One common cliche in marketing is to look at what the competition is doing and improve on it. However, User experience is just as important as what is being offered. The more people compete and the more companies garner loyalty from certain customers, the harder it is to stand out if you are providing the usual kind of presentation.
Instead of focusing on the competition, businesses can learn from UX designers and focus on the customer. Innovation in presentation and giving potential customers a truly unique experience each time are essential to inspiring the customer and instilling brand loyalty. UX design is about relating to the customer and creating a smooth, easy shopping experience that is always a bit different from the previous visit. If you impress your customers and make them feel at ease with an advanced UX design, your company is more likely to foster loyalty and respect, which is crucial in creating not only one-time sales but a long-term relationship with your customers.
How COVID-19 Has Changed the Rules
eCommerce was steadily growing before COVID-19 hit the world with stay-at-home orders, but the abandonment of brick and mortar shopping in favor of ordering online has skyrocketed during the crisis. According to Nielson, only 4% of U.S. grocery sales were conducted online in 2019, but Rakuten Intelligence found that online grocery orders from an assortment of stores grew 210% between March 12 to March 15, 2020, compared to the same dates the previous year.
With the uncertainty about the path of COVID-19 and its effect on buying habits, the trend is likely to be permanent. The pressure is on eCommerce websites to make customers feel as if they are walking into their favorite store in the shopping mall. This means that design should not just be functional, but should lift the mood, soothe the spirits, and encourage shoppers to feel at home in their online store.
How UX Enhances User Experience
In the COVID-19 world, every company should carefully consider how to improve their eCommerce website’s user experience. Aesthetics are a key priority. According to Adobe, 38% of visitors will abandon a website if the design is unattractive. Hamburger layered menus, clunky blocks of text with no variation in fonts or visuals, and disorganized, cluttered offerings are certain to inspire visitors to leave. In addition, the page has to load quickly and the introduction to the site should be smooth.
A visitor should instantly experience the feeling the product is meant to give them rather than be bombarded with details about the items on the first page. Many successful sites go for a minimalist approach with just a few choices and then the visitor encounters information and blogs as they click through the site. Call to action buttons should be prominently displayed but not obtrusive and the checkout page should be on the same site with a variety of payment options.
The Advantages of Data-Driven Design
It isn’t enough to come up with a striking and beautiful design. The images may be perfect and compelling, but you need to know if they are actually going to improve your traffic and increase conversions. It is essential to test out design ideas with the help of surveys, consumer research, and site analytics. When you implement a part of a new design, pay attention to any changes in behavior, and reproduce positive results on other aspects of the design. In addition, think of the habits of your typical customer personas and what appeals to them before embarking on a new design.
Investing the time and resources in data-driven design is likely to reap a substantial return. There has been a strong track record to indicate success. After implementing data-driven UX strategies in a revamped design to their website, Virgin Airlines reported in 2014 a 14% rise in conversion rates booking from devices occurring twice as fast.
Trying AR and VR on For Size
Some brick and mortar stores have used AR and VR to make the in-store experience more enjoyable. Customers no longer have to deal with the hassle of putting makeup samples or squeezing into uncomfortable dressing rooms. The store can install a mirror with AR technology, and when the customer positions herself in front of the mirror, the customer will see what they look like with various makeup styles or in a series of outfits. This technology can be adapted to an app and used online with 3-D capability and cameras that can help customers re-create the in-store experience of trying on clothing or playing with toys on the street or in their homes.
Two Successful UX Sites: Mountain and P&G’s New Chapter
Any business can take a page out of the book of The Mountain and P&G when it comes to improving UX design. New Chapter, a P&G brand, has gone beyond the usual health site, with interactive quizzes and games to engage and inform its visitors. As a result of the well-organized, attractive, and entertaining site, user engagement has risen from 0.4% to 2%.
This product began on Amazon but has been successful in attracting customers directly to its site thanks to its lush-design and well-organized categories. The Mountain site is simple to navigate and there are coupons and deals targeted for specific consumer groups. The checkout is efficient and smooth and customers are encouraged to visit the site again and again.
Although some shoppers may venture back to the mall, many of those who have become online shoppers due to COVID-19 are developing long-term buying habits. This means that it is time to incorporate data-driven UX principles into your eCommerce site. Creating a holistic and smooth user experience with the AR and VR technology can enhance user experience on your site and in the store. Making significant changes to create a more pleasant shopping experience can vastly improve your traffic and conversion rates.