costs

Rather than surprising shoppers with a handling or shipping fee at the checkout page, build these costs into your retail costs. Sure, it might mean raising your prices a bit, but it’s better than scaring off buyers with an unexpected fee when they’re just about to follow through.

Handling charge example

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Reduce Clutter

If your site is too flashy, overloaded with information or images, or offers too many different conversion paths, you’re likely overwhelming the site visitor. Re-evaluate your website design and see where you can remove clutter for a “less is more” approach. Consider using more categories and pages rather than pushing everything together in a single, busy space. 

Bad example:

Very busy website selling roller skates

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Good example

Clean example of site selling skates

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Simpler is Better When It Comes to Site Design

The bottom line here: Customers want an easy, simple, enjoyable experience on your website. And in order for you to make that happen, you need to take a hard look at your website from top to bottom.

Use the tools discussed here to spot areas for improvement, and then implement the necessary changes that make your website even better. You’ll be gathering more leads and counting up more sales than ever before.

Kaleigh Moore is a copywriter who helps companies craft intelligent content with a charming human element. 

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