I’d like to introduce guest blogger Cherene Etemadi, marketing manager with EYEMAGINE, a full-service Magento and web development company based in sunny California. Below Cherene shares some tips for designing and building websites that create customer loyalty through the user experience.
Customer Loyalty through User Experience
People love things that make their lives simpler, and good online user experience will do just that for your customers.
Many merchants make the mistake of letting the convenience of eCommerce become an excuse for standardized, “out-of-the-box” user experience design and development; but the best online shopping experiences should deliver much more than just the ability to shop in your pajamas. Delivering a superior user experience is the fundamental key to turning your online store into a customer loyalty machine.
Here are some ways to begin thinking about how to deliver that optimal online shopping user experience:
A good user experience/user interface designer will focus on the “friction points” of the user experience. Friction points are the sticky areas of online shopping, where customers will often get bogged down and lost before they complete the checkout process. Your UI/UX designer will ask why you’re requiring customers to go through 5 steps to check out when only 3 would do, asking them to search for where they need to go next, or making them wait an eternity for a page to load.
Identifying friction points means empathizing with users. For a recent Magento custom development and design project, the design team at EYEMAGINE smoothed a shopping flow friction point by adding a “Details” tooltip when hovering over a product image — providing an instant, brief description of product features - as well as an “Add to Cart” button, without the need to click through to the product’s detail page.
Suddenly a friction point was eased and a process that may have taken minutes was reduced to seconds.
Persistency, or “stickiness,” pertains to the elements of a site’s layout that don’t vanish from the viewport of a browser no matter how far you scroll up or down a page. Creating persistent elements on an eCommerce website allows customers to have what they need at their fingertips at all times instead of needing to scroll up or down.
This can be particularly helpful when it comes to navigation — something you might want users to have access to at all times. For example, for the portable speaker site www.BRAVEN.com (another Magento custom development and design project), the EYEMAGINE design team created an extremely “tall” product details page, full of product information, but requiring an extremely long scroll by users. In order to ensure that customers don’t lose their way on the page, we also added a dark gray persistent navigation bar.
No matter where users scroll within the page, this black bar follows them and remains “stuck” to the top of their browser.
In addition to being responsive to your customers’ concerns, you must also embrace responsive web design. Not just an eCommerce trend, responsive design is here to stay because it fulfills the need to provide an optimal user experience on the multiplicity of user screen sizes, including tablet, phone, laptop, desktop, and every variety of each.
Embracing responsive design in eCommerce allows an online store to be tailored perfectly to all customers, no matter how they access the site. And while some larger and more trusted eCommerce developers find more success providing custom apps for their clients, for those without the resource to invest in a fully customized app, and those who want to target all platforms without worrying about particular device compatibility, responsive design is an ideal solution.
Being ruthlessly scientific is perhaps the most important trait an online storeowner can have, and isn’t easy to master. Being scientific means:
Being willing to constantly discard and refine elements of your site until you arrive at a model that truly works
Forgetting about what your competition is doing and learning for yourself what makes sense
Being able to put your site where it belongs — in users’ hands, instead of in your head
Websites aren’t static items to be designed, built and then left alone. The Internet is a living, breathing creation made with changeable code that provides the huge advantage of flexibility. Good online storeowners embrace flexibility, and use it to their advantage to slowly, over time, arrive at a model that truly works for their businesses.
This can be accomplished with A/B testing, the ultimate scientific method applied to eCommerce web design. When executed correctly, A/B testing can take the neurosis and guesswork out of running an online store by validating ideas with real results.
What it All Means
You don’t just want to redesign your site to look good. You want to redesign it to drive conversions, increase average order value, and create loyal customers.
The only way to effectively build eCommerce customer loyalty through good user experience is by having a deep knowledge of online consumer behavior; something EYEMAGINE’s expert team of designers and developers know better than your 16 year-old-nephew knows Call of Duty.