Design plays a powerful role in driving checkout conversions on ecommerce sites. By understanding and anticipating a users' goals and pain points, you can create a human-centered design that moves the end user toward a desired action. While this isn't an exhaustive list, we've outlined the top ecommerce design trends you can implement to improve user experience and drive online sales.
1. Mobile Is Still First
Shopping on a mobile device, when done properly, should be a simple process. This simplicity is driven by the overall design of the site. It's important to consider the size of menu items and call-to-action (CTA) buttons. The touch-space should be designed for “human-sized thumbs” – meaning it shouldn't be difficult for users to click on the button. Letting the area around the CTAs breathe is encouraged. It's hard for someone to interact with your site, let alone checkout, if they can't touch the Add to Cart button. The mobile screen is a relatively small space, filling it up with unnecessary elements takes away from the user's objective. Make sure the design is focused on the primary action desired, which in most cases is getting to the Order Confirmation page.
One of the most scrutinized pages of a mobile ecommerce site is the product detail page. Make sure that the product title, price, quantity, images and Add to Cart button can all be viewed at the same time on the screen. When there is supporting information, it's acceptable to collapse them in accordions giving the user the choice to view them rather than taking up more space on the page. Adding a floating or “sticky” Add to Cart button on the product detail page is another useful way to keep the primary CTA at the forefront of the user while they browse the page for more detailed information.
2. Show Off Your Social Side
We've all seen the obvious stock photos, the fake smiles and staged backgrounds. Sincerity goes a long way in site photography. Users want to see first-hand how the product they are considering purchasing works in real-life. A terrific way to do this is to invite people who have purchased a product to share it in their social media channels. These channels can then be displayed on the site through third-party services like Bazaarvoice. People trust people. Use your brand ambassadors to bring credibility and authenticity to your products.
Social content is commonly found in multiple areas of an ecommerce site. The most effective area being the product detail page (PDP). Layouts need to adapt to this type of user generated content and bring it forward in the purchasing path. For example, on the PDP, users want to see various product images, price and description. Once you've covered the basics, consider moving the social content next in the page layout. The main product images are more than likely shot by the company, showing customers what they want. The social images are shot by actual people who purchased the product, in context in which the product is being used. Customers can picture themselves with the product more easily by looking at images taken by other customers, not by a studio.
Costa, one of our clients, does an excellent job modeling this trend. They use the hashtag #SeeWhatsOutThere to collect user generated photos they feature their products in action. This type of authentic content allows their fans to be the star of the show, not their product.
3. Connect with Consumers Through Storytelling
Why am I choosing this product over a cheaper one on Amazon? As humans we love a good story, that's why we connect with songs and movies. This isn't any different when we're deciding to purchase a product. While the product itself may not have an elaborate story behind it, the brand that created it does. Informing the customer of the company's purpose can make a difference in the way a consumer perceives the product's value.
A common misconception is that millennials are brand averse, when in reality, they are more brand loyal than any other demographic. Just not to the large, mainstream brands that have ruled in generations past. Instead, this generation gravitates toward brands that tell inspiring stories and align with their own personal beliefs and values.
Iron and Resin is a great example of a brand who understands the power of storytelling.
4. Simplify the Checkout Process
The overall objective of any ecommerce site is to ring the digital register. The taxonomy, menu and overall layouts are purposefully designed to funnel consumers down the path to purchase, but what about once they get to the checkout window? The traditional 3-step checkout process has been modified to combine everything into a single page experience. While this is an improvement, it doesn't address the hassle of inputting billing and personal information. This is a potential roadblock in the path to purchase when checking out on mobile devices, which can often result in abandoned carts, a key metric in which most ecommerce sites are judged by.
The evolution of touch payment and digital wallet technology has alleviated this barrier. You might be familiar with the larger players in this space like ApplePay, AndroidPay and AmazonPay. There are also some ecommerce platforms offering their own digital wallet like ShopifyPay. All these options are available to make the purchasing of products easier and quicker without the hassle of entering a bunch of information. Not only is this method faster, but it adds additional security.
A terrific example of how digital wallets are making the checkout process better is within the Nike SNKRS app. New shoe releases are scheduled and followed by collectors. The app requires you to create an account, which includes your shoe size and the option to enable “Touch ID”. The SNKRS app allows consumers interested in a particular shoe to be notified 15 minutes before the shoe is available. Once the shoe is released, the user has to do only 2 things; touch “Buy” and place your fingerprint on the home button. That's it. Nike understands that their shoes often sell out within minutes, if not seconds. By including digital wallets within the app, they have created a checkout experience that keeps up with product demand.
Looking for some help implementing these trends? You don't have to look any further than the producers of this blog. Send us a message. We can help improve your user experience and design an ecommerce site that drives sales.